Installing Eclipse with BIRT ...

It's been a while, i was trying to get Eclipse-BIRT working on my machine (Ubuntu Edgy). Finally got success few days back.

Here are the steps for installation:

1) Get the Eclipse using Ubuntu update manager.

sudo aptitude install eclipse

2) BIRT package is not installed by default in Eclipse. So use Eclipse update manager and select package BIRT Reporting Tool.

You might get few errors:
- Could not write in /usr/lib .....

chmod -R 777 /usr/lib/eclipse

- I also got following errors:
Requested operation cannot be performed because it would invalidate the current configuration. See details for more information.

CiviCRM ACL's (Access Control List) explained ..

Good background reading for ACL's can be found in the Wikipedia entry Permissioning is quite important in CRM systems. CiviCRM used Drupal's permissioning system and stretched it a fair amount till v1.6. It had two major disadvantages: One, our joomla users do not have access to the permissioning model. Two, the Drupal model did not scale very well from a user interface perspective. This was primarily because it displayed all the permissions as a grid. If you had 300 roles and 300 smart groups, drupal displayed a table with 90,000 checkboxes. The browser would definitely not be happy with this chunk of HTML

Customizing CiviCRM look and feel ...

I just finished implementing some cool features for customizing CiviCRM look and feel in v1.7. As most of you'll are aware CiviCRM follows a pretty good modular MVC (model-view-controller) architecture. We seperate the view (Smarty templates) from the code and business logic quite stringently and most of the display can be customized at the template level.

Experiences with FishEye from Cenqua ...

I've spent a fair amount of the weekend attempting to install FishEye from Cenqua. Its awesome that companies like Atlassian (wiki and issue tracking software) and Cenqua (coincidentally both these firms are Australian!) give away free licenses to open source projects like CiviCRM.

FishEye helps you analyze, search, share and monitor your source code repository (in our case svn). We've always wanted something a bit more fancy than what subversion offers out of the box (a vanilla http interface to the code). We also wanted better integration with JIRA and link issues to the appropriate revision of the code. FishEye promised to deliver on both these cases. We had also heard pretty good reviews of the product.

CiviCRM Custom groups / fields / values

An interesting discussion spawned on the civicrm-dev list recently regarding our implementation of custom groups and fields. We have been super cautious about this and have advised people not to create more than 20 custom fields per object (contact, activity, group, relationship etc). However creating a custom field is relatively easy and people have been doing it at a fast and furious pace.

Full Steam Ahead on the 1.7 Release

With lots of excitement and anticipation on the mailing list regarding upcoming 1.7 features - the team has been pushing hard to keep on schedule for alpha release by the end of this month. As of this morning, we're down to 19 open issues out of a total of 80 posted for the release! We're shooting to get this down below 15 by weeks end.

There has definitely been some "scope creep" for 1.7 beyond the committed issues on the road-map. The good news is that these additions have been the result of community feedback and are responses to the real-world use cases that folks are bringing to the team. We're doing our best to balance responsiveness to these requests with the need to get releases out on a regular and timely basis.

Join Us at Two Upcoming Conferences

Several CiviCRM folks will be attending two upcoming conferences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both conferences should provide great opportunities to learn, share and network with other folks in the non-profit and open source software communities.

Aspiration will be hosting the 2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit in Oakland next week (February 21-23). I am looking forward to lively conversations there regarding best practices and trends in FLOSS non-profit software development. Michal Mach from our Polish contingent is hoping to join us there and lead a session on Localisation approaches and challenges. We can also carve out time for an informal CiviCRM "users" gathering if there's interest.

CiviCRM/Drupal: Platform of choice for grassroot political groups ..

Seems like for the 2008 elections quite a few of the grassroot political candidates in the US have chosen to use Drupal and CiviCRM. I suspect for the 2012 election, this combination will be the platform of choice for the main campaign sites also :)

Note that these campaign sites are not the official campaign sites. They are created and built by their supporters. Some of the campaigns using Drupal / CiviCRM are:

CiviCRM Application Service Providers are here ...

In the past few weeks we've seen the introduction of a couple of CiviCRM Application Service Providers (ASP's). This is indeed good news for the CiviCRM community and gives the smaller organization a more cost effective and simpler solution to manage and host their web site and data.

The first one out of the blocks was CivicSpace On Demand. CSOD offers Drupal 4.7, CiviCRM 1.5 along with a few other useful drupal modules including CCK and Views. The CiviCRM install comes with CiviMail, CiviContribute and CiviMember.

Peter Hirst a long time CiviCRM and CiviMail user and contributor announced a few weeks ago. is based on Drupal 5.1, CiviCRM 1.6 and can additional drupal modules can be installed per your needs. It also comes with the other CiviCRM components including CiviMail, CiviContribute and CiviMember. Peter is also offering Joomla + CiviCRM hosting which will serve our ever growing Joomla community needs quite nicely