We have been thinking it would be useful to share our team goals with the community on a regular basis - so folks have a clearer idea of what we're working on (without wading through the details in the Issue Tracker).
We currently have 39 open issues on the 1.6 queue - and we need to knock-off at least 10 next week in order to be on-track for 1.6 beta. Here's the issues we'd definitely like to resolve:
- Link custom fields to specific types of activities, relationships, etc. (CRM-1177).
We've been working on the Branner Project and writing code to help analyze the applications and process them in a suitable manner. The application collects a fair amount of data across multiple pages and as such is not very conducive to reading on the web.
We wanted to analyze the data in Excel. The database is relational and hence hierarchical. CSV is not a great format for this purpose. So we wrote a CiviCRM -> XML converter and got all the data we needed in a nice easy to understand / parse xml. We then used a PEAR package (Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer) on windows to convert the xml to a set of excel worksheets. As part of this package we also included the contact_id, which allowed us to import results back into CiviCRM using the contact_id
CiviMail is a component that allows the users to create, send, track and manage CiviCRM-based mailings. In CiviCRM 1.5, CiviMail underwent speed and memory optimisations; in CiviCRM 1.6 we’re concentrating on usability improvements.
Last week was a pretty intense week for the team. The quest application process had the application deadline and as expected the load on the servers was really high for an extended period of time. As always we learnt quite a few lessons and a few things to do differently the next time around. Some of the lessons learnt include:
- Balance is not a very good load balancer. It croaked under heavy load and did not distribute the traffic evenly. An not aware of any other open source "web server balancing" solution. If someone knows other solutions, please let us know.
We've been polishing up a cool new 1.6 feature over the past few days - and I got pretty excited seeing it working with a real set of data. The feature is Batch Update Via Profile. It allows you to define a profile with (almost) any standard and custom fields and use that to display a table for updating many contacts at once.
For example, if you want input hard-copy responses from a mailer for a group of contacts...You could define a profile with the fields you want to update. Then use Find Contacts to retrieve contacts in the group and select "Batch Update via Profile" from the -actions- drop-down menu. You then get a table with a row for each contact in the group and the fields you've selected for updated. Update some or all of them and click "Update" - and your changes are saved.
We've had 1.5 deployed and running for our partner Questbridge and their scholarship application program. This week is the final week for submitting applications, and as expected the servers and systems are under a fair amount of load. Lucky for us, we did go through a similar experience with the college prep application in april and have some idea of what to expect etc, but we are still learning a fair amount from this. For more details on this project check our wiki
A few of the things that helped us a lot include:
While folks are downloading and installing CiviCRM v1.5, the team is hard at work developing some cool new features for v1.6. Quite a few of the features for v1.6 have been driven and influenced by the QuestBridge project. Major thanx to Quest Scholars for using and funding CiviCRM :)
Some of the features that we have made good progress on include
The response to v1.5 has been very positive. I think we are starting to hit the sweet spot for most users. We've been getting a steady stream of bug reports in various components and have been averaging a new release every week. Most of the bugs have been relatively easy to fix, but there have been a couple of complex ones that we are still figuring out.
The project is getting a fair amount of traction on the joomla side. Elin W is pushing CiviCRM to its limits on the joomla side and ensuring that all the stuff works as advertised out there. The Kabissa Project will also help us stabilize and strengthen our links with the joomla community and work has just started on that part
Over the past few months we've been consolidating our various domains (openngo.org, socialsourcefoundation.org) into one domain civicrm.org. We've also moved most of our infrastructure services from facilities in poland (a big thanx to michal, piotr and caltha.pl for setting this up and helping us grow) to our new hosting providers Electric Embers (they are incredibly helpful, very reasonable prices and do a great job serving the non-profit sector). Also a big thanx to the folks at Eggplant Active Media Cooperative who designed and implemented our new look and feel.
CiviCRM is community driven, and many resources are freely available to you. That said, contacting CiviCRM directly may not be the best way to get your question answered or your need fulfilled. Please use this page to find an appropriate person to get in contact with. If you are interested in hiring someone to work with you on your CiviCRM project, have a look at our listing of CiviCRM experts.