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Myles Orme

Myles Orme

June 25 2011

Integration with civiCRM (or Anahita to Joomla user syncing)

Has anyone attempted this?

I was drawn to Anahitapolis because we are looking to develop a social networking site - we currently use Drupal for a community site based around organic groups.

Frankly it has never really taken off - fine for our internal team, but not really engaging our wider community. Not only that but our understanding has grown and we could provide lots of useful functionality - and one very bloated web site. Better to separate out concerns and provide different sites (sub-domains perhaps) each addressing needs in a very focused way - but they are the same users.

We make very good use, internally, of civiCRM and this is now a critical business requirement.

civiCRM is hosted within Drupal or Joomla - so initially I thought - agh so it can be hosted within Anahita too.

In the Drupal world you can integrate civiCRM with multiple cms sites because they can all access the same Drupal user tables - so same user account accross multiple Drupal sites and all of them in sync with your CRM - when someone registers on your site they are adding their name to your CRM - and you can expose CRM data to the cms site using profiles from civiCRM, views, cck etc in Drupal - so that your users can maintain their own contact records, register for events and so on.

There is a well documented api for civiCRM.

I can see how we can write a social app that interacts with civiCRM, but it is the 'out of the box' integration that comes with Joomla that I am concerned about.

I was once a developer, but will be re-learning - assume from scratch. I need to get the bare bones of the site(s) up and running very fast - lego building, not development.

I could manage the transition to Joomla - and I suspect that if joomla supported mulitsites in the way that Drupal does I would be laughing, but as it is...

If I were to host civiCRM in Joomla and use that as a CMS - could I share users across the two sites such that when a user registers on the social network (or is registered, since it is a 'closed' network involving minors) they will also be creating a registration on the cms (which will sync up with civiCRM)

It would be nice to sync up the user's social graph with civiCRM, which has relationships and groups - and given Anahita's development framework and civiCRM's api this should be possible in time - I am capable of learning - but that initial step user to civicrm contact synchronisation I need faster than I can develop.

Any ideas? Anahita to Joomla user sync? #anahita #social #networking #engine

Hi @Mylese, Questions:

- Why do you want to integrate civicCRM with Anahita?
- What does civicCRM do that Anahita doesn't or visa versa?
- What are you trying to accomplish in the bigger picture?
Myles Orme
Myles Orme
June 25 2011 Permalink
civiCRM (www.civicrm.org) provides our customer/constituency relationship management, case management, event management, mass mailing, contributions management, grants management.

It is not good at supporting interactions between 'contacts' - Providing the facility for a 'contact' to find other people and create relationships with them, then post messages/status', control access to content and so is not the focus of civiCRM and is not aligned to its underlying way of looking at the world -

There is the clear demarcation between us (organisation members who are civiCRM users) and them - the people we deal with, who may be users of the cms that hosts civiCRM. There are users and contacts.

In the first instance we want to re-develop our support for our youth mentoring schemes - providing a platform mentors and mentees to interact, and for volunteers to interact with each other in a social network.

We are developing our own because we need to provide a closed environment and comply with government guidelines on interactions between adult volunteers and young people. For instance - they need to communicate, update each other on how things are going, share files, re-arrange meetings and so on without knowing each other's email or phone numbers.

We are moving away from the last generation of community sites - forums, groups, content, private messages etc.. because our user's, particularly the kids, are not turned on by it. We've made good use of it as a team, and as virtual teams getting together to achieve an aim, but it has done nothing much for the mentors and mentees for instance.

At a recent workshop we stood back whilst a group of 14 year old girls discussed why they never got their homework done - They came to the conclusion that cutting back their facebook time from 4 hours a night to 2 hours might help.... as they were running out of class time they agreed to carry on the discussion on facebook... I kid you not.

So social networking to support mentors and mentees -

But then do they need to be on our CRM?
If they do need to be on our CRM do we need them in sync?


these mentors are the volunteers who are the contacts on our CRM. The CRM provides our case management and reporting facilities as well as a means of tracking communications, reporting on results and so, yes, probably - we do use it in our dealings with volunteers - it is a key enabler that allows three people officially working part time to deploy over a thousand volunteers through a couple of hundred schools.


Maybe I'm just too attached to my old ways.

Always good to be reminded to ask good questions.

These same questions apply to social interactions and content.

We provide mentors and mentees access to a 'toolbox' of activities and various handbooks, taining resources and the like.

We also move between virtual and physical space - we want to set missions for the students to fulfil that involve taking part in activities and encounters that provide them with engaging learning experiences - these mission cards are printed from the online environment and their record of achievement is stored online - as well as in the form of stickers on the mission cards - In the drupal world this is provided by the Meetu game platform.

So here again we have common users accessing two different systems - one content developed and delivered through a CMS and the other - well Anahita style.

I'm taking my lead from a comment you made elsewhere in this group on the separation.
Recently, I also looked for CRM integrate with Joomla and most wanted is with Anahita. CRM will do well with its own functionality as everyone needs now for their business. I downloaded and test vtiger from www.vtiger.com and it has more features that civicrm can offer. However, I would trust if anahitapolis can one day build its own Simple CRM because the social platform has similar features that CRM has to offer such as group, discussion, todos...
Myles Orme
Myles Orme
June 25 2011 Permalink
I'm not sure vitiger does have more features - though it may have a does have a different mindset and orientation. Others prefer sugarCRM - it depends on who you are working with and what your purpose is -

And if you really want something simple that does just what you want to do and no more then building a plugin may well be the way to go. All the above are big and hungry

What would really interest me about anahita and crm is the possibility of re-inventing the notion of CRM -

I could imagine it being more of an analysis tool - with pretty graphics please!
Myles Orme
Myles Orme
June 25 2011 Permalink
Strikes me that JFusion may synchronise users between Anahita and Joomla - same users, social network on one platform and CMS/CRM on the other.

Not sure if it will move emails / phone numbers and other profile goodness across.

Thoughts anyone?
@Myles

I'm afraid there is no native integration of civiCRM and Anahita. Is it possible to make one? of course. The same way that you did for Drupal and Joomla you can apply the same approach to Anahita too.

In fact since the existing release of Anahita uses a stripped down version of Joomla1.5 as the basic web application framework to contain the Anahita, Nooku, and Gantry frameworks you might be able to install the com_civicrm extension on it. However if you have been reading the topics and news on Anahitapolis, at every release we are taking out more bits of Joomla left in Anahita. Eventually we will be discarding Joomla altogether and be using NookuServer as the basic web application framework.

Even then it is possible to build a civiCRM to install on Anahita the same way that it is done for Drupal and Joomla, but the question is why!?

Installing civiCRM on Anahita might give you synchronized user accounts but it certainly won't make civiCRM social! The end result will be the fusion of 2 completely unrelated technologies. I would totally advice against investing any time and energy into that approach.

What I would do is to look into the most commonly used features in the civiCRM and then build an Anahita Installation + native social apps that solve the same problems that civiCRM was supposed to do. The end result will be thought and built within the true and correct social networking context. Not to mention that it will be a much more seamless user experience, smaller codebase, easier to maintain, etc.

I've downloaded a copy of com_civiCRM. It is 64MB of code ouch! I don't think Anahita + all the existing social apps altogether go above 35MB unzipped.

The Anahita framework is far more modern and it requires way less code for building social apps. It is also specialized for building social networking technologies because of its Nodes-Graphs-Stories architecture.

To give you an idea:

- Anahita ™ Groups is only 262 KB
- Anahita ™ Photos is only 508KB.
- Anahita ™ Social Networking Engine package unzipped is only 32.7 MB and it will be way smaller once we discard Joomla and use the NookuServer instead.

So my preferred approach would be building a solution using Anahita + a collection of custom and generic social app all aimed to solve the same problem that civiCRM is supposed to do.
Myles Orme
Myles Orme
June 27 2011 Permalink
Are you including Ohanah App and so on and so on - one reason civicrm is big is that it encompasses a great deal - not only crm but case, campaigns, events, memberships, donations and on and on.

I like your thinking though - focus on what you really are and what you strive to achieve, and yes I shall enjoy the challenge of slimming everything down and making it really sing in tune.

I'd like to replace some aspects of civiCRM with a 'social' equivalent, starting with a replacement for case management.

Right now we use civicrm and it works for us - and it is a critical enabler we are not going to ditch overnight. The users are revolting enough as it is ;) Besides some of what it does for us suits the CRM paradigm better than the social paradigm.

I've discovered the announcement that we can download Anahita before subscribing, so I have been able to experiment.

civiCRM does install. Some problems with javascript, which is usually down to resource url's and well sortable, I just have to do the day job!

Later tonight I shall probably see if I can download Nooku server and install civiCRM into it - from what I can see it will quite happily.

So it may be Joomla - civiCRM + Anahita with bridge for users or (the horror of it!) Anahita with civiCRM -

Either way that's one hurdle crossed.

I'll look forward to discussing the more interesting prospect of developing some really smart tools in Anahita later on.

I love what you are doing.
Myles Orme
Myles Orme
June 27 2011 Permalink
For people's information - civicrm does seem to install into nooku server, with the same javascipt problems (resource urls?) and also with a url issue - civicrm urls in joomla all seem to start administrator/index2.php - to see anything in nooku server it needs to be index.php)

Please note I do understand that this is not the place for a support question, and this is not the intent of the post -

it looks as though civiCRM could be hosted within Anahita (or at least its underlying web application framework for some time to come.)
@Myles

What would really interest me about anahita and crm is the possibility of re-inventing the notion of CRM

I like the sounds of that. In fact we need to rethink CRM and redefine it within a social networking context. The only way to do that is to build a simple system and incrementally improve it based on the day to day observation of how it is being used.
Myles Orme
Myles Orme
July 02 2011 Permalink
My starting point is likely to be case management reinvention rather than constituency/client management... but the direction of thought may be the same.

I'm thinking conversations to influence rather than management - and having some visual triggers to prompt the conversations.

In the early days of our charity we were strictly a brokerage - we introduced parties, got things started and told them to get on with it.

In simple situations this works fine, but I there were too many issues surfacing in more complex situations or in cases that needed higher skills, such as mentoring.

Our first principle must be to do no harm, and to ensure that we needed to get the mentoring really well established. Hence I've been working with the mentors as a supervising mentor, they are my cases - and this is just an example.

It has given me the close engagement I have needed to really sort things out, but now I'm moving on - we're using progressions, series of activities that build on each other, to educate and inculcate all the parties involved, and I have also been building communities of practice so to replace me in my 'mentor the mentor' role.

So at least for a large section of the people we are working with i should be able to take the back seat - still interested in what is going of though!

Content types that deal with mentoring sessions are one part of this I suspect, stories about particular activities, and creative reporting.

Just rambling for now

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