Blog | Modules Unraveled

030 Michael Haggerty and CRM Core - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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Michael Haggerty, CEO of Trellon, joins me this week for the fourth and final episode covering CRMs in Drupal.

CRM Core

  • Before we start I’d like to get your take on what a CRM is.
  • What sets CRM Core apart from other CRMs?
  • What kind of configuration is necessary to setup a functioning CRM with CRM Core? (Is this something that a sitebuilder without much development knowledge can get working?)
  • What are some of the features?
  • What kind of documentation is available?

Use Cases

  • What is your idea of the target audience for CRM Core?
  • If you had to choose between developers and site-builders, which would you say CRM Core is more geared toward.
  • What size of organization is CRM Core ideal for?
  • Do you have any clients that are live on CRM Core right now? (Even if you can't name names)

029 Joachim Noreiko and Jamie Abrahams and the Party module CRM - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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Jamie Abrahams and Joachim Noreiko join me this week to talk about the Party module, and it's CRM integration with Drupal.


  • I’d like to get your take on what a CRM is.
  • What sets the party module apart from other CRMs?
  • What kind of configuration is necessary to setup a functioning CRM with the Party module? (Is this something that a sitebuilder without much development knowledge can get working?)
  • Is there any documentation?
  • If there was one thing you could brag about Party that makes it better than all of the other CRMs what would it be?

Use Cases

  • Who is Party aimed at?
  • What size of company is Party ideal for?
  • Do you have any clients that are live on Party right now? (Even if you can't name names)

028 Lev Tsypin and the Redhen CRM Project - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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Lev Tsypin joins me for the second (of four) installment of CRMs in Drupal. He's been involved with the development of the Redhen CRM, and here's what we talked about.


  • I had Dave Greenberg on the show not too long ago to talk about CiviCRM, but incase anybody listening didn’t catch that one, can you start out by briefly explaining what a CRM is?
  • Why would someone want a CRM since the Drupal user entity is fieldable?
  • How is RedHen different from other CRMs?
  • (Twitter)
    • Why did they decide to build RedHen instead of going with CiviCRM?
    • The Drupal CRM space appears quite fragmented - did they evaluate and consider combining efforts with other Drupal CRM modules? (,,
    • RedHen seems to be the front-runner (in my opinion because they are the most active) native Drupal CRM solution - is RedHen gaining support from other CRM Drupal developers (meaning - can we get all these disparate Drupal CRM modules consolidated into one solution, namely RedHen?
  • I understand that RedHen doesn’t do much out of the box. What kind of configuration is necessary to setup a functioning CRM?
  • Is there documentation somewhere?

Use Cases

  • Who should look into RedHen?
  • What size of company is RedHen ideal for?
  • Do they have any clients that are live on RedHen right now? (Even if they can't name the client's names)

Questions from Twitter

  • @TGroff: I see they do have an installation profile, is that basically the same as a "RedHen Distribution"?
  • What was the motivation behind creating "RedHen Groups/Organizations as Groups" rather than using OG? They mentioned, in blog post #2 that "the relationships between Drupal user records, contacts and organizations were too complex to cleanly build this feature on top of both RedHen and Organic Groups", can they elaborate on that point?
  • How will RedHen handle paid memberships, donations? I'm assuming via Drupal Commerce integration?
  • How does RedHen handle duplicate records? ie - will there be "de-dupe" tools?
  • Does RedHen have now, or plan to have reporting tools such as - Top Donors, Income Reports, SYBUNT ('Some Year But Not This Year' donor report), LYBUNT ('Last Year But Not This Year' donor report)
  • Do they have plans for a bulk e-mail tool, or what would they recommend for bulk e-mail? Seeing that RedHen can take advantage of all Drupal modules I imagine it would be easy enough to just use whatever Drupal bulk e-mail tool your prefer - SimpleNews, MailChimp, etc.?

027 Jeff Hanbury and the LiveThemer Project - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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This week Jeff Hanbury joins me to talk about the Livethemer project. A pretty sweet way to do Drupal theming. Here's the outline


  • What is Livethemer?
  • Why did you guys feel the need to create Livethemer?
  • How is this different from traditional theming?
    • How is traditional Drupal theming done?
    • How does livethemer work?
  • How does this affect performance
  • How can it be extended?
  • There are variations, collections and resources. What are those?

Use Cases

  • When would you recommend this over traditional theming?
  • When would you recommend traditional theming over Livethemer?
  • Is this something you’re comfortable with giving to clients?

Questions from Twitter

  • Tony Groff (@TGroff): I'd really just like to know more about their design process - #drupal never looked so good as @marmaladesoul sites, wow!
    • Do they start all sites with an in-house @livethemer distribution? Do they use style-tiles/mood boards?
    • Also interested if they design in-the-browser/Photoshop/Fireworks? Other #drupal design tool recommendations?thx!

026 Bob Christenson and Making a living in Drupal - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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Bob Christenson of @Mustardseedinc joins me to talk about making a living doing Drupal.

Here's what we discussed

Your general background

  • What did you do before you started Mustardseed?
  • What makes mustardseed different than most Drupal shops?
    • Single employee + freelancers
    • no desire to grow larger...I think this is an old concept
    • VERY niche market
  • What made you decide it was a good time/idea?

Freelance vs. Drupal shop

  • Before we jump in, let’s take a minute to define freelance vs. running a Drupal shop.

Freelance Drupal Work

  • What suggestions would you give to someone who is just starting to do freelance Drupal work?
    • Keep your day job
    • Specialize / Niche
    • Start small and get some work under your belt
    • Be prepared to work cheap (really cheap!)
    • Get a reputation through contributions (d.o, cons/camps, social media)
    • Go where you’re led (instead of determining where you’ll end up)
    • Grow slowly based on your body of work
    • Dont try and be a rock star...just do good work.

Suggestions for small shops/beginners

  • more control over clientele
  • more pressure to find work
  • employees?
  • lots more project/client management
  • bookkeeping, etc, is more extensive
  • ...but you run the show.

Questions from Twitter

  • Brock Boland (@Brock): I’d be curious to hear about handling the overhead: client management, taxes, that run-your-own-business kind of stuff.
    • Dont neglect the business but dont let it consume you
    • Start simple (DBA or LLC)
    • Hire an accountant for year-end books
    • Use established client /project management system (basecamp!)
  • Michael Potter: We just launched our Drupal web design company a few months ago. So far business has been good but our workload is getting to be too much. We decided that we need to hire at least one other developer we just haven't been able to find any applicants that have Drupal experience.
    • How does a Drupal firm efficiently staff its employees. Wait for the perfect candidate to come along or hire developers and train them on Drupal?
      • This is really a question of growth
      • I’m not interested in training new employees, my dev time is too valuable.
      • Employees mean 10x the accounting, management and stress...

025 Nedjo Rogers and Rosemary Mann and The Open Outreach Distribution - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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This week Nedjo Rogers and Rosemary Mann join me to talk about their Open Outreach distribution.

Here's what we talked about

  • What is open outreach?
  • Why did you decide to create Open Outreach? (was it a personal need? client need?)
  • What does Open Outreach do?
  • What are some of the features included?
    • Are these using the apps model or another?
  • Who is contributing to Open Outreach?
  • How can groups get Open Outreach?

Use Cases

  • Who is Open Outreach aimed at?
  • What are some current projects and focuses?

What’s in the future?

  • CRM functionality
  • Compare External (CiviCRM) and internal (custom)

Questions from Twitter:

  • @tgroff: What are the benefits/differences between using vs. CiviCRM roles sync?
  • @tgroff: Does provide membership renewal, expiration, or renewal reminders?
  • @tgroff: Mostly like to know more about the "debut" modules. ex: can I just install on any site and use it? etc

024 Dave Greenberg and CiviCRM - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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Dave Greenberg of CiviCRM joins me this week to talk about CiviCRM and how it integrates with Drupal.

Here is the show outline:

  • I’ve heard of CiviCRM, and seen it at DrupalCon, but really have no idea what it is or what it does. Can you enlighten me?
  • Is CiviCRM a Drupal module? It has a project page, but says not to download it from there. Why is that?
  • How does CiviCRM integrate with Drupal?
  • Is CiviCRM only for Drupal?
  • The guy that asked me to have you on the show said something to the effect of “The Webform CiviCRM integration is the new hotness right now.” Are you familiar with the Webform CiviCRM Integration? (
    • How might this integration affect CiviCRM?
    • Is that something that could it be brought into CiviCRM core?
  • Are there other cool modules which provide integration between Drupal and CiviCRM?
    • Views integration
    • Organic groups integration
    • Member / group -> Drupal roles
    • Calendar integration
  • How extensible is CiviCRM? What approaches are available for extending and customizing it?

Use Cases / Who uses CiviCRM

  • I’ve been told that CiviCRM is great for NFPs. How can they use CiviCRM?
    • Fundraising and donor management
    • Events and courses (paid and free registration)
    • Membership programs (Site memberships? Organization memberships? Both?)
    • Case management
    • eMail and SMS blasts (I’ve had some clients request SMS functionality, how does that work? Is there a third party SMS service you have to use?)
    • Surveys and petitions
    • Grant-making
  • What other types of organizations could benefit from/currently use CiviCRM?
    • Advocacy, government entities and agencies, trade associations, educational institutions, clubs …
  • Can you share some examples of organizations we may of heard about who are currently using CiviCRM with Drupal?

Questions from Twitter:

  • @drupleg asked: “CiviCRM seems to be on the periphery of the CRMs they support, do CiviCRM developers contribute to core #drupal #wp #joomla”
  • He also asked: “Considering the new distribution hosting - are there any plans for a #CiviCRM distribution on d.o?”
    • @civicrm replied: Check CiviCRM Starter Kit: Thanx to @kreynen for getting this going
  • He also asked: “Are there any plans/what would be the hurdles, to make #civicrm an app @openpublic+@civicrm = powerful”

023 Earl Miles and Getting Views In Drupal 8 Core - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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This week the illustrious Earl Miles (@merlinofchaos) of the little known Views, CTools and Panels modules talks with me about his recent project to get Views into core for Drupal 8.

Here's what we talked about

  • There has been effort in the past to get views into core. How many times has it been proposed?
  • Why didn’t it pan out before?
  • What are you doing differently this time?
  • Why will it succeed this time when it has failed in the past?
  • Who’s on the team and what are their roles?
  • What does this mean for experienced Drupal developers/sitebuilders?
  • What does this mean for somebody who’s brand new to Drupal, trying it out for the first time?

Questions from Twitter

  • Paul Delsignore (@pdelsignore): wow, you got the big guy! ask him if the UI would change in 8, and if there are any expected additions.
  • Damien McKenna (@DamienMcKenna): Views 3 adds new widget types vs what D7 includes, will there be consolidation of these so core & Views work the same?
    • Earl: I actually have no idea what this question means.
      • Damien: The drop-down menus e.g. for the Operations menu on Views, vs the individual links on e.g. Context or Panelizer.
  • Damien McKenna: Will vdc still have separate modules for the core functionality vs UI, i.e. views.module vs views_ui.module?
  • Thomas Lattimore (@tlattimore): Why should views be in core vs contrib?
  • Thomas Lattimore: What portions of views are going into core, the API, the UI, all of if?

If you want to get involved and have a hand in getting Views into core for Drupal 8 click the chipin button below!

022 David Hahn and Local Drupal User Groups - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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This week David Hahn joins me to talk about starting and growing a local Drupal User Group.

Here's what we talked about:

Starting a local Drupal User Group

  • How is a user group different from a DrupalCon or Drupal Camp?
  • Is there a format that’s best? (one presenter, many presenters, support desk)
  • How did you choose a physical location? (Are there things that you need ie: projector, one big table, many small tables?)
  • What do you talk about in a user group?

Growing a local Drupal User Group

  • How do you get more Drupal users to come out? (, facebook)
  • When attendance is sporadic, how do you attract/retain consistent members?
  • How do you set (or change) expectations of attendees if everyone’s just coming to hire/get help with a specific problem?

Questions from Twitter... (well, actually email this time)

  • Phil Ward asked:
    1. How do you hold meetups that cater to all levels of experience?
    2. At what point do you start holding informative meetups and migrate away from just chatting?
  • @transition asked:
    1. We face a couple of challenges with our DUG ( One is getting more local Drupalers to come out. This month we started to experiment with Lightning Talks and we may steal the "Drupal News" idea I just saw. So, what suggestions does DJ Hahn have for that? Now we're using G.D.O and Facebook to get the word out. But our attendance is lower than we'd like and it's sporadic. Not many consistent, repeat attendees. How do we attract/retain a critical mass?
    2. The other issue is the TYPE of attendees we often get. Too often we're getting what I'll call 'talent grabbers', instead of people interested in making a contribution to the Drupal community. It's a mix of the following types.
      1. "I'm looking for a Drupal Expert to...":
        • work on a rush project we promised someone else we could do. We don't know much about Drupal, but we heard it was cool.
        • do my Drupal for me. I started a Drupal project, but it's too hard now and I don't want to be bothered with it. In either case, sometimes there's a suggestion of said "Drupal Expert" being paid, but it's often iffy.
      2. "I want a specific answer to my specific site development question/problem." I realize this is a common task for User Groups, but without the critical mass, it turns our DUG into a very small "Live Drupal Help Desk", which people will think SUCKS if we don't have answers to every esoteric question.
    3. I've been to a few other local tech meetups and I've seen similar issues, so I know it's not JUST us. But our core group is smaller, so the problems seem bigger.  Should we work more on trying to DEVELOP the local Drupal community/ecosystem (create our own farm team of people who can/will contribute)? Or are we not going about reaching the existing community in the best way?
    4. Also, do we have dates yet for Dallas Drupal Days 2012? :-)

021 Jennifer Hodgdon and Drupal Documentation - Modules Unraveled Podcast

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Jennifer Hodgdon joins me this week to talk about Drupal documentation.

Here's what we talked about:

  • What is your involvement with Drupal documentation?
  • What is the current status of Drupal docs?
  • What exactly is wrong, or rather, not as good as it could be, with Drupal’s documentation?
  • Are we talking about or the README.txt that comes with every module? What exactly are we talking about when we say Drupal documentation?
  • What do you see as the future for Drupal docs?
  • What kind of work is being done currently in the area of core API docs?

Questions from Twitter

  • Achtun Netherclift (@achton) asked: "How is work going on a curated user manual for Drupal?"
  • Achtun also asked: "What are your thoughts on the competing API sites from Lullabot, etc. What's missing from d.o?"
  • Johan Falk (@Itangalo) asked: “If the genie granted three wishes for d.o docs infrastructure, what would you choose?”
  • Johan also asked: “How do you view the Drupal Q&A site at StackExchange? Competition or help? Community fork or just great?”