le 16 juin 2011
I'll definitely keep Using CiviCRM on the top shelf of my e-Library. I plan to use it in my role as a developer and management consultant. It won't replace the programming details of the online CiviCRM documentation, but it's a valuable learning and planning tool, especially for the `big picture.' I was drawn by the fact that the authors have extensive, practical experience with CiviCRM and associated software project management.
As a developer, I will probably read Using CiviCRM several more times and keep it handy as a reference. (It provides good project management and software development advice in general.) If I follow my own advice, I'll read Chapter 2 (Planning Your CiviCRM Implementation) whenever I start a new nonprofit site.
The most useful `feature' of Using CiviCRM for a developer is the collection of use cases, i.e., practical examples and tutorials. I'd been down many of those roads before I read the book, so I'm not likely to repeat them, but I can see how they would have been useful before I learned the hard way how CiviCRM does things. When the time comes for me to learn some others, I'll know where to turn. I hope I take the time to practice with each one first. It should be well worth it.
As a consultant, I will recommend Using CiviCRM to clients as a planning tool for CRM in general. This book has given me the ability to explain to clients what needs are required and what they may be missing before any development starts.
I'm past the point where I could go through Using CiviCRM cover-to-cover like a text book to learn the ins and outs of CiviCRM. That said, I like a newbie's chances with that approach. It can't beat experience, but it walks you through the many steps of what/why/how an organization can utilize the power of CiviCRM. It can't (and doesn't pretend to) replace CiviCRM's own online documentation. Typical of open-source software documentation, the online docs seem written for someone who is already intimately familiar with the system. Experienced users will always need its up-to-date details.
Of all the CiviCRM books I've read, Using CiviCRM is the only one I've found that explains things in both languages: developer and client. It's realistic, not idealistic. It does a good job of praising what CiviCRM does well and warning the reader about the pitfalls. (I also noted with interest that David Geilhufe reviewed the book. That lends credibility.)
I'm looking forward to Using CiviCRM for years to come. I expect it will help me guide clients in CRM and guide my own CiviCRM development. It will complement the `on-the-fly' CiviCRM docs well. My clients at all levels of expertise will find some benefit from it, as well.