Palante Tech Blog

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Drupal + CiviCRM: a delicious recipe for FoodLab Detroit

FoodLab Detroit homepageOne of the biggest projects we worked on in 2014 was the new web presence and membership management system for FoodLab Detroit, "a diverse community of food businesses and allies working to make good food a sustainable reality for all Detroiters." With Drupal and CiviCRM as the main ingredients, we were able to whip up a robust, content-rich platform that provides valuable resources to FoodLab's members and the wider Detroit community while also streamlining their administrative operations.

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CiviCRM project launches for the Urban Justice Center and Planned Parenthood of Northern California

October was a busy month for the CiviCRM team at Palante, with two major project launches!

We launched a new CiviCRM donor management database for the Urban Justice Center. UJC has 108 staff within its 10 projects, and each project does its own fundraising. CiviCRM integrates with their website so that each project's donation page takes on the look and feel for that project, and donations are automatically categorized by project.  The central office staff can run reports across the entire organization, while individual projects can keep information about their donors private from one another.

We developed several exciting customizations for UJC, including "Contact Your NY Elected Official" functionality that makes use of freely available information to look up an elected official by address - no paid services needed!

This month we also launched a new education data collection database for Planned Parenthood of Northern California.  Educators have the ability to enter detailed information about their activities, and managers can review their work and run reports from one place.  Based on the database Palante built in 2011 for Planned Parenthood of New York City, we took the opportunity to rebuild the tool in CiviCRM for better reporting; improve the mobile interface; and allow users to enter multiple activities at a time.

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Palante Tech Welcomes Jessie!

Jessie Lee

Palante Tech has hired a new worker, Jessie Lee. Jessie comes to Palante from with a longstanding passion for tinkering with tech and an eclectic background of research science and art history. She will be focusing on providing tech support to Palante clients. We're excited to have an awesome new cooperative member to work with and look forward to the additional capacity this gives us to continue serving our amazing clients and communities!

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Palante Technology supports worker cooperative development in NYC

Worker coop supporters on the steps of NYC City Hall

Worker Coop Advocacy Day (foreground: Telesh Lopez, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Jennifer Jones Austin, Council Member Carmen Arroyo)

Palante Technology Cooperative participated in yesterday's Worker Cooperative Advocacy Day, supporting bills to facilitate the creation of worker co-ops through New York City.  About 70 folks turned out for the press conference on City Hall steps.  Later in the day, co-op representatives met with 20 City Councilmembers.  Also present were representatives from New Economy Project and Urban Justice Center, Palante Tech clients with a commitment to building worker co-ops in NYC.

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CiviCRM database launched for California Pan-Ethnic Health Network!

Just in time for the CiviCRM conference, Palante Tech launched a new CiviCRM database for CPEHN.  CPEHN is an advocacy group dedicated to improving access to and conditions of affordable health care for communities of color in California.  We migrated their data from a legacy database, adding new functionality while preserving existing workflows.  We also worked alongside Kathryn Benedicto of Happy Snowman Tech to deliver a tool that integrated their website and database.  Users making donations or signing up for events or mailing lists are automatically added to the database, and their activities categorized appropriately.

CPEHN also collaborated with Aspiration Technology, a non-profit that provides free help to non-profits to better use technology.  With their help, CPEHN provided us with a detailed set of work requirements, allowing us to estimate time and cost accurately.  They contributed greatly to the success of this project!

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Palante has a new worker-owner!

The five worker-owners of Palante Tech CoopPalante Tech Coop would like to celebrate May Day, International Workers' Day, by announcing that Nina Reyes has been voted in as Palante's newest worker-owner! Nina began working with Palante in July 2013 and quickly became an invaluable member of our team, both as an ace Drupal themer and site builder and as an engaged participant in our collective process. Nina has already helped Palante go to some awesome new places, tremendously upping our responsive theming game and initiating Palante's first time participating in the Google Summer of Code, in which Nina will be mentoring a student developer working on a much-needed responsive Bootstrap user interface for CiviCRM.

Nina is Palante's first new worker-owner since we incorporated in 2011. We're all excited to continue to work together to better serve our clients and communities and grow our cooperative.

Please join us in wishing Nina hearty congratulations as she becomes a full worker-owner of our cooperative!

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Protecting yourself from the Heartbleed bug

Heartbleed bug logoPalante Tech Coop has been tracking the Heartbleed bug since it was publicly announced in early April 2014. Read below for tips on how to protect your organizational and personal data and find out about steps Palante's taken to protect our clients.

Since there's a lot of possibly initimidating text below this, here's a handy jump menu that will let you skip down to the section that's most relevant to you:

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New site launched for the International Labor Rights Forum!

Palante Tech is proud to have worked with the International Labor Rights Forum, a human rights organization that advocates for workers on a global scale. We helped ILRF develop a website plan based on their goals and audiences, migrated content from their Drupal 6 site to Drupal 7, and worked with their designers to build out a new responsive site design to stay inline with their branding. We're eager to continue to work with ILRF as we roll out even more site features in the near future.

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A simple Drupal module to log file downloads as an activity in CiviCRM

A client recently asked us to create a members-only curriculum section, which allows certain logged-in users to download from a library of PDFs.

The client also wanted to be able to track which users were downloading which materials in CiviCRM, so they could target the downloaders of certain materials with follow-up e-mail.

To do this, I wrote a very simple Drupal module to log the downloading of materials as an activity in Civi.  It hooks Drupal's hook_file_download to make calls to the CiviCRM API.  Note that this module probably shouldn't be used as is in your site - it lacks error handling.  I'm posting it primarily as learning material.  Also, suggestions/feedback are welcome!

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Debian 6 goes end-of-life on May 4–do you need an upgrade?

If Palante set up your office server, it is very likely running Debian Linux version 6. We set up Debian as the operating system for our client servers due to its stability, flexibility, and low cost of operation. Debian is open source software, and all software updates and upgrades are free to download. However, security support updates for Debian 6 will be coming to an end soon. That means that servers running Debian 6 will need to be upgraded to Debian 7 or later; otherwise they will be at risk of experiencing security holes or other bugs.

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