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TOPIC: Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems

Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88612

  • indieben2
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Good afternoon,

With gratitude, Pgr has helped me work out that I stuffed up a crontab (put the wrong directory in there but it was being run under the correct user). With that out of the way, Emails from Suite CRM are being generated and cases are being created.

However:

Issue 1) No portal user Email is being fired back to the user (at the moment these are test users but we will say users :) )

Issue 2) The Email fired from Suite CRM currently looks like this:
Hi $contact_first_name $contact_last_name,

We've received your case $acase_name (# $acase_case_number) on $acase_date_entered

Status $acase_status
Reference $acase_case_number
Description $acase_description

I had updated the relevant drop down from Suite CRM drop down editor relating to "type" in the Joomla portal when a new case is created. Interestingly, that drop down option has totally disappeared within the drop down editor (not sure if this is as the result of the upgrade from 7.11.7 to 7.11.8 last night or not) and the updated contents are still available within Joomla Portal (although when I initially changed it, it took ages for Joomla Portal to randomly pick up the updated drop down contents).

Thanks :)

Changes made in drop down editor in 7.11.7 - now running 7.11.8.
Kind Regards,

Indieben2.
Last Edit: 1 month 3 weeks ago by indieben2.
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88621

  • pgr
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Issue 1 - I am not sure if that is supposed to happen. I mean, I don't know what is the normal behaviour for SuiteCRM. You might have to implement this manually with a Workflow or a Logic Hook.

Issue 2 - please explain in more detail the changes you say you made in the dropdown. Was that in Dropdown editor? Or somewhere in Joomla?

Try a Quick Repair and Rebuild to see if you get your missing dropdown back.

My SuiteCRM In-depth blog.
Thank you for always stating your SuiteCRM version, checking your logs, reading the Docs, and searching before you ask!
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88624

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well 7 days without response out of 128.8k users (recorded at the bottom of your forums) seems to suggest very different. I don't get paid so I can't pay others (open source is supposed to be about paying back (either/both on the forum and more widely in society), I refer to my earlier point that if you don't actively help people then those who would help each others if they could only understand won't.

Re your comment about paid support...I refer to my earlier point that I can't see how the current lack of support makes Suite CRM at all feasible given that Sugar CRM as standard would offer customer service as part of their obligations in return for it being a paid service. It rather defeats the object of Suite CRM attempting to provide a drop-in open source replacement for Sugar CRM Community Edition that stopped at 6.5
plus you are developing the majority of this in PHP where there are less and less PHP developers out there as so many people have lost faith in the language due to a lack of competent upgrade paths and insecurity.
and, how is a bug not a development issue anyway. If bugs affect key parts of the system (it doesn't seem that you do any usability testing to identify changing trends in how users use the system as you'd find that the under-supported portal now in an era of self-service is incredibly important. If you leave these issues too long, users will walk and use something else, I rather do wonder what the active user stats are now on the forum and why they may have dropped.

I think your expectations about this Community, and about SalesAgility's role in it, need to adjust a bit to the reality of our limitations.

We do not purport to replace SugarCRM, plus their paid-for support, as a "drop in" replacement with free support.

Still, with no obligation for us to provide support, I've answered around 95% of the threads on these Forums for the past years, and this is the first week where I really said to myself: no answering on the Forums until you get the migration finally going! This happened to be the week you came along.

If you knew how many months the migration project (one we badly need, for many reasons I won't go into now) is delayed because I was always busy writing 30, sometimes 50 posts a day, you would understand this a little better.

Still, I started replying some of your posts, because I sensed your stress, and because after telling you not to be in the Gitter channel, I felt the need to be responsive to you on the Forums.

This Community really will only thrive if more people and companies, not just SA, do their share of the work. Meanwhile, there's no point in claiming there's an essential feature missing, or not working. There are actually tons of these, this is a huge software, every one has their own. If we had time for everything we'd be happy to do it. But please don't disregard the work we do, and the growing investment we make in this Community, just because we're giving all we can, but it's not enough.

Peace.

My SuiteCRM In-depth blog.
Thank you for always stating your SuiteCRM version, checking your logs, reading the Docs, and searching before you ask!
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88625

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well 7 days without response out of 128.8k users (recorded at the bottom of your forums) seems to suggest very different [to August being a bad month and a significant number of users being on holiday]. I don't get paid so I can't pay others (open source is supposed to be about paying back (either/both on the forum and more widely in society), I refer to my earlier point that if you don't actively help people then those who would help each others if they could only understand won't.

Re your comment about paid support...I refer to my earlier point that I can't see how the current lack of support makes Suite CRM at all feasible given that Sugar CRM as standard would offer customer service as part of their obligations in return for it being a paid service. It rather defeats the object of Suite CRM attempting to provide a drop-in open source replacement for Sugar CRM Community Edition that stopped at 6.5

Plus you are developing the majority of this in PHP where there are less and less PHP developers out there as so many people have lost faith in the language due to a lack of competent upgrade paths and insecurity.

And, how is a bug not a development issue anyway? If bugs affect key parts of the system (it doesn't seem that you do any usability testing to identify changing trends in how users use the system as you'd find that the under-supported portal now in an era of self-service is incredibly important. If you leave these issues too long, users will walk and use something else, I rather do wonder what the active user stats are now on the forum and why they may have dropped.

Hi, i'm thoroughly shocked by your reply - not at you but at the wider project team.

This project is clearly being run atrociously. Who's supposed to be responsible in the project for usability studies and identifying changing trends or are you personally being left to do everything? You should not be doing this alone.

The current development team's "limits" are clearly woefully misguided and, with the deepest amount of respect, do not satisfy (in practice) the concept of the open source philosophy. I can appreciate your comments about the need for users to change their expectations of SA and the project as much as that users should not consider it like any other open source software.

No obligation for us to provide support - will just get people's backs up. If that's the position of SA then you can bet your bottom dollar that many people have walked and continued to walk. Are you not asking yourselves what the hell is the point in working on a Juggernaut of a system if you are not going to end up with any users short of those who may start with Suite CRM as a base to develop on (with the amount of bugs in it i'm rather wondering whether that is feasible)? You need to get the user response (community contribution) right before you work on developments and the fact that you say that you have answered 95% of posts for three years suggests that you haven't recognised a major issue with the project because the team have been too busy coding to actually realise that it's questionable who is going to actually benefit from it.

If you want more businesses taking a commercial interest then you need to begin with a project that seeks to identify (both in terms of stats within the software and within the use of the website (including pages most visited) what people want from the system. If people aren't taking an interest, they sure as hell will not recognise it as a going concern. The business logic in this project is non existent. May I suggest inviting user case studies and any companies still using Suite CRM are published on your website to spike interest and further examination of the project?

The portal is not one user's need alone. Given Suite CRM as a project's poor health there is no way that there would be time to develop modules for each person requesting one so this makes no sense. It is quite clear that a portal ability has been recognised as a core need among users of Suite CRM and that the development of the portal has been all but forgotten in a time of changing use.

I will finish by saying that I do appreciate your time but you're flogging a dead horse if you don't listen to the users and ensure timely response (as a project, not alone). You should not be doing this alone and my criticism is not of you personally but of the project since you have been very helpful in the past (personally) and I am grateful for this. If there was ever a core high-priority bug in your project it is SA's lack of recognition of the need for user input (without the requirement to be a coder) because, whilst you attempt to satisfy the requirements of an open source project, you do still need to apply a certain level of business logic to make your significant investment of time (that is to be applauded between you) actually be worth bothering with.
Kind Regards,

Indieben2.
Last Edit: 1 month 3 weeks ago by indieben2.
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88633

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pgr wrote:
Issue 1 - I am not sure if that is supposed to happen. I mean, I don't know what is the normal behaviour for SuiteCRM. You might have to implement this manually with a Workflow or a Logic Hook.

Issue 2 - please explain in more detail the changes you say you made in the dropdown. Was that in Dropdown editor? Or somewhere in Joomla?

Try a Quick Repair and Rebuild to see if you get your missing dropdown back.

OK, in relation to issue 1, I have read the developer's guide and, as someone who is not a coder I can't see the wood for the trees relating to logic hooks.

In relation to issue 2, yes those changes were made using the drop down menu editor. I tried a quick repair and rebuild and this did not resolve it. I've reported it as a bug in Github as I have the lack of automation functionality relating to the portal - there is no mention of the portal in the workflow module either - it doesn't even appear to be incorporated.

Thanks all the same for your reply and sorry i missed it earlier.
Kind Regards,

Indieben2.
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88649

  • samus-aran
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Why hello, I'll like to introduce myself. I'm Ashley, Head of Product & Community here at SalesAgility. My availability to respond to forum comments are often limited to during business days so that is why I couldn't answer yesterday. I would like to follow up from Pedro's comments - thanks Pedro.
indieben2 wrote:
Re your comment about paid support...I refer to my earlier point that I can't see how the current lack of support makes Suite CRM at all feasible given that Sugar CRM as standard would offer customer service as part of their obligations in return for it being a paid service.

I would like to think that businesses wouldn’t be that naive to expect the same level of support from a volunteering community to paid support. Why are you talking about SugarCRM ‘as standard’ when they don’t have a free version… what was your point to suggest that?
indieben2 wrote:
I don't get paid so I can't pay others (open source is supposed to be about paying back (either/both on the forum and more widely in society)

Yes…. that’s right. Again what is your point? Are you saying that we, the project team, are not giving back? Or really not giving back at the level you are expecting… perhaps a reference to that earlier comment about paid support. If you are really irked that SalesAgility isn’t giving back enough then not only do some research about us but also help us in areas that are sticking points – that could be ** your ** contribution. I can see that you are a very active person in other communities, asking a lot of questions and that is great, but I’m keen to understand from your perspective do you feel that is enough in reference to ‘paying’ back? This isn’t a dig or rebuke, but I want to get an understanding from an end user, such as yourself, what do they feel is the level of contribution one would perform in exchange of the use of free and open source software and engagement to an active community?
indieben2 wrote:
Plus you are developing the majority of this in PHP where there are less and less PHP developers out there as so many people have lost faith in the language due to a lack of competent upgrade paths and insecurity.

Gosh! I highly disagree with you there. Are you moving away from PHP? Yes, there are lots of new technologies but PHP will be around for some while yet.
indieben2 wrote:
Who's supposed to be responsible in the project for usability studies and identifying changing trends or are you personally being left to do everything?

How is this relevant to the topic? But you can certainly direct that attention to me, because I am responsibility for this as well as the product team. If you haven’t been made aware we are a fully open source software, so no freeium model, or heavy plug-in sellers to supplement our business model. So, yeah, there are limitations and for someone to disregard them is also quite “woeful”. You say we don’t satisfy the concept of open source…. Yeah, sure there are areas to improve and we do – we have the public sprint planning, we are documenting as much as possible, adding tutorials, increasing our product team, making more product announcements about our activities.
But I’ll be honest the remaining of your post does sound more like a rant.. one done out of frustration and targeting us the maintainers.

We have stats on our community health and marketing, including case studies and user’s feedback, and we are using that information to improve in areas, but what Pedro was identifying is that our ‘limitation’ is the bodies that are dedicated to this and if more people, like yourself, that say they are passionate about open source principles (transparency, collaboration, participation) and they get a benefit from the software then offer your time and skill to it. But, what is your expectation then from the project – this dedicated support?

So yeah, lets round this off to some actions points because essentially that is what you are seeking.

We can not at this time and with our current core team on top of the free, fully available software we maintain also provide 24/7 support from fully employed developers (not just any joe blogs) to answer every single post on the forums. We can’t support that, and I don’t think any other fully Open Source community can support that. What we and you can do is encourage more users to take some ownership of being active on the forums. I’ll action where I can to encourage non core members to start answering forums… I'm open to suggestions.

Regards to the portal, we’ll try and get our way round to resolving issues, but again, we are a small team (currently 5 mixed bag of skilled developers) with a large project. Patience is much appreciated, but you can continue to reach out to developers that has that experience. Gitter is a place to ask about introduction of bugs as such but we ask that you then pull that discussion onto the forums so that it retains the history and can help others discover the resolution or learn something new. You are an active user of gitter so open up a private chat if you can discuss the bug there but you need to ensure that it get moves onto the forums.
..........

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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88651

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indieben2 wrote:
Good afternoon,

With gratitude, Pgr has helped me work out that I stuffed up a crontab (put the wrong directory in there but it was being run under the correct user). With that out of the way, Emails from Suite CRM are being generated and cases are being created.

However:

Issue 1) No portal user Email is being fired back to the user (at the moment these are test users but we will say users :) )

Issue 2) The Email fired from Suite CRM currently looks like this:

Hi $contact_first_name $contact_last_name,

We've received your case $acase_name (# $acase_case_number) on $acase_date_entered

Status $acase_status
Reference $acase_case_number
Description $acase_description


I had updated the relevant drop down from Suite CRM drop down editor relating to "type" in the Joomla portal when a new case is created. Interestingly, that drop down option has totally disappeared within the drop down editor (not sure if this is as the result of the upgrade from 7.11.7 to 7.11.8 last night or not) and the updated contents are still available within Joomla Portal (although when I initially changed it, it took ages for Joomla Portal to randomly pick up the updated drop down contents).

Thanks :)

Changes made in drop down editor in 7.11.7 - now running 7.11.8.

Issue 1: When are you sending this email? If you have this set up you should be able to go to the users account/contact and click on Create Portal User.
docs.suitecrm.com/user/advanced-modules/...eating_a_portal_user
Is this where the email is failing to be received?

Issue 2. I see your GitHub issue #7755. I'll try and progress it via there.
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88667

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Good Afternoon Ashley and thank you for taking the time to reply. Thank you, as usual to Pgr ( I presume that is Pedro?).
samus-aran wrote:
Why hello, I'll like to introduce myself. I'm Ashley, Head of Product & Community here at SalesAgility. My availability to respond to forum comments are often limited to during business days so that is why I couldn't answer yesterday. I would like to follow up from Pedro's comments - thanks Pedro.
indieben2 wrote:
Re your comment about paid support...I refer to my earlier point that I can't see how the current lack of support makes Suite CRM at all feasible given that Sugar CRM as standard would offer customer service as part of their obligations in return for it being a paid service
I would like to think that businesses wouldn’t be that naive to expect the same level of support from a volunteering community to paid support. Why are you talking about SugarCRM ‘as standard’ when they don’t have a free version… what was your point to suggest that?

I am referring to Pgr's earlier comments that SA relies on businesses and other users taking responsibility within Suite CRM. If the project is not meeting their needs in the first place, they are not going to give it a try and commit their time and human resources to its development to suit themselves and others. They are going to go straight to Sugar CRM where that support is available. Given the current state of Suite CRM, I can't see as it is all that attractive to developers using it as a base either. Also you are missing a fundamental point, many grassroots projects will come to open source projects as they could not exist otherwise. This is why I said paying back also covers those paying back in "the wider community" (I really meant society).
indieben2 wrote:
I don't get paid so I can't pay others (open source is supposed to be about paying back (either/both on the forum and more widely in society
Yes…. that’s right. Again what is your point? Are you saying that we, the project team, are not giving back? Or really not giving back at the level you are expecting… perhaps a reference to that earlier comment about paid support. If you are really irked that SalesAgility isn’t giving back enough then not only do some research about us but also help us in areas that are sticking points – that could be ** your ** contribution. I can see that you are a very active person in other communities, asking a lot of questions and that is great, but I’m keen to understand from your perspective do you feel that is enough in reference to ‘paying’ back? This isn’t a dig or rebuke, but I want to get an understanding from an end user, such as yourself, what do they feel is the level of contribution one would perform in exchange of the use of free and open source software and engagement to an active community?

No, I'm not saying that you don't give [a lot] (rather than back), I am saying quite the opposite but I am highly questioning of the lack of end user centrality (they are most often not coders) in the shaping and how the project moves forward and what I see as the wasting of your valuable time. I'm also questioning of what appears to be the release of updates where bugs and issues are not first ironed out before updates are released as stable. I would suggest that many more hotfixes that concentrate solely on bugs should be released as opposed to introducing new issues that simply create more work - getting the basics right first. I appreciate that there is always going to be work created by changes and updates in programming languages where a priority needs to be given to security vulnerabilities that arise - this takes me to the lack of compatibility in PHP updates that leave PHP standing as a language that does not make efficient use of your time and the marked move of developers away from it - thus creating a shortage and allowing PHP developers that remain charge a significant amount more for their time.

Time and time again, I have come across more developers that have abandoned PHP because of these issues. With your limited availability on the forum, this makes it extremely difficult to secure help from elsewhere when, like me, you are simply volunteering for free, seeing something really rubbish in your community and that you can see a way of helping a huge bunch of people (310 tenants in my case that have bathrooms without showers whilst being on very low incomes, often struggling to afford to eat and often without adequate kitchens and front doors that have to be locked from the outside with padlocks as they are too stingy to replace them in an area with high crime linked to poverty) - we have a Landlord who couldn't care less about a lot of our vulnerable people, routinely ignoring their repair needs (whilst lining their own pockets without auditing or oversight) such that tenants live in relative squalor and I was looking to build an escalation system that dealt with complaints for people who's reading and writing was not too good through a lack of education (mental health/previous prison time/drugs and alcohol addiction, being forced into prostitution etc) to outside bodies tasked with investigating such malpractice and fragrant criminality in UK housing law.

So I turn to the open source community to try and automate this process as a one man band without funds whilst risking my own finances at the same time by protracted issues and limited ability (both through not being a coder and ill health myself). Can you see from my point of view how frustrating it is when you see talented people that do not appear to use their time efficiently and that you get to the point (when you are not a coder) that you have spent a week trying to work with a system purporting to be able to manage the building of such a syte this then it emerges that you need to code it yourself and you might as well code it yourself without the comparative bloatware? I don't need half of Suite CRM's functionality, I just need a portal and case management system that does not require a stand alone server. Don't advertise it if it doesn't work or be clearer about its limited functionality please.

I'm really not having a rant at you but their appears to be a blindness to business logic and project structuring where the customer (in your case the "user" (or similar terminology) is not placed at the heart of development within SA such that common patterns of need are not identified and incorporated. The concept of the portal is a good one, it appears that the need was initially recognised, it just doesn't do much and seems so "unfinished" (expected functionality appears to require logic hooks/custom coding) to the point where it would have been better not released until it was. This could have at least been made clearer to manage expectations.

Yes, I am deeply frustrated, that is true but it's not intended to be attack, it's intended to be a kick up the ... as I do see the potential in the SA development team. Right now, unless you are a sales person, you might as well go and use Civi CRM for a customer service offering instead of Suite CRM. In this regard I feel the project has become polarised. Any good business has customer service at the heart, anyone using your system would need to look for an alternative unless they to were going to not take customer (or user) feedback back to the heart of development (or business growth in their case).

i can only offer you user insight as a customer service stickler in that I care immensely about user experience. As a starting point in terms of feedback on your request for insight, please start by seeing that end user feedback (this will routinely include frustration) is not a rant. I really feel, with the deepest amount of respect that business logic is not recognised within SA. I think you may very well come back and say "but we are not a business". The issue with that is, in creating a project purporting to match end user (often business needs), this does mimic a business strategy. Without users (through a lack of satisfaction), the project is pointless. I actually spent some time thinking about that in terms of avoiding the dialogue becoming a slanging match and I appreciate that you have both done the same:

1) Active involvement requires easy feature and bug reporting -> Online chat would be a great start. I notice that the #suitecrm channel on IRC Freenode only has 5 people in it who don't respond. It doesn't have a topic, it doesn't have a channel mod and it's badly managed. I manage (granted very small) channels where i'm also sitting looking for volunteers to take the load off (I also struggle with ill health and I like to contribute to society wherever I can including challenging the government in the UK on homelessness by leading example whilst ensuring a continuity of service (in other words, a reliable forum). Github is not user friendly (crikey I struggle with it).

Customer Service people are rarely ever techs (I'm at best intermediate in my knowledge and I'm hard pressed to find an example of where there is not someone better than me by far). So, easier bug and feature reporting - also a recognition that there is a crossover between feature requests and bug reports - bug reports are where something does not work as expected (your Github bug reporting template specifically asks that question) - I would suggest the lack of expected functionality within the portal is a major bug in its own right as we see more and more people offering self service to speed up service to improve user experience and to make efficiencies that ensure that businesses and charities and grassroots projects (like mine) remain a going concern. Over 16 years of being a Freenode user (IRC), I see a routine and often constant clash between user experience people and techs who have become engrossed in coding and do not value the need to take a step back and look what end-users are looking for - you are making the same fundamental error as a project.

People that interact with you in terms of user experience are required and should be central to the development of the project (not just me of course but many others). If you are not getting that end user feedback and implementing it as a priority (particularly where Suite CRM is left severely wanting for customer service), it is a major concern. With your recent update (7.11.8), there were 28 pages of bug reports (either signalling a seriously botched update due to it being released too early (defeating the object) or signalling new issues resulting in the same through a lack of development objectivity) generated in just one hour (i did a PDF print to find out!) - there are clearly serious issues and this will lead developers, who are likely to be the main people using your systems as a base, coding their own base from scratch rather than using Suite CRM since coding within the limitations of a base made of sand is not efficient/resourceful or fruitful. That goes back to releasing updates that are too complex and not fully assessed. I do see that you have a massive bottleneck in terms of developer contribution (you say you have 5 active members, why are there over 50 people in the Github Suite CRM Developer's channel though with this being the case?)


2) Additional functionality on the forum - by the way, this does not display properly in portrait mode on an iPhone (you have to turn it to landscape to read the comments as it does not resize properly - sorry to report another issue). I would recommend a system that prioritises forum members for quick responses from the Suite CRM developers to aid those people helping with their continued development and to establish a feedback bridge to coding developers informing the forward direction and priority wthin the project. I would ask that those like me who are not coders but customer service people get a fair deal with this - just because we are of limited use in coding and development, i'd like to think we are recognised as of some use.

3) Beta Testers (with coding experience) for updates - feeds back into making sure updates actually work properly before release.

4) Use Suite CRM yourselves so that you experience the frustration before having it fed back to you by end users.

5) Instant chat - it's crazy that there is not an active (or an official) Suite CRM channel on Freenode - it needs the developers to set up an official CRM channel (one # as per Freenode IRC convention as they need to go through the official project verification process). Bots would be very useful too in terms of logging, key words and reporting back to you on patterns of issues and feature requirements. You may consider an extra Github channel for ease of use as IRC does require some technical knowledge to get going but I have mentored people and got them up and going within 2 hours. The great thing about instant chat is that people ask their own questions and people are more inclined to respond to them if they also help others. It's just etiquette. People also wait for answers and whilst they are waiting, they see other questions that are a doddle for them to answer.

5) Feature requests not to simply be seen as a wishlist. I hope that's a useful starting point.
indieben2 wrote:
Plus you are developing the majority of this in PHP where there are less and less PHP developers out there as so many people have lost faith in the language due to a lack of competent upgrade paths and insecurity.
Gosh! I highly disagree with you there. Are you moving away from PHP? Yes, there are lots of new technologies but PHP will be around for some while yet.

I covered PHP above but it would seem that this may very well be causing you to go around in circles ironing out issues by using a language that is maintained in such a way that is routinely leading developers and development teams to go around in circles, so busy ironing out those issues that the project does not keep up with the intended user base. I mentioned I am not a coder but I rely on kindly people to help me code and they have given up on PHP. It's not through being stubborn, rather they realised that it was actually more time efficient to concentrate on programming languages with competent upgrade paths that do not routinely create compatibility issues and repeated excessive security vulnerabilities. Have the development team considered writing PHP out of Suite CRM all together, since there is and appears to have been an incorporation of the MVC concept for a significant time, have you considered more modern frameworks such a ruby on rails or even considering Python as it is pretty solid? I am definitely looking for opportunities to totally get rid of PHP yes for the reasons listed above by keeping an eye out for alternative offerings for multiple grassroots projects that I manage within the constraints of my abilities.
indieben2 wrote:
Who's supposed to be responsible in the project for usability studies and identifying changing trends or are you personally being left to do everything [referencing Pgr who said that he has responded to 95% of posts for the last three years]?
How is this relevant to the topic? But you can certainly direct that attention to me, because I am responsibility for this as well as the product team. If you haven’t been made aware we are a fully open source software, so no freeium model, or heavy plug-in sellers to supplement our business model. So, yeah, there are limitations and for someone to disregard them is also quite “woeful”. You say we don’t satisfy the concept of open source…. Yeah, sure there are areas to improve and we do – we have the public sprint planning, we are documenting as much as possible, adding tutorials, increasing our product team, making more product announcements about our activities.

But I’ll be honest the remaining of your post does sound more like a rant.. one done out of frustration and targeting us the maintainers.

We have stats on our community health and marketing, including case studies and user’s feedback, and we are using that information to improve in areas, but what Pedro was identifying is that our ‘limitation’ is the bodies that are dedicated to this and if more people, like yourself, that say they are passionate about open source principles (transparency, collaboration, participation) and they get a benefit from the software then offer your time and skill to it. But, what is your expectation then from the project – this dedicated support?

So yeah, lets round this off to some actions points because essentially that is what you are seeking.

We can not at this time and with our current core team on top of the free, fully available software we maintain also provide 24/7 support from fully employed developers (not just any joe blogs) to answer every single post on the forums. We can’t support that, and I don’t think any other fully Open Source community can support that. What we and you can do is encourage more users to take some ownership of being active on the forums. I’ll action where I can to encourage non core members to start answering forums… I'm open to suggestions.

Regards to the portal, we’ll try and get our way round to resolving issues, but again, we are a small team (currently 5 mixed bag of skilled developers) with a large project. Patience is much appreciated, but you can continue to reach out to developers that has that experience. Gitter is a place to ask about introduction of bugs as such but we ask that you then pull that discussion onto the forums so that it retains the history and can help others discover the resolution or learn something new. You are an active user of gitter so open up a private chat if you can discuss the bug there but you need to ensure that it get moves onto the forums.

- Again with the deepest amount of respect, the lack of recognition of the relevance of having an active lead on usability studies (and as part of that ensuring efficient user interaction) is much of the issue. I appreciate that you take responsibility for this area. This is diluted by how busy you are though (I have highlighted serious concerns about unnecessarily increased workload and efficiencies aimed at benefiting the end user above). I have explained at length from a business strategist perspective how business is still relevant to your project (even though you are not trading). Having core functionality somewhere in the pipeline is not going to work in terms of patience. The lack of core functionality is a category in itself of the most serious bugs - this all goes into retention's philosophy and many sales people on here will be aware that once you lose people, it's very hard to get them back, particularly when they see their time investment as wasted.

Pgr said that he had been dealing with forums (95% over several years). But you are the lead on this and there is one man likely at risk of burnout also being tasked with major programming. I'm not sure what public sprint planning is. I think that your guides are pretty brilliant actually - for coders - not for users. You don't have the basics included for people that haven't got a clue what a "bean" is or a "logic hook". The people that do probably don't need guides anyway - they just need a running over-view of how Suite CRM works so that they can consider it in their structuring of custom adaptations but with a base made of sand, I think these are going to be used very scarcely indeed. Your guides are therefore in no way a replacement for sluggish interaction on the forum that is the only way of interacting, for the majority of people, with you ( I explained earlier how Github is not intended for the end user at all and it is not, therefore user friendly and it is directed at techs (coders and other developers more widely)).

Yes, dedicated interaction is what I am calling for. Not everyone is a coder but many people have diverse experience that could be equally as useful. A good start would be to have something along the lines of Github for reporting customer experience pitfalls and someone responsible for interpreting that into code and development and a voting system to assess user need for prioritisation purposes. You could think of it like the UK parliamentary petitions system but perhaps a bit more friendly and certainly with less votes sparking you into action. Offer your own time and skill to do it? i'd like to think I was doing that in raising these issues rather than walking. I've already spent a week getting nowhere when I have a wider project to set up on a short time scale.

No heavy plug in sellers - but there is as the portal is not fit for purpose and sellers are selling their own versions highlighting the inadequacies of the built in core functionality - the fact that they are selling it demonstrates the clear user need for it (and that it indeed goes to core functionality) and the penny does not seem to be dropping with SA. If the only end users of Suite CRM become developers, then there is just no point as they are perfectly capable of developing solutions themselves. Essentially, what is being sold should be what you are aiming to build in to core user functionality. Sales demonstrate need - particularly when what is sold is not cheap and people are still paying out for it - if these adaptations sold were not core user functionality then those people selling such adaptations would not have a viable customer base.

Portal end users look for self-service that benefits them rather than leaves them feeling resentful for having to "do the job themselves" just look at self-service checkouts in the supermarkets or the lack of interaction with people using the post office here in the UK - they are looking for company and a conversation but the point has been missed (so older people enjoy using the Cooperative Bank instead - relevance here? A couple of basic brass tacks case studies into usability). in return for self-service, there needs to be a clear benefit to the end user - that clear benefit is speedier resolution times - that comes through automation. The portal is woefully inadequate in terms of user friendly automation (it leaves you to code yourself for heaven's sake) and simply changes the way Suite CRM admins use the system (leading to delays in the requirement for what is simply the same admin intervention, just simply doing things slightly differently).

Since Suite CRM has the capability to create a much better portal by giving a direct Suite CRM login, limiting and locking down functionality for simplicity and functionality, you can't tell me that the intention behind the portal was not automation of tasks (particularly with the scheduler functionality) despite there being virtually none. I've said before there is not much point in releasing something that is not fit for purpose, not marking it as incomplete with limited functionality and then leaving end users of Suite CRM mind boggled as to why they can't achieve something when the functionality is not actually there in the first place is unforgivable and leads people to question not just this but the wider project and how it is managed. People will lose faith and walk.

I'm surprised to note that your project developers are actually paid - where does this money come from? A Philanthropist or a group of Philanthropists or from sales through the Suite CRM store - if so, do you not think that end users will be left thinking that there is an incentive to leave out core required functionality? Is that not an ethics issue with what is purported to be open source (when read in conjunction with what Suite CRM is purported to offer on the website? After all, was that not why Suite CRM picked up the pieces when Sugar CRM stopped offering a community edition and was that not despised such that there was an anticipated Suite CRM user base in the first place?).

I'll note your points regarding cross referencing and effectively copying in the forum with Github (something I agree with given my comments about the lack of [end] user friendliness in Github. I do think that you need to incorporate proper and active end user feedback in terms of functionality both into the website, extra systems, definitely instant chat and other systems where this end user feedback is prioritised (not just on a "when we have time" basis and placed at the heart of development before that would actually achieve much. Forum posts "in code" (quite literally as well and indicative of more developers using the project than end users) are no use for end users who are often not coders (they might as well be double dutch). A lot of posts are heavily code related and these often achieve the majority of responses (where replies to posts from end user issues are vastly under replied). Such posts do need a bridge to developers to translate the end-user needs into code though and more forum involvement in these matters is needed. Without this, you are coding in the dark.

ISSUES

Issue 1: When are you sending this email? If you have this set up you should be able to go to the users account/contact and click on Create Portal User.
docs.suitecrm.com/user/advanced-modules/...eating_a_portal_user
Is this where the email is failing to be received?

Issue 2. I see your GitHub issue #7755. I'll try and progress it via there.

In relation to issue 1 - I'm triggering an automated Email back to a user when they complete a form that sends an Email to a group inbox. The Email is not failing to be received, it's failing (in the case created template) to pull through the name of the author of the inbound Email, the Email address of the inbound Email author and the subject is not being pulled through either. The case reference is not pulling through either. I am looking to automate the portal account creation, for this I need the case to automatically create a contact and pull through the information properly from the Email I believe. The Email generated looks unprofessional as it's quoting the variable name and not the variable contents. Regarding the system recognising the first and surname, it needs programming so the first word in the name field of the Email is interpreted as the first name and the second word (to include hyphens as acceptable) is interpreted as the surname.

Re Issue 2, I'll pop over to Github now.

Thanks again for your reply.
Kind Regards,

Indieben2.
Last Edit: 1 month 3 weeks ago by indieben2.
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88672

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@indieben I really think you should spend just a little more time getting to know this community, and how things work around here, before handing out so much advice. There are so many things in your text that are just simple things you need to learn instead of to criticize, like the difference between the User Guide and the Developer Guide in the Docs, or basically everything you say about project management, it seems you think we just snap our fingers and more developers come work for us ("The current development team's "limits" are clearly woefully misguided") and they do it for free ("I'm surprised to note that your project developers are actually paid")

Also you might keep saying you're friendly and cooperative, but you do come off as quite rude at points. Describing our work with rash sentences like "this project is clearly being run atrociously", for example.

Please feel free to find better communities, better projects, better free CRM's, better Portals.... nobody's stopping you. If you don't like what you're getting for free here, or it's not enough for your needs, or for what you feel you're entitled to, we can understand that.

Instead of writing a 3700 word :ohmy: lecture to us, try asking questions first, like "what is your business model?", "what can I expect for free in this community?", "what are the differences between the free Portal and the other Portals in the Store?" etc.

CRM's are not apps you just download and use. Implementing a CRM is a project to be conducted in an organization, you carefully evaluate if what you need is available out-of-the-box, you plan your customizations, use the necessary technical resources to implement them, or hire services for that. I don't think this is what you had in mind when you started, but please don't blame us for not living up to your self-constructed expectations. We didn't promise you anything, and we certainly don't owe you anything.

This Project is going fine and this Community is going fine, don't worry about us or our future. Ok, there are lots of things to improve. We're busy working on them and we shouldn't be wasting our time with all this talk which I personally am not finding productive at all.

My SuiteCRM In-depth blog.
Thank you for always stating your SuiteCRM version, checking your logs, reading the Docs, and searching before you ask!
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88678

  • indieben2
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Excuse me if you don't want to respond then it is very simple - don't. I'm waiting for a response from Ashley since he asked me for feedback and he asked me to confirm my points. I think my comments about you, upon reflection have been particularly generous.
Kind Regards,

Indieben2.
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88703

  • samus-aran
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indieben2 wrote:
I am referring to Pgr's earlier comments that SA relies on businesses and other users taking responsibility within Suite CRM. If the project is not meeting their needs in the first place, they are not going to give it a try and commit their time and human resources to its development to suit themselves and others.

But they do. That is our business model and we are a business (apologies if this wasnt clear enough but I do suggest you go to the SalesAgility website). We provide a fairly substantial software which meets majority of our users needs, all for free, and then if required provide services to meet their unique and sector specific requirements. This is how a lot of open source software companies work and grow. SugarCRM is paid for support included in their licenses… I’m not quite sure you understand that- you need to pay to get support.... Our support is also purchasable and available here - suitecrm.com/enterprise/support-plans/

I take on board in regards to the releases and there is a delicate balance to strike which is difficult. Its the developers that use the code base and those provide bug fixes, so we need to make it as easy as possible to contribute by updating the legacy codebase (inherited by Sugar) to reasonable, modern expectations (composer, running tests etc). However, as you’ve said we do have end users to cater for and there will always be a see saw of tension until there are more developers to assist in both bug fixes and general infrastructure improvement within a single release. We do dedicate developers to issues currently, but perhaps we need a hackathon to address the backlog.

Regards to security, PHP is secure, its the building of secure applications is the goal. So in this area I disagree that security is the reason that scares developers away from it. There will always be other factors that deter developers like shiny new languages but the small learning curve and wide spread use of PHP will, as I said, always make the language relevant.

Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sorry to hear of those kind of situations.
indieben2 wrote:
I don't need half of Suite CRM's functionality, I just need a portal and case management system that does not require a stand alone server. Don't advertise it if it doesn't work or be clearer about its limited functionality please.

We get that, but it is what it is. We pride ourselves of being an extremely customisable system but we can’t provide GUI for everything – not that you are asking for that. But some of these things are complex and thus not suitable for those that are less tech savvy to be able to manipulate. Hopefully you can understand. In regards to things not working, then they are bugs so should be temporary.
indieben2 wrote:
I really feel, with the deepest amount of respect that business logic is not recognised within SA. I think you may very well come back and say "but we are not a business".

We do have multiple personas we cater for, Sales, Service, Marketing, Finance, etc. But again, catering for each one simultaneously is difficult and we don’t feel that is the best approach. We do have business logic in place and we appreciate your concern but again, we’ll take on board regarding a little more focus on the Service side in upcoming releases.

Places to collaborate: We don’t use IRC that isn’t affiliated to us. The channels we moderate for communication are: Our websites (SalesAgility & SuiteCRM), Gitter; GitHub repo; Documentation Site; these forums; and LinkedIn SuiteCRM group. We get that end users don’t like GitHub and as an alternative to slack using Gitter, but we want to explore other options.

You say you have 5 active members, why are there over 50 people in the Github Suite CRM Developer's channel though with this being the case?
Just to clarify we have 5 core members of the product team. That is those that are fully employed by SalesAgility and have write access to the repo. So those on the Gitter channel are community members and some other employees of SA.
We have a massive ecosystem of SuiteCRM plugin developers which don’t necessarily contribute back, which is a shame, but we are working on ways to encourage more activity within the codebase.
indieben2 wrote:
Additional functionality on the forum

As Pedro has said in other places he is currently working on this. So we are also glad to moving away from this platform on to some more suited for collaboration.
indieben2 wrote:
I would recommend a system that prioritises forum members for quick responses from the Suite CRM developers to aid those people helping with their continued development and to establish a feedback bridge to coding developers informing the forward direction and priority wthin the project.

Prioritises over who? Alot of those SuiteCRM developers have their own clients to answer to which do pay them. I get you are want to encourage more activity on this but I’m just highlighting that these quick responses should be a reasonable expectation and again not on par with paid support i.e. SLA bound.

We do use SuiteCRM ourselves! Slightly insulting to suggest we don’t. But ok.

Regards to the IRC, there is only 5 members you say? Why then use it rather than Gitter? I am considering making more rooms on the current lobby but that is still up for discussion.

Just to round up the remaining points hopefully as there is a lot of repetition and as you have stated I am a busy person :)

- Sprint planning is essentially tasking out what should be our next priority and we invite community members to take ownership of tasks.
- Yes, we are very appreciative of Pedro’s time and as I said we will help with more core members taking part. You can certainly help with your experience in general end user activities, right? Alot of people ask about just how to visual their business logic specific to them could work. For e.g
- I don’t see the Github tracker to be a place to discuss these things. We do have suggestion label we with the new forums we aim to have pre-feature discussions to be fleshed out in the forums with a larger audiences of end users like yourself to refine and then that would be raised a actionable task on GitHub. But, that won’ t happen over night. If you have a suggestion then if you raise it on GitHub it will be currently mark with a label with no voting system.
- As I said earlier, we can’t force plug-in sellers to give back to the community but we are aiming to develop a more collaborative relationship to increase more non core contributions back into the codebase
- I agree raising a bug report is contributing, but what I was asking was, do you think that level of interaction is adequate to the this amount of expectation that one has demanded from the FOSS project?
- The SuiteCRM Portal.. Sorry I’m not understanding what your expectation is. What tasks? Lets take a step back here and review what the portal actual does and we can then rectify what false advertising we have provided.
- Why are you surprised? As I said earlier, please do research on us. We are SalesAgility, the company behind SuiteCRM. We are a business, and our paid services are support, and customisations of SuiteCRM. This is a similar business model as RedHat. We don’t oversee any of the plug-in on the SuiteCRM store (except one) and the store itself isn’t affiliated to us.

On the end note, I appreciate the time you have taken to provide such extension feedback and some points I agree, some I disagree and some I suggest you take a step back and take your own advice. I’ve highlighted areas that you, yourself, need to educate yourself by perhaps interacting with other community members as Pedro suggested and understanding our business model, goals and limitation of the software itself. Its easy to look from the outside in and take such a high stance. You are asking for empathy, well, so do we – from you.

Like Pedro has rightly pointed out, we can’t answer everyone wishes with SuiteCRM and if we can’t the ecosystem provides alternatives like he has highlighted in the store. Although there are lots of areas of improvement, they won’t happen overnight, but we know SuiteCRM is a successful project and will continue to be so.
..........

SalesAgility - the authors and maintainers of SuiteCRM
Get Involved! Help contribute to the SuiteCRM documentation site.
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Setting up a Portal Account (With First and Subsequent Emails included) - Problems 1 month 3 weeks ago #88719

  • indieben2
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EDITED - AMENDED RESPONSE (PLEASE DELETE THE PREVIOUS ONE - THANKS)

Hi, thanks Ashley for your reply.

I can see that I have somewhat been misguided by the website in that Sales Agility prioritizes the profit making side of your business. It's something I don't agree with in the slightest (I think it muddies the waters in terms of open source software and it is not within the spirit of it when developers are paid and volunteers are sought to contribute for free and I also think it's counter-productive) but it is of course your choice, between you, how you run the project. We'll never agree there as it is so integral to how SA works.

There does appear to have been a few comments about how i'm being unrealistic about the provisions of Suite CRM out of the box. With respect, there is quite a bit that Suite CRM need to be more realistic about in terms of project management. On one hand you have a small team of developers and not enough contributions from others, on the other hand it would seem that you limit updates to "not just any Joe Bloggs".

It seems that a call to arms on the main website listing the backlog and asking for code contributions would be helpful. Ok, people can see most of this stuff tucked away on Github but the backlog is not detailed anywhere on the main website. The project's health is a lot worse than portrayed but I do have a limited sympathy in that you are a business trying to paint a picture of better health for obvious reasons (to avoid upsetting the apple cart). With rushed releases without adequate bug testing, releases that do not address previous bugs and core functionality missing (I appreciate that there is an element of subjectivity hence why I suggested a voting system) I think that SA need to be a lot more realistic too.

I do appreciate that you are looking to try and build on the customer service side of Suite CRM's functionality in the future. It does seem that Suite CRM has focused on sales and marketing but it's a shame that customer retention from those sales and marketing leads seems not to have been thoroughly thought about. I would hope that you would agree that this would be a reasonable expectation given that Suite CRM clearly didn't intend for sales/leads to be immediately ported out to rival software to ensure onward efficient and high quality customer (in my case tenant) service (realistically, it would result in less users).

We've reached a point where I need something from the system, you don't provide it and i'm caught in the middle on a low income just trying to do something good. It always comes to the point when a project does not meet your needs where the only solution is to "pay someone else to do it" if you do not code. Of course, not being paid for the project (rather I pay for the printouts of 280 or so tenant invitation letters on a 6 monthly basis + ongoing subscription check letters and website hosting and then I go up to the top floor of 4 tower blocks and work my way down hand delivering them after manually stapling them together from the printouts from mail merge - this is how grassroots my project is. I sit in my living room and do it alone. This is why I need automation wherever possible. I have no swanky office (I'm not implying that you do). Thank God for cheap ink refill kits!

In relation to PHP, I can only judge the mood of those i've tried to call on for help. The people that once developed in PHP have moved away due to a lack of faith in it that has built up over the years. As most of my conversations are on IRC and forums, there has been much agreement among a much larger group of people who have contributed to those conversations. I appreciate that you see things differently. I don't think they are moving just because a new language looks interesting though - programmers save as much work for themselves as possible through automation and the efficient reuse of code whilst not letting the client experience suffer - why would they change and experience down time picking up new languages and converting their tools of choice for the fun of it and also by those new languages picking up support, there must have been dissatisfaction with prior languages (not just PHP to be fair). I'd suggest it takes a lot to dedicate yourself to a new programming language from one that you are experienced with when you try and make a career out of it.

I appreciate that you say that you can't provide a GUI for everything. OK - that's fine but this portal either needs to be radically fixed and developed or dropped. Out of the box it is not fit for purpose and does exactly the same as a locked down and module filtered direct Suite CRM login account with the end user directly logging into Suite CRM. The same data entry is required, there is no automation out of the box - the only automated thing about the portal is the ability for the user to create a case that could otherwise be created from within a locked down account directly in Suite CRM by the end user.

The design can not be easily adapted (the Joomla module) to fit in with the end user's website either. The cases by Email boon is unusable as the case created auto reply template doesn't pull through first name, surname, subject or even it's own case ID created and displays the variable names in the return Email instead. Out of the box it's pointless and developers may as well develop their own modules from scratch as they are the only people that could possibly get any use out of it anyway. I imagine this is why sellers have created their own for resale.

I have already messaged you on the Developer channel to propose updates to the portal guide to manage users expectations from day one. I do think the cases with portal information should be much easier to find too - I had to search for it as it's buried away - perhaps why its development has suffered greatly.

It's sad that you won't use IRC - it's actually rather unusual. Admittedly, the Gantry framework that I use has always been on Gitter. I was surprised that you didn't think this was a good idea, there are many open source projects run by businesses (Free PBX and Sangoma just to mention one) that use IRC so you wouldn't be alone. The idea of instant chat is an exceptionally important one - whilst people await replies, they build up kudos by answering other people's questions and have more chance of seeing them. I'm still sitting on posts from a week ago that people don't know how to answer or are unwilling to on the Suite CRM forum.

I had suggested forum user prioritization - put simply, those that contribute the most in answering questions get their own questions prioritized for answer by the developers. This creates a sound way of feeding down the line best practice where your time as Developers is going to go the furthest. I've deliberately left it a little abstract, the reason for this is I know that Coders do not like non coders trying to tell them how to do their job. For example, even trying to positively input on this topic given the reply of one particular person is hard enough (who is having fun keeping on decreasing my karma - how pathetic). Yes i'm blunt, I always will be - just like your project will always be your project. It's misguided to think bluntness or frankness is rude. I know you haven't said that yourself. I have a funny feeling that your background is a little more customer service based yourself.

My comments have never been about attacking the development team, if I bother to go to this length to provide feedback it is because I believe in your project. Otherwise I would just walk (it's like most companies will say one complaint actually represents something like 100 customers who simply walked).

I don't understand your question regarding what contribution would be considered adequate - apologies.

I have, as I say, done a pull on the cases with portal document to highlight what I don't think is being said and what should be said to manage expectations.

Interaction on the forum - i'm sorry I have little faith, as I have said, because I have posts that are over a week old, many views, no replies. You have said the Github developers channel is not the place to escalate them so this has left me alienated.

I appreciate that you appear to welcome an ongoing customer service feedback dialogue in terms of forum contribution and through tagged suggestions within Github. As i'm sure you can understand, just like the project's limitations, I have my own limitations too and this is a touch unrealistic.

Since I can't actually get Suite CRM out of the box to do what I feel it should be able to (see my separate project brief in another post on the forum from yesterday please for that), although I won't cut my nose off to spite my face, I can't contribute to a project that actually does nothing for my project's needs, particularly when it would be etiquette to feed back into another provider's project if the need arose and i've spent a lot of time on Suite CRM, i'm very busy too.

As I said on one of my more minor issue reports logged on Github, i will not be on here so much whilst I research and test other solutions. As yet i'm not sure if that will be on an permanent basis (i..e I find something else that is closer to what I need) but I will report back. It seems at the moment that I have only two choices, abandon Suite CRM or abandon my whole project.

Thanks.
Kind Regards,

Indieben2.
Last Edit: 1 month 3 weeks ago by indieben2.
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