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Using Civi 4.7.8 (about to go 4.7.10) I want to create a scheduled reminder such that when the status of a custom activity type (which I've called 'Decision') changes to 'Completed', the case coordinator gets an email notification. I'm just struggling a little with some of the settings and naming conventions being used, so I thought by posting a question here I could:

a) get some useful clarity, b) perhaps help make things clearer for others in a similar state of confusion, and c) maybe help move towards a more consistent naming/labelling regime for activity contacts.

(I'll also be happy to improve the documentation based on what I learn.)

So the first thing that got me confused is - that in my activity - the involved parties look to be:

  1. the person who reported the activity, as in the name that appears against "Reported by:". I believe this is the same as the creator of the activity, or as the documentation also calls it, the "Activity Source". Creating a new activity elsewhere in Civi, e.g. selecting 'New Activity' from the Contacts menu this field is labelled as "Added by:", so there's yet another name option.

  2. The client of the case. In my activity this contact is called the 'Client', probably because the activity type that I'm interested in is used within the context of a case. In the scenario where we are selecting "New activity" from the "Contacts" menu this field is labelled as "With Contact". By process of elimination I reckon this contact is what's called in the documentation the 'Activity Target/s'.

  3. The third type of contact is the activity assignee/s, which unlike the others looks to be unambiguously named both in the UI and in the documentation.

So I think I know which contact is which: Reported by = Added by = Activity Source Client = With Contact = Activity Target Assigned to = Activity Assignee/s

In the reminder set-up I can specify my activity type and the status for that activity. I'm assuming here that these are essentially conditions for the reminder, i.e. a reminder can be be sent when an activity of the specified type and status exists.

Then I get confused again, because I now need to set a time, and for activities the options I have are to either set a specific date, or I can set a date/time relative to the "Activity Date Time". Assuming the "Activity Date Time" is the date and time set in the activity record, I can see that this date and time does not change if the activity gets edited (unless it is explicitly changed by editing the activity record).

Let's say I set the time for the reminder to be 1 hour after the Activity Date Time.

So, let's say a I create the activity, and it has a status when created that doesn't match the criteria for my reminder. Some time later, let's say two hours later, the activity is edited and the status is changed to match what my reminder is looking for, but the date and time of the activity are not edited. I now have a situation where my activity should trigger a reminder, and my target date/time is in the past.

Is it the case that because the criteria are met, and the target date/time is in the past, that the reminder will be sent? And is it the case that if I had instead set the time for the reminder to be three hours after the Activity Date Time, then the reminder would not be sent in this case because although the activity criteria are met, the time is in the future?

Is this how it works, or have I got it horribly wrong?

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I would use CiviRules for this? We have one client that uses CiviRUles to send a survey email once a case gets to a certain status.

  • Thanks Erik. I'll look at that option. What would you say are the advantages of using CiviRules compared to a Scheduled Reminder for this? – Graham Aug 19 '16 at 7:49
  • I would think CiviRules has more functional possibilities in general. Not sure if it is better for your scenario, just that we are using it that way :-) – ErikH - CiviCooP Aug 19 '16 at 11:19

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