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March 18, 2013
  Thanks to our great theme makers

Now that we've got a nice library of great themes in place (at www.citysoft.com/themes), I just wanted to take a moment to thank and endorse our great theme making colleagues.  The themes to date were created by the great Erica Dreisbach and Kel Mendes.

 

Thanks yall!




   

    Posted By: nickg @ 03/18/2013 04:01 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  Major Manage Your Profile Enhancement

In the latest build (7.2.0.25) we have finally released a major enhancement of our "Manage Your Profile" functionality.  This is where a user on a web site that uses our system can login and see their basic information in the database, update their data (e.g. changing an email address) and so forth.

 

This enhancement introduces a stylish set of tabbed screens where a user can not only see and update their basic contact information but can also access information on their event registrations, form submissions, donations, membership information, email subscriptions, interests, committee memberships, and a lot more.  This gives users a much fuller view of their data in the database and their interactions with organizations using the software.  So, for instance, they can see all their past event registrations, their donation history, and so forth.

 

We'll be adding a lot more to this area in future releases, but this is a good start in terms of giving users much more visibility into their data in the system.

 

For those interested in the technical details, this feature uses jquery heavily.


   

    Posted By: nickg @ 03/18/2013 03:58 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  Nice Client Redesign

I just wanted to take a moment to highlight a nice client redesign at http://www.mcca.com.  This client has been using our platform for a long time but was in need of a major visual re-design.  Their internal team led the process and was able to launch a major re-design on our system with minimal extra cost.


   

    Posted By: nickg @ 03/18/2013 02:28 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  Update on FOSS release

We're inching closer to our FOSS (free and open source) release of CE.  We're just in the process of tightening up some code.  That can take a while since we have a lot of client needs to focus on as well.  But, we will definitely get this out the door soon (in a couple of months I hope).


   

    Posted By: nickg @ 03/18/2013 02:24 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  New Free Design Themes

We've been busy bees here but haven't been posting enough.  There is a lot going on and I'll try to keep the news a bit fresher.

 

One exciting thing that happened recently was the release of a couple of new free design themes.  We've titled them "Professional" and "Ease" (why do theme names always sound goofy?  I don't know).  You can find them in our theme library here - http://www.citysoft.com/themes

 

These themes are entirely free although there is often some need for a developer to stylize them for the particular needs of a client.  That part may or may not be free depending on your skill level.

Hope that helps!

Nick




   

    Posted By: nickg @ 03/18/2013 02:16 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

August 21, 2012
  New Event Registration Quota Feature

I just wanted to take a moment to mention another new feature that we are excited about that is part of the new release.  It is a new quota feature for event registration.  We have long had a quota feature for overall event registration, of course.  But, this enhancement allows you to create a quota for each price / option within a single event.

 

So, for example, if you have an even registration for a conference, and then you have a number of separately priced options within the event (e.g. a special dinner, a site visit, and so on), you can now apply quotas to each of those items.  So, if you only have space for 50 people at a dinner or golf outing within a larger event, this feature will allow you to set quota limits for each of these separately priced items.

 

This feature will be included in our upcoming version 7.2 release.


   

    Posted By: nickg @ 08/21/2012 04:34 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

August 17, 2012
  New Version - New Features

We have a new version of our system that is almost fully baked.  We'll have full release notes for it, but I just wanted to preview a few cool features here.

 

1. Admin global search
In the new version, administrators will be able to search for contacts and organizations from any admin page.  For clients using our CRM features, this will cut down on the clicks needed to get to your data.

 

2. Lots of ajax
Like the rest of the world, we are incorporating lots of "ajax" UI features to make the system cooler to look at and easier to use.

 

3. Job boards
We have added a number of improvements to our new job boards module making it really ready for prime time.  If you wan to provide your community with job board features (posting and searching for resumes and job listings), this feature is worth checking out.

 

4. Email individuals
While our system has long had an Email module for sending email newsletters and the like, we now have a feature that allows you to send an email to an individual from within our system and log that email for future reference.  So, you no longer need to switch between your email program and our system when emailing contacts.

 

5. Admin only tabs in Applications
We have added a cool feature to our Applications module that allows administrators to create private tabs and fields as part of an application that appears on the web.  This allows administrators to create sections of applications that can be used for internal review and evaluation while still offering a public application that users (ie job seekers, grant seekers, other applicants) can fill out online and submit to you. 

 

There's lots more but I'll leave it here for now.




   

    Posted By: nickg @ 08/17/2012 01:25 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  More beautiful designs plus free theme templates

Following up on the post below, I want to take a moment to highlight some more beautiful design running on our system.  They are:

http://www.sa-intl.org
http://www.washingtonnonprofits.org


As with the previous post, these  designs were mostly done by third party designers and then moved into our system.  There is no forking and no customizing of the base code necessary to get these and almost any kind of design into our system.  Our templating system and APIs are very flexible and can accomodate almost any kind of design.

 

I just want to say thanks and kudos to some of the third party designers who made these (and other) wonderful designs for our clients (in no particular order):

http://www.goweetu.com
http://www.terpsys.com
http://www.kobusmans.com
http://www.taraframer.com
http://www.createmethod.com

 

Also, let me take a moment to mention that we also have free design themes (ie templates) that have been developed for CE.  You can see them here:

http://www.citysoft.com/themes

 

These free themes can be quickly added into our system for no cost and then styled to look the way you want.  For cost conscious clients, it's a good way to avoid designing from scratch.




   

    Posted By: nickg @ 08/17/2012 01:03 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

April 17, 2012
  Highlighting some nice redesigns

Several of our clients have recently redesigned their websites which are hosted on our platform and I just wanted to take a moment to highlight them.

They are:
http://www.acelero.net
http://www.nhnla.org
http://www.mictatech.org

In addition to being great looking sites, these designs showcase the ways in which CE can support practically any design without restriction.  And, all of these designs were done by third party designers showing how any designer can design for our system.


   

    Posted By: nickg @ 04/17/2012 09:18 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

February 25, 2012
  Another cool little feature
In the spirit of more frequent blogging, I thought I would just mention a cool little addition that has gone in since the last release notes (and is available for clients in the most recent build). That is a "quantity" feature in admin event registrations. This won't mean much to non-clients, but for those currently doing event registrations from the admin side, it may be a big help. In our initial implementation of the admin event registration process, we didn't include the ability to change the number of tickets per registration. Now you can do that with no problem (just like on the front end).

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 02/25/2012 02:36 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

February 15, 2012
  Announcing CE Release 7.1
We're excited to formally announce CE Version 7.1. You can see the release notes at http://www.citysoft.com/release_notes. You can see the 7.1 release notes specifically here.

This release has been rolling out over time in a series of builds, so many clients already have many of the features documented here. However, these notes provide a comprehensive overview of all the features that have come out since the last release. There is a lot in there so feel free to follow up with questions or comments. You can contact us at the "Contact" link above.

While we haven't used this blog extensively in the past, we're hoping to post more regular updates on new features as well as highlighting a few of the features in version 7.1 and other cool stuff.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 02/15/2012 06:56 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

April 10, 2011
  Customizing Donation Receipts
There is a new feature in CE that I just want to take a moment to blog about. It allows you (as an admin) to customize the receipt that is presented on screen and by email after a donation has been made.

The way that this works is by creating the block of content that you want to add to the receipt as a "Content Channel" in the Pages module. If you click on the Pages tab in the top navigation of the Admin area, you will see the "Content Channels" link in the left navigation. That feature allows you to create a block of content (e.g. text) that can be used elsewhere in the system (such as in a donation receipt, a design header, and so forth).

So, you click on that link and then use the WYSIWYG editor to create a block of content which will be used to customize the donation receipt. In the Title field, call this channel "Donation Confirmation" and then save it.

CE will then look for this block of content during the donation process and include it in both 1) the confirmation / receipt screen and 2) the confirmation / receipt email. This block of code will appear in the middle of the confirmation before the actual detail of how much was donated and their address and so forth. So, you may want to run a test or two to make sure it looks the way that you want.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 04/10/2011 01:25 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

February 16, 2011
  Improved Event Registration Reporting
With so much going on it has been hard to find the time to blog about cool new features.

But, I want to take a moment to talk about one that is particularly important.

In a recent post (http://blog.citysoft.com/blogp...readid=3565&catid=97), I discussed how to create custom reports on event registration in CE. As I mentioned then, the problem is that filtering for various event registration categories (ie "show me all completed registrations for this event" or "show me only pending registrations for this event", etc.) was too hard and not very intuitive.

There are some historical reasons that CE's reports evolved this way, but the main point here is that we have fixed this problem (yeah!).

Here's how it works. When you create a custom event report in CE using the "Events and Registrants" report template, there is a new field called "Event Registration Status". Include this field in your report and then filter against it using the "Contains" filter. The possible values for this field are as follows:
C = Complete
P = Pending
I = Incomplete
D = Deleted

So, to create a report that shows only the completed registrations for an event, you would use the following filter:
"Event Registration Status Contains C"

That's it.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 02/16/2011 02:18 AM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

September 24, 2010
  Quick post about reporting on events registrants
There is lots going on and lots to post about, but it's been busy. So, for the moment, I just want to post something quick about how to navigate a not very friendly feature in CE.

First, however, I want to mention that we are about to implement a much friendly solution, which I will blog about soon.

The problem is how to get clean event registration reports out of the Reports module.

You can already get these, or course, out of the Events module. Just go to an event as an admin and there are a list of pre-built reports like:
Completed Registrations
Pending Registrations
etc.

But, if you wanted to generate the same or similar reports in the Reports module, you have to know which filters to use to exclude unwanted data like incomplete registrations, deleted registrations and so forth. It's pretty easy if you know which filters to apply but it's not as obvious as it should be. So, here are some key examples.

Completed Registrations for an event:
- filter on the eventid to make sure that you are just focusing on the event that you want data for (e.g. "Eventid equals 18).
- filter on the Order "Process Date" field for not null values (e.g. "Process Date not Null")

Incomplete Registrations for an event:
- filter on the eventid to make sure that you are just focusing on the event that you want data for (e.g. "Eventid equals 18).
- filter on the Order "Process Date" field for null values (e.g. "Process Date is Null")
- filter on the "Order ID" field for not null values (e.g. "Order ID not Null")

That's it.

Soon we will add a simple registration status field that will be easier to use. More on that soon!

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 09/24/2010 03:31 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

June 16, 2010
  A Feature You Should Know About - Search Request Report
A client is starting to use CE's built in full text search tool on their web site, and I thought it would be a good time to highlight a great feature in CE that may not be widely known - the Search Request report.

The Search Request report is found in the Reports module in CE and shows what words and phrases users are searching for on your web site. This data is a great way to understand what your users are looking for and can allow a client to make adjustments so that sought after content is easier to find. Like most reports in CE, this report data can be exported to .csv / Excel files to be shared with others who may not log into the web site to review the data there.

This feature points to an important advantage CE has over comparable solutions, especially those where the web site, data management, and even search are separate products. With those kinds of solutions, you may have to find a 3rd party search tool to work with your website / content management system. Then, once you get those systems put together, the search may not easily be able to include password protected content in its search results. And then, if there is search reporting data available, it is usually in the search tool or the website management tool which is separate from your contact database. That means it won't be located with a lot of your other reporting by default. And then, of course, you will have to hire technical consultants to try and tie all these systems together, make sure that they don't break during upgrades, and so on. So, although some of these basic tools can be "free" (like with open source tools), putting them all together and maintaining them can be a real pain.

With CE, a great enterprise search tool is included out of the box, it can be dropped into your site with ease and styled with minimal effort, and the reporting is right there in the Reports module with all your other reports. And it just works.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/16/2010 07:11 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

June 13, 2010
  New Feature Preview - Job Board
While I'm talking about new features, I just want to quickly preview one that is essentially done and will be included in the final release of CE version 7.0 (which is currently in Beta). That is a new Job Board module. The core functionality is fairly simple. Users can:
1) Search Jobs
2) Post Jobs
3) Search Resumes
4) Post Resumes

This will be very useful to community oriented clients who want to provide their community members with a way to get the word out about jobs and resumes.

And, this is yet another example of how broadly featured CE is. Most AMS / CRM / CMS systems do not include this kind of functionality out of the box and as a native part of the application. And, those that do are typically more expensive.

We'll have more information on this feature soon. In the mean time, anyone who is interested in this should feel free to post a message in the forum or in our Contact Us page.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/13/2010 05:45 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  Improvement to CE's Email module de-duping
This improvement may be obscure to some users, but for others it may be important so I just want to note it here briefly. In the past, CE has de-duped email lists automatically. For instance, if you pull in a new segmented list to an existing list, CE will not allow duplicate email records to be added to the list.

However, if you sent an email to multiple lists and the same address was on two or more of those lists, CE would send to that address multiple times. That is what we have changed.

CE didn't always work this way, and to be honest, I can't quite remember why we made the change in the first place. But, I think it was one of those situations where something that seemed like a good idea at the time didn't end up being an optimal solution for the majority of clients. So, we have changed this back to the original functionality in which, when you send an email to multiple lists at the same time, if an address is on more than one of those lists, it will only receive a single email. Yay!

So, now there are two ways that CE's email module de-dupes automatically for users.

Hope that helps!

Nick

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/13/2010 05:39 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

June 7, 2010
  Another Cool Feature Enhancement - Document Views and Reporting
I just wanted to let you know about another cool new enhancement in CE's reporting. This one is for tracking document views / downloads on your website or within your password protected areas.

One thing that we did was to add date range filtering. Before you could just track downloads from a single dates or the whole history. Now you can filter across a date range. That's kind of a no brainer.

A bigger enhancement is that you can now see most data about the document views, including who is downloading them (if they are logged in at the time of download). This gives you a lot more information not only about what is being downloaded but who is interested in which areas of your content.

But, the biggest enhancement relates to the way that document downloads are set up in your web pages in the first place. In the past, you could link to a document in a CE page, but the link would take a user to a summary page for the document before allowing them to download it. This was fine for some clients but was an unnecessary hassle for others. There was an easy work around to allow direct linking to documents from a web page, but it circumvented the reporting mechanism meaning that you would not be able to see reporting data on what documents were being downloaded / viewed. That is no longer a problem. Now, when you add a document link to a web page, the Link Tool gives you BOTH options - you can have the user link to the document summary page first OR you can allow the user to link directly to the document with no summary page. And, both of these options will be reportable.

Clients asked. We listened. New feature.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/07/2010 11:32 AM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  Cool New Reporting Feature - Login Tracking
Going forward, we'll be using the blog a lot more. Last year we did some initial posts, but now we'll be using the blog more consistently. One of the ways we'll be using it is to highlight features of CE. That's what this post is about.

Login Reporting Enhancements

In the new version, which is in beta now but which some clients are using already, we've done some cool enhancements to the login tracking screen in the Reports module. First, we've expanded the number of fields of data that is shown in the report. Second, we now show both successful and failed logins so clients can get a sense of which users may be having problems with logging in. Third, we now track failed logins where the username was wrong as well as the password. That is, initially we only tracked scenarios where the username or email was entered correctly. But, after a client asked to also have visibility into failed logins where the username was incorrectly entered, we added that too!

So, now you have a lot of visibility about who is logging in and trying to log in to your CE system.

Another Reason This Is Cool

This feature points to something relatively unique about CE, which is that CE has both a full blown, native content management system AND a full blown CRM system with reporting. Most systems available to associations and non-profits don't have that, and the ones that do tend to be quite expensive. Among more affordable options, like ours, you will typically have a separate content management system (to manage the web site) and constituent relationship management (CRM) system OR association management system (AMS) to manage the data. That can be a pain in a lot of ways, including tracking logins because in that scenario, your login tracking (if it exists at all) is going to be located somewhere in the administration section of your content management system while most of the rest of your reporting is going to be in your CRM or AMS.

It can get even more complicated because when your CMS and CRM/AMS are separate, then logins and users will likely have to be tracked in BOTH systems for the reporting to work, especially if you want your CRM/AMS to be able to provide this data (rather than having it located separately in the CMS). That is, the login records will be tracked in the CMS. And, if you want this information to be consistent with data in your CRM/AMS, then you will need the data to be synced. And, that may require additional fees and / or customizations. And, of course, customizations can disrupt upgrades if not done correctly. So, it can get complex and messy quickly.

Long story short, login tracking can be done when you are using separate systems, but it may not be with the rest of your data reporting and if it is, it may imply other challenges and complexities to make it work. While this is a relatively small issue so some, it's a good example of how CE makes life easier by tracking all your data in one place.

Edited: 06/07/2010 at 11:19 AM by nickg

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/07/2010 11:10 AM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

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