Version 3.3 released on December 14th
Version 3.3 was successfully published on December 14th — see release history page for detailed information http://help.wildapricot.com/display/DOC/Release+history
This version included many new features, including a substantial revision of the member directory. We have to admit to feeling a bit nervous as we were getting closer to the launch date — even with 4 weeks of testing — crossing our fingers that this update would go smoothly for our clients. Now, with some time after the release, I am relieved that the number of problems experienced by our clients stayed quite low — and there were no major/common problems. (Of course I realize it is still a pain for affected clients, but the truth is that any major software update is bound to affect someone — the variety of browsers, operating systems, computer configurations and account settings create an unlimited number of possible permutations that no testing process is ever going to address 100%). We have already published two small sets of bug fixes, on December 22 and December 29, to address a number of problems identified. We'll keep monitoring our support queue and issue additional fixes if needed.
On December 21st, development started on the next version — 3.4. We are taking a pause for Christmas and New year's holidays, and plan to release this version around mid-March 2010. Here's what we are working on:
- Redesigning our financial management architecture from scratch (transactions, invoices, balances). This is a big change, so we will not be able to complete and release this in one development cycle — it will only go live in version 3.5, in early summer of 2010.
- Compatibility with Safari and Google Chrome browsers;
- Re-architecting Wild Apricot functionality for storing documents and pictures. You will be able to create folders, rename documents, link to documents by name, use WebDAV to access your files.
- Total rewrite of import function. Our current approach requires people to manually transfer their existing spreadsheets into a special Wild Apricot spreadsheet template before it can be imported, and to manually insert and define the necessary system fields. The new approach is to let you upload your own spreadsheet and have our system try to figure out its structure, and then guide you through the process of mapping your data to Wild Apricot system as well as set up all the system fields. This is a very substantial task, so we will not be able to complete it within 3.4 — it will be released in subsequent version 3.5 in early summer of 2010.
- Automatic pro-rating of membership dues for partial terms — e.g. If your renewal date is on January 1st and a new member joins on July 1st, you will be able to set Wild Apricot up to automatically charge only 50% of the full annual membership fee.
- Redesign of how list-type fields (multiple choice, option buttons, drop-downs) are edited — e.g. moving items around, resorting, pasting a list of items.
Product roadmap for 2010
Lots of time in the past two months was spent thinking about the Wild Apricot product roadmap for 2010. I have read each and every thread on the Roadmap and Wishlist forums — which amounts to ~300 threads and about 2000 individual posts. In addition to that I have reviewed the full list in our internal system (called Issue Tracker) — over 800 potential enhancements to Wild Apricot. As we release new versions every 8-10 weeks, we plan to have 5 version updates in 2010. What we normally do is to review all the potential enhancements with each release — and prioritize them based on current client input. However, this grows more and more complicated so we are continually tweaking and refining our processes. One new approach is to treat bigger changes differently from smaller ones. For 2010 we have decided to define the top 50 "rocks" in advance (see The Glass Jar and The Rocks of Time ). Each "rock" is a sizable enhancement which has been shown over time to be in high demand from our clients. So our planning process for each version update in 2010 will start by trying to fit as many of these top 50 Rocks selected for 2010 — and only after those are picked, we will fill the remaining space with smaller items (smaller stones and water, as per the original fable).
We have now finalized our list of top 50 Rocks for 2010 — we will do a separate post to tell you about this in more detail. We are quite excited about what we have come up with — we know that these enhancements will make our product much more powerful AND easier to use for thousands of our clients!
We will publish the top 50 Rocks list (aka 2010 Roadmap) on our Roadmap discussion forum over the next few weeks.
We are absolutely committed to making the Wild Apricot into the best software for small associations and non-profits, bar none, and we are looking forward to your on-going feedback and new suggestions.
Wild Apricot’s community has spoken and "Fuzzy" is the name chosen by our fans during our first Facebook contest. Congratulations to Priscilla Christian, a web designer and developer from Southern California, and a Wild Apricot user. Her “Fuzzy” submission received the most votes among the finalists selected by a panel of judges who whittled down the 51 submitted names to five. To read more about the contest, please check out /blogs/newsblog/2009/12/08/introducing-fuzzy-the-newly-named-wild-apricot-mascot
Speaking of Facebook, we aren't just stopping with the contest. In addition to feeding the great content from our blog into our Facebook Fan Page, we are also providing unique and fun video, images and more. We hope these help give you a sense of the lighter side of things here at Wild Apricot. Want to join the fun? Visit http://facebook.com/wildapricot/ and become a fan of Wild Apricot page today!
Finally, we'd like to wish you and everyone at your organization all the best for 2010! We're thrilled to be in non-profit software business - with customers like you who help make the world a better place, and we look forward to continuing to help make your life a little easier through next year and beyond!