Wild Apricot Updates and Plans

Lori Halley 26 March 2008 13 comments

The spring is here. (Kinda of - Toronto is still very cold with piles of snow on the streets!)
We did some spring cleaning for our March 6th update: Making it easier/more straightforward to handle exceptional situations - like manual entry of transactions by administrators or payments failed on the first try. It might not sound as glamorous and exciting as new features - but we knew we had to do it to keep our promise of making the lives of our clients easier with our software, not add stress! Specifically:

  • Redesigned manual registration of event attendees by admin, which can now be done for members, past event attendees and new contacts.
  • Administrators can now manually process member renewals.
  • Administrators can now manually record donations (e.g. if it was mailed in).
  • New members can now retry online payment for membership without administrator involvement.
  • We have also increased file upload limits across the board; enabled formatting functions for members when entering blog posts, forum topics and forum replies; allowed using any custom currency (for offline/manual payments only as online payments are limited by options offered by the payment processor).

As always, we spent quite a bit of time revising the old code to keep the system humming as we grow.Alas, this update was one of the most difficult ones ever. Rushing to get some very frequently requested changes out the door we tightened the testing time and ended up with a number of glitches experienced by clients - so we had to release a number of patches over the last few weeks. Our apologies to everyone affected. We have learned a painful lesson and adjusted our procedures - adding extra testing time to prevent this from occurring again.
See more at Release history page

Coming up next:
Our next release is just around the corner - scheduled for April 8th, and in it you will see:

  • Major often-requested enhancement: setup member record fields separately for each membership level.
  •  

     level

     


  • Customization of membership renewal emails (instead of relying on the standard template).
  • We started working on Integrated credit card payment (to avoid forcing people to go to PayPal site to pay - instead they will be able to enter credit card right on our secure payment page). This turned out to be more complicated than we originally expected and with payment being such an important function we decided to allocate additional time to properly finalize and test this. We currently expect to finish all our testing and make this important change available around the end of May.
  • Several new design themes added to the selection.
  • Function 'Customize colors and styles' is becoming more user friendly: your changes will be reflected in the preview pane immediately, you will no longer have to apply changes to preview them.
  • MemberID field is now available on the member profile - and can be searched on.

Another big item on our agenda is an overhaul of our hosting infrastructure. With our rapid growth of client base we need to stay ahead of the curve to ensure speedy and reliable performance of Wild Apricot application. The new servers have been purchased several weeks ago and we will spend the next 3-4 week carefully testing the new setup. We expect to move everything to the new servers by the end of April.

Once we complete the transition to the new servers and all the work on the new Payment mode, here are some of the biggest enhancements planned for the next few months:

  • Redesign of payment and pending transactions workflow to align it with common terminology of invoices and payment confirmations, enable admins and members to re-print documents as needed.
  • Email subscriptions to forum updates.
  • Ability to separate which fields on the member information page are accessible to the public - and which ones to other members only. 
  • Event discount coupons.
  • Horizontal menu options.
  • More customization options for look and feel.
  • Member levels which are not allowed to log in.
  • Member photo-albums.
We appreciate all the ongoing feedback - please keep it coming - and please be patient with us. We are processing and prioritizing hundreds of varied requests from our clients and it is a delicate balance to deliver more capabilities - while avoiding making the system clumsy and overcomplicated.
Also, we are planning to take another step in making our development process more transparent: we plan to start publishing a queue of our top enhancements under consideration so that you can add your comments - and vote for things which have top priority for you.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 26 March 2008 at 4:45 PM

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Comments

  • Mike Schaffer said:

    Thursday, 03 April 2008 at 8:35 PM

    In our organization we offer different payment options for the same membership levels, but this conflicts with your renewal options. We offer the same level of membership at 3 different payment cycles: annual, 3-year memberships, and 5-year memberships.  Currently, if a member joins at the 3-year membership price, WA still requests renewal after every year instead of after 3 years, therefore we have to manually "catch" it and renew our members manually.

    Can you add the option of renewals and membership terms beyond annual?

    Thank you!

  • Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Friday, 04 April 2008 at 3:50 AM

    I added this to our list. It's a relatively rare request so it will be some time before we get to it.

    Dmitry Buterin

  • Summer said:

    Monday, 07 April 2008 at 1:55 PM

    Any news on adding recurring events?

  • Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Monday, 07 April 2008 at 2:02 PM

    It's on the list but not in the front of the queue for now - so I do not expect us addressing it in the next 3-6 months, sorry.

  • Glory Hammes said:

    Tuesday, 08 April 2008 at 8:03 AM

    Any way to create reocurring events? It's very difficult updating the calendar every week.

    Thanks!

  • Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Tuesday, 08 April 2008 at 10:08 AM

    We do not have recurring events now - but this is being considered for the future.

  • Peter said:

    Tuesday, 08 April 2008 at 3:31 PM

    The Forum email subscriptions are clutch.

    Right now, we have an email list that members can use to talk to each other, and it's just a very easy mechanism for folks to use (everyone knows how to use email), and we want to be able to encourage folks to communicate and work with each other. So, an email list feature in the future is something we'd be interested in, but the email subscriptions can help us in the interim. This might be the main sticking point for me to convince 'my' organization to get with Wild Apricot.

    Which leads to a question - can we keep our member-to-member (many-to-many) email list and still host our site with Wild Apricot - using our own domain name?

    We use Google Groups for email list functionality, and we've set it up so that you can send email to 'somelist@ourdomain.org', and somehow Google Groups ends up distributing it to all of our members who are subscribed to the list (and, i guess, the Google Group - i guess we auto-forward the email to the list or something?). I think this answer may be 'no', but I wanted to check. (I guess we could just use the regular Google Group email list address, but that wouldn't be great.)

    A follow-up question - right now we have some email addresses associated with our website/domain - e.g. 'info@ourdomain.org' and 'staff@ourdomain.org' - can we keep them if we move to Wild Apricot?

    Back to the email subscriptions - they should _definitely_ include the text of the last comment/post/reply. This is a big one for ease of use. I am subscribed to phpBB Forums for a different interest of mine, and I get emails that say "Forum 'X' has been updated" - it's not completely useless, but why not just tell me what the person wrote? So I have to go to the forum, sometimes log-in, then finally I get to read what was written, when I'd like to just be able to read it in my email client and then delete, archive, and in the future, reply to it (right from email - like Google and Yahoo Groups, BaseCamp, etc.).

    Also, it'd be nice to have an RSS feed of new forum topics and/or replies, and ideally there would exist an overall feed for the forum, and then broken down by topic, too. Some would be private, of course.

    And, I'd like to be able to have multiple categories of forums - groupings, subforums, whatever you want to call them. Not that important, but it'd be nice for the future.

    Finally, an unrelated feature request, I'd like to be able to customize the favicon for our site.

    Thanks!  :)

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 09 April 2008 at 4:21 AM

    Peter, I'll leave the specific questions about transferring to Wild Apricot for the Chief Apricot to discuss with you directly. But as for customizing the favicon for your site, yes, certainly --

    Here is our blog post about custom favicons: 
    https://www.wildapricot.com/blogs/newsblog/
    archive/2008/02/28/how-to-give-your-website-a-favicon.aspx

    and the Wild Apricot support page on how to insert a favicon: https://help.wildapricot.com/display/DOC/Inserting+favicon+-+favorites+icon

  • Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 09 April 2008 at 5:07 AM

    Peter:

    If I understood your question correctly, you will have no problemm keeping your use of Google Groups on your own domain while having your site pointing to WA. In a nutshell, your domain settings will only change for the website requests, not for email processing.

    See also: https://help.wildapricot.com/display/DOC/Email+setup+and+WildApricot

    Thanks for detailed feedback regarding email notices and forums. We are working on design of this right now so your input is very timely and appreciated.

    I have also noted your request about forum categories.

  • John said:

    Thursday, 17 April 2008 at 7:55 AM

    I recall some talk about creating the option of event attendees to see the list of all after they have signed up without having to be an administrator.  Is this still something coming down the pipe?

  • Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 17 April 2008 at 8:20 AM

    It is still in the plan, though it has been pushed back by a number of other enhancements.

  • Jason said:

    Friday, 04 July 2008 at 8:35 AM

    Any plans to allow assigning categories or tags to blog posts?

  • Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Friday, 04 July 2008 at 8:38 AM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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