Wild Apricot Updates and Plans. April 2008

Lori Halley 30 April 2008 0 comments

There haven't been many April showers, but a lot of flowers have already bloomed! On April 10th, we released an update that included the following key changes:

  • Ability to specify different fields for different membership levels. This was a frequently requested enhancement and we are very happy about delivering it! Basically, in the past, every contact/member record in Wild Apricot had the same set of fields. Now you can specify different fields to be used for each membership level. For example, you might choose to set up basic contacts like 'Friends and supporters' to store only name/email and regular members to store name/email/industry/postal address.
         
  • Renewal emails (which go out automatically when a membership is renewed by the member or administrator) can now be customized. (In the past the templates were hard-coded.)
         
  • Member ID field - a unique identifier for each member - is now displayed to each member in his profile and can be searched by administrators via Advanced Search.
  • When you customize your site's look and feel using the 'Customize colors and styles' function, your changes are immediately reflected in the site preview on the right. (In the past, you had to click a button to reload the page in order to view the changes.)
  • Three new design themes - 'Dark Night', 'Blackout' and 'Grey Owl'.
         
  • We have been working on an Integrated Payment option, where credit cards are processed on our secure servers without the need to redirect to PayPal. This work will continue through the next release period. The Integrated Payment feature will be released once we complete the development and (lots of!) testing, currently targeting mid-June. As a result of this major work, we expect to be able to add additional payment options faster and more easily in the future.

See more at Release history page.

Our next update is scheduled for release on May 19th (14th). Here is what we have been working on:

  • Integrated Payment, where credit cards can be processed on our secure servers without the need to redirect to PayPal. This work will continue through the next release period. The Integrated Payment option will be released once we complete the development and (lots of!) testing, currently targeting mid-June. The big upside of this work is that we should be able to add additional payment options in the future much easier and more quickly.
  • Moving the system to the new servers that we purchased in February, which we have been setting up and testing since then. The main benefit of this move is increased reliability of the system. Although we've been both diligent and lucky, and Wild Apricot has had very little downtime, this will give us an extra cushion of safety to keep the servers humming along even as our client base continues to grow rapidly.
  • Revising the HTML and CSS structure of our system. As Wild Apricot has been adding features and enhancements quite rapidly, over time we have accumulated some clunky HTML code - which among things made it harder to customize the look and feel. Many of you have been asking for more customization capabilities, 'cooler' design templates, and the like. Rest assured, we hear you - and we have been revising some internal HTML code to accommodate your requests. Various registration and payment related forms (member applications, events, donations) are revised in this release, with other pages (blog, forum, member directory) to follow. This work will not immediately result in many new features for clients to see - but we are laying the foundation to address many pending requests.
  • Event coupon codes - so that you can provide discounted registration prices for people who know 'secret codes'.
  • New field type for 'terms of use' on events and member applications.
  • Member profile page access settings will now be regulated differently for the public and for members.  Previously, fields could be specified as either hidden or displayed; now you can specify for each field whether it is hidden, shown to everyone, or shown only to fellow members.
  • Color customization screen will now allow the precise selection of colors by entering a color code (vs. the current limited selection of available colors) and will also allow easy customization of login area text colors.
  • We are adding one new design theme - 'Crimson Flag'.
         

Once the big changes related to system foundation are complete, we have lots of enhancements lined up according to what you have been asking for. Our focus for the near future will be on three key areas:

  • Further membership management enhancements. The biggest one is a redesign of the payment and pending transactions workflow to align it with common terminology of invoices and payment confirmations, and to enable admins and members to re-print documents as needed.
  • Additional design customization capabilities: for example, horizontal menus.
  • Communication / social networking functions: for example, email subscriptions to forum updates. 

Thanks for all the input! We are reviewing and prioritizing hundreds of requests every month to deliver more capabilities, while taking care to avoid making the system clumsy and overcomplicated. By end of Q2 we plan to start publishing our Top 50 requests list so that everyone can contribute design ideas - and vote on which suggestions you'd like to see given a higher priority.
 

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

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 2:13 PM

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