Wild Apricot Updates July 2008

Dmitriy Buterin 28 July 2008 4 comments

Our next Wild Apricot release is just around the corner — scheduled for early August. Here’s what you can look forward to seeing:

  • Authorize.Net payment option. If you have your own merchant account via Authorize.Net payment processor, you can now use it to process credit card payments (instead of PayPal).

 

  • Invoicing for membership applications. As a first step, we've added the following capabilities:
    • Automatically generate and email an invoice/payment receipt for membership applications.
    • Administrators can view/reprint/resend invoices/receipts.
         

This is just a first step in a large overhaul we are going through to implement proper invoicing workflows to all transactions. Over the next few releases you will see more invoicing functionality (and in subsequent releases, invoicing will be extended to other transactions).

  • Multiple member application pages. For example, you can now create a separate page for sponsor forms, another one for regular membership applications, one more for special discounted applications for students, and so on.
  • Forum categories. Each forum can now be assigned to a category and you can create webpages with a list of all or some forums grouped by category.
  • Rich-text formatting of introductory texts on functional pages. These used to be plain-text fields — now you can insert pictures and links, format the text, and add HTML and Javascript code.
  • Search Engine Optimization tools and Advanced Customization (CSS) have been made available for all paid account plans (previously only available for Community plans and up).
  • We have revised large parts of our code and upgraded to a new more powerful database server to maintain and improve system response time as we serve more and more clients.
  • We have started work on a Page Management screen that will make it easier for you to organize your website pages — and, most importantly, will allow us to add horizontal menu design and dynamic menu options in the next few months.
  • Also, we have been redesigning our HTML code to allow for more design customization flexibility. In this update we have revised a number of pages — blog, forum, etc. This work will continue, and it should be finished in the next update. Then we’ll move on to implement additional design capabilities that these changes enable. 

 

New support portal

Last but not least, we have moved over to a new support system (support.wildapricot.com). Discussion forums are still in place, but should be used for non-urgent matters and general discussion. The new support system will improve request tracking to ensure that nothing ever falls “through the cracks” or into junk filters. It also lets us monitor our response times and support volume on a day-to-day basis, so we can adjust our support resources as needed to meet your needs more quickly.

Wild Apricot uptime statistics

We have analyzed server logs and implemented utilities to objectively measure our system uptime.

Here are the statistics for March–June, 2008:


March

April

May

June

Uptime %

99.7060

99.5346

99.8829

99.7516


Looking at it from another angle, here is Wild Apricot's actual downtime for that period:


March

April

May

June

Downtime (hours:minutes)

2:10

3:20

0:50

1:47

And we're pleased to say that pretty much all of this has been planned downtime that's required for system updates.

 

Coming up next

We are still in the early stages of planning for the next release but here's what is being discussed:

  • Continue invoicing workflow enhancements — see above;

  • Start adding functionality for member groups, such as committees;

  • Finish the page management function and move on to horizontal menu options;

  • Additional design themes;

  • Human-friendly URLs

 

Wild Apricot Roadmap and Crowdsourcing

We're frequently asked about Wild Apricot's long-term product roadmap. Our development philosophy is very much driven by the feedback we are receiving, and our development procedures (updates every 4–6 weeks) give us the flexibility to respond quickly to meet client needs.

We collect client feedback and reconcile it with our own ideas for the product through two discussion forums:

Based on how much feedback each item generates and on how well a particular request is defined — and reconciling this with other priorities (driven by system performance, security and overall product vision) — we can then schedule these items into upcoming releases.

Please keep your feedback coming! The more specific you can be in terms of things you need, the better we can collect additional feedback from others and prioritize each item for action.

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

Posted by Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Published Monday, 28 July 2008 at 3:14 AM

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Comments

  • Corey  said:

    Monday, 28 July 2008 at 5:00 PM

    Thank you very much for your continued work on this excellent product.  I especially appreciate the Authorize.net additional functionality.  It adds a certain layer of trustworthiness to a website to actually take credit cards instead of "just paypal".

    Thank you.

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

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Tuesday, 29 July 2008 at 3:06 AM

    Corey, thanks for your comment.

    We are excited to release Authorize.net as we had many requests for it!

    Also to clarify - people were always able to use credit cards with WA (pay for applications, registration etc), paypal was just a payment processor 'behind the scenes'. Now we are adding another payment processor option - Authorize.Net

  • Bruce Waldref said:

    Thursday, 31 July 2008 at 12:11 PM

    The work you do in improving systems and workflows is greatly appreciated.  The one area the continues to be bothersome for Canadian dollar payment transactions relates to PayPal payment processing and the unacceptably high level of Pending payments generated.  Recent updates have addressed some of these issues but only for US dollar transactions.  Most of the complaints we receive are in some way connected to PayPal.  Can you please give us some assurance and time frames as to when Canadian dollar payment issues will be addressed?

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

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 31 July 2008 at 12:21 PM

    The problem is that there are very few providers on the Canadian market. (We have looked for ourselves!) We have heard that PayPal plans to bring their PayPal pro (US) offering to Canada soon, that should alleviate the problem a bit.

    And we will keep looking for other payment options.

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