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Wild Apricot Software News - February 2009

Dmitriy Buterin 25 February 2009 0 comments

About Wild Apricot Software

The Wild Apricot blog provides technology advice for small non-profits. Many blog subscribers are also Wild Apricot software clients — so we publish monthly updates about our software.

Wild Apricot all-in-one software is used by thousands of small non-profits: professional and business associations, clubs, charities, churches, activist groups and local communities. It replaces up to seven disparate systems with all-in-one solution:

  • Website hosting with built-in tools for easy web page updates even by inexperienced volunteers
  • Private web pages for board, committees, members
  • Contact and member database with membership management tools
  • Member self-service portal
  • Event calendar and online registration
  • Online donation form and online payments processing
  • Community tools: blog, discussion forums, and email newsletters
By replacing multiple separate systems and keeping all your data records in one centralized and secure place, Wild Apricot simplifies your life, saves dollars, and saves many hours of volunteer and staff work moving data between different systems. If you want to check it out, feel free to open a free 30-day trial. Full version costs from $25/month, which includes free support and updates.

Development updates

Our next release 2.39 is in final testing stages and should be published in the next few days. It is a relatively small release — focused on various bug fixes and a number of small improvements. Release notes will provide full details about 2.39.

As always, all client accounts will be automatically upgraded to the new version.

In the meantime, our main focus is on the subsequent release 3.00. This will be our biggest update so far; hence the new version number. We are replacing three separate databases underlying Wild Apricot — members, donors and event attendees — with one unified database.  (As an analogy, we are ripping out the foundation of a huge apartment building with many thousands of tenants — and putting in a new, better one. All of this without disturbing the tenants!)

As you can imagine, it is quite a feat — can't be achieved in the real world — but possible in the world of software. Nevertheless, the amount of work, scaffolding and all is very substantial.

One item we were not able to fit into release 3.00 is Advanced Search function for this new database — so initially it will only have Keyword search. We will do our best to add Advanced Search in release 3.01.

As mentioned in the previous newsletter, many clients have told us that Wild Apricot website design capabilities are a good start, but limiting and do not give them enough power to create 'jazzy' websites on their own, without engaging web design consultants to use Advanced features such as CSS Customization. We have heard you — and we've spent many hours brainstorming and designing various tools to address this. In version 3.00 we will start rolling them out — and many more tools will be added to Wild Apricot over the next few releases.

Another area where are investing extra effort is further improving our server infrastructure. In early February we experienced some intermittent glitches on one of our servers, which led to occasional downtime for some of the clients who happened to be using that server (Sorry for any inconvenience!). Besides short-term fixes we have immediately applied, we have now planned some additional backup capacity to handle these situations better in the future.

Considering all the changes, we have decided to invest extra testing time into our release 3.00 — which means that the planned release date is now the end of April (vs. end-of-March / early-April as we had originally estimated).

Due to all this work we have been doing on the system foundation, we have had to postpone many highly requested enhancements — but rest assured they have not been forgotten. The big focus of our release 3.01 will be on these very requests — details will be coming shortly.

Other updates

'Service notices' forum has been created to keep our clients informed about new system releases and other maintenance work (such as security patches, error fixes). You can monitor it by RSS feed reader or subscribe by email.

We have been asked many times whether we have a Wild Apricot presentation — which we did not — so we had to direct people to our online resources, including:

Alas, these materials were of no help to people who had to present Wild Apricot during a board meeting, if they did not have an internet connection. And of course they were on their own to structure all these materials into a coherent presentation.

We recognized this oversight quite a while ago — and have been working on a proper presentation.

Here is our first draft of the presentation. You can view it online or download the original PowerPoint file, to edit and tweak as needed to present to your colleagues and board.

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

Posted by Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 25 February 2009 at 1:00 PM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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