Business Catalyst Blog

Partner meeting and our next steps

Magda Neagu Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hi everybody,

As some of you may know, last week in San Francisco the BC team met with some of the representatives of our partner community, to assess the current status and get some feedback and perspective into some of our activities. You can find some of their impressions and ideas about the meeting on their individual blogs. (BC GurusSimple FlamePretty Polution)

We have to admit, that after MAX, overwhelmed with the amount of work required for our integration in the Adobe Creative Cloud, we've gone dark. We apologize for this, I can assure you that we had a team 150% committed in making BC a great platform for the future, but we could have done better with regards to communication.

We are changing our approach to partner communication today, and launching a series of monthly "Townhall" meetings, where all partners will be able to find out more about what is coming in the next release, what changes are expected in terms of marketing and product, and have a chance to speak to the support and sales teams. 

The first such meetings are scheduled for next Monday.  We have a 4PM Australian time slot for those of you down under, a 6PM Central European slot for those of you on the old continent, and a 10AM PST slot for US folks. Please join the one that suits you best. We will be covering in them important updates that are comming in the few weeks to the platform. This would be your chance to ask questions, give us feedback and share your opinions with us. To book for your spot, simply click the session you'd like to attend below:

In the next few days we will also update the blog with a few more items:

  • Details on the product vision and where BC is heading
  • Details on the future of the Partner program and where we want to be heading 
  • Details on the communication plan

We hope to engage in an active conversation, and to get your recurring feedback on this. For any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to send us a note.

Magda Neagu
Partner Manager 

Business Catalyst System Maintenance on March 1st

Cristinel Anastasoaie Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To improve system scalability and resilience, we are scheduling an update of our DNS system to switch from the current domain database to our new database, which has been setup a few weeks ago.

The update is scheduled for Thursday, March 1st, from 4:00 to 4:30 AM PST (check local time) and during this timeframe functionalities related to domain management, website creation and new partner registration will be suspended.

Systems or features affected:

  • DNS management for existing websites
  • Set-up of internal or external MX records or addition of new email addresses

We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences generated by these service interruptions.

The Business Catalyst Team

Tune in for Episode 16 of the BC podcast!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet Partner Brendon O'Sullivan, hear the highlights of the latest BC upgrade (R173) and listen out for a fresh HTML quiz question.

Listen to this month's podcast:

Simply click the play button below to stream the podcast via your browser.

player

Alternatively, you can download the podcast in .mp3 format for offline listening.

To subscribe and receive the BC Podcast each month, you can find us on the iTunes store here or by simply searching "BC Podcast" from iTunes.

In February's episode:

  • Meet Partner Brendon O'Sullivan who shares:
    • What's best for your customers 'Customer'
    • Are your designs and user experience geared for the best customer experience?
    • It's all about the conversion.
    • Learn about Bosweb's new secret "Rocket"
  • What to expect in the new few months?
    • Exciting announcements that will make you smile
    • Updates on our trip to SXSW (if you're going to SXSW, reach out to BC Evangelist Adam Broadway)
  • Our monthly quiz - be the first listener to chime in with the correct answer in the comments, and we'll give you a special shout out in next year's first episode!

R173 - New DNS infrastructure, updated web forms user interface and several bug fixes

Cristinel Anastasoaie Friday, February 24, 2012

Last update: Mon, Feb 28 at 2:00 AM PST

We are announcing a new Business Catalyst release, scheduled to go live on Tuesday, February 28th.

The R173 release comes with an updated DNS infrastructure (hardware and software) for better performance and reliability, updated web form interface for improved usability and several bug fixes.

Updated DNS Infrastructure

With this release we are going to replace the existing DNS infrastructure with a completely new solution (hardware and software) that aims to fix many of the DNS problems you've found while using Business Catalyst, greatly increase performance when resolving domains and support higher loads for new site creation.

For a smoother migration path, the new solution will be switched on a day after the release, on March 1st.

Updated Web Forms

We have updated the Edit Web Form user interface to simplify the discovery and usability for web form settings. Starting with R174, we've added a more visible Edit Properties button and updated the Web Form Properties dialog:

Related to web forms, the Reports > Web Form Usage menu entry in Admin Console will be shown only if the user has View Reports permission and at least a form is created on the site.

Issues fixed by R173 release

  • Issue 3106414 - Fixed a bug preventing users to update Credit Card details for a recurrent payment created with SagePay payment gateway
  • Issue 3107053 - The Secure Zone Report Summary window does not log the login event
  • Issue 3109864 - Updated the message displayed when accessing Admin -> Manage Domains user interface for a trial site
  • Issue 3110882 - Fixed a bug causing passwords to be incorrectly updated with '******' when site customer are updating their details using the Update Customer form
  • Issue 2930622 - Fixed a bug generating a JavaScript error when opening web form builder
  • Issue 2930642 - Fixed a bug causing special characters in web forms drop down lists to break the new web form builder
  • system_visitorDeviceClass and visitor.device will return the detected device even if multiscreen templates are disabled
  • Improved delivery rate for weekly system reports

Known issues

  • Site Settings -> Site Map menu entry in Admin Console is displayed to all users having Edit pages permission and cannot be hidden. For the next few months, users who don't need Sitemap should ignore this menu entry.

Business Catalyst V3 beta updates

  • Added Copy Campaign button in the Email Campaign wizard on Stats and Preview and Send screens.
  • Added the Export report button in Secure zone usage report screen
  • Added a confirmation message after a successful customer deletion
  • Fixed a bug causing the Download Import Template button within Web App to open a blank page
  • Added a confirmation message after successfully deleting multiple cases/orders
  • Fixed a bug causing an incorrect CSS style usage on V3 after page reload when using Internet Explorer 8
  • Added a Preview button in edit announcement screen
  • Updated Site Settings>Billing Settings user interface to add 3 missing functionalities: Upgrade Site Plan, Upgrade Credit Card and Cancel Site
  • Fixed a bug on Internet Explorer 9 preventing users from editing web app settings
  • Fixed a bug on Chrome causing the instant search results to be displayed over the search box in CRM>Search user interface
  • Fixed a bug causing Preview page to open the Admin V3 user interface instead of the site page
  • Fixed a bug preventing users from accessing Module Manager in Admin V3
  • Fixed a bug on Internet Explorer causing a redirect to an empty frame instead of a redirect to Web Form Detail page after closing any popup from Site manager -> Web Forms interface
  • Update Edit Page screen to move Page Name field in the top and have the URL and Page Title fields auto-completed based on Page Name value

Heads-up: upcoming changes in the next release

We'd like to give you a heads-up with upcoming changes in the following release, without setting anything in stone though.

User Interface V3 will become default for new users

Starting with our next release (March 2012), all new users will have access by default to the Business Catalyst V3 user interface, but will be able to switch to the current user interface. The change will affect all user types (Partners and Customers) and all sites (existing and new).

New names and module tags for Announcements, Literature and Bookings

To improve consistency across the new Admin, the Announcements, Literature and Bookings modules, their corresponding tags and user interfaces will be renamed. Existing tags and modules will continue to work as today, but users will no longer be able to insert them through module manager going forward. For each modules, the following name changes will occur:

  • Announcements will become News and the following tags and modules will be replaced:
    • {module_announcement} will become {module_news}
    • {tag_announcementurl_value} will be replaced by {tag_newsurl_value}
    • {tag_announcementid} will be replaced by {tag_newsid}
    • {tag_eventfromdate} will become {tag_newsfromdate}
    • {tag_eventtodate} will become {tag_newstodate}
  • Bookings will become Events and the following tags and modules will be replaced:
    • {module_booking} will become {module_events}
    • {tag_bookingday} will become {tag_eventday}
    • {tag_bookingmonth} will become {tag_eventmonth}
    • {tag_bookingyear} will become {tag_eventyear}
  • Literature will become Media Downloads and the following module will be replaced:
    • {module_literature} will become {module_mediadownloads}

Updated user management interfaces

To simplify the user and email accounts management workflows, we're going to update their corresponding user interfaces in the next releases. Going forward, we will separate the admin user accounts  from email accounts management and start using an invitation workflow for user and email accounts creation.

Besides the change of workflow itself, this update completely changes the way we are thinking about the platform and represents the first step into the Business Catalyst future. The user and email accounts user interfaces rely on REST APIs and backbone.js to completely separate the UI from the application login and provide more development flexibility and increased performance. Going forward, every interface we'll touch will be built on this infrastructure and will allow us to publish APIs which partners can use to extend or tweak the platform.

Note: by separating email and admin accounts user interfaces, you will no longer be able to create users that don't have access to admin and email. Existing user accounts that don’t have email and admin access will continue to live on the system, but they will not be visible or editable in the new interfaces. We recommend you to use the current user interface to transition these accounts into either email or admin accounts.

SEO options will be enabled out-of-the-box

Site Settings -> SEO menu entry in Admin Console will be removed. The options available now are:

  • SEO friendly URLs for eCommerce, Announcements, Web Apps -- these will be enabled for all sites by default and cannot be turned off
  • Enable partial URL matching for SEO friendly URLs -- this option will be deprecated. Existing sites will keep the current setting but able to switch it off using a special interface
  • Enable sitemap.xml for search engines -- this will remain as is for existing sites, and always enabled for new sites

Note that trial sites will not be indexed by search engines. Should you want to disable search engine indexing after upgrade, please use a custom robots.txt file or upload an empty sitemap.xml.

If you'd like to use a custom sitemap.xml file, simply upload it to your site. If this file exists, it will be served instead of the BC-generated sitemap.xml.

Related to SEO, Enhanced 301 Redirects is being delayed for a few months.

Dropping support for Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 4 or below

Starting March 20th, we will discontinue support for Internet Explorer 7 or lower and Firefox 4 or below. In order to continue using Business Catalyst Admin user interface without problems, you and your clients need to upgrade to a more recent browser:

Thank you,

Cristinel Anastasoaie
Adobe Business Catalyst Product Manager

Updated order and cart management in R172

Cristinel Anastasoaie Saturday, February 11, 2012

With the R172 release we have made some updates on the way we handle carts and orders to prevent partial payments on non-seamless payment gateways.

The change implied the separation of the cart ID from the order ID and a format change for the CartID cookie value. Before R172, the CartID cookie value used to be composed exclusively from digits (ex: "12345") and, with R172 release, the format has been updated to be an unique identifier composed from digits, letters and dashes (ex: "698148b7-12fc-4d47-a040-32e8a8357060").

We haven't included this change in the release notes, because the only BC endorsed method to use the CartID cookie (Hiding the "Shopping Cart Is Empty" message) doesn't reference the value of that cookie but only tests for the existence of that cookie (and that was not changed).

Based on some customer reports indicating broken functionality on e-commerce sites, we've done some investigations to determine the need of a system update to correct this issue. We've reached the conclusion that the above format change should have no impact on any JavaScript code we inject on a site, excepting the case when there is some customer code in the page that try to call directly our internal methods (UpdateItemQuantity, ApplyDiscountCode, ApplyGiftVoucher and ValidateCart), which we don't document or support. Therefore, we will not push any update to modify this behavior.

However, if you do use these methods and are impacted by these changes, you have the following options:

  • Use the "{module_oid}" in the site template, if you need the Order ID (ex: insert "<input type="hidden" id="realOrderId" value="{module_oid}" />" in the page template and then use some JavaScript code to get the value at runtime)
  • Use the CartID cookie and make sure you support the new format (although you should not have any format problems in JavaScript) if you need the Cart ID

Cristinel Anastasoaie
Adobe Business Catalyst Product Manager

R172.0.2 - System Update including fixes on order management, photo galleries popups and other bug fixes

Cristinel Anastasoaie Friday, February 10, 2012

We are performing a system update to fix some issues introduced by the R172 release.

The update includes fixes on order management, photo galleries pop-ups, partner portal broken links, permissions and pages - set up a start page:

  • Issue 3109909: Fixed a problem causing workflow notifications to not be sent in some cases (after check out, when check out form contains secure login); the issue also caused incorrect order statuses in admin;
  • Issue 3109042: Fixed a bug causing photo gallery to not work for some sites due to JavaScript errors; the same problem caused product images to stop working on some e-commerce sites;
  • Issue 3109126: Fixed a language resource problem causing some links in Partner Portal to stop working
  • Issue 3109723: Fixed a bug the prevented users from setting-up a start page
  • Issue 3109003: Updated the permissions on the "Set Default 'From' Email" pop-up so that it uses Manage System Email permission instead of Administer System

The update should take up to 2 hours and we are not expecting any system downtime during the update.

Cristinel Anastasoaie
Adobe Business Catalyst Product Manager

Help us build a better support environment for Business Catalyst!

Magda Neagu Friday, February 03, 2012

This is your chance to give us input on how you’d like to receive support, how you want the next version of our support systems to look like, what kind of tools you prefer, and what your expecations might be.

To make conversations possible we are running 2 webinars on Wednesday Febr 8th, to allow our customers from around the world to join. Depending on your area please choose the one that fits you best.

  • 9AM Central Europe / 6PM Brisbane / 7PM Canberra 
  • 7PM Central Europe / 1PM Washington or New York / 10AM San Francisco

To allow for flowing conversation space is limited in both instances, but we would be happy to run another series if the requests are high.

Waiting to hear from you what you think the ideal support system would look like. To register please pick one of the sessions below. Once registered you will receive the link to the session and details.

The Business Catalyst team.

Major DNS Upgrade and Service Maintenance on February 8

Dragos Manescu Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Business Catalyst  team has just finished a major upgrade of the DNS architecture that will increase the performance and the availability of the system.
This is an infrastructure upgrade that will improve both system scalability and resilience, while keeping the existing DNS management user experience unchanged.

The upgrade is scheduled for Wednesday, February the 8th,  from 05:00 to 11:00 AM EST (check local time) and during this time frame functionalities related to domain management,  website creation and new partner registration  will be suspended.

Please find below a schedule of the maintenance:
  • Time frame for this operation: 05:00 to 11:00 AM EST (check local time); the duration will be of about 6 hours.
  • Systems affected: 
    • DNS management for existing websites
    • Set-up of internal or external MX records or addition of new email addresses
    • Site Cancelation from the Partner Portal
    • Partner Activation:  if a customer has registered as a partner prior to the above time frame but hasn’t visited the Partner Portal to activate her account, she will have to wait until 11:00 EST (check local time) for this activation
    • New website creation
    • New partner registration
We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences generated by these service interruptions.
 
The Business Catalyst Team

Tune in for Episode 15 of the BC podcast!

Jackson Palmer Monday, January 30, 2012

Meet Partner Patrick Steil, learn about upcoming SEO improvements, hear all the details regarding Phase 2 of our scheduled CRM password update and listen out for a fresh HTML quiz question!

Listen to this month's podcast:

Simply click the play button below to stream the podcast via your browser.

player

Alternatively, you can download the podcast in .mp3 format for offline listening.

To subscribe and receive the BC Podcast each month, you can find us on the iTunes store here or by simply searching "BC Podcast" from iTunes.

In January's episode:

  • Meet Partner Patrick Steil
  • What to expect in the new few months?
  • A HTML brain-teaser - be the first listener to chime in with the correct answer in the comments, and we'll give you a special shout out in next year's first episode!

Moving towards better support

Vlad Stanilescu Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hi guys, 

I’m Vlad, and I'm a new addition to the BC team, currently overseeing the whole BC support organization.

We know that in the past there have been issues with our support, so we are currently working on improving our support for all your projects, by tackling this from two different areas:

  1. Increasing our team – We are currently working on increasing the size of our team, which would allow us to offer you more support and speedier replies. The new team is currently in training, and they will become active within the next few months.

  2. New systems and tools in place – we are working to improve our systems, and to have better documentation available for you. Here are some of the changes in this respect:

    1. Build a much more friendly, community powered Q&A section and KB, which will be continuously monitored and reviewed.

    2. Rebuild the KB and forums in order to be easier to understand and use by the community, and have a close to real timed answered Q&A forum section.

    3. Have a proactive Help & support portal in which we’ll announce existing known issues and we’ll provide work-arounds in a timely manner, so our customers will always know what is happening, and if we encounter issues how they can solve them, or when they will be solved by us.

    4. Migrate to a new support environment (CRM + Chat + forum) that will help us scale up to the current & future support needs

As you can see there are many areas that we are working on, but all of this will only take effect in the next few months. We will keep you posted as we progress with our plan.

Looking forward to a great support experience for the BC partners,

Vlad