Business Catalyst Blog

Business Catalyst Service Maintenance, September 15th, 2012

Magda Neagu Monday, September 10, 2012

To ensure the highest security and performance levels for our services, we're applying a hardware and software update on servers located in our North America datacenter. To minimize the customer impact, the updates are scheduled at the most convenient hours for the region and will take up to eight hours to complete.

 

During the maintenance procedure the Admin Console Access, Partner Portal, FTP, Dreamweaver extension, Muse, Business Catalyst APIs, Partner registration and Trial site creation will experience 2 service interruptions of up to 30 minutes each (first one at the beginning and the second at the end), impacting sites on ALL datacenters.

Additionally, throughout the maintenance procedure, website front-ends for sites located in the New Jersey Datacenter that have heavy database usage my experience downtime of up to 8 minutes.

 

Please find below the maintenance schedule and the list of affected services:

Start of maintenance Duration Datacenter Customer impact
Saturday, September 15thth, 2012, 1:00 AM PDT (check local time) 8 hours North America
  • 2 x 30 minutes downtime for Admin Console Access, Partner Portal, FTP, Dreamweaver extension, Muse, Business Catalyst APIs, Partner registration, Trial site creation; this will impact sites on all datacenters
  • Several intermittent website front-end interruptions for heavy database usage sites on North America datacenter

 

For up to date information about system status, check the Business Catalyst System Status page.

We apologize for any inconveniences generated by these service interruptions. Please make sure that your customers and team members are aware of these important updates.

Thank you for your understanding and support,

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

BC Sandpile - September meetings

Diana Herac Wednesday, September 05, 2012

BC Sandpile is a weekly online meeting run by Business Catalyst partners for the purpose of sharing ideas, best practices, and networking.

Weekly Day/Time:

  • San Francisco: Tuesdays at 5pm
  • New York City: Tuesdays at 8pm
  • London: Wednesdays, 1am
  • Sydney: Wednesdays, 10am

Sept 4th (5th in AUS):

Do you want to talk to other Business Catalyst Partners about the most recent changes in BC? This week’s BC Sandpile will focus on many of the important changes from the latest release. Scott B. Reynolds will walk through the steps on how to apply many of the updates such as the new spam detection, cookie control, and tax rounding engine.

Sept 11th (12th in AUS):

Open Topic and Sneak Peak of the New Creativaholic's Partner-to-Partner Services.

Sept 18th (19th in AUS):

This week we are fortunate to have Brent Weaver joining the BC Sandpile. Brent will giving a sneak peak of the next evolution of BC Gurus. Be one of the first to learn about Everyone Guru.

Sept 25th (26th in AUS):

Open Topic. This is an opportunity for BC partners to use the entire meeting to discuss any topic related to Business Catalyst. This includes any questions you may have for the other Business Catalyst partners.

Full schedule: http://www.bcsandpile.com/_blog/Meeting_Chalkboard/

New Partner Resources

Diana Herac Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sales Partner Resources went through a revamping process and we’re proud to present the new and improved resources designed to support you through the selling process.

Our objective is to offer a wide variety of customizable, easy to use sales resources that any BC Partner, regardless of his experience on the platform, can use to sell more and better. What is new:

Stage 1 (August release)

  • BC plan description&pricing (US&international/AU) – a comparative table
  • BC in numbers – key numbers for BC – a general overview
  • Training and templates providers
  • Terminology page – key terms used in the BC world
  • Sales FAQ  
  • Client benefits with BC – a sales guide to pitch BC to your clients
  • Social integration+mobile support+API frameworks document
  • Selling on strategy
  • Adobe/BC logos

Stage 2 (ongoing)

  • BC on various devices - professional photos
  • Partner site template –  will contain the updated Partner site template
  • Unbranded sales video – will have the possibility to add voice over
  • Demo  site with client information/products – this can be set to demo both the site frontend and backend
  • System details (Security info/ privacy policy/ PCI compliance/ email security/ server structure etc.)
  • We’ll merge the  Online_Business_Proposal & Client_Content_Form in one document that can be used to qualify leads

You can find these new and improved resources in your Partner Portal -> Resources tab -> Sales. 

If you want your company to be featured in the training and templates providers document or you want to share your thoughts with us regarding these resources, just drop us an email at BCPartner-Team@adobe.com

Register for our September townhall meetings

Magda Neagu Monday, August 27, 2012

You're invited to our next Partner townhall meetings scheduled for September 13.

Stay up to date with what is coming out in our next release, what the plans are for the future and how you can best prepare yourself and your customers.

Join us on September 13, to discuss all of this and much more. Don't forget to register at the links below:

5:00PM Australian session

7:00PM CET / 10:00AM PST session

Customer facing updates from this release: Akismet integrations, cookies regulations and new taxation engine

Dragos Manescu Monday, August 27, 2012

We've decided to publish a new blog post for the three main customer facing features that we've just released, to help you fully understand how these features impact and benefit your client sites. We'll also link to documents that describing how to use these features. (tutorials, FAQs etc).

Introducing Akismet for SPAM protection

In the previous months we've noticed an increase in SPAM related (primarily) to blog comments - and we'd like to thank our partners for making it clear to us that this was dramatically impacting most of the sites hosted on BC. Our first thought was that we need to update our current CAPTCHA engine. But we soon realized that any site owner who owns a blog doesn't really need a wall between the blog and the commenters - and CAPTCHA is usually such a wall - no one wants to insert a security code just to express an opinion. This is why we decided that we need something else. And that something is Akismet: the de facto SPAM protection solution for blogs - easy to manage and use, smart (it learns quickly which comments are SPAM and which are not) and reliable (55 billion SPAM messages is impressive). We've extended Akismet for all types of comments on BC (web pages, products, catalogues, web apps, etc). For web forms alone we are still investigating if Akismet is the right solution, as people tend to feel more secure if CAPTCHA is involved when filling out a form (whether we are talking about a donation form, a payment form or just a contact form).

Advantages

  • Easy to configure and to understand - see how to enable and manage Akismet here
  • Easy to manage SPAM and it can be correlated with manual SPAM moderation as well
  • Better for the visitors of a blog: they will not have to fill in any CAPTCHA field just to express their opinions

How it impacts business owners

  • All site owners or partners will have to manually enable Akismet on their websites. We haven't enabled it by default
  • In the beginning, Akismet may not be 100% accurate- a few SPAM comments may leak through as valid comments. Don't worry, all you need to do is train Akismet. That is, you should mark all these comments as SPAM manually. Once Akismet becomes experienced enough (this shouldn't take more than a few days, if any), you will have a strong SPAM engine in place
  • Any site owner / Partner can have enabled both Akismet and manual moderation enabled (in case there's a desire not to display comments from a specific user)

Other documents

Next

  • In Business Catalyst any comment is associated with a CRM entry. We will offer a way to delete all the associated CRM entries if the customer is the author of a comment considered SPAM
  • CRM bulk deletion functionality

Complying to the European and UK cookie legislation

This regulation was designed to protect online privacy by making consumers aware of how information about them is collected and stored by websites, and also to help them choose whether or not they want it to happen.
It started as a directive adopted by all EU countries in May 2011. At the same time, the UK updated its Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations based on this directive. Recent changes in this directive, together with deep investigation from the Adobe legal department revealed that it will suffice for a site owner or Partner to allow the visitors to disable tracking and other performance cookies. Hence, we've provided a module that will enable any site owner or Partner to offer this functionality to site visitors.

We've divided the cookies in two categories: Strictly Necessary Cookies and Performance & Tracking Cookies. Basically, the former category contains all the cookies that make the site functional (ie. the shopping cart, secure zones etc), whereas the latter category contains all the cookies related to tracking and analytics. We are not providing any mechanism for enabling/disabling third party cookies. Click here to see a detailed description of all the cookies available on your website. Disabling will only be available for Performance and Tracking Cookies.

Advantages

  • Out of the box module that the site owner/Partner can enable on a page of a website and link to from any menu entry
  • 100% customizable - our module can be easily customized and styled
  • 100% compliant with the EU and UK legislations

How it will impact the business owners

  • The site owner / Partner should enable this module on a web page and then link that to that page from a navigation menu. Here's a step by step tutorial on how to do this
  • By enabling this feature the site owner may not be able to track usage statistics if visitors decide to disable the Performance and Tracking cookies

Introducing an improved tax rounding engine

As announced last week, we have improved the algorithm that calculates the value of sales taxes. This invoice calculation now respects best practices in the industry, fixing error propagation and including intelligent rounding for 2 decimals.

Advantages

  • Correct calculation of taxes applied to more than one purchased product
  • Best accounting and industry practices are respected

How it will impact the business owners

  • To enable the improved tax rounding engine on existing sites, please follow this guide
  • The improved tax rounding engine is enabled by default for all new Business Catalyst sites

August BC Sandpile meeting

Diana Herac Monday, August 27, 2012

Jackson Palmer, Associate Product Marketing Manager for Business Catalyst, is this week's featured guest at the BC Sandpile meeting. BC Sandpile is a weekly online meeting run by Business Catalyst partners for the purpose of sharing ideas, best practices, and networking.

Jackson will outline how the Business Catalyst team operates so Partners have a clearer pathway for knowing where to go for specific types of information, resources, and problems. He will also provide options on how to get in touch and work with Adobe staff more closely.

There will be time for BC Partners to ask Jackson questions.

Day/Time:

  • San Francisco: Tues. August 28th at 5pm
  • New York City: Tues. August 28th at 8pm
  • London: Wed. August 29th 1am
  • Sydney: Wed. August 29th 10am

Sign up here to receive a link to the meeting: http://www.bcsandpile.com/meetings/28-August-2012.htm

Tune in for episode 21 of the BC Podcast!

Jackson Palmer Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hear an interview with BC team member Sidney Mitchell, learn more about the future vision and roadmap of Business Catalyst, and of course listen out for a fresh HTML quiz question in Episode 21 of the BC podcast!

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 August's Episode :

  • Hear from support team member Sidney Mitchell
    • Learn about his background with the Business Catalyst team
    • Find out how he and the team are working to improve our support and community help
  • Learn about the future of Business Catalyst
  • 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 month's episode!

August release - automatic SPAM detection for comments, tax calculation fixes and 'cookie law' compliance

Dragos Manescu Thursday, August 16, 2012

We are announcing a new Business Catalyst release, scheduled to go live on Monday, August 27.

This release includes several user interface fixes, automatic comments SPAM control via Akismet, compliance with the EU and UK cookies regulation, fixed invoicing and taxation calculation and increased performance for import/export and FTP.

You can read through the following sections to get detailed information about this release:

Features and enhancements

Automatic SPAM control with Akismet

Recently we encountered a significant number of SPAM comments across Business Catalyst websites that have the blogs and forums features enabled, even with "Captcha" configured. As a result, we've decided to integrate Akismet, the defacto SPAM protection solution for comments in blogs. Starting with this release, the automatic SPAM moderation tool will be available for blogs, web apps, pages, announces, bookings. We're looking forward to extend the protection to other areas like Forums if necessary.

You can view some mockups of this feature here.

Regulation: EU and UK Cookie law compliance

With Business Catalyst, you can empower your customers to enable or disable tracking and other cookies that are not mandatory for the basic functionality of their site. This way a website can comply to the European and UK law. Basically, the feature is a module that you or your customer can include it in a page, pop-up or any type of modal window. We will also be providing a tutorial and documentation with details about the BC cookies.

New taxation and invoicing engine

We have improved the algorithm that calculates the correct value of sales taxes, issue known to have generated errors when rounding totals for multiple purchased products. The invoice calculation respects now best practices in the industry, fixing error propagation and including intelligent rounding for 2 decimals.

Performance improvements

During the last month, we have performed several upgrades to our database servers, and have also improved the performance and reliability of our FTP functionality and increased the speed for all the import/export procedures (for contacts, web apps, products).

This can lead to significant performance improvements for webapps with many fields, please test it yourself and let us know if it works better for you.

Customer reported issues fixed in the August release

As usual, we're also listing below the bugs fixed in this release:  

  • Issue 2769013 - Fixed the problem with module_visitorcountrycode that wasn't rendering anything when the customer was accessing the site from UK. 
  • Issue 2866783 - Fixed an issue related to the blogs RSS feature. The dRSS feed was displaying the creation date of the post and NOT the publishing date of the post.
  • Issue 2888914 - Fixed an issue involving Netbeans, Aptana and Eclipse FTP connection to Business Catalyst.
  • Issue 2872185 - Fixed an issue related to not displaying webapps when pagination is involved and when the user moves from one page to another.
  • Issue 2989060 - Fixed an issue related to applying discount codes to products available in multiple catalogues.
  • Issue 2989308 - Fixed the way shipping costs are calculated for Australia Post integrated shipping.
  • Issue 3063521 - Updated an issue involving discount rounding display in order and invoice layouts.
  • Issue 3164429 - Updated an issue related to shipping provider validation when Java Script is disabled.
  • Issue 3183926 - Fixed an issue related to company details in the Partner Portal.
  • Issue 2923580 - Updated an issue that was altering order fields when involved in a non seamless payment process.
  • Issue 3021332 - Updated discount catalogs to work for regular customers as well.
  • Issue 2760774 - Fixed an issue that we involving the expiry date for secure zone when importing a list of customers.
  • Issue 2764748 - Fixed an issue that was dealing with shipping amount validation.
  • Issue 2828396 - Fixed a problem about calculating the total tax using {tag_producttotalextax}.
  • Issue 2828278 - Fixed an issue related to "Advanced Layout Customization" for WebApps.
  • Issue 3151410 - Fixed an usability issue related to "File Manager" that was dealing with switching from one tab to another and not remembering the cursor position in any of the tabs.
  • Issue 3288534 - Fixed an issue related to user deletion when a user is attached to a workflow.
  • Issue 3289302 - Fixed an issue about caching .less files.
  • Issue 3296302 - Fixed an issue about users not being able to delete duplicate customers from CRM.
  • Issue 3307800 - Fixed an issue related to offline payments JS functionality.
  • Issue 2907377 - Updated a feature related to encoding special characters (<>, &) in file names.
  • Issue 2957949 - Fixed an issue causing filling numeric fields with trailing zeros when using web forms in front end.
  • Issue 3220522 - Fixed an issue in the returning page for DIBS (non seamless payment gateway) that was setting this page to a blank one.
  • Issue 3313655 - Fixed the current CRM import functionality that was throwing an "already existing username" exception when importing an updated CSV file with contacts.

Business Catalyst new admin interface updates

  • Updated some SEO metadata visibility cases in the actual WYSIWYG content editor and activating it after the site upgrade process.
  • Fixed some case of SEO metadata view synchronization with the html file
  • Fixed a few usability bugs related to the "File Manager": confirmation message when deleting a folder, scroll bar visibility for multiple files opened, ASCII characters support in the title, preview of .inc, .tmpl, .tpl, .liquid files and other small updates.

Next up: Email marketing improvements

As Bogdan mentioned in the BC Roadmap blog post, starting in September we will be focusing our efforts on specific themes: Email marketing, eCommerce, CRM etc. The first round will be about improving key features of the current email marketing solution, making sure that the core value of Business Catalyst (out of the box integration between components) can bring even more value to Partners and your clients. Stay tuned for more updates as we go along with the September release.


Thank you,

Dragos MANESCU
Adobe Business Catalyst Product Manager

FedEx Scheduled Service Update - August 10,11 and September 1

Dragos Manescu Friday, August 10, 2012

Please be advised that the FedEx production environments will undergo a planned system update on August 10,11 and on September 1, which will result into less than 2 hours of downtime for each day. During the downtime, the FedEx Rating, Shipping, Tracking and Pickup  services will be unable to process certain transactions for all customers.

Start Date and Time End Date and Time Duration Functionality Affected
Friday, 
August 10, 2012
11 p.m. CT
Saturday,
August 11, 2012
12:01 a.m. CT
1 hour Rating, Shipping, Tracking
Saturday, 
August 11, 2012 
11 p.m. CT
Sunday, 
August 12, 2012
12:01 a.m. CT
1 hour Rating, Shipping, Tracking, 
Pickup
Saturday, 
September 1, 2012
9 p.m. CT
Saturday, 
September 1, 2012
11 p.m. CT
2 hours Rating, Shipping, Tracking,
Pickup 

Please notify your customers about the scheduled maintenance.

Business Catalyst Mission, Strategies and Roadmap

Bogdan Rîpă Thursday, August 09, 2012

A week ago we returned from a very productive trip to the Adobe San Francisco office, where we met both our SVP, as well as a couple of very influential partners – Brent and Jason. One action item that we took from that trip was to make sure we very clearly and openly state what is our strategy and roadmap to the whole Business Catalyst partner community.

This blog post is about these concepts, explaining them in the simplest fashion possible.

Business Catalyst Mission

Our mission is to enable online businesses, not websites through a vibrant partner network.

Value Proposition

All in one as key differentiator, both for you as partners as well as for the business owners.

For you it’s the one stop shop that enables you to meet all your customers’ demands, allowing you to grow to be a successful agency, and for the business owners it’s the one place where you go to manage and grow your online business.

Business Catalyst Strategies

  • Treat our partners as real partners, not simply resellers of our solution.
  • Invest in the all-in-one aspect of business catalyst as main differentiator.
  • Reinventing Business Catalyst into a great platform that enables you to make your customers successful online, allowing the right engineering team velocity, scalability and elasticity.

All in one, explained

It's all about integration. It's not about how well the e-mail marketing side of Business Catalyst compares to our competitors (feature-by-feature comparison), it's all about how we can take advantage of the fact that our system offers e-commerce, analytics, CRM and CMS next to e-mail marketing, and how we can combine ALL these to make the world's best e-mail marketing tool by taking advantage of these integrations.

It’s about workflows that will enable partners to sell the integrated solution and all in one vision to business owners.

Tactics / Roadmap

September 2012

Better e-mail marketing/CMS integration, start working towards the platform vision.

  • Enable better integration between e-mail marketing and CMS and e-commerce, by allowing CMS content to be reused in e-mail marketing campaigns.
  • Start executing towards our platform vision, by improving the extensibility of the list layouts on web apps and e-commerce modules.

November/December 2012

Better e-mail marketing/CRM integration; advance e-commerce.

  • Better integration between e-mail marketing and CRM, by enabling things like list exclusions.
  • Expand e-commerce stock capabilities to product attributes.

February / March 2013

Better e-commerce integration; continue working towards the platform vision.

  • Enable better flexibility for e-commerce by enabling liquid in a production-ready fashion.
  • Better e-commerce reporting.

May/June 2013

Platform reinvention.

  • Enable flexibility for our webapps by enabling liquid and web apps API enabling partners to further extend Business Catalyst to SBO needs.
  • Enhance webapps up to a point where an average BC partner will be able to recreate and enrich most existing BC modules (blogs, photo galleries, etc) using web apps.
  • Enable webapps import/export to fuel an ecosystem of partners helping each other.

If you want to learn more about our strategy and focus for the near term, please attend our September 24th partner conference in San Jose, where the BC team members will be present, and more than open to get into more details.

- Bogdan