Business Catalyst Blog

Login interface updated for Adobe ID users

Florin Carlig Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Business Catalyst is upgrading the Login workflow for Adobe ID users. The update will change the login screen to the partner portal and will require partners to use an Adobe ID to login to their Business Catalyst sites.

This new login screen will be available when you login in the Partner Portal:


Important notes:

  • Your clients will continue to see the regular BC login, there’s no change for them.
  • The regular BC login interface will be displayed if you try to login to http://businesscatalyst.com/admin or your-site.com/admin
  • Also, with this change, partner users that haven't yet switched to use an Adobe ID (meaning they merged their BC partner email with an Adobe ID) will be required to create an Adobe ID.

Upon login, they'll be asked to create a new Adobe ID (or sign in with one if they already have an Adobe ID):

It's recommended that you create an Adobe ID with the same email address as your BC account. Once you create an Adobe ID, your previous BC account will be merged with the new Adobe ID:

Your existing BC credentials will be overwritten - so next time you'll need to login with your Adobe ID username and password.

 

Also, check out the "BC & Adobe ID" FAQ that was published when AdobeID requirements were first introduced in April 2012. 

 

App of the month: Backup BC

Diana Herac Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This month we're launching a series of articles which will describe a different app each month. May is dedicated to BackupBC - a successful app developed by Karim Ardalan of AID+BC and MIS, Inc. and Joe Wellborn of Practically Inspired.

Introducing BackupBC

BackupBC is the Business Catalyst backup solution that lets you sleep better at night. BackupBC leverages the new BC Open Platform to let you backup your website from inside the admin console.

With BackupBC, you can now perform backups in a fraction of the time it used to take. As partners, you can offer a new and profitable value-added backup service to your clients. Or, if you prefer, you can let your clients handle their own backups. BackupBC is so easy to use, you and your clients can start your first backup in seconds.

Here are some of the things you can do with BackupBC right now:

  • Backup Files, Web Apps, CRM, and Ecommerce
  • Backup your entire site or select only those items modified since any date of your choosing
  • Save backups on your website and/or your local drive or favorite cloud storage
  • Manage your storage preferences

New features in development:

  • Backup Blogs
  • Restore Wizard
  • Backup other parts of your website as their API’s become available

Since its release in February 2014, BackupBC has been an extremely popular app on the BC App Store, breaking the record for most apps sold in a single transaction, then breaking the record two more times.

Why BackupBc?

These horror stories, which probably sound familiar to most BC partners, can keep you up at night: One of Karim’s clients tried to delete an image and accidentally deleted the entire images folder. One of Joe’s clients inadvertently deleted all her web app items - and there were hundreds!

BackupBC was inspired by these stories, and the developers set out to create the easiest possible backup solution for BC partners and their clients.

About the developers

Karim Ardalan founded his web development company, MIS, Inc. in 1995. He became a Business Catalyst partner in 2008 under the name dashbee and has developed over 150 BC websites. He is a frequent speaker at BC events and is a member of the Partner Advisory Board. In 2011 Ardalan founded AID+BC, which helps the community learn about all things BC and Muse. Anybody who works that hard needs a good night’s sleep, and now with BackupBC he gets it.

Joe Wellborn started designing websites when Netscape still came in a box. He discovered Business Catalyst in 2009, and soon afterward he founded Practically Inspired, LLC to focus exclusively on BC. When one of his clients inadvertently deleted a few hundred web app items he started thinking about a backup solution. Now he sleeps soundly at night and wishes the same for you.

To give everyone this peace of mind, BackupBC have decided to set a special price for this app, for a limited period of time. Only during May you have the chance to purchase BackupBC with a 50% discount. Simply visit the BC App Store and buy it today!

If you are like Joe and Karim and you've developed a great app for BC, tell the whole world about it by reaching out to BCPartner-Team@adobe.com. We will be happy to share your story!

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

Sandpile webinar: Make Business Catalyst Dance with Underscore

Diana Herac Thursday, May 08, 2014

Business Catalyst is all about lists, and Scott B Reynolds from Thrise is going to show how to use Underscore to have greater control over those lists via filtering, sorting, shuffling and about 80 other handy features. Underscore.js is a popular javascript library allowing you to rearrange your Business Catalyst data. Make the most out of your Business Catalyst lists by using the power of Underscore.

  • San Francisco: Tuesday May 13th at 5pm
  • New York City: Tuesday May 13th at 8pm
  • London: Wednesday May 14th, 1am
  • Sydney: Wednesday May 14th, 10am

Sign up here: Make Business Catalyst Dance with Underscore

April 23rd Webinar recording on Open Platform

Diana Herac Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Thanks to those of you who attended our BC webinar with Radu Cosnita from Business Catalyst and Brian Lowry from BC Gurus.
If you were unable to join us live, you can access the last 3 recordings below:

Radu Cosnita showcased some very useful demos on becoming a BC app developer and how to build your first BC app.
And Brian Lowry presented the BC app store and how it works.

If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to send them over to BCPartner-Team@adobe.com. We will be happy to answer all your inquiries.

Thank you and hope to see you in the next webinar.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

Scott B. Reynolds speaks at the New England Adobe User Group

Diana Herac Thursday, May 01, 2014

Tuesday, May 6th Scott B Reynolds will demonstrate why Business Catalyst is the most underrated product in the Creative Cloud. Scott will use one of our new responsive templates to show off some of the most popular features. This demonstration will show how Business Catalyst is a huge time-saver for both web professionals and business owners. He'll also answer as many questions as time allows.

When: Tuesday May 6th at 1:00pm (eastern)
Where: Marlboro College Graduate School, Bratleboro Vermont
Host: New England Adobe User Group

Register for the event, or watch it live (via Adobe Connect): http://experts.adobeconnect.com/sbr

Scott is a Business Catalyst App Developer, Premium BC Partner, an Adobe Community Professional, and an organizer of BC Sandpile.

April, 23rd Webinar on Open Platform

Florentina Laptuca Sunday, April 13, 2014

This month, we'll meet Wednesday, April 23, for a Webinar focused on using Open Platform.

Radu Cosnita, Senior Developer from Business Catalyst
will showcase why Open Platform represents the evolution of BC platform and how it allows Partners to extend Business Catalyst by coding and reusing secure third party applications.

 

You will receive very interesting information about:
•           Becoming a BC Developer (demo)
•           Create first BC application (demo)
•           Developer Resources

So we will go through the process of enrolling as Developer, creating a new 3-rd party application and distributing it (to your sites or to other partners). Also, you will find out about useful upcoming features of BC.

Brian Lowry, Director of Community from BC Gurus will show how can you install apps and plugins on your Business Catalyst sites using the BC App Store and why it is this store a place to go if you want to add functionality to a BC site.
Here’s what he will outline:
•           Why You Should Distribute Your Apps Through the BC App Store
•           How to Get Your Apps in the BC App Store
•           Terms and Standards

Don't forget to register here:

If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to send them over to BCPartner-Team@adobe.com. We will be happy to answer all your inquiries.
Thank you and hope to see you in this month’s webinar.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

Open Platform, A New Chapter for Online Business

Brent Weaver Friday, April 11, 2014

It was about a year ago when I first got a glimpse of what Alexandru Costin was talking about when he said he wanted to make Business Catalyst an open, extensible platform.

At the time, I remember thinking, “but BC is all about being a closed system so partners don’t have to worry about that stuff!” And I went forward with that thinking for months.

At the start of Open Platform (called Open Admin at the time), the BC engineering team opened up a couple of functions in a very small private alpha via the Partner Advisory Board (or PAB):

  1. Ability to create custom admin menu items and modify existing structure
  2. Ability to load pages into the admin iFrame

For the most part, even in the private beta environment, very little came out of this...at first. Partners added some custom menu items and even some pages to make their clients’ lives easier.

It seemed novel, but not really powerful or game changing.

I’m not sure who thought of the next iteration first, but I heard it from Jackson Palmer. Him and I would have these late night Skype chats to talk about where BC was headed and how we could push the platform forward.

He dropped an idea on me that blew my mind. I will admit, it actually took him hammering it in my head a few times, but once I got it, I got it.

The idea was simple: since you are logged in with an administrator token via the backend, you could actually use that token from the HTML of a page hosted on BC, called via one of these custom admin buttons, to access the existing APIs (like the Filesystem API) through JavaScript.

I had been waiting around for some new functionality to be able to build “apps” in BC, but what I didn’t realize was the functionality was sitting right there. It had actually been available for months, but no one, besides a couple of BC engineers, had started to develop beta apps for it.

So we got started.

Without Open Platform, Limitations

Business Catalyst is a SaaS-based, “hosted” system which has a nice list of pros and cons against other platforms that are open source and “premise” (where you control the hosting environment). As BC partners, we don’t have to worry about PCI compliance, hosting scalability, DoS attacks, bug fixes, version updates, and the list goes on.

The flip side of this has been that we can only customize the frontend experience of Business Catalyst websites. We’ve had to work within the existing modules available to solve our client’s most pressing problems. I have built hundreds of BC sites...you can solve a lot of problems with the existing BC infrastructure and as an agency, having all of my clients on one platform, version, and hosting environment allows me to scale and provide great service.

But sometimes we would solve problems in ways that had the right end result for the frontend user of the website, however the business owner or administrator would be left with clunky processes and workflows to actually manage the resulting setup. The net effect of these workarounds would usually be either slow adoption or no adoption.

Sure, you can build a custom real estate management system with BC’s Web Apps tool, but what does it feel like to actually add, remove, and edit properties? Have you ever trained a client on updating a Web App with almost 100 fields? I have...and the look on my client’s face was, “seriously?”

You could create these amazing frontend experiences, creating beautiful galleries of properties (or many other things), but then the backend is like filling out a Microsoft Access database. Don’t get me wrong, Web Apps are super powerful for quickly solving tough problems. But they have the potential to be much, much more powerful.

Another limitation has been building around BC’s existing API layer. At BC Gurus, we published some tutorials early on about building applications on top of BC’s APIs. We were able to push BC really far with these, however, they all require developers to create their own hosting infrastructure and use a server-side development language like PHP or .Net. The “all-in-one” aspect of BC always took a hit when we decided to extend the platform like this - adding hosting services again to our list of technologies to support for our clients.

The final limitation has been that we’ve been unable to easily transfer value between partners.

Let’s say, I build a custom blog feature using Web Apps because I am building a website for a publisher and I need all sorts of custom content types for each post that we publish. Maybe the client pays us to develop this feature with a twenty or thirty hour budget - it’s really polished.

Then, another BC partner sees the work I did and says, “hey Brent! I’d love to do what you did on that site!” Ok, let me record a video tutorial, teach you some edge case features in BC, get you up to speed on some JavaScript, and walah! Ten hours later, you are all set. But wait, maybe you can’t get it to work just right because you missed something in step #22...now you have to pay me to login to your site and figure out what went wrong with your implementation. This is highly inefficient.

I am a big proponent of educating others, but I also realize that sometimes it’s easier, more efficient, and enjoyable to just give someone the tool. Especially if we can instantly transfer that tool to hundreds, or thousands of partners in seconds.

Welcome, Open Platform

The above limitations are no more with Open Platform. We can now fully customize the front and backend experiences for our clients, we can access BC’s API layer directly from the hosting environment from a non server-side language that most partners are familiar with, and we can package and distribute custom applications instantly to the entire Business Catalyst community.

Open Platform is a new application layer available in Business Catalyst. In the beginning, it was simply being able to call HTML files from within BC, but has now evolved into a full “Application” environment - complete with developer keys, an open source SDK, new APIs, and a budding marketplace.

As mentioned earlier, the cornerstone of creating an “app” and not just some custom content, is the ability to access an API token once a user is authenticated into the admin of BC and being able to use that token to access features, through code, that the user has permission to access.

We can now extend BC, with BC. No need for external servers to start to create custom admin-level tasks. This allows us to work asynchronously with the Business Catalyst team to develop niche tools and solutions for our clients and the greater partner community while they are working on core functionality. It also means that elegant front end solutions built in BC can be paired with elegant backend solutions.

Take my example about the real estate listing system earlier. We had a client that had almost a hundred custom fields in a Web App - simply because they had a lot of custom data points about each property as well as a huge list of images (50 fields for images). Not every property had a lot of images though, some only had ten, but Web Apps just has one admin view, and that meant that the client had to scroll through all fifty every time they were editing a property. They also couldn’t see a visual of each image in the Web App, which meant that we had to train the client on a custom naming convention so they could view and organize their images on their desktop.

Now, with Open Admin, we can make a completely custom UI for the admin for that client. Not only that, but could probably re-use much of the display code from the frontend to make it a familiar experience.

Here are some new things partners can start thinking about:

  1. How can I improve the workflows that my clients are using most in BC by building a custom UI that is tailored just for them
  2. Can I combine existing features in BC (like two Web Apps, or Web Apps and E-Commerce) to solve problems that wouldn’t have made sense to do before
  3. What data could I display differently that would be valuable to my client (think custom dashboards…)

Not every limitation in BC can be solved with Open Platform. I have been listening to several discussions around the partner community about getting work done on “BC Core.” Essentially, the question has been, “why this? why now? is BC trying to outsource development?”

Absolutely not.

I have a great visual analogy to represent the value over time of this development for Business Catalyst. The basic idea is that of planting a tree. The best time for BC to have opened this functionality would have been five or six years ago - because that would have given us YEARS to be extending BC and our “app tree” would be way more developed by now. Well, the second best time to plant a tree is today, and that’s what the BC team has done.

After six months of a limited group of partners having access to Open Platform, we only have about a dozen apps at the commercialization level. It takes time to learn a new thing, come up with ideas, and build something meaningful. And most people aren’t fast followers. Most people look at a new thing like this and say, “I’ll get to it” and let others lead the way. Or they wait for their first client to need something that could be solved with Open Platform before they jump in.

So far we only have a few early adopters of the technology that have really grabbed it by the horns (even though hundreds have registered developer keys). The criticism so far for apps not solving “all” problems has more to do with the fact that apps just haven’t been in development that long than it does with the idea that apps aren’t going to be able to solve many, many current limitations in BC.

Lets think about how Open Platform will make an exponential difference on the value proposition of Business Catalyst.

Right now we have limited APIs to access:

  1. Categories
  2. CRM
  3. E-Commerce
  4. File system
  5. Page templates
  6. Roles
  7. Sites
  8. System
  9. Web apps

Not every function for each of those is supported yet, but even with the existing support, that has opened our ability to:

  1. Create custom content management tools (Homepage Slider and Team Directory)
  2. Display custom e-commerce dashboards (Quick Stock Viewer)
  3. Backup BC site data (BackupBC)
  4. Manage site designs and templates (Bootstrap Builder)

And I’m aware of several more projects currently under development. Basically, with what we have access to today, developers are scaling efforts to add considerable functionality to what’s possible with BC.

But this is only the beginning. As the BC engineering team releases new APIs, features, and core improvements, they are going to be doing so with Open Platform in mind. That means that as we progress through time with Business Catalyst, the amount of value potential increases exponentially.

For instance, Liquid rendering is being released in private beta shortly. This new feature without Open Platform would have been a really big deal, but now it’s (big deal)². Instead of just opening up some cool opportunities on the front end of BC, Liquid now has the multiplier effect of increasing our potential with custom apps.

When BC launches new APIs (like maybe the Booking API, site traffic data, or site search terms) they will immediately open up new possibilities with Open Platform. When BC launches a new core feature, the feature’s potential won’t even be fully understood because it will include this exponential possibility of interfacing with hundreds of developers’ custom applications.

If it sounds like I might be a little app crazy, it’s because I am.

When Alexandru and I got to talking about the future of BC, it became clear to us that Open Platform was critically important. There was just no way for the engineers to keep up with the scalable improvements that other ecosystems were enjoying because of similar developer communities. Partners lose when their customers want niche features that are available in other platforms.

We knew that we needed a marketplace to legitimize the concept. To allow not just a select few partners to reap the benefits of higher customization, but also to allow the non-technical partner to benefit.

Welcome, BC App Store

Last fall, my team began working with Adobe’s to fulfill the role of the marketplace for the newly created app opportunity. We leveraged our network and deep understanding of BC to rapidly create a central platform to distribute apps for partners.

This allowed the very first apps that were being developed for Open Platform to quickly get widespread testing within the community. Instead of slowly rolling out the idea, we could get hundreds of installs and see how individual concepts would be received within the community while finishing touches were being done to the infrastructure being built by Adobe.

The marketplace is important for a few reasons:

  1. It allows apps to be transferred between partners instantly.
    One partner invests time and energy into a solution and they can transfer that value to another partner quickly and for a low cost investment to the other partner. We spent about 50 hours on the first version of Homepage Slider…you can benefit from that investment for only $29 per site. This week we also launched the first free apps, so in some cases, you’ll get to benefit at no cost.
  2. It allows developers to get a return on their investment.
    Some developers will develop for the store in hopes of riches from the marketplace. Others will use it as an afterthought to make extra money after they’ve launched a custom solution for their clients. In either case, the marketplace provides a way to add revenue to your business by extending BC.
  3. Central hub for updates, distribution, and quality assurance.
    Contrary to open source communities, we are approaching the app ecosystem for BC very carefully. App developers have a contractual responsibility to provide bug support for their apps and a specific service level agreement when support issues arise. Now that BC App Store is integrated into BC, partners know exactly where to find the latest apps, and app developers will get maximum marketing exposure without having to do any outbound legwork (of course this is no replacement for good marketing if you do want to market your apps).

Right now in the marketplace, you can do a few different things:

  1. Sell or give away Open Platform apps.
    These are the apps that this post has been talking about. Installed into BC’s admin menu and leverage the API infrastructure to do things that make BC better directly within the BC admin. As a developer, you can either monetize this or provide the app for free. The marketplace does not dictate price or your free/paid strategy.
  2. Sell or give away Download apps.
    This is a simpler type of app available in the store - simply a collection of files that you create in a zip file to be distributed. This has been popular with a couple of developers that have built jQuery style plugins for BC.
  3. Sell on a per site or per partner license.
    So far these two methods of monetization are what we support today. We are working to add recurring billing functionality, along with an unlimited license, volume pricing, discount codes, and redemption codes into the platform. Our focus at BC App Store is to support the various app business models that will emerge and let our developers focus on what they do best: develop apps.

Over the last couple of months our focus has been on integrating the marketplace into Adobe’s platform and bringing the scalability of the platform up to snuff with their system. I have been really impressed with how the BC team—Cristinel, Lucian, Radu, and many others that we didn’t interface with—has approached this project and their new outlook on BC.

I know that this might sound strange, but it feels more like we’re working with that earlier stage BC team—driven to deliver features and make partners happy. I’m not sure what all changed, but after visiting the team in Romania last December, it just seems like they are committed to delivering more. Maybe’s it’s because the AWS migration is done, maybe it’s because they are approaching things differently. Either way, it’s a breath of fresh air.

Now that this work has been completed, our focus is on making the marketplace a great experience for partners securing apps for their clients and for developers creating apps on the platform. And based on what I’ve heard, BC is now gearing up to get back to core features.

Welcome, Developers

If you’ve got some development chops, it’s time you jump into this new evolution of BC with us. Now that Open Platform is out of beta, take a look at the developer docs.

I see this part of the platform evolving through a few different steps:

  1. Extending BC with what we have access to today.
    Several partners have already made some killer apps, but there is a lot of ground still to cover. I have yet to see some custom blog components, photo gallery, or much in the way of social or search. As the amount of partners working on apps grows, I imagine we will see several innovative apps based on existing APIs.
  2. Integrating BC into other applications.
    As we’ve gotten our grip on Open Platform, Adobe and the marketplace have requested that we hold off on integrating BC into 3rd party applications until there is proper due diligence done on security and privacy standards. However, once this limit is lifted, I imagine many partners will jump at the option of making BC stronger by allowing it to play well with other systems.
  3. Building with new features in the coming months.
    Adobe plans to unlock most of BC’s key features via the APIs in the coming months. I’m not sure of the timeline here, but based on what I’ve seen delivered over the last couple of months, I know that the team is focused on delivering tangible releases. I have no doubts that this new focus will reveal a lot of new potential in the platform. As each new API and feature is released, it will open yet another combination of possibilities within the platform.

Once you are ready to package an app into a commercial product, reach out to me at brent@bcgurus.com so I can line up your developer contract and get you briefed on the details of launching your first app in the marketplace.

I’m very excited to be participating with the Adobe team on such a big new development on the BC platform. The BC team has delivered a fantastic series of releases and I’m looking forward to their continued commitment to the platform.

Say Hello! to the Business Catalyst Open Platform

Cristinel Anastasoaie Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Open Platform is a strategic initiative aimed at making Business Catalyst an extensible platform, and we're happy to announce the public launch of Open Platform.

With this initiative, we open our platform to the strong partner community that are both experts in the needs of small businesses and great web developers. Using the BC Open Platform, advanced partners can build functionality on top of BC (and package it as apps), and the rest of Business Catalyst community can enhance their customers' sites by installing those apps. The new applications, that appear in BC websites Admin section, will enrich Business Catalyst current modules using REST APIs and JavaScript SDKs.

What is Open Platform, and what types of applications can we build with it?

Open platform relies on three pillars to transform Business Catalyst into a truly open business platform:

  1. The Business Catalyst partner community
  2. An app marketplace where apps are published, purchased and installed from
  3. A full-fledged developer program with access to REST APIs, developer documentation and forums

There are many applications you can build on top of the Open Admin platform. From photo galleries with drag & drop image sorting (we're giving the gallery away for free), to team management apps (also free), to full Backup solutions, Menu editors, product editors, deeper Google Analytics integration, and much more.

Introducing the BC App Store

In collaboration with our long time partners BC Gurus, we’re happy to officially announce the app marketplace (BC App Store), which lets you install apps and plugins on your Business Catalyst sites with just a few clicks. The BC App Store project was launched a few months ago while Open Platform and apps were in early days, and the joint effort of the Adobe team, the team at BC Gurus, beta app developers and quite a few of partners acting as early adopters, made it the place to go if you want to add functionality to a BC site.

Brent Weaver - BC App Store: "Open Platform changes the game for Business Catalyst. The community can now develop powerful applications for their clients and share that value with the entire ecosystem instantaneously through the BC App Store. This will allow the BC team to focus on core features while the partner community scales niche applications and solves unique problems."

BC App Store features a collection of apps and plug-ins that could help partners enhance a BC site without spending hours on custom development. These have been built by some dedicated Business Catalyst partners who wanted to share their work with the BC partner community and help other partners deliver state of the art websites.

Mike Sallander - Solid Sky: "Open Platform allows us to create new experiences, functionality and integrations for BC Partners which are delivered through the BC App Store, making distribution and installation simple. This is a truly exciting time for us as we now have the power to provide additional value to the BC Partner Community by extending and connecting the platform."

If you’re looking to enhance your sites, take some time to review the apps already featured on the store and see how your sites could benefit from using one of them. Here are some of the hot apps so far:

Looking to build apps?

Whether it's a custom admin menu for a specific website, a fully customized inventory management interface or a full-fledged back-up solution that can be deployed on any Business Catalyst web site, Open Platform empowered some long-time partners to deliver more functionality to their customers.

One of BC's most successful partners has looked into Open Platform as way to deliver tailored experiences to their high-end customers:

Brett Stockley - Pretty Pollution: "Open Platform has really unlocked our ability to create custom solutions in Business Catalyst. Now, when a client asks for a feature that doesn’t exist in the core BC modules we can turn to Open Platform to build a solution allowing us to fully service the needs of our clients"

On the other side of the world, Karim from Dashbee sees Open Platform as a good opportunity to deliver additional functionality to other BC partners:

Karim Ardalan - Dashbee: "We initially started developing BackupBC as a service to be hosted on our own servers, but when Open Platform became available we immediately knew it was better to build our app right inside the admin console as a more seamless experience for partners and their clients. We believe Open Platform is going to propel BC to new heights, and we couldn’t be more excited to be part of it."

For more insights on how Open Platform is viewed by the partner community, listen the Episode 36 of the Business Catalyst podcast. In this episode, we talked to five top BC partners about the impact that Open Platform will have on their business, strategies, and most importantly, their clients. In a similar spirit, in the latest BC Sandpile you can see several app developers demoing their apps and answering questions from other partners.

To start building apps yourself, sign-up as a developer from your Partner Portal and register your app with us. The developer program provides a complete set of tools to help partners take their sites to the next level:

  1. Web apps and System REST APIs
  2. JavaScript SDK
  3. Developer documentation
  4. Sample applications
  5. Developer forum

We are launching the Open Platform with an initial set of APIs, but we will continue to expose more and more data as REST APIs to enable the creation of better, more usable applications.

To get you started, browse through the developer documentation portal and go through the getting started guides, app development faq and read our APIs and SDK reference docs. Next, you can play with our sample apps or start from scratch if you're all set. Once done, you can deploy the apps to your customers sites or publish it on the app store for other partners to use.

If you want to contribute, you might want to know that we’ve open sourced the JavaScript SDK, the sample apps and the developer documentation and made them available on GitHub.

Before registering as a developer, you might want to know some of the key program rules:

  1. You must be a Business Catalyst partner with at least one paid site
  2. While building applications, you are not allowed to replicate Business Catalyst core functionality and enable installing those apps it on lower plans
  3. Applications should not process credit card payments

We hope that Open Platform will re-kindle innovation in the BC ecosystem. We're looking forward to seeing more applications being developed and used!

Feel free to check out the BC Open Platform FAQ for more details.

The BC Team

Improved BC Partner Program, New Responsive Templates, New Documentation

Paul Chirita Friday, April 04, 2014

We have just initiated an effort to make Business Catalyst more accessible to all partners.

With the BC April release, you will start seeing significant experience improvements across the entire partnership journey. Our main goal is to enable new and existing partners set up and run a successful web agency with Business Catalyst.

Improved Partner Program

The new journey begins with more features included in the free partnership program. 10% commissions on all sites created after this release by all free partners, old and new, site replication and configuration is available, revamped homepage of the Partner Portal and revamped Partner resources.

Of course, existing paid partners will continue to benefit from additional advantages such as 20% commissions, white-labelling, consolidated billing.

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about this partnership.

Business Catalyst Partner Portal
If you are a new BC partner, when you upgrade your first site with BC you will also get a free web agency site to help you start building a brand and collect leads for your web business(terms apply)!

The Business Catalyst Community is key to our success and we want to make all community efforts visible within the product itself. We envision our seasoned partners helping new partners get started with BC, as well as getting leads on their complementary services along the way. This is why we have included Business Catalyst training and apps providers directly into the Partner Portal dashboard.

New free responsive templates

We've been receiving requests to enhance our library of templates and include more responsive templates. We have started to integrate templates built by the community directly in our funnel (16 new templates were added, $1600 value) - if this sounds interesting, we welcome any interested additional template providers to join this effort.

Business Catalyst Templates

New Help & Support center and updated documentation

Also with this release we're launching an updated Help & Support center, with updated documentation articles to match the V3 interface, Getting Started guides, embedded videos, FAQs and tutorials for each of the BC sections and modules. Also, we're launching new modules and layouts references, and a developers section specifically targeted at BC web developers.

BC Modules reference

Other updates and bug fixes

We have continued our fight against SPAM by ignoring all the spammer IPs from the web analytics. While you will see that your traffic numbers might be lower, they represent actual visitors. Also, Forums with a large number of topics are now rendered faster. For a more detailed list of issues fixed with this release, check out the Technical release note on the system updates forum.

We hope you'll like the improvements and new templates available. Along with the Open Platform launch, we feel we're giving the BC partners a good start of the year.

The team is working on more interesting capabilities that we will announce soon. Stay tuned.
The Business Catalyst Team