December News from Business Catalyst

- Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Being so close to the Christmas/New Year holiday period, we've made a decision to delay our regular monthly system release to 12th January 2011. In it's place, we're going to be applying a small patch to fix several defects. The patch will be applied on 15 December 1:00AM US PST and will include fixes for the following 7 customer impacting bugs:

  1. DNS resolution issues for new sites will be fixed - recently we've had a gradually worsening intermittent problem where new sites created on the domain were not accessible through their system URLs for a period of up to 45 minutes after creation
  2. Fixed a bug causing Business Catalyst system to redirect users to a wrong URL when 3D secure is enabled for SagePay payment gateway
  3. The "Pending Collection" column in Orders now displays the new remaining amount to be collected after a partial payment has been made instead of showing $0
  4. Fixed a bug causing the wholesale price in search results to not update after a wholesaler has logged out
  5. Improved Captcha validation to prevent random fails on the validation process
  6. Fixed a problem in the Partner Portal create site user interface which was causing the system to return an error when creating an "Email Marketing" lead-in plan (Error -1)
  7. Changed a message in the Update CC form to remove references to Business Catalyst

With the actual release delayed I will use the rest of the post to give you details what the team worked in this month which will also serve as a preview of the features and modifications we're rolling out on 12 January.

Product Export/Import Overhauled

What started as a bug-fix request by Mario, one of our senior support staff snowballed into a full overhaul of Export and Import functionality for Products. The engineering team wanted to improve its performance and make it much more robust. Here is a list of major changes that are coming in January. If you have sites that make heavy use of this feature they will have to re-export their Products into a CSV file before continuing to make edits after 12 January 2011.
  1. Products will be exported in raw CSV format - to enable a roundtrip from export to import without any file format modifications we will start exporting files in raw CSV format so they can be directly re-imported after you make modifications to the product data only.
  2. Product codes will be enforced as mandatory - when importing a products file, all products will require a product code otherwise the import will be aborted.
  3. We will backfill any products without product codes - if you have products without product codes in your online store database as at 12 January 2011 we will run a batch process to automatically generate 10 digit random codes and fill them in for you.
  4. We will generate product codes for you - If you create a product through the UI and save it without a product code we will generate a random 10 digit product code for that product on save.
  5. Parser was re-written to conform to CSV RFC - this means you can now import files without quotes around the data within fields unless the text in the field actually contains the delimiter which in this case will be a comma.
  6. Addressing Duplicate Product Codes - we will be contacting online store owners who have duplicate product codes between now and January to give them instructions and tools on how to rectify this. We can either change the duplicate product codes for you into unique ones or you can do it yourself if it needs to match a certain format - there will be a grace period of 3 months from January '11 to April '11 before we enforce unique product codes.

OpenSRS Mail Update

Currently we have sites that using OpenSRS mailboxes for beta testing purposes but we've now decided on a firm date for enabling OpenSRS mailboxes for all sites. From 15 January 2011, all new sites created on Business Catalyst will be provisioned with OpenSRS mailboxes. This means if you create a site after the date, then upgrade it, add a domain and add users, your mailboxes will have the new UI and 2GB of storage instead of the 100MB provided now.

For existing sites, OpenSRS Mail migration will happen February. As the date gets closer I will provide you with a firm date for the migration. This will be a seamless upgrade requiring no action from you or your customers. Once the upgrade is complete, they will be able to login to their mailbox after the migration to use the new UI and get the new 2GB limit while retaining their existing email.

Other Important Announcements

Additionally we will have 3 other major changes that I would like to give the partner community a 'heads-up' on:
  • We are removing Sitewalk from System - for users who wish to use InContext Editing inside Firefox, we recommend that you download the Firefox 4.0 Beta which fixes the current issues.
  • Pricing Change - BC will be lowering it's pricing on some plans. Jackson will be following up with a post on this topic later in the week.
  • Email Marketing to be included in the 'Websites' Plan - This means if you have any customers on 'Websites' plan they will be able to see the 'Marketing' tab starting from 12 January 2011 unless you disable it for them.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

Eddy (Your Friendly BC Product Manager)