May release - New partner support, Infrastructure updates, Site templates and bug fixes

Cristinel Anastasoaie - Wednesday, May 02, 2012

We are announcing a new Business Catalyst release, scheduled to go live on Thursday, May 3rd. With this release, we are continuing our investments in system performance and stability by increasing our web servers capacity, enabling HTTP acceleration to provide faster site loading times, and improving the site creation speed by using pre-generated sites.

On the product side, we have completely revamped our partner support workflow taking advantage of the Adobe support infrastructure and tools, enhanced the site templates workflow for partners, and included lots of bug fixes and improvements. Read through the following sections to get detailed information about this release:

You can jump to the corresponding section by clicking the above links.

Partner support

Updated Help & Support partner experience

Following Adobe ID support, we have upgraded BC support tools (cases, chat, documentation) with standard Adobe tools. As a partner, you can now benefit from the same support tools as the rest of Adobe Creative Suite, and can track your support cases with Adobe BC, Dreamweaver, Muse or Photoshop in a single place.

Partners with more than 100 paid sites will get 2nd level chat support, which includes a higher priority, by default. If you have more than 100 paid sites, but spread across different Partner Portals, please ask support to enable 2nd level chat for you.

Support experience for your Small Business owner clients can now be owned by partners (see below).

Custom Help & Support URL for your clients

As a partner, you are probably already offering various additional services to your clients besides building & maintaining their BC site. Support, tailored specifically to your client needs, is usually one of these value-added services. We are now enabling you to take your Support service to the next level. In Partner Portal Settings, you have the option to set a custom URL for what will open when your client clicks on Help & Support inside Admin Console:

If you have multiple partner accounts, for different verticals, you can specify a Support URL for each of these.

The default Support experience provided by BC for your clients will be updated in a few releases to be similar to the partner support experience. This includes BC-branded support cases and documentation. If you'd like to keep a white-label experience for your customers, please set your own Help & Support URL in Partner Portal.

For more details please read the Improved support workflow and new forums announcement on our blog.

Infrastructure updates

Between our April release and the following infrastructure updates have been enabled

  • Limited trial sites for free partners – starting with our May release, the number of trial sites a Free Partner can have will be limited to 100. Once the limit is reached, Free Partners that need to create a new trial site have the options to upgrade to a higher partner plan, upgrade some of the trial sites to paid or delete unused/expired trials.
  • Automatic trial expiry extension - with this release, trial site expiry date will be automatically extended with 30 days every time an admin user logs in the system through the admin interface or through FTP.
  • Installed additional hardware - we have installed additional web servers on all our data centers, that translate into an increase of the existing capacity with over 70%.
  • Updated DNS infrastructure - we have improved the DNS resolution for email delivery so that we can increase the rate at which we're sending the system operational emails
  • HTTP acceleration – all sites static assets are served from a new cache engine (images, CSS and JavaScript files, together with improved headers that should allow the browser to cache them better for a browsing session). This update has been turned on along with our April release, and has made all the BC sites load faster on first and on subsequent loads.
  • Accelerated site/partner creation – we've changed the way new sites are created for faster speed, pre-creating them and reusing pre-created sites when needed, and have also improved the creation process for new partners, minimizing the impact of new CCM customers on the existing datacenters.
  • Adobe ID for partners - in order to support an integrating experience between the various Adobe tools a partner may use (Dreamweaver, Muse, Support forums) we have added Adobe ID support for Business Catalyst partner accounts. Starting April 19, partners are asked to merge their current Business Catalyst account with their Adobe ID accounts. For more details about the transition process and FAQ please read the Introducing Adobe ID blog post.
  • Updated Terms of Use - Along with several other changes in our processes in the past few months, we also revamped our Terms of Use and the signature process by requesting every admin user to sign a TOU. We have completed the rollout for partners, and we might be pushing an updated partner Terms of Use version within the following weeks. For more details and questions about this change, read the New Terms of Use for Business Catalyst blog post.

Features and enhancements

Site templates

To support the increasing number of partners building, sharing or reusing templates to create new sites, we're extending our site templates support from our partner portal with a new template type and improved management support. The update is going to enable partners to mark sites as templates and choose between making them available in Online Business Builder and keeping them private in their partner portal. A template site will not expire and has the same limits as any other trial site.

Based on your partner level, you can create private or public templates using the Site Details screen or the Tools>My Site Template section from your Partner Portal. Standard partners can only create private templates, while Free Partners can only view site templates that have been transferred to their accounts by other partners.

The number of templates a partner will have will be limited and will vary based on partner level: free partners can store up to 5 templates in their partner portal, standard partners have up to 100 site templates while Premium Partners might have up to 200 templates. Paid sites marked as templates are not counted against these limits.

Business Catalyst Partner fixes

While we are really focused on making the Business Catalyst integration into Creative Cloud a smashing success, we are slowly resuming our efforts to deliver fixes that have been requested by our partners. This release includes the following partner fixes:

  • Improved product custom fields - we have increased the maximum number of characters for product custom fields to 1024 (previous limit was 256); this gives partners and customers additional space to use when working with products
  • Improved Secure Zone subscribers list - we have added the customer email address in the Secure Zone Subscribers list to enable partners better filter and manage customers
  • Better experience when exporting data - to prevent customer confusion when exporting data from Mac computers, we have removed the export to excel option and exporting in CSV format by default.

Social plugins integration updates

Starting with our May release, we are updating the social plugins support to require users to get the plugin code from the third party provider and saving into his Business Catalyst website. The module tags and configuration will remain unchanged, but will render an empty tag until the partner or site owner will update the module template to include the corresponding module code snippet from the third party platform provider.

For more information about how you can enable the Social Plugins on a Business Catalyst websites, read the Social Media: Integrating Facebook and Twitter knowledge base article.

Other changes

  • Updated weekly emails - Starting with our May release, the information in the site weekly emails has been filtered based on the site's plan. For example, webBasics site reports will no longer include the sales report.
  • Localization - we improved and increased the coverage of the admin interface translations into German, French and Japanese
  • Site Settings -> Ignored IP addresses has been relocated under Reports -> Visitors -> More.
  • BC-Dreamweaver integration performance improvements
  • Development Dashboard has been removed, as it didn't provide a clear useful, ongoing benefit. The information present in the development dashboard has been integrated into our new Help & Support section.
  • Payment gateway settings - for more privacy and data protection, we have updated the Payment Gateway configuration screens to obfuscate the sensitive login information. Fields that have been obfuscated are now requiring confirmation.
  • Report abuse badge on trial sites - for compliance reasons, a "Report Abuse" link has been added to the front-end of all trial sites of free partners that don't have any paid sites. When they click the Report Abuse link, site visitors are redirected to a form submission page on site.
  • Verify domain ownership - a user trying to add a subdomain of an existing domain hosted on Business Catalyst will be required to provide proof of ownership by defining a TXT record on the site hosting the main domain.

Issues fixed by our May release

  • Issues 3051303, 3168786 - Workflow notifications - Fixed a problem preventing workflow notifications emails from being sent (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Issue 3164074 - Fixed a bug causing the lightbox gallery created from Muse to be displayed behind page elements
  • Issue 3162810 - Fixed a bug in rendering engine to prevent content placed between body and head tags being incorrectly moved inside the body tag
  • Issue 3166610 - Fixed a broken link to Partner Portal in Internet Explorer
  • Issue 3175003 - Fixed an issue that caused an incorrect price display for the Year One-Off Setup Fee when upgrading a site from Admin using CB
  • Issue 2567278 - Fixed a bug causing site replication to ignore product attributes
  • Issue 2947989 - CRM passwords are now case sensitive
  • Issue 2723731 - Removed CSS files from the head section of the Layouts files, when downloaded and opened in Dreamweaver, via the BC extension

Business Catalyst new admin interface updates

  • Added "Save and Add New" button in Web App Item Add & Edit screens (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Updated Quick Actions menus to add more actions (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Fixed an issue causing Recent items menu to display deleted items (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Fixed a display issue on File Manager making top buttons unreachable (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Fixed the scrollbars in Email Marketing>Campaign>Stats>Bounced Emails reports (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Fixed an issue causing Recent items menu to brake after selecting the current page from the Recent Items menu (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Replaced the Success notification displayed when selecting Users or Permissions tabs from User Roles with an Warning
  • Change the action label displayed in User Roles list from View to Edit to match the list pattern from Admin Users
  • Fixed a missing file JavaScript error occurring when trying to open image manager from product details-> Attributes -> options
  • Moved System Emails section from Site Setting to Site Manager (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Updated Domain Management interfaces to close the modal window and refresh the domain list after successfully adding a domain
  • Fixed an issue preventing the Hyperlink Manager to function properly (see get satisfaction forum discussion)
  • Updated the confirmation message received after copying a page to match the new workflow and button names
  • Fixed an issue causing the current screen or section to not be highlighted in the menu
  • Updated styling on the new dashboard, user management and email accounts interfaces
  • Updated dashboard reports filters and chart display; made the chart and the filter use the site time zone
  • Fixed an issue preventing users from inviting new admin users or create new email accounts on Internet Explorer 8
  • Fixed an issue preventing users from deleting Email Accounts or Admin Users in Internet Explorer 8
  • Fixed some issues preventing password recovery email from being sent
  • Removed the alert message displayed when the user or email account limit has been reached
  • Added localization for the simplified dashboard
  • Fixed display issues for site limits, domains and user list in the simplified dashboard
  • Added Custom reports for webBasics plan
  • Fixed a bug generating a "500:Collection error" on the simplified dashboard when user did not had View users permission
  • Added TOU checkbox in the email account setup screen
  • Updated Site Preview link in the dashboard to load the default domain
  • Fixed an issue in the new File Manager forcing a user to press Undo twice in order to see the change take effect if the code that was previously formatted contained any <"tag" with more than 2 lines
  • Fixed an issue causing the File Manager editor toolbar to incorrectly render if page URL path is longer than certain value; starting with this release, the site URL is trimmed
  • Fixed an issue causing the invite users to be displayed as [object Object] in dashboard and admin user list
  • Fixed a bug in the new admin causing the interface to become unresponsive when using the browser Back button
  • Fixed an issue in the new File Manager causing "Save Draft" button to publish the default page template instead of creating a draft version
  • Fixed a broken invite link issue in the Email Account invite email
  • Updated loading indicators in File Manager and Email Accounts screens

Release FAQ

For more specific questions and answers about this release, read the May release FAQ on the Business Catalyst community forums.

What's next

The first item on the what's next list might not be news for many of you, but it's definitely one of the most important milestones this year. The Creative Cloud launch is just around the corner, and Business Catalyst is playing an important role in that, as the publishing platform for Adobe® Muse and Dreamweaver. This launch will capture all our attention within the next weeks as we want it to be our best ever.  

We'll start our next development cycle on May 15th, while the next Business Catalyst release is going to be pushed live in mid June. That being said, the following items are already on our launch plan for the next release and a few more will join the list. Please expect an update on our 2012 plans around mid May.

  • HTTP throttling – all page load and API calls to BC will be protected against attacks, this might trigger problems for API heavy sites. We are looking into enabling this update along with our June release, and will help make sure that a reasonable number of requests will be accepted from the same computer per minute.
  • Automatic site deletion - Starting with the June release, we are going to start automatically delete expired trial sites and canceled sites. Customers will be notified twice before we are going to proceed with deleting the sites.

Thank you,

Cristinel Anastasoaie
Adobe Business Catalyst Product Manager