New release 163 - June 8 - many wishlist items fixed

- Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hello BC partners,

We will be launching our June release (R163) on 8th of June 2011 at 1:00 AM PST (check local time). The deployment will take a few hours but we anticipate no major disruptions to the Business Catalyst service during this time.

With the next several releases, we've decided to start addressing the most important wishlist items while continuing the advancements on the Business Catalyst next version. Please find the highlight of the ones we fixed in 163 below, that are mostly related with workflow and e-commerce improvements:

Customizable workflow notifications (107 votes)

One of the most requested features on our wish list was to give partners or site administrators a way to customize workflow notification emails to include relevant information or to have it translated in the site user's language. With this release, we are providing a solution that offers the ability to customize those workflow notification emails from the "Customize System Emails" area.

This notification template will work for all  workflow notifications and can be customized by adding different tags, changing From: address or email Subject: fields. Configuration window will be similar to other system emails.

Order status change notifications (25 votes)

This is an essential e-commerce feature for keeping paying customers up to date with the status of their online order. We want to make sure that when a order status is changed, customer will be notified of the new order status. For example, when an order is shipped, an automated email is sent to that customer with a proper notification.

Partners and site administrator will be able to configure automated emails to customers when their order status changes. The e-mail message template used for customer notifications will be available in the System Emails section. The system will generate an email template for every order status and will allow partners and site administrators to pick which order statuses will require a notification. By default, no status types will have any associated notifications set.

Packing slip and package labels (62 votes)

Site administrator or drop shipping supplier needs to have a way to print packaging list and package label for each order received. Also the site administrator should be able to customize the templates for both the packaging list and package label. Starting with the June release, developers and site administrators we’ll be able to:

  1. Customize Packing Slip and Package Label as 2 separate templates from “Admin -> More Customization Options -> Shipping Layouts”
  2. Print Invoice, Print Packing Slip or Print Package Label from within each Order details page
  3. Print Invoice, Print Packing Slip or Print Package Label for multiple orders selected/filtered in Orders list page using “Actions” button
  4. Automatically send Packing Slip and Package Label as email attachments to the warehouse if you have products configured accordingly with “drop shipping” email on

Important note: With the June release, the system will automatically attach to the drop ship email the package slip and package label documents, based on the default non-branded templates we deliver with the system. There is no option to disable this functionality, so please make sure that you announce your customers about these feature to avoid surprises.

AWB tracking number and tracking URL support in orders

One piece of information missing from the Business Catalyst order system was the ability to save a tracking number (AWB) and an URL to the shipping provider web page so that customers can access information about their shipment status in the MyAccount section or through an order notification email. The June release will enable the following workflows:

  • Site owners can assign a tracking number (AWB) and tracking URL to the order once the shipping providers picks up the package. The Update Order user interface now includes these two fields allowing site owners to manually inlcude this information; Automation integration with shipping providers is planned for a future release.
  • Partner can use this information in Order notification emails layouts and site front-end layouts to make it available to site customers
  • Once the changes are made on the site, customers will be able to track their orders effortlessly

Content holders management via FTP

Content holders are now available via FTP, in the /_System/ContentHolders/ folder. You can create, edit and delete them just by using your code editor of choice.

A content holder named "Home Adrotator" has the filename _System/ContentHolders/Home Adrotator.html and is included in a page or template with

Another advantage of having content holders as FTP files is allowing you to easily manage multiple copies of the same content holders between multiple sites: just have a "master" repository of content holders, as you probably have with templates, widgets, styles and other regular site assets, and copy this to all desired sites.

Other improvements

  • Email marketing: campaigns with 20 or less subscribers are now automatically approved by the system
  • Extended FTP support: With the June release we've extended the FTP support by making email campaigns and content holders available through FTP. As a partner you don't have to switch between your code editing tool and admin panel when you need to tweak content in any of these. Still, you won't be able to create new campaign through FTP.

Important note: due to restrictions in the FTP protocol, special characters in content holder names and campaign names are no longer allowed. Existing content holders will be renamed and special characters have been replaced with underscores ("_").

Issues fixed by the June 2011 release

  • Fixed a browser compatibility issue on Firefox 4 preventing users from creating a new contact or order because some required fields were not displayed (bug id: #2843041)
  • Updated workflow notification templates to remove images retrieved from Business Catalyst server and thus revealing BC to rebranded partners customers (bug id: #2766384)
  • Updated subscribe to newsletter form to prevent spam signups (bug id: #2867869)
  • Fixed an issue in campaigns causing tags do not render when viewed in browser using {tag_viewinbrowser} (bug id: #2567189)
  • Security update on campaign process to no longer allow open redirects for links tracking (bug id: #2879502)
  • Updated the zip code calculation method to provide more accurate results when searching web app items by zip code (bug id: #2791376)

Please check the Business Catalyst Knowledge Base for detailed documentation on the new features:

Thank you,
Alexandru Costin
Business Catalyst Segment Owner