R165: increased e-mail storage, blog engine improvements, site plans engine improvements, Facebook login and multiscreen additions

- Friday, July 29, 2011

We will be launching our next release (R165) on the 3rd of August 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.

This release includes new features on our blog engine, additional social integration features, bug corrections and infrastructure updates. As you can see, the speed has decreased a bit, as we're focusing most of the engineering team on several major initiatives you'll hear about soon :).

Free additional mailbox storage

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide customers with the best email platform possible, we have upgraded the standard mailbox size to 5GB of storage, up from 2GB. There's no additional cost to you, and there's nothing you need to do to implement these changes.

The upgrade has been already completed, allowing both new and existing sites to take advantage of the additional storage.

Site plans infrastructure updates

To streamline our support process and help you avoid waiting a couple of days for upgrading a site plan or changing billing frequency for your sites, we planning on automating these tasks and allow you or your customers upgrade plans or change billing frequency directly from your Partner Portal or site admin.

One of the first steps in this release is to consolidate the myriad of plans we currently have on our system into a limited set that matches our current offering. As a result, we will update the names and limits of our older plans. This change comes at no cost for you or your customers and will result in increased limits for some of the sites on our system. The change will be effective immediately after release, and reflected in the System usage panels displayed in My Admin or Client detail in Partner Portal.

Facebook login

With the R165 release, we are extending our social integration functionality by offering site owners the possibility to allow their customers to login in secure zone or forums using their Facebook accounts. This will increase customer retention and, with additional improvements from our side, increase the interaction between the site and its visitors.

Enabling Facebook login on a site requires you or the site owner to register your website with Facebook and get an App ID and a Secret Key. The App Id is a unique identifier for your site that ensures that Facebook has the right level of security in place between the user and your website. Once done, you can go ahead and update the login screens on your site and add the Facebook login module. As configuration options, you will be able to select to which secure zones customers can login with their Facebook account, and configure the button appearance and text. Furthermore, you can also allow site customers to Link/Unlink their site and Facebook accounts directly from the "Update Customer Details" form.

Because Facebook login automatically creates an account if one does not exist, login with Facebook only works for simple authentication flows, and cannot (yet) be integrated with flows like adding the user automatically to a secure zone, subscribing to a newsletter, or initiating a workflow.

This feature is only available in our Pro 1, 5 and 10 user plans for now, but we're considering an approach where you will be able to add it as an add-on to other plans - stay tuned.

Blog improvements

Similar to other blogging platforms, we are now allowing customers to change a blog post author by selecting it from a list of site admin users. Additionally, site users can now enter a short biography and profile image that can be included in the blog post layouts using the: {tag_blogpostauthorbiography}, {tag_blogpostauthorpictureurl} and {tag_blogpostauthorpicture}. The user can change both user biography and avatar from My Account interface, while site administrators can update them from the user management interface.

Site settings

We are starting to consolidate some of the site wide settings in a new section called Site Settings. With this release, we're enabling you to define Facebook, form security (Captcha) and shop setting. In future releases we plan to allow customers use this interface to update site timezone, country and other global settings.

  • Shop settings: we're giving you or your customers the possibility to set the shopping cart lifetime (let's you define how many hours a cart content is kept in the system for returning customers) and the ability to enable/disable the productfeed.xml which you can use to publish your products on product directories like Google Product Search.
  • Captcha settings: this is used to enforce server side check on Catpcha for the Refer to a Friend, Campaign Subscription and Comments forms. The forms built with our web forms engine have this setting incorporated and they check for Captcha only if you've added the field when you've created the form
  • Facebook settings: this is where you can enable Facebook login for your site and enter your Facebook application details (URL, App ID and App Secret Key)

Pre-built mobile templates

To further improve our multiscreen support and provide you the tools required to build modern sites, we have started to update our templates to add tablet and phone support. The first template made available on all devices is Impressum and we'll continue to add more in the near future.

Other updates

  • Social integration updates: we've improved our social integration support by adding two new modules: Facebook Activity Feed and Facebook Send. Additionally, all social modules are now them available in the Insert Module menu from Admin and in our Dreamweaver extension as well.
  • Alternate email address: we have added an additional email field for every user, that will be used to send forgot password emails. This is particularly useful for those users hosting their business email with us and had to go back to their partner or our support team to recover their password. Starting with this release, they will be able to receive the email on a secondary email address at their choice.
  • Remove related DNS records: when customers remove a domain name or its "www" counterpart, the system will automatically delete all related records (redirects, mail records, etc.) after requesting and receiving a conformation.
  • Added subscribe & unsubscribe to newsletter confirmation pages - this will prevent automatic mailing list subscription or unsubscription to mailing caused by search bots indexing web mail; as consequence, instead of automatically subscribing or unsubscribing users to mailing lists, we have added a page requiring users to press a button to confirm their action. You or your customers can modify the page content and appearance by updating two additional System Messages layouts: Subscribe Confirmation Form and Unsubscribe Confirmation Form.
  • Replaced modal session alert - starting with this release, we have replaced the modal session time-out alert with a non-window-modal one to reduce disruption when working on a Business Catalyst site
  • Payment gateways infrastructure updates - payment infrastructure updates for enhanced security and reliability.
  • Updated our WYSIWYG editor to the latest version which includes better support for iPad and lots of bug fixes

Issues fixed by the August 2011 release

  • Enabled video streaming for iOS by adding byte-range support - (bug id: 2764788)
  • Fixed a bug that blocked user login if password contained quotes (bug id: 2889483)
  • Fixed an issue in Email Marketing causing {tag_recipientusername} and {tag_recipientpassword} to not work in email campaigns when placed inside links (bug id: 2912306)
  • Corrected an issue in our APIs which template list unavailable in Triangle Extension (bug id: 2914399)
  • Fixed an bug URL engine generating invalid web app items URLs in site search result list (bug id: 2914555)
  • Updated the Online Business Builder to display the signup domain in the registration screen (bug id: 2916036)
  • Fixed a bug in order management preventing users from printing package slips when the order was attached to a company (bug id: 2920372)
  • Web app items can now be edited in front-end even if they contain special characters in their name (bug id: 2919503)
  • Corrected an issue on the URL engine causing SEO Friendly URL starting with the URL of an Web Page to displayed instead of the URL of the page when Partial URL Matching is ON (bug id: 2920535)
  • Fixed a bug in web app item display causing image tags to get rendered as is ( {tag_photo 1,470,390}) when the source image is not present (bug id: 2921912)
  • Correctly export numbers in Excel reports


Alexandru Costin
Adobe Business Catalyst Segment Owner