(Updated) R166: Extended CRM Forms, Improved Support Workflows, Additional Payment Gateways, Usability Improvements and iPad support for charts!

- Monday, August 29, 2011

Updated - Wed, 31 Aug, 8:00 AM PDT: Due to some technical issues we had to cancel the release and reschedule it for a later date. We don't yet have a new date and time for when we'll push this release to production.

We will be launching our next release (R166) on the 31st 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 the ability to update extended CRM forms, improved support workflows, additional payment gateways and lots of small usability improvements in the admin section.

Extensible CRM database

This improvement will allow site owners to collect additional information and store it against the corresponding CRM area (contacts, order, opportunity or case) and enable site visitors/members update custom information through the Update Customer Details form. We've improved three workflows:

  1. Collect custom information through form fields - we have improved the Web Form Builder to allow partners include Custom CRM forms in a Business Catalyst web form. This will enable business owners to collect additional information through the site front-end and save it against the corresponding database entity. The submitted information will be saved against the entity you've selected when defining a default use for the selected custom form.
  2. Allow customers to edit custom information - we have improved the Update Customer Details module to allow site's visitors / members to update their custom information. As a developer, you can choose to allow customers update all the custom forms or just a single form. All the form fields will be added in block, but you will have the option to remove them from the form; for existing websites, you will need to re-insert the Update Customer Details form.
  3. Assign a Custom Form to existing items - if you decide to add a custom form after the site has launched, the form will also be attached to existing items and you will be able to add values when first editing an item; this will avoid customer having to click on Add custom fields for every old entity

Upgrade site plan

We have introduced a new feature inside the Business Catalyst partner portal and admin section, that allows you to now upgrade a specific site plan to any plan above it, automatically and without interacting with our accounts folks .

This means that you will be able to save time when upgrading a site plan, and we hope that you will be using this feature extensively :)

Improved consolidated Help & Support workflow for partners

We are aware that support is one of our biggest areas for improvement, so we've embarked on a vision where we'll significantly improve the main support workflows, both for free and paid partners.

Some highlights:

  • There is a new single entry point for all Help & Support, that merges the search for support with chat, forums and support cases.
  • The first step in any support incident is now an integrated search where you can switch between Knowledge Base and Forums, trying to give you the opportunity to help yourself before reaching support.
  • If you don't find the right information in the KB, you'll have the possibility to chat with our support people. This feature will available initially only to standard and premium partners, and is now the 1st support choice, trying to improve our reaction when answering your support cases
  • Finally, if chat support is not available or your problem is too complex to be solved in a chat, we've introduced a simplified Support Case submission form

We're also happy to announce the BC support lounge, a public chat room where you could hang around, ask and answer questions, or just brainstorm ideas with other partners. It is available at http://businesscatalyst.com/support/lounge (while it's not officially supported by the BC support folks, we're sure it will be a great place to talk about BC).

Next, we will consolidate the Small Business Owner help & support workflow in a similar way. We are also working on improving and updating the Knowledge Base content, trying to also suggest you the right answer automatically for popular searches on our website.

Small usability improvements

This release includes tens on small usability improvements that aim to increase web developers and business owners productivity when using the Business Catalyst admin. It's the beginning of a longer journey where we will focus on making BC easy to use and its main workflows very simple to understand. Here is a list with the highlights:

  • Updated Live Feed to link and opens the target item (order, case, opportunity) instead of customer details
  • Updated WYSIWYG Editor to create paragraphs instead of break lines when hitting Enter
  • Stopped reloading the UI in view mode after adding a custom CRM field to a customer, case or order
  • Removed the scroll to top after saving on most user interfaces (please report any one that has been missed)
  • When setting up shipping options, payment gateways, tax codes you have an easier way of selecting the country
  • Updated customer list to allow users list all customers and not just the ones added in the last year
  • Updated all lists to not display disabled items
  • Use the web app template when adding new web app items.
  • Load the blog post list instead of blog details screen when selecting a blog on the Admin menu; the same change has been applied to all lists with similar behavior
  • We are showing now specific FTP connection details in file manager
  • Many other small tweaks were made in many UIs, we hope you'll find them useful in your day to day use of BC.com - we'll continue adding much more improvements for the next release.

Introducing a new payment gateway

As part of our efforts to extend our global support for our partners, we are happy to announce the addition of Ogone payment gateway support. Ogone is one of the leading European Payment Service Providers with thousands of clients across 35 countries. Ogone is a seamless payment gateway that will allow your customers to process one-off or recurring payments for the following European countries: Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France.

Other updates

  • Improved mobile support for Admin (yes, now it works on iPads!): We've updated the charting library to include HTML5 and mobile support. Starting with R166, you will be able to view a Business Catalyst report on a mobile phone or tablet regardless of the platform.
  • Increased eWay PG security support: Improved eWay payment gateway integration by adding support for eWay's Beagle Fraud Detection System

Issues fixed by the August 31st release

  • Enforced server side validation on Captcha v2 (bug id: 2729912 & 2850293)
  • Updated the Sign-up wizard causing the signup domain to appear empty (bug id: 2916036)
  • Fixed a bug in Sign-Up UI blocking users from creating a partner after inserting a wrong promo code (bug id: 2932441)
  • Fixed a site replication problem that preventing partners from replicating a Pro site that didn't had any products created (bug id: 2946521)
  • Fixed a bug causing {tag_stepname} and {tag_workflowname} tags to not be rendered in the workflow reminder and escalation emails (bug id: 2935700)


Alexandru Costin
Adobe Business Catalyst Segment Owner