May. 2013: New features & fixes
The tech team have been busy over these past few weeks with some new features as well as fixing a whole ton of stuff and making it work better.
Better editing on the iPad
We found that folks encountered a number of issues when editing on the iPad: Now, when you select an article to edit it on an iPad, it opens in a new browser tab – this simple change has enabled us to fix many of these problems.
In-browser PDF & document viewing
If you linked to an uploaded PDF or other document in an article or email, the PDF always downloaded. That's OK, but sometimes people didn't know where to look for it.
There's now a neat option to "Attempt to open file in browser" (set in the uploaded document's properties) which means for common formats like PDF the document will be displayed in the browser for many users, making it easier and quicker to access and read.
Being able to view a PDF like this is a function of more modern browser versions, so make sure you (or those who you want to read the document online) have got a recent version, otherwise it will just download as before.
If the option is left unticked, the document will simply be downloaded as currently.
Improved layout loading speed for large sites
Opening a layout for editing on sites with large numbers of groups could take 20-30 seconds. We've made some optimisations here that should make a significant improvement. (If you want to know, we re-greased the hamsters that work the little wheels in the big computer box thingy)
iCal multi-day events
All-day events of more than one day ended up multiplying when the site's iCal feed was viewed. We've whipped 'em back into shape and things are now are all tickety-boo.
Group tree in Chrome
The Group/Site tree didn't always refresh immediately to show changes in the Chrome browser (not so shiny, eh?) when changes were made to group names or group structure. That's all sorted and it's as (re)fresh(ed) as a daisy.
Query Wizard – user's photos
You can now run a query to find users who do or don't have photos on their personal profiles and email them, encouraging the latter to upload an image, thus making your site more friendly (hopefully).
Other new stuff
These will make some of you happy; others will go "Huh?" Don't worry if you're in the latter group.
Auto subscribe to social notifications
Users now get automatic notifications of connections and new private messages by default, rather than having to explicitly subscribe.
Acceptable Use Policy
This can now be edited using the normal document editor. (I know – at last, your life feels complete.)
Stuff which we fixed/made work better
There's a whole sack full of stuff in this section – 28 fixes in all, but I won't bore you with them all – read the official release notes for the details. Meanwhile, here are some highlights:
Removing users via the Involvement tab
Sometimes you need to remove someone from your site and if you did this by deselecting them from all the groups they were a member of via their Involvement tab you got an error. (This is a smart approach as it enables you to easily check they're not members of any Independent group as well.) You can now remove people with non-erroring dastardly despicableness
Editing buttons in Chrome
Chrome's been keeping us busy – the Cut, Copy & Paste buttons were disabled in the article editor. This is due to a browser security limitation
. The buttons are now enabled but show a message about this. The workaround is to use the keyboard equivalents of these buttons Ctrl+X/Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V (Mac – for Ctrl use Cmd)
Query wizard & IE 10
Those pesky guys at Microsoft had been up to their tricks again and the Query builder wizard didn't work in Internet Explorer 10. We sat it down and gave it a stiff talking-to and it's all fine now.
Improved form erroring
If one of the input fields on a form was given a name of "name" (who would have seen that coming?) the form would error. That's now fixed.
Other things we fixed
There are a whole ton of things the team fixed in this release – see the full release notes for more information.
Got any comments? Want to talk to us? Email
iPad image © dandaman – fotolia.com
Alistair Birch, 01/05/2013
Feb. 2013: New features & fixes
The development team elves have been burning the midnight oil to give us some new features and a whole shedload of bug fixes.
Multiple Bible references on recordings
For all you preachers out there or who upload media content of sermons: More than one Bible reference can now be added to a single recording and chapter/verse ranges are more flexible to accommodate references spanning multiple chapters.
NB. With existing recordings, it wasn't possible to move some old references to the new system if they weren't in a standard format. If this is the case, they can't be edited and will need to be deleted and re-added.
Navigation sleight of hand – redirect menu items
You can now set up a group homepage to redirect somewhere else in the system so that when someone clicks on an item in your navigation menu, it takes them somewhere else. This means menu items can now go to other pages in the system or to other pages outside the group structure – or even the site.
For example, you might want to create a Sermons group which redirects to your Audio/Video page; have a normal Alpha or Christianity Explored course group, but also have another menu item called "Discover God" which redirects to those groups as not everyone knows what they stand for. You could create other links to the Address Book or Calendar in the main site navigation via the "System Page" option, rather than just having these links on the Home menu.
You used to be able to do this, but it required fiddling around with source code, which not everyone's happy with. So, the forward is now easily set in the Advanced Options of the Group at the top near the security settings.
Scheduling mailings – more precision
You can now schedule mailings to be sent more precisely: It's been possible to choose a date in the future when a mailing is sent for a while now, but you can now specify the time as well.
Scheduled mailings can be set up when you have 100 or more recipients – they're ideal if you're wanting to create a mailing to go out while you're away on holiday or get a series of mailings set up in one go to send at regular intervals.
Other new stuff
Membership List – sort User List
The User List Component lists all the people in a Group when inserted in a Layout (the Component is found under the User Details section) – ideal for showing all the people who are in your small group or team. You can now control the order of these better – by first name, last name, country or state.
If you've not used this Component, it's worth experimenting with – you can list members of a Group, a family or the logged-in user's "Connections" (like 'friends' in Facebook), show all kinds of user information and the names can link to the users' profiles, show phone numbers etc. NB. It would be normal to set this Component to only display to Logged-in Users and therefore be hidden from site visitors who weren't church members/site members.
If you're of a nervous, non-technical disposition, look away now... and continue reading further down the page.
Internet Explorer does some weird stuff. E.g. things that look good in other browsers don't in our (not) beloved IE. This is often due to the 'doctype' setting.
The doctype can now be set on a per-layout basis. This should allow you to to design pages for IE in 'standards mode' and get round some of the problems you may have encountered before. Keep us in touch with how you're using this.
Multiple navigation components on the same layout
For technical reasons, until this release it was only possible to have one Group Navigation component in a Layout. However, you can now have multiple Group Nav components in the same Layout, allowing more flexiblity when creating or amending your site design. This gives designers greater control over styling the navigation using custom css.
One of the designers who requested this comments,
"It means I can now dynamically build a main navigation menu, group navigation and footer links from the group navigation component and output them as an unordered list – and display the menu on the same page (whereas I was limited to only one of these per page previously).
"Outputting as an unordered list means they are easier to style (through custom css) and are more lightweight in terms of the HTML they output."
Other new stuff
Warn when auto-changing members' privacy settings
When trying to save a user record with privacy settings that don't make sense/are contradictory (e.g. Connections can see less than site members) we now automatically reset these to something more sensible and alert the user to what's been done.
Highlight credit/debit card revalidation text in the checkout
When a paying for something with an existing card and this needs revalidating, we've made this alert/information much clearer for the user so they don't miss it and get stuck.
Update system with new Endis address
The Cambridge end of Endis operations moved home recently, so we updated the Terms & Conditions page and the Endis Insight profile with the new Musgrave Farm, Cambridge address. The team are now based in a former cowshed. All comments should be directed to them... ;)
Other things we fixed
There are a whole ton of things the team fixed in this release (including some important Resources issues) – see the full release notes for more information.
Got any comments? Want to talk to us? Email
Alistair Birch, 12/02/2013
Dec. 2012 – New Features
The development team have been busy trying to get a release out in advance of Christmas – we know some people use the holiday period to catch up on editing their sites, so we hope this helps.
First up is a really great one if you use queries. Until now, you've only been able to run a query on one group at a time. Well, no longer – now you can run a query on more than one group at once.
This is the default behaviour now when you select "Create New Query" – the old step where you selected which group to run the query on now lets you select multiple groups.
You can still run old-style, single-group queries by clicking on the Query tab then selecting the desired single group in the site tree before selecting "Create New Query"
So, what's the difference? Well, multi-group queries have some limitations over their single-group counterparts: You can't see or query group-specific notes or fields which are specific to group membership (such as group membership status and start date).
Want to query data in Group Notes? Use the single group method above.
NB You may have missed it but you have the ability to run a single-group query plus another one and then compare the data in the two found sets in different ways.
Basically, you save one set of results and then run another query and use the Task shown after you've run the query under Save & Compare: "Compare these results with another found set." This gives you a number of options. See this help video
for further information about this:
And that's not all...we've also tidied up a little of the user interface to remove or reposition some confusing buttons – nothing to worry about, it will just make ife easier for you.
New fields in Query
Group membership start dates – so you can query/view when someone was added to a group. This is a new field. Note that only users added to groups on or after the release date (11/12/12) will have this date attached to them. Others will be blank.
Address/Alt Address lines 1-3. Previously, you could only select these columns for output, but not use them in query criteria.
Also, we've added Family id, family name, family photo and whether Rota reminders are enabled or not – useful if you want to check if folks on your serving teams are set up to get reminders about serving duties. (NB. Rota reminders will only be sent if the user has a valid email address)
The recent release of Firefox version 17 created a couple of glitches when selecting dates & times in certain situations – these are all fixed and we've taken the opportunity to slightly update the interface too.
As well as the usual book and Bible reference drop down menu/search box, you can now also search for preacher and Bible refence in the main search box.
Add Bible reference to media feeds to iTunes etc (optional)
Media API feed settings for podcast services now have a checkbox which allows you to automatically append the Bible reference to the item title. So, a recording with the title "More than conquerors" and Bible reference "Romans 8:31-39" would be displayed in iTunes with a title of "More than conquerors (Romans 8:31-39)". Note this setting is optional and only appears for churches and ministries.
Configure maximum number of events displayed in calendar
Useful if you have a lods of events in your calendar: In the main calendar viewed by website visitors and members, if a day contained more than 5 events, no events were shown and instead a link was displayed saying "x events".
Two improvements have been made: You can configure the maximum. You can find the setting on Settings > Site Configuration. We've also moved the Calendar start day setting from Settings > Technical to this new location so that all the calendar settings are in the same page. We now always show up to the maximum number of events. If there are more events than the maximum, we display a link saying "y more"
User picker now has "Include all site users" – search across all Groups.
Maybe you use several Independent groups but sometimes want to search for a user and don't know which group they're in. Searching each group one-by-one can be a pain, so this new option enables you to search across all the Root and Independent Groups in one go.
We've improved the way that users, family data and organisations are imported – for more information, help and sample files, click on the relevant Import task on the Members tab of the Root Group, Independent Group or Organisation Directory.
Other stuff we fixed
We fixed a whole ton of stuff – see the full release notes for more information.
Phew. Well, I think it's fair to say the development team and all those involved with testing and documenting the above have earned their Christmas dinner!
It only remains to wish you a very Happy Christmas from all of us on the Endis Team.
May you know God's rich blessing in 2013 :)
Some users have reported problems accessing the Web Office using Internet Explorer 8 & 9 – this appears to be due to running the browser in Compatibility Mode. Here's how to fix this using IE 8 & 9 and a more detailed guide to sorting it for IE 8.
Alistair Birch, 10/12/2012
Oct. 2012: New ChurchInsight Features
Since the massive Web Office Design Update, the development team have been really busy with some system changes, updates and bug fixes – released today.
Here are the headlines:
Copy a rota (if you regularly work with rotas, you'll know this is a big deal)
Editable rota reminder emails.
301 Redirects for Aliases (dont worry if that means nothing, it's a techy thing)
Improvement to the "Add other Guests" step in an event booking in Payment Groups.
NB If you have problems viewing or using the new features on your site – please see the foot of this email for help (you probably need to clear your browser cache – there's a link to how to do it)
The guys have also squished a whole load of bugs and made improvements along the way – 16 that you might have been aware of (and four more that you wouldn't, as they were deep under the bonnet)
Need to contact us?
Please don't reply to this email, we won't get it. Either email firstname.lastname@example.org for general or support enquiries, or for any other please email me, Alistair Birch on email@example.com
OK, here are some more details on the headline improved area:
There have been some much-requested upgrades to the rota management area of the system as well as improvements on existing functionality.
Previously, it was possible to extend an existing rota by adding new Events and copying existing rows of volunteers to the new Events, then deleting the out-of-date row, but this feature offers an alternative and much more efficient approach.
There's a new icon on the Rotas tab next to the Rota's name (shown right with two circling arrows) which enables you to create a new rota using an existing one as a template – saving loads of time in either creating Tasks, assigning those to people, or both.
This copies the rota exactly (apart from adding "copy of" to the rota name) into the Editing section of the Rotas tab. All of the existing Events/dates, Tasks and People are copied as they are.
Alternatively, there's a new task on the Properties tab of the Rota you want to duplicate called, "Copy the rota"
New "Change Event" Button
Say you want to keep your Tasks and People as they are (you worked hard to get your teams set up like that), but simply want to change the Events.
There's a new "Change event" button (the one on the far left in this image) that allows you to simply assign another event to that row of the rota with its existing Tasks & People.
You'll need to do this for each row you want to change.
While you're editing, there's another really useful thing for creating rotas with large groups of people – names now sort alphabetically by surname in the name picker.
Add completely new events from within Rotas
Need to add a new event while creating a rota? No problem – there's no need to come out of the Rota management area and go into the Events tab and then back again, simply click on Add Event in the Rota manager as normal and click on the Add button on the Calendar date.
That non-synching feeling...
The development team have also fixed a pesky bug in Chrome where cells would get out of sync when you scrolled a rota.
Clearer in-the-past row display
If you have events in the past on the rota, these now have a slightly darker background to distinguish them better from current events.
New "Hide/Show Past Events" buttons
In addition, two new buttons, help manage past events in a rota, copied or otherwise: "Hide Past Events" does just that – when selected changes to "Show Past Events" to allow you to display them again. NB Should you send the rota to participants or print it, these past dates will still show on the rota as they're only hidden in this view, not removed.
Permanent Event removal button
The "Remove Past Events" button permanently removes those unwanted rows and their data – they won't show on printed or sent rotas any longer.
And there's more...
Editable Rota reminders & From address
Previously, the content of the Rota Reminder email (which is automatically sent out to someone X days prior to a rota duty) was fixed and couldn't be edited, nor could you change the From address, which was sent from "firstname.lastname@example.org".
You can now change the From address and the wording of the site-wide email template – this is done via the main Settings tab, then Emails and the "Other" section.
For example, you might want to change the default wording from the default "If you are unable to attend this event please contact the rota organiser as soon as possible" to something like "If you are unable to do your rota duty please arrange a swap and let your team leader know as soon as possible."
Hopefully, you'll find these changes to rotas a real help.
Payment Groups booking improvemements
In addition, there's a helpful change for you if you use Payment Groups to manage conference booking and allow people to book others on their own booking.
Add Guest = blank
When people got to the Add Guest stage, they were sometimes confused by the default number of "1" guest shown, particularly if they were just booking themselves; not realising that this was only the case if they clicked on "Add Guest".
So, this has been changed to a default of blank/nothing.
The number of selected guests is also now added automatically, without having to click on the "Add" button.
Add as many Guests as you like
As the Add Guests drop-down menu only went up to 10 guests, people thought they couldn't add more than this (it was always possible by adding another 10 guests etc) so there's now a "More" entry at the bottom of the drop-down list which allows people to enter any number up to 99.
You can now delete 'blank' guests that you might have added by accident, without first having to type something in the name boxes.
There are some further bug fixes which affect Payment Groups – see the link below.
And that's not all...
In addition to the above, there are more improvements, including some deep techy stuff – 301 Redirects for Aliases – and a whole load bug fixes. Read more on our more formal Release Notes page.
If you encounter any problems seeing or using the new features, please do the following:
a) Clear your browser's cache - this solves 90+% of problems with new features.
Not sure how to do that? Please see this page for instructions for your browser.
b) Email us on email@example.com - but please do step (a) above first if you can
Alistair Birch, 31/10/2012
Next release – rota tweaks
To keep you in the loop about what's going on at ChurchInsight, here are some notes about our upcoming release.
Many of you have been using the Feature Request area on our Support website. Others may not know that this page exists. You can find it at www.churchinsight.com/featurerequests. It is a place for you, our customers, to let us know what would help you and make administrating your church easier.
This next release is focusing on some of the ideas that have been raised relating to Rotas – an area of the ChurchInsight system that we know churches use a lot. You can see the enhancements we're planning on doing by clicking on the 'Planned' link at the top of the Feature Request area.
In short, you will be able to edit the text in rota reminder emails and personalise the address that they are sent from, instead of it showing as 'ChurchInsight Reminders'. New people will have rota reminders switched on by default so that they don't miss anything important. You will also be able to hide past events when editing rotas and make recurring event series extendable. At least, that's the plan!
We hope that the enhancements will give you more control and simplify the process of organising your volunteers.
You can keep up with ChurchInsight blog posts by getting the RSS feed, or by subscribing to email updates in the right hand column. Meanwhile, let us know what you think on Facebook or on Twitter.
Image © Taras Livyy - Fotolia.com
Adam Johannes, 02/10/2012