It's been a while since our last newsletter, and we have been steadily building out the new software framework and releasing features progressively.
Since the last newsletter:
- Site Configuration settings are migrated to the new framework.
Mostly you can find something by typing a few letters into the Varname filter. If you are looking for text (e.g. in an email), use the Value filter.
Find all emails by filtering varname with HTML
You no longer need to update the text version of emails, now happens automatically when you save the HTML version.
Dates now come with a date picker which ensures a standard format, Yes/No values are now a checkbox, etc.
Unlike our other new pages, there is no "old page" button, because we improved things beyond the capabilities of the old page.
- eWay payment buttons now appear in admin Manage Bookings, just like they do on the Old Page. We have updated to a newer version of eWay's interface and added the capability to re-check eWay payments that have not been resolved. This can happen if the customer does not follow the on-screen instructions and return to the Booking Service after paying, which prevents a receipt from being generated and the booking confirmed. We've been able to do this by utilising new features in the eWay interface, but you need to enter your eWay API key and password into Site Configuration to use the new buttons. Get in touch if you need help.
When the booking matrix migrates to the new framework, payments by members will use the new interface. This will allow us to send the customer to eWay without making the booking tentative, so if payment isn't made the beds will be released in a few minutes (controlled by your setting in Site Config INPROGRESS_VALID_FOR).
Paypal buttons are next, so we can have all the ducks lined up before the booking process is migrated.
- Managing Season Periods has migrated to the new framework. The new page correctly represents overlapping seasons in a graphic display at the top of the page. Once bookings migrates to the new software, overlapping season dates will be permitted and you will be able to insert a short season (e.g. a work party, or race week) without having to split up the longer season it is part of. For now, the graphic display makes it easy for you to be sure your season dates are correct, with no gaps and no (unintended) overlaps.
- You now have finer control over who can make bookings and whether bookings need to be associated with an account. You can control which member classes can login, separately from which classes can make bookings. You can allow admin to make bookings not associated with an account (i.e. a guest booking) while still requiring anyone else to login to their account in order to book. Relevant Configuration items are: MUST_LOGIN_MATRIX, ONLY_MEMBER_MAKE_BOOKING.
- Some of our clubs list some rooms via Airbnb. We've provided an iCal sync for this for a few years, we've now added the ability to make this two-way, so bookings on Airbnb automatically update the booking matrix. This could be used with other services such as booking.com which also offer iCal sync.
- You can now create an ad-hoc subscription invoice, or upload a batch of them, previously subs invoices could only be created in a batch once per year. The significance of a subs invoice is that it triggers automatic update of members financial status when their balance is cleared.
- When a member clears their balance owing, bookings get confirmed and Subscription Financial Status gets updated if necessary. For clubs that don't require outstanding balance in full, and this is all clubs that allow deposits, we've added some assistance for situations where a booking can be confirmed or marked as deposit paid, while the member has an outstanding balance. The decision to change a booking status in this situation is manual, because you have to decide which booking was paid for (unless payment was online, where the member goes via the booking to make payment, then it is automatic). We've also improved the payment options to adjust the payment required for a deposit or payment of a booking in full depending on the member's outstanding balance and other bookings that aren't fully paid for (phew). Currently this is only available when using the admin Manage Bookings page, but the logic will apply to member transactions when they migrate to the new software framework as well.
We will be invoicing on first April as usual. If your club is impacted by the possible loss of this Winter's revenue and you need to defer some of your payment, get in touch. If there is no Winter season this year, our revenue will take a massive hit in 2021, but we have time to prepare for that. In particular, we want to keep our current expanded development staff working while we finish the new software framework, by the end of this year. So if your finances enable you to pay the invoice as usual, that will help us to achieve that, and be ready to help you bounce back next year with new software, including lots of improvements.
Re-writing the software is a massive job, replacing code built up over 13 years. It became necessary for 3 main reasons:
- Providing an improved, modern user interface to meet today's expectations
- Enabling significant enhancements that the old sofware couldn't handle, including options to allow different dates for guests within a booking, guests changing rooms during a booking, and many more.
- Allowing us to upgrade underlying software to stay with currently supported versions, which in turn will allow us to progress work on PCI compliance. Regarding the latter, PCI refers to compliance with credit card industry standards. Because we pass off all credit card functions to Paypal or eWay, our server never sees credit card information so our software itself doesn't have any compliance requirements. Obtaining compliance is therefore about general security issues, which we won't achieve with the old software. Once we have PCI compliance each club that uses eWay will be able to complete their own compliance relatively simply.
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