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Newsletter #4
February, 14 2011

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Dear BVCMS Community,

This newsletter contains tips, information about new features, and announcments of upcoming events. See past newsletters.

User News & Announcements

To keep you up-to-date, here are the latest news items and announcements from BVCMS.

Wiki Documentation

Did you know that whatever page your are on in BVCMS, you can click the Help > Wiki Documentation and it will give you a document with information pertinent to the page you were on? We're still working on the documentation (it never ends!) so of you land on a page that says "needs content" send us a quick email with the URL and we'll fix that for you.

Also, did you know that you can search the documentation? In the sidebar on the left side of the documentation page at the top, there is a search box. Hint, try just one word appropriate to your question and see what you find. You will get a list of links with that term in the document somewhere.

If you can't find what you're looking for or don't understand what you did find. That is important to us. Let us know so we can fill in the gaps and improve the clarity.

Just Addeds

What is a 'Just Added' Member Status and Why Are all those Tasks on my Homepage?!

Every new record that is added to BVCMS will have the Church Member Status of Just Added. This status is designed to be temporary—to be a flag that this person has just been added to the database. That status should be changed (by someone with the Membership role)—but only AFTER a few tasks have been performed.

We could have just skipped this step and given every new record a Church Member Status of 'Not Member', but there are very good reasons why we didn't.

A few quotes

We get lots of thank you's and encouragement from our customers. Here are just a recent ones that I found:

"Wow—things are really hopping with BVCMS around here! — our leaders are really starting to embrace using the system, and I'm loving it!"
"You're the BEST!!! Thanks!!!"
Yeah David!!!    Karen, if they ever get tired of you over there, please come our way!!! You are delightful!!!!
THANK YOU, DAVID!!!! We so appreciate your hard work!
Yes! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks a lot for your help, you guys are awesome!
Yes! Thank you! The Metro Zip feature is awesome in the Query Builder.
Hi David! Thank you for the update. That was some speedy service ;)
Again, I appreciate your prompt help. So awesome!

Speaking of testimonies, if you'd like to say a few nice things about BVCMS or us, please go to the Contact page on to give us a good word. We'll put these in future newletters with your name.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't give you the opportunity to complain too. Just go to that same page and give us a piece of your mind :-)

Admin Corner

Developer News

Usage Defined Software

We watch how people use the software, listen to them, improve features that people use. We build features incrementally. We avoid further development of things that people won't use. Here are a couple of examples of Usage Defined Software:

We have many QueryBuilder conditions and in fact they can be a bit overwhelming as to which one to use. But let me explain how all those conditions came about. We started out simple, with just a dropdown of a few fields and options to search by. But every time some question came up that we could not answer with the existing conditions, we would just add a condition overnight to satisfy that requirement. Pretty soon we outgrew the dropdown and moved to a the dialog box we current have. We did not have tabs to begin with, then we decided to organize the conditions under various tabs. Finally we had to add scroll bars to handle all the conditions. Just know that every single condition you see there was the direct result of a user coming up and asking "how do I select people who have such and such a condition".

Our Online Registrations came about in a similar way. We would get a request to do a particular type of registration. At first everytime we would get a new request, we would just create a new project and start programming it. Many times we would just copy something similar and modify it as needed. Pretty soon, we found ourselves with features in some recent online registration that we wished we had in previous ones. In the spring of 2010, we decided to consolidate the entire code base of online registrations and now we have a very flexible system that shares common features between all registrations. We still continue to add new registrations today.

Agile Methodology

Letting usage define what we do next with BVCMS is one of the principles we adhere to. This really is just part of the software development method known as Agile. We thought we would let you know about our approach to software development. We use Agile methodologies but we're not purists, we're pragmatists. So we don't use these principles as some sort of manifesto. But we did find that the Agile Methods just gave us some terminology for the kinds of things we were doing already before they became formalized.

David Carroll
BVCMS Developer

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BVCMS is a an open source, web-based, church management system. Usage Defined Software, doing business as, provides hosting, services, support, conversions and and customizations for a fee.