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bvcms

Newsletter #9
July 19, 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

This is where we keep users informed. Here are the latest news items and announcements from BVCMS.

Multiple Schedules on a Single Organization

Recently, we added a new feature to allow you to add multiple Schedules to one Organization. This is going to make things a lot simpler for a number of our churches. Some churches find it more useful to have, for example, one class with all the two-year olds on Sunday morning rather than three classes, each at a different hour. This gives the families the option of attending at any of the three time slots.

This works for any group that offers more than one possible time slot for its meetings, but intends the members to attend only one of the meetings. The blog post of June 23rd explained more about this. Also, it is more thoroughly documented in the wiki article.

Annual Promotion

OK, so this is not about a new marketing promotion, but it is about promoting your children to their next graded Sunday School class for the new school year. Now is the time to begin thinking about moving your students into new classes for the Fall. BVCMS makes that drop-dead simple! There are two Promotion options: Org Member Management (suits most churches) and our full-blown Promotion Management (for those churches with multiple hours and multiple classes of each age group). Read more.

Advanced Queries Made Easy

Query Builder can most likely find any group of people you are interested in, no matter how convoluted. This is why there are seven categories with a total of 143 different Conditions! I am not a mathematician, but I know that this means you have many thousands of ways to search for people when you start combining these Conditions in a Query. So now we want to point out some really cool ways to discover how QueryBuilder does its magic.

Basically there are links and buttons that you can click to have a query built for you based on what you are doing that the time. This ability is not entirely new to BVCMS; in the Decision Summary Report you could click a link and be taken to QueryBuilder to drill down to the specific list of people referenced on any total count of that report. We have been recently adding a number of these one-click Queries to BVCMS. Read more.

Oh, by the way, after you click one of those buttons, be sure to notice the Query itself. This might give you some ideas about how you can build your own queries. Try this – select the following fields on People Search: Member; Female; Married; and a zip code in your area. Run the Search and then click Query. Notice how the Query is configured. Click on each condition to see how it is specified in the condition details up top. You can even use as a starting point to build your own nested Query.

VoteLinks Just Got Better!

If you have used VoteLinks, you know how incredibly easy they make it for people to respond as an RSVP to a meeting, register for an event, or declare an interest or selection – and the list goes on. First, they will respond quickly because it is easy, and, secondly because they can get a confirmation email with all the details, they will feel more committed to come. (Of course you are sending reminders, right? That's so easy too, no excuse.)

Now you can make those VoteLinks into what we are calling VoteTags. VoteTags are just taking those links and instead of displaying text, they can display an image. For example, you may want them to look like actual buttons or perhaps pictures of the options they can choose. You can make your email invitation styling! Read how you can make that happen.

Webinars Coming

I know, we have been saying this for a long time, but please allow us to say it again. We think we are just overwhelmed by the idea of hosting a webinar and what it should accomplish. I think it is because we wanted to accomplish too much in our first one. So, look for an invitation in the next couple of weeks to come to a thirty minute webinar that will be a back to the basics course. This will allow us to get our feet wet, try a few things and it will accomplish two more things: 1) you can send your new users to it to be trained, and 2) we really need to update up our videos to show the new look and feel. This should help us get some confidence in how to do these. We'll be offereing some advanced webinars that we will charge a small fee for, but these basics webinars will be free. So be looking for that invitation.


Admin Corner

Help About (build date)

Under the Help menu there is an About item. This takes you to a page showing you the the last time the BVCMS application was updated like so "Build Date: 7/13/2011 10:48:56 PM" This will tell you whether you are running a brand new version or one that has been out there for a while. With the rapid pace we are developing and publishing new releases, I don't expect that date to be more than a few weeks old at the oldest. Usually a week does not go by without publishing a new feature. So if something looks odd to you, you might want to see if the build is brand new. That might lead you to believe that it is related to something we just published.

New Printers and 2in Labels

We just finished coding support for the Godex Printer DT-4 label printer for our Touchscreen Check-in program. We'll be publishing that soon. The great thing about this printer is that it is less expensive than either the Zebra or Datamax printers. But to order one you have to call us. Godex only works with resellers and I have a great relationship with them. You order the printer from us, we have it dropshipped to you. They have the best prices on 2in labels too.

What's this about 2in labels you ask? Well, at the same time we added support for the Godex Printer, we programmed it for 2in labels. Those labels have a lot of advantages over the 1in labels: 1) they stick better, 2) you can make the name bigger, and 3) you can put more information on the label. We think you are really going to like these. We are currently rewriting the drivers for the Zebra and Datamax to support the 2in label style too. More later.

Support via Facebook and Twitter

Admins, we will be sending you an invitation to join our Admin support group on Facebook. It will be a private, invitation only group. We will be using that group to post news and answer group level support questions. Also, we will be posting news to both that group and to our @bvcmscom Twitter account. So, I would recommend to you that you join us on Facebook and that you follow us on Twitter as well. The twitter account will allow you to promote BVCMS to your other church friends by retweeting our tweets.

So, please send a Facebook friend request to me at facebook.com/davcar, be sure to let me know that you are an Admin on BVCMS. Once I have that I can send you an invite to the BVCMS Admin Group. And follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/bvcmscom.


Developer News

Iron Python Scripting Lanaguage

BVCMS now incorporates the Python language to give you the ability to add to the default behavior when certain events occur like a registration or an enrollment, attendance or other important occurences. Our first foray in to this was to prove it could be utililized for our automated Membership Approval Process. This used to be hard coded into the C# code but now can be changed to fit your church's requirements. Read more.

In Progress...

We continue to work on converting pages from Webforms to MVC. Currently working on the Contact Search and Contact Details page. We have recently finished the Meeting page, the People Search, and Manage Tags pages. Again, this project is ongoing and gives us the opportunity to spruce up the pages to the new look and feel along with adding a few new features.

New Developer on Board

We are very exctied about working with Jeremy from Colorado. We'll introduce you to him after he gets a few projects under his belt. I have met with him twice now and we are scheduled to work together for an hour a week bringing him up to speed on the code and the project. We are still waiting to see where the Lord leads us on this, but Jeremy is very bright and loves geek things and the church. Did you know that Paul in the Bible was a geek? Yep, when he asked Timothy to bring him his parchments and scrolls, he was asking for the latest in technology of the day. Today he'd be asking for his iPad! Well, let me tell you, Jeremy is up to date on the latest in technology.

Refresh Cache Conference in October

I am going to be speaking twice at RefreshCache, in Phoenix during October. This is a meeting of Shelby/Arena developers and they are wanting to branch out to include Open Source software developers as part of their annual Conference. http://www.refreshcache.com/Arena/. This will be an ideal time to introduce developers to BVCMS.

Blessings,
David Carroll and Karen Worrell
Your BVCMS Team


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