This release sees the introduction of great new productivity features, some key E-commerce enhancements, and significant improvements for Affino’s handling of ‘Fast Content’. All together there are over 150 updates in this release.
The new Restructure interface allows editors to rapidly transform their site’s structure; a new Live Label mode means that it is now possible to view and edit most labels directly on the live page; and the new To Do Lists help users to get complex tasks done quickly.
There are a lot of little things in this release which make Affino more intuitive and easier to use, such as: instant Live Edit mode; the Smart Image and Text DE becomes Button; the first steps of the new Control search layout; Blogging now always takes you to your own blog; you can now see when there is a new Affino release in the Control Centre; Channels, Checkout, Newsletters, Security all reorganised for easier management; Affino now automatically detects the type of media embed you’re doing and much more.
Event Commerce means that for the first time it is possible to directly sell Events in Affino, organisations which run many annual events will find them much easier to manage. Premium Content listings make it possible to highlight all the premium content which is available on the site in a much more effective manner than has been possible to-date. The new Credits solution means that it is now much more effective to sell online services.
Affino sites are increasingly using Incoming Feeds to drive their SEO, content and community automation. This is great, but it means that some sites have been adding tens of thousands of articles, images and videos per day. This additional content volume soon adds up and causes the Affino performance to degrade. As a result this release sees major updates to both Incoming Feeds and Archiving. It means that the Fast Content is pulled in, displayed whilst it is adding value, and then removed from the site to prevent an unnecessary build-up.
We have also integrated Affino with Dropbox for super-simple media uploads. It solves a major on-going issue with uploading large files. By using Dropbox’s excellent upload capabilities it is possible to upload videos and other large media files in a way that simply hasn’t been possible.
If you are a commercial site you must coordinate the upgrade with Affino support since any Custom Product templates must be updated prior to updating your site to the new release.
Apart from that, this is an incremental release which fixes issues throughout Affino. For most sites the upgrade is going to be simple and smooth and very beneficial.
There are a lot of projects which will be wrapped up in the February / March release, some of which are undocumented in this release, note that unless the new functionality is covered in the release notes then it is only available in a test capacity.
It is essential that you run through the complete update process starting with the Affino Updater, followed by the System Update, Re-Initialise Site, Design Element Update and Skin Update; all of which are available on the Settings > Update screen.
Event Commerce v1
Affino introduces Event Commerce. Up until now it has only been possible to create catalogue items from Products and Media item, now it’s possible to sell events directly.
All the key event elements such as the events listing, calendar and highlights allow the direct purchasing of events. All other ecommerce related elements and the site search also allow direct purchasing of events.
Enhancements to Newsletters means that members can now be targeted based on which event they have purchased, this allows for highly targeted event related purchases.
This update is significant for Event Commerce but is just the first step in what will be a major project to improve the engagement level of Affino events over the coming months.
Premium Content v1
Over the years there has been demand to show a Premium icon for secured (premium) content which users can access via a subscription. Affino now has a new option to Show Secured Content. This allows you to define where you’re going to list out Premium Content and to show an icon next to each premium content item which indicates what it is.
This works for both Media and Standard content, and will work for all article and media listings as well as for all key listing Design Elements.
The setup is simple: just add the new Premium Content Icon to your Design Styles and update the Prime Content settings and the settings of the Design Elements where you want to list out the premium content items.
Credits are a major new project in Affino. Initially Credits are focused on allowing users to purchase credits which can then be used for on-site activities. The users initially will be able to use the credits to create any permitted standard content including Groups, Events, Online Directory Entries and Articles; as well as any media content, e.g. Documents, Videos and MP3 files.
Account management has also been greatly enhanced so that credits can now be assigned to Accounts and users associated with those accounts can use the credits. Further it is possible to have multi-level accounts and use credits from parent accounts.
The My Account screen has now also been updated with a new Credit tab where users can see all their available credits and where they are coming from.
There is also a new Credit Management screen where commercial managers are able to see all the available credit plans for their users and to filter by them to identify users with expired or nearly expired credit plans.
As part of this project we have removed the Online Directory Plan from the Commerce Centre, this has been superseded by the Credits.
Restructuring an Affino site can take hours. This is a particular problem when setting up sites since it takes around two hours just to adapt the default Affino structure to the new site structure. For an inexperienced user, this can become a whole day, which simply gets extended every time changes need to be made.
The new Restructure App allows Editors to quickly and easily restructure their sites by selecting the top Channel in the hierarchy they want to restructure at which point the restructure screen allows them to organise up to 200 channels and sections at the same time to change the parent, names, security and design aspects of each Channel and Section.
It means a task that previously took hours can be done in minutes. We have also added a new Move option to the Control Centre Articles listing which allows you to restructure the content as well
Dropbox Integration v1
There are many ways to get media into Affino, but when it comes to uploading large media files such as feature length videos, many things can go wrong during the upload process. We’ve rolled out a great integration between Affino and Dropbox so that you can now simply drag-and-drop the files into your linked Dropbox folder and it will automatically be uploaded to an Affino section.
It is possible to sync any Dropbox folder with any Affino media section. Affino will automatically apply the Media Upload and Media Workflow profiles assigned to the Media Library Section to which the Media Items are being uploaded. Affino can also remove the files from Dropbox once they have been transferred.
Live Label Mode v1
We have added a new Live Label mode which allows you to edit the Text Items directly on the page. You simply turn on the mode and will see an edit link appearing next to any label that you can edit.
It is early days for this functionality and only some labels are editable in this way. We are looking to roll this out for all the labels, whether they are Text Items or from Profiles during the course of the year. What we have done is a great start though as it will simplify the site setup process considerably.
To Do Lists v2
We’ve had To Do lists in Affino for some time now, but this release sees a big step up in how they will be used. There is a new To Do Lists option in the Control Centre and directly from the App Bar.
We’ve also added To Do Lists for Campaigns and Newsletters in this release, and over the course of the year we will be adding new ones for all the more complex setup tasks in Affino. As well as doing the To Do Lists, we’ve improved the organisation for both Campaigns and Newsletters so the whole setup process is now much more transparent.
It is now possible to set content to be deleted as well as archived, i.e. Archive after 6 months and Delete after 9 months. It is essential that sites which are using the Archive Profile update it to include the Delete setting so that data doesn’t build up unnecessarily. It is also possible to archive Media content for the first time.
Incoming Feeds v2
Affino now has a dedicated interface for viewing and managing all the Incoming Feeds on an Affino instance. This will greatly improve the Editor’s ability to locate and manage these feeds. Incoming Feeds have also been extensively optimised and tighter restrictions imposed on their use, e.g. it is now no longer possible to have more than 100 incoming media feeds per Affino instance.
Affino Update Status Indicator – we have finally enabled this on the Control Centre. You can now always see whether or not there is a new release available
Application Bar – only users with Control security right can use the Cache Control on the App Bar.
Article Highlights DE – new Topic Filter means that it is possible to include top articles in Topic channels
Authentication Profile – we’ve split out the authentication elements from the Zone settings so that it is now possible to manage all the profiles from a new centralised Authentication Profile listing. It doesn’t help you get your App data from the 3rd parties, but it does help with managing the connections in Affino.
Blog Highlights DE – improved comments display and handling; new Vertical layout option displays the image above the text (for use in narrow columns)
Blogs – new Smart Add capability which means that if a user adds a Blog post whilst in the main Blog section then they are automatically redirected to their own section
Campaigns – new simpler structure for campaigns and new To Do list to help users get started
Channels – simplified the management of Channels by grouping and renaming some attributes so that they are easier to learn and update; when renaming a Channel, Affino now automatically renames the top Section within
Checkout – order confirmations now show the price next to each item purchased; users who have messed up their shopping session somehow can now reset it and start again (rather than simply be locked out)
Comments and Ratings – improved formatting; fixed issue which was stopping Tweets from being sent out
Documents – if Terms and Conditions have been applied to documents then the user is always taken to the detail page before they can download the document
Ecommerce Optimisation – most of the live ecommerce elements have been refactored and made easier to include in custom templates. It means that following this release it’s essential to update any custom product templates, however in the
future there should be little need to do so.
Google Analytics Integration – it is now possible to track Newsletter message clicks from messages sent by Affino. Affino automatically appends the following string: utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=[newslettertitle]
to each link allowing it to be tracked by Google.
Guest Cache – new Update option to empty the Guest Cache in a critical situation where the wrong content needs to be switched out as quickly as possible; added intelligence to the cache so that pages with errors are no longer cached
Live Editor Bar – now switches the edit mode on and off instantly (no need for a page refresh)
Media Uploader – embedded uploads have been greatly improved. Affino now automatically detects whether or not an embed is supported, so there is no longer any need to select a specific upload type, much more usable.
Micro Blog – new limit option for link length, prevents long links in Tweets from breaking the page design
My Information – added new ‘continuity prompt’ that encourages users who have connected their account with one or more social networks to test out the connection; it is now possible to sort the order of the tabs by simply selecting a tab
and moving it up or down on the My Information Profile
Newsletters – new user filter which allows you to target users who have purchased a specific catalogue item, e.g. event; new Country option makes it required for users to enter their country when registering for newsletters, something
that is increasingly required for compliance purposes; new demographic filters: Country, Gender and Age Range allow for more targeting on the newsletters.
OAuth – new OAuth component for all OAuth site integrations
Online Forms – new Company field option added to the Online Forms for essential data capture
Public Profile – added new formatting options for displaying the Badges, ensuring they don’t overpower the profile; new CV file upload option allows users to upload CVs; it is necessary to update the Demographic and Public profiles to enable this
Registration – demographic details are automatically populated if they have been entered in previously or have been sourced from a 3rd party site
Related Content – it is now possible to set a teaser limit on related content for improved presentation
Site Settings – it is now no longer possible to have the site cache for less than 30 minutes; this will improve site performance all round
Start Up – the Affino start-up time has been speeded up
Text DE – new auto-link option means that it is possible to place an Add Blog Post button anywhere in the Skin
TinyMCE – updated to version 22.214.171.124 (latest stable release), resolves numerous formatting issues in the Live Editor
YouTube Integration – added support for the new iframe YouTube embeds
Campaign Analysis – fixed issue which was causing some reports to error out
Carousel – now aligns reliably within the cell; carousels without arrows now display reliably
Channels – fixed error which was preventing some Channels from being created
Checkout – fixed issue with missing channel information when checkout out; fixed link on the Continue Shopping button so it now reliably points back to where the user was previously; fixed Captcha error when logging in on the checkout
Comments and Ratings – now work on IE7; the Reply now works reliably
Conferences – all Conference channels now removed
Design Menu – fixed issue which was causing a Design Menu error when uploading files
Detailed Media Section DE – fixed issue with broken Document links
Detailed Standard Section DE – fixed issue with CSS styling
Dynamic Menus – fixed the ‘bouncing menu’ problem where the dynamic menus would bounce up and down repeatedly (finally)
E-commerce – add to basket now works reliably in all configurations
Events – now displaying multi-displayed events reliably
Groups – now list newest groups reliably
Google Map – Google Maps now reliably click from the map through to the appropriate Jobs post, Location and Classified
Google Website Optimizer – major fixes done to Google Website Optimizer integration following changes made by Google to the API
Guest Cache – fixed issue which was causing it to error out on new Zones
Inventory – there are many major updates to the inventory management in Affino, in particular critical issues have been fixed for managing inventory when using bundles and catalogue attributes, e.g. 3 x large white t-shirts only in stock
Live Design – fixed issue which was causing the Live Design buttons not to display or to over display.
Login – fixed long-standing cross-domain login issue which was causing automated cross-domain logins to error out under specific circumstances
Login Design Element – fixed issue which was erroring out the content edit screen on the Login DE
Main Menu – the ‘hide home’ option now works reliably
Media Library – fixed error which was preventing external Media Items from being added; deleting media items no longer errors out; sort orders now working reliably
Media Uploader – fixed issue with uploading multimedia
My Account – now displays the actual end dates for subscriptions rather than estimating them
News – improved formatting and fixed font colour issues
Online Form DE – fixed issue where the Online Form DE was causing issues with media uploads
Orders – fixed issue which was resulting in some orders having additional products on them
Polls – fixed issue which was causing HTML tags to appear in polls
Profile Completeness – now adds and removes the percentage completion reliably as users add and remove information from their profiles; no longer displays all the actions when the user is at 100%.
Public Profile – fixed ‘Media Item’ error which was breaking some public profiles
Registration – fixed error which was causing the registration to error out; removed issue which was causing an alert to be displayed in Firefox
Section – copying a Section now works reliably
Smart Copy – fixed an issue which was preventing users from using Smart Copy to create new Design Object Trees
Structure Copy – fixed ‘current parent’ error which was preventing it from working reliably
TinyMCE – updated again to the newest release, added some formatting fixes
Video Player – now displays special characters reliably
YouTube – new embed format broke Affino, now fixed
Zones – no longer error out when new ones are added