Affino 7.2 is a major speed and stability improvement release. It addresses the issues which have arisen with moving all Affino SaaS sites to the new super scale cloud. This has been an extremely complex release to work on so it’s great to have it out.
Affino 7.2 is not only focused on delivering pages quickly and reliably, there are also many great enhancements across the board including: Invitations v2, Commerce Dashboard v2 and Smart Edit. In all there over 200 updates in this release, and as always there’s a lot of great usability improvements throughout.
A considerable number of site updates and launches have happened during this release cycle so there’s a broad spectrum of enhancements throughout the system which make it easier and more effective to business online whether you’re a SEO pro, a designer, marketing manager, store manager, editor or community moderator. It always feels great to have a release like this which makes working with Affino that much more effective.
The Affino 7.2 is very much a stability release and is an essential update for all Affino sites. It is an easy update, simply go through the standard update process. WorldPay users please see note below as you need to update your settings with this release.
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, Skin Update and finally Clear Guest Cache; all of which are available on the Settings > Update screen.
Reality always interrupts achieving ideals, especially when it comes to changing technologies. We’ve gone through the biggest tech learning over the past couple of months following the move to the super-scale cloud that we’ve had to do since originally moving to the Amazon cloud. It’s meant un-learning 20 years of best-practice and learning a whole new way of running the tech infrastructure.
We’ve overcome dozens of significant hurdles and advanced the entire Affino technical stack considerably over the past couple of months. We are finally starting to see the stability levels we have been aiming for with the move to the new super scale cloud stack. Hopefully it will be a few years before we have to go through a similar exercise.
This means that the goal of rapid scaling and failover has been achieved for the application cloud and the automation is all in place to handle this 24/7/365 with minimal human intervention. We’re now working on reducing any down-time further. There have been over a hundred projects involved in this over the past couple of months, and we’ll keep refining the platform until it fully delivers.
We’re very happy to introduce Invites 2 into Affino. For the first time it is possible to invite your Google and LinkedIn Contacts, along with your general email contacts. It’s simple to invite your contacts and be notified when they join the community.
There’s now a dedicated Invites channel which makes it easy to style and engage. All the invite messages and the whole process of inviting and receiving invites has been greatly improved.
We’ll be updating Invites further in the next release to include Facebook and Twitter contacts as well.
New Commerce Dashboard which requires no set up. It monitors your conversion events from the number of visitors and baskets through to checkouts and sales. It charts your sales volumes and values and allows you to drill-down to timeframes, stores and currencies.
You also have access to live shoppers and can see their profiles and baskets as they shop. All the charts and stats have handy links through to the core contact, shopping basket and order management.
To edit the main element of any page simply select the Smart Edit link on the Content Panel or the App Bar. There’s no need to figure out any more if you’re on a Channel, Section or Item. This is especially useful for casual editors or users which are focused on a specific task like SEO tagging. Simply press the Smart Edit button to be taken to the edit screen for the tags on any page.
Smart Edit is part of the SEO Pro tools in this release, the other is the SEO Import which lets you import the Meta Page Title and Description in CSV format for all your primary content.
Bot Tracking / Analysis - Affino now has greatly improved Bot tracking and handling with daily bot list updates to keep your stats as accurate as possible.
Avatar Import - it is now possible to import Gravatars for your users. If you trigger the update on the Avatar Import screen then any user with a Gravatar and without an existing avatar will have it imported.
Campaigns - it is now possible to target campaigns and creatives based on individual members’ interests. It is also possible to target them based on the Channel content.
Captcha - we’ve swapped Captcha components to one which is easier for people to read.
Checkout - lots of great improvements to the checkout including: improved formatting, store credit improvements, styling improvements and it is now possible to set a different Skin for the Checkout Acknowledgement screen for further up-selling.
Comment Queue - direct links to content from the comments to provide better context.
Conversion Events - Conversion Event alerts now include the Footprint URL for the page the user was on; it is possible to include the shopping basket in the notification giving the sales team instant insight into your users purchase intentions.
Delivery Time Frames - it is now possible to set delivery timeframes for the different delivery options. This will then present the shortest delivery timeframe available to the user based on the combination of products purchased and time frames available.
Encryption - channels which have been selected as Encrypted and now enforced so users can’t access via unencrypted means
Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter Authentication - all three have had major updates in this release. Increasingly it is now necessary for users to re-authenticate regularly to maintain their connection with Affino / your site. Affino now supports this for the major social platforms.
Google Analytics - Affino now supports Display Advertising tracking integration with Google Analytics
Google Contacts - Affino now integrates with Google Contacts as part of the Invites. Users authenticate for 1 hour to pull in their contacts which are then stored in Affino so that they can be notified when their contacts join. It’s essential that this is covered in the terms and conditions.
IP Address Filter - it is now possible to lock down individual Zones to specific IP Addresses
Links / Virtual Channels - it is now possible to select on each link whether you want it to open in the same page or new tab. This works for both Link Items and Virtual Channels.
Messaging - this release sees further significant improvements in messaging. The most significant is isolating marketing mailing lists from the overall site and a greatly improved newsletter signup process. Other improvements include: easy identification of messaging campaigns as Auto Responder, Manual and Automated Messaging campaigns; we’ve improved handling of personal bulk My Messages as well as SMS alerts. Improved subscriber spam prevention.
Notifications - many notifications now look better and work better
Orders - added Member Type and Job Title to the order screen and notifications
Outgoing Feeds - great new control screen for Outgoing Feeds. It is now possible to manage all the outgoing feeds in one place.
Popup Selectors - further refinements to popup selectors, now a joy to use.
Products - it is now possible to list a product in a unique currency which is different to your store currency. Once this product is added to the basket they’re shown a notice saying that the currency has changed, and the active currency changes to the new one. This means it’s possible to sell ‘occasional’ items in different currencies without having them for sale in all the available store currencies.
Public Profiles - some layout changes to improve overall profile engagement
Scheduled Tasks - we’ve completely reworked how Affino handles long-running tasks to work in the new scalable cloud setup. it is now possible to go to the Scheduled Tasks screen in the Control Centre to see which tasks are running on your Affino instance and when.
Sessions - now last twice as long as they did previously. It means that users who are not set to use auto-login will time out after 10 minutes now instead of 5. It is strongly recommended that for most sites auto-login is set as the default.
Social Wall - great new screen which shows you all the latest activity on your sites, and who’s doing what. You’ll need to set up your Customer Ladder to track the activities.
Store Credits - many great updates to Store Credits. Improved incentives panels throughout, better messaging, more clarity on how users can earn and spend the credits, all purchase elements included in the points allocation; store credits can now also be imported and exported on the User Import / Export as well as the Order Export and much more.
Team Time - it is now possible to log time against projects done in the past
Text Items - it is now possible to change the interface language right down to the individual channel level. This gives you much more control over how your application interface labels work.
Topic Exports v1 - New Topic Exports allows you to do a CSV export of your Topics, manage them in Excel / Spreadsheet software, and then re-import them using Topic Import.
Topic Filter DE - it is now possible to cross-check and drill down using multiple topic selectors on a page. Only available options are shown when checked against the possible content.
User Export - new Country filter allows you to export users based on their country of origin.
User / Subscriber Imports - added Topic column to help target messaging based on members’ interests
WorldPay - updated WorldPay integration to make more secure. It’s essential that following the update you update your SignatureFields setting to be: amount:currency:cartId
Fixes are elements which didn’t work as well as they should, and have now been made to work better. Minor enhancements provide subtle improvements that most people won’t notice, but which nonetheless improve on the overall Affino experience.
Articles / Article Listing / Article Highlights Scroller DE
Catalogue Import / Catalogue Attributes / Catalogue Listing
Checkout / Shipping
Conversion Events / Customer Ladder / Customer Ladder Analysis
Feature Scroller DE
Forums / Forum Subscriptions
Login / Overlay Login
Media Editor / Media Uploading
Media Listing DE
Media Item Detail Import
Messaging / Message Format
Orders / Order Export
Page Views / Page Encoding
Product Messages / Product Search
Recruitment / Job Search
Related Profile / Related DE
Smart Item DE
SMS Provider Profile
Users / User Export / User Bulk Update
What’s New DE
No elements removed in this release, but expect quite a few to be trimmed in Affino 7.5.
These are integrations which have had essential maintenance in this release, if you rely on any of them then you’ll want to update at the earliest opportunity:
Affino benefits from using some great frameworks, here are the updates we’ve rolled out for these frameworks in this release:
HighCharts updated to 3.0.2