There are over two hundred updates and enhancements to Affino in this release, there are though six which stand out above the others in their significance: Forums, Collaboration, Awards, Product Search, Product Drill-down and the Smart Channel Listing.
The new Forums and Collaboration app is the single biggest update we’ve made on the community side of Affino in years. This is a completely new take on forums, bringing them right up-to-date in an engaging, mobile optimised manner with great drag and drop media and powerful wysiwyg editing of posts. There are broadly two types of community spaces you can set up, one more traditional and project focused, and the second more topic and influencer led with threaded conversation, likes and comments. See below for much more detail.
The new Awards app is also a major breakthrough, it ties directly into Affino Events, so you can sell awards entries and tickets, capture delegates, promote, and manage your award and facilitate the judging all entirely through the awards app. What really sets Affino’s awards platform apart though is the powerful management which lets you clone previous awards and then simply update for the new year, and the tight CRM integration with all aspects of the sales, delegates, entries and judging.
The new Product Search and Drill-down allow you to build high volume stores with great search and filtering on your product catalogue. Everything is mobile optimised, encrypted and SEO friendly for high engagement and conversion.
There are a host of great additional innovations such as the new Channel / Section grid listing for more engaging pages, and the Contact List import, not glamorous, but greatly simplifies bulk assignment of contacts to contact lists, e.g. event attendees.
This release also sees a host of performance updates which allows Affino to scale faster, serve pages faster, handle inbound link trackers more effectively, cache pages better and in general be much more robust with fewer blips and slowdowns when under load. Behind the scenes we rolled out an entirely new reporting capability in Affino which gives us realtime insight into what’s happening on each site in ways we simply didn’t have before, allowing for greatly improved diagnosis and therefore performance tuning.
NOTE - this release requires a major update to the image processing component, if you have any issues please notify Affino for a quick resolution.
The Affino 7.5.x releases are essential updates for all Affino sites. It is an easy update, simply go through the standard update process.
Given that we have updated most of the key front end design elements and templates it is important that you check your front end pages following this update to ensure that any customisations are still looking good.
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.
This release sees the introduction of responsive forums for the first time in Affino. You can now have great discussions, manage customer support, create shared spaces and communicate around projects all in one great new app.
The responsive forums build on the classic ones, but are also radically different in approach. It means we’ve kept all the most important elements whilst creating more styling and impactful communications spaces with a touch friendly and familiar interface.
One of the biggest steps forward is the new responsive editor which has a great new media uploader, which allows drag and drop on the desktop and is touch and mobile friendly when on the go. It also allows you to upload multiple images / media files and quickly drag them into the forum post. There is also the option to have an advanced or simple wysiwyg editor for the main message.
There’s a great search, and you can instantly see new posts since your last visit, and users are kept up to date through notification alerts.
The new forums introduce new full SEO friendly URLs, whilst still allowing you to quickly find a thread using the thread ID.
There are also powerful moderation features with the ability to answer, close, see all new thread, merge, delete and move threads and much more.
Building on top of the forums we’re launching a new collaboration platform. This allows you to create collaboration groups built around interests and subject matter influencers. You can quickly create dedicated groups for any event, conference or subject. These allow powerful threaded discussions, with answering, quotes, and replies as well as sharing of media and embedded links, video, Twitter cards and much more.
Users can browse by topics, see the most popular topics, see who’s in on the discussion, and who the top influencers are overall, by topic and within their .
The combined Forums and Collaborations are one of the biggest new improvements to Affino for the past couple of years and we strongly recommend you try them out and explore how they can augment your communities.
Affino introduces a great new awards management platform. It delivers end-to-end award promotion, sales, entries, judging, management, CRM and analytics for awards. We took on board all the requirements of the Affino events customer community when developing the awards making Affino the most powerful and effective tool for managing the whole experience end to end.
All aspects of award promotion, sales, entry and judging are fully responsive so that entries can be submitted and judged on the go, on-site and remotely.
When setting up a new Award, you can simply copy a previous award, including all the categories and judges and then update as needed. This is a powerful productivity breakthrough and makes for a quick launch process for each award.
The end to end nature of the experience, and the full CRM integration means that any participant will have their details already in place for future awards, with their full participation history. This allows them to simply login, update their details and then submit their entry / or judge their categories.
The entry process is seamless from making the purchase, iterating the entry and then finalising the entry and approving it. Throughout the entry and judging process there are useful notifications for administrators to know when entries and judging are taking place with key details in each notice.
The awards seamlessly integrate with Affino’s Events management, allowing you to fully integrate them into your events calendar, and other events in the schedule. You can create underlying promotion pages ranging from simple events (minutes to set up), to advanced ones with full sponsor and judging listings, through to entirely customised events site driven by the full Affino CMS.
You won’t have seen anything like this before.
Product Search v1
We’re re-introducing the powerful Product Search engine with a new optimised fully responsive interface which works as well for advanced product search on mobiles as it does on desktops. The whole experience is much faster and more engaging, with a great new streamlined style.
You can set up an overall product search for the site, along with multiple focused searches, using the Product Search Profile to tailor which options you want the customers to be able to drill down by. Customers can also select by price range and special offers.
The combination of SEO friendly product searches (and drill-downs, see below) allows for a greatly improved customer discovery journey and higher conversion rates.
Product Drill-down v1
We’re also introducing a great new Product Drill Down presentation style for your product listings. Previously if you wanted this type of advanced search and filtering for products you had to create separate product libraries and then dedicated search channels for them. Now you can combine them for much more effective management and more powerful SEO.
Smart Prime Content DE / Smart Channel Listing
It is now possible to list out your channels and section in advanced grids in the same way that’s possible with articles. This is a great update which allows for more engaging category listings.
Behind the scenes we have made a host of critical performance updates in this Affino release, making it an essential update. Affino now runs faster, with faster scaling and failover, and many fewer performance blips.
Account Import - it is now possible to bulk add, update and delete accounts using the Account import. It is also possible to check for duplicates on the import against just account names or account names and addresses.
App Bar - you can now manage events using the app bar
Checkout - it is now possible to force checkout users to go through the registration process rather than do a checkout registration. This is essential to allow for elements such as double confirm on registration. It is crucial when you want to automatically assign users to their accounts and give them appropriate discounts when checking out.
Contact List Import v1 - it is now possible to bulk assign contacts to any contact list through a new Contact List Import. Simply requires the UserCode or Email address, and then can use a pipe delimited list of Contact List ID’s to bulk assign the contacts to a list. An example would be an event attendee list for example. Note that the contacts would all need to be imported using the User Import first, or exist already in the CRM prior to the list assignment.
Contact Notes - it is now possible to manage the contact note types using Lookups. The specific lookup is: Contact Note Note Type
Design - as always, a number of design improvements throughout all the front-end templates. We’ve also added a host of new classes and some identifiers to make targeting elements / groups of elements more effective.
Design Styles - new Normal Font Weight and Bold Font Weight for more granularity on font styling.
Discounts - we have made a major change on how discounts are assigned to orders. They are now split equally across all the products, whereas in the past were allocated on a ‘bucket’ style approach with the full discount amount being assigned to products until fully allocated. The new approach makes for more effective reporting. Note that coupons are still applied on a bucket approach owing to the different options on the coupon plans.
Events - it is now possible to have Steps on Events for greatly enhanced layout options.
HR > Absences - it is now possible to cancel / delete absences
HR > Skills - it is now possible to remove qualifications
HR > Timesheets - it is now possible to pre-fill timesheets to support advanced invoices
Interests - we have completely re-worked how interests are captured on registration, profiles, contact management and throughout Affino. These should now all be completely consistent and much more manageable as a result.
Print Products - it is now possible to assign multiple subscription plans to each print product for calculating the circulation. This allows you to have a number of related but distinct plans for each publication, e.g. Print and Digital, Print Only, Print Digital and App etc.
Pro Forma Orders - it is now possible to change the currency of a Pro Forma Order at any time until the order is generated. Make sure that you have the pricing in all currencies used for each product. Affino now will no longer apply a tax if no tax is set on the selected currency.
Special Offers - now available on all product listings and searches
Standard Item Import and Export - the import has been updated to better cater for directory entries, with the following new columns: Stand, Telephone and ContactWebsite.
User Import - added Biography to the user import, very useful for quickly populating speaker profiles.
Trading Zones - now display countries in the listing
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 (some will love), but which nonetheless improve on the overall Affino experience.
Account (Contact Selector / CRM Topic)
Article Feature Scroller
Article Steps (multi-entry) / Article Presentation Styles
Auto-related Content DE
Catalogue Item Edit
Catalogue Item Import
Channel Add (duplicate check)
Checkout (assign attendees, postcode)
Contacts (deletion, biography, topic filter, absences)
Contact Notes (account)
Conversion Event Import
CRM (numerous tweaks)
Customer Ladder Analysis
Events / Advanced Events / Advanced Event management
Inventory (inventory level)
Lead Generation (terms and conditions)
Login (redirects / cross domain)
Mailing Lists (subscriber numbers)
Media Workflow Profile
Message Campaigns (multiple)
Message Campaign Analysis
My Messages (message format)
Opportunities (iPad support)
Orders (notes and payment moved to top)
Pro Forma Order (signed order)
Sage Audit Trail Export
Scoped Search (multiple)
SEO (hide from search engines)
Smart Article Listing DE
Smart Event Listing DE
Smart PC DE
Tasks (numerous updates)
Terms and Conditions
User Import / User Export
No elements removed in this release
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:
JQuery updated to - 3.2.1
JQueryUI updated to - no change
HighCharts updated to - 5.0.9
TinyMCE updated to - 4.5.5
Video.js updated to - no change