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Issue 012 - Oct 7, 2002



The lowdown on LivePerson.

I've mentioned this a couple of times in the past, but I think it's worth repeating - a handy way to reach interactivetools.com is through our LivePerson chat service. It's an ICQ-like chat tool that connects you directly with someone from interactivetools.com so you can talk to an actual human being.

You can see the link on pretty much every page on our website. Although the LivePerson link features a cute Asian woman... you'll most likely end up talking to me or Damon. Sorry to burst the fantasy. :-)

I get asked a couple of times a week where to get software like this, and if we created it. Nope, we didn't make it - we purchased it from LivePerson.

If you're interested in adding the LivePerson service to your own website, just visit their website at:

http://www.liveperson.com

A single license costs $99/month and a professional license (2 seats) is more.

Anyway, it's been a great addition to our technical/sales support system (it often helps us close sales), so if you're looking for something similar, check them out.


Upgrading your software just got easier.

Before this month, getting software upgrades to interactivetools.com software could take a few hours - and it was a manually intensive task for us here. Rox and Celyne used to cringe every time I announced a new edition of the software because they knew they were in for a busy day of fulfilling upgrade requests.

So for their sake - well, okay, for your sake too - we've automated the upgrade process. You can now go onto our site, fill out a form and get your update right away!

Here's the URL to the interactivetools.com instant upgrade:
Click Here

You can download the latest update for any of our software, right away. No waiting, no processing, just complete the upgrade form and save the files to your computer.

There's a trick, though, you need to know your software license number to be able to download the upgrade. You can find it within the "Setup Options" of your interactivetools.com software.


Our new installation service.

One of the big selling points of interactivetools.com software is our free installation. Buy the software and if you like, we can install it on your server and make sure it's working properly. It's a great timesaver.

However, we only offer a single free installation with each license. We can't handle the installation if you download an upgrade or you move servers... several times. :-)

You can always install, upgrade, or move the software around yourself, but if you want us to do it and you've already used your free install we now have that service available for $49/installation.

So, if you need an installation, just visit our order form and choose the "Additional Installations" option:
Click Here


DocBuilder is now only $99 (previously $149).

We've dropped the prices on several of our products to $99, but DocBuilder was feeling a little lonely. So, we've slashed its price as well - previously it was $149, now it's $99.

In case you haven't heard of it, DocBuilder is our web-based application that lets you create online documentation. It's really best for creating technical support documents, software manuals, etc, but I'm sure you'll come up with all kinds of creative uses for it.
Click here for more info on DocBuilder.

If you've been waiting patiently for an opportunity to pick up a license (or 10 licenses) of DocBuilder... now's the time. Just visit our order form, and grab as many as you like.

Single License - $99
5-pack - $295 (40% off)
10-pack - $490 (50% off)

Click here to order.


Latest software upgrades.

ARTICLE MANAGER - version 1.23 (September 23, 2002)

      • article's time is formatted according to time_format option from config.ini
      • archiving will not publish printer redirect pages if Printer Pages are turned off
      • webfeed generator will not show hidden categories
      • option to turn off publishing of hidden category's index and syndicated content
      • individual article filenames can contain dashes

See a full list of changes here.

Updates are always free, so, if you want to receive the latest edition right away, visit this page.

If you want more information on Article Manager, visit this page.

HTMLAREA - version 2.0 beta1 (September 13, 2002)

Dave created an impressive update to htmlArea this month, which he posted to our Discussion Forum (the download is attached to Dave's opening post). Be warned, this is just a beta, but it's pretty stable, so go ahead and download it.

visual changes

      • added mouseover/mouseoff events and style for toolbar ui buttons
      • update toolbar to take up less space and be smaller
      • display point sizes beside HTML font sizes
      • change "about this editor" icon to an "i"
      • created a help popup (content still needs to be written).
      • added version number to about page.

code changes

      • added "defer" to script tag to prevent editor from being created until page loads
      • simplified header that needs to be added to pages that contain editor
      • generated script include tag using _editor_url so users don't have to enter URL twice
      • moved CSS for editor toolbar buttons into editor.js
      • switched to using object to pass configuration arguments to editor_generate
      • general code improvements, optimizations and re-organization
      • added hooks for keypress events for future use

new features

      • added pulldown for CSS style classnames
      • added many more config options including:
      • ability to select which toolbar elements you want displayed
      • ability to specify the order of toolbar elements
      • ability to specify fonts, sizes, and CSS styles for pulldowns
      • ability to set default font and style used in editor window
      • debug flag that lets the see the source of the wysiwyg field at all times
      • add more sample code and comments showing how to add custom buttons

bug fixes

      • fixed error caused when height/width were manually specified (reported by jpeto, thanks!)
      • "about this editor" window now works when in textedit mode

If you want our most recent final version of htmlArea (1.05), please visit this link.


We want your feedback - custom programming?

It's been our policy for the last year to not do any custom programming. First, let me give you a little history.

When interactivetools.com first started out, custom programming was all we did. We had some clients ask us for similar software solutions, so we began "productizing" our stuff - that's where Realty Manager came from. As we found more time, we started creating completely new software products (ie Article Manager), and found we could give more people solutions this way than doing custom jobs for individual clients. Eventually we took the bold step of removing the custom programming from our service offerings.

If people want custom changes made to one of our applications, their only option right now is to fire along a "feature suggestion". We gather these together and put them into the "Big List O' Features". Over time we implement some of the feature suggestions into our software and release them for everyone.

The advantage right now is that it allows us to focus on creating software that fulfills as many peoples' requirements as possible.

That said, we're reconsidering this "no custom programming" policy...

We still won't be creating applications from scratch for folks; however, we're trying to figure out a way that we can provide customization of our existing applications.

For example, let's say that you wanted Article Manager to connect to your bulletin board so people can post comments about articles on your website. You could request a custom project from us - we'd provide a quotation, and if you were happy with the price, we would go ahead and develop it for you.

Now, here's the catch... if the modifications we create are appropriate to Article Manager users in general, we'd probably release it to everyone in an upcoming release of the software. (Obviously we wouldn't do this if the customization was only appropriate for your company).

In other words, by paying for a customization, it gives you some control over our list of priorities. But, if appropriate, the customizations will find their way into the hands of the general public.

So, it's not an easy decision for us to make. And when we have tough decisions, we look to our friends for feedback (psst, "friends" is you). :-)

Do you like this idea of custom programming?

There are two ways you can give us your feedback.

If you want to make a public statement, hit our feedback forum. We've got an unfolding conversation at this location.

Or, you can just reply to this email with your feedback.

... we really want to know what you think.


A foray into the Forum.

Here's this month's offerings from our discussion Forum. One note before we go on, however. We just upgraded the software to a newer version, and we also hacked it a little to make it more search engine friendly. If you find this has broken anything, please let me know and we'll fix it.

Onto the snippets:

List of Designers
I started a new forum for design companies to post some information about themselves - that way people who need designers can find you. Well, the topic has stood completely empty. :-)

Template Sets
Then I asked for customer feedback on how you think we should handle templates for future versions of the software. More templates? Less templates? Some kind if wizzy template editor?

Creating Avantgo Templates
Clever Damon figured out a way to create alternative views of Article Manager content. He "damon-strates" this by creating a version of his content viewable on a Palm Pilot using Avantgo.

Template: News Display
Okay, this is impressive. "InSite" wanted to know if there was a way to have the top 3 stories show full summaries, and then the other stories on the homepage just have subjects. Luke figures out a clever solution and posts it for all to see.

GoForum - Connecting Article Manager to your forum
Want your readers to discuss an article? Dave developed an addon to Article Manager that automatically generates new forum topics so people can have their say. Right now it's working with: vbulletin, ubbthreads, gossamer forum, ikonboard, and ubb5.

Users Currently Online
MalaK_3araby posted a clever trick to show how many users are currently browsing an Article Manager website.


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