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Issue 019 - Jun 28, 2003


  1. Priority Consulting.
  2. When updating remember to backup first.
  3. New software updates.
  4. Developer tools.
  5. News for Beta Testers - Article Manager SQL.
  6. News from the forum.

Priority Consulting.

We're now offering a new service that we call "Priority Consulting". Priority Consulting includes services such as template integration, product training, HTML mentoring, and add-on integration/installation.

We sometimes get requests that go outside our regular support system where a designer encounters difficulty integrating the software and asks for assistance. Our new service is not a replacement for our current support (which will still be free) but an extension of our support system that now offers another valuable service to web designers. We're not in the business of web design, so we're going to leave that up to web designers like many of you in this community.

A common use of Priority Consulting is template integration, where we take a design that you've already mocked up (or even an established web site) and integrate one of our products. For example you may want Article Manager to work with a website you've already created a design for but you're not sure where to begin - or you would prefer to focus on the creative aspects of design. We can step in and take your existing web design and make the appropriate changes. You do the web design, and we complete the template integration.

We offer this at an affordable rate of $25 an hour (minimum purchase is 4 hours). This pays for a Project Manager, Product Specialist, and/or JavaScript Programmer as dictated by the needs of the project, including direct telephone access to your specialists.

Here are some sample clients who we helped integrate their projects using our Priority Consulting Services. In both projects they had existing sites and systems in place, but chose to migrate to our products and use our team to assist them.

If you have any interest or concerns about this service, please email our Project Manager Theo Wiersma or visit the Priority Consulting page on our website.


When updating remember to backup first.

Every month we get at least a few people who make the mistake of overwriting their data files before updating. So when updating to the newest versions - backup before you do anything else!

Updating is generally a simple process that involves uploading the new program files over the old ones. No data should ever be lost, and before you know it you can begin making use of all the new features the update has to offer.

But before you update, the first thing to do is to make a backup of all of your template, data, configuration, and upload files. The update packages include all the product files, including blank data files and original templates. If you are updating, DO NOT upload the data/* and template/* files unless instructed, otherwise you will overwrite your live content and templates. But just to be on the safe side, make a back up of the following folders, and files:

      • /data
      • /templates
      • /uploads
      • /exec/config.ini

Once done, just follow the instructions as outlined in the upgrade_readme.txt file.


New software updates.

We've released a couple of really important feature updates to our products over the last two months. For anyone using Article Manager, Auto Manager, Job Manager, News Manager, or Realty Manager, it's recommended that you update to the latest release, since newer versions support new file system error checking which will help prevent data loss when you are out of disk space.

As always, updates are free, so go ahead and download the most recent update of your software.

And if you ever want us to do the update installation for you, just let us know, we have an update installation service available. You can purchase an update installation on our order page.

Here's what's been updated over past few months.

Article Manager (RECOMMENDED UPDATE)

Version 1.30 - Released: June 18, 2003

New features

  • added ability to specify category upload and publish directories
  • added new "$virtual_" placeholders (required for category specified directories)
  • added config.ini setting to allow duplicate article filenames

Enhancements

  • new filelocking protocols compatible with Sun Solaris
  • improved detection of conflicting filenames
  • added thumbnail preview to Category Edit page

Version 1.29 - Released: April 30, 2003

  • improved file system error checking when rewriting database files. This will assist in preventing data loss if your hard drive is full.
  • added email notifications
  • Writers submitting articles will now trigger email notification events
  • fixed issue where erasing a category wouldn't delete category-specific pages from website
  • improved filelock handling
  • filelock timeouts can be configurable via config.ini

Job Manager (RECOMMENDED UPDATE)

Version 1.06 - Released: June 12, 20033

  • improved file system error checking when rewriting database files. This will assist in preventing data loss if your hard drive is full.
  • improved filelock handling
  • filelock timeouts can be configured via config.ini

News Manager (RECOMMENDED UPDATE)

Version 1.11 - Released: June 13, 2003

  • improved file system error checking when rewriting database files. This will assist in preventing data loss if your hard drive is full.
  • improved filelock handling
  • filelock timeouts can be configured via config.ini

Realty / Auto Manager (RECOMMENDED UPDATE)

Version 2.30 - Released: June 13, 2003

  • improved file system error checking when rewriting database files. This will assist in preventing data loss if your hard drive is full.
  • improved filelock handling
  • filelock timeouts can be configured via config.ini
  • added heartbeat config.ini option to reduce server timeout when recreating thumbnails

Version 2.29 - Released: May 15, 2003

New features

  • thumbnails for uploaded images can be created automatically
  • added htmlArea wysiwyg editor
  • listings can be marked as hidden (individually or by user)
  • listing index updated after a dealer/agent is removed
  • added setup option to change file extensions on published files

Enhancements

  • publish-all of listings is now 2-10x faster
  • _publish_homepage "$hfieldX" placeholders available in _publish_listing template
  • listing_file placeholder available in publish_listing
  • user's listings are republished if changes made to homepage
  • search template validation works on more systems
  • added "heartbeat" config.ini options to reduce server timeout when publishing listings

Rebrandability

  • removed branding from run-time source
  • program interface templates now stored in separate files in templates/interface/

Developer Tools.

We've been working on a few scripts that you might find useful for your next interactivetools.com web project. Here's the highlights:

      • Article Manager SSI Wizard. This handy little tool works in conjunction with your Article Manager search engine to enable you to quickly and effortlessly create SSIs for your site.  Demo | Download

      • htmlArea Generator. This script allows you to custom-build your htmlAreas using a simple user interface. You have control over various aspects of the htmlArea from the available buttons / dropdowns on the toolbar, to the colours of each element, to the font sizes, styles and types. And special thanks to forum member lvni900 for his marvelous table functionality!  Demo | Download

      • Useful JavaScripts thread. There have been so many little JavaScripts popping up here and there, we thought we'd start some threads to keep track of them. They span a wide range of functions, so check them out!  Realty/Auto Manager | Article Manager

If you have any questions about any of the above (or ideas for new scripts!), either post in the forums or send an email to Ben Keen.


News for Beta Testers - Article Manager SQL.

Help us test Article Manager MySQL! We've released a test build for MySQL support in the form of Article Manager 1.2x Alpha. Please give it a test drive, and provide us with any feedback or bug reports.

Additionally, we have Page Publisher 1.23 available in Beta. This has new functionality that allows you to specify different attributes for image uploads and hyper links such as the target, alt text, or even CSS properties.

In order to become a Beta tester, there are a few things you should first be aware of:

      • You need to be fairly technical-oriented, and be able to install the product yourself. Unfortunately, we can't provide free installations for Beta releases.
      • Do NOT install the software on your live website. This is very important. The purpose of the Beta releases is to ensure that everything functions as it should. For safety's sake you shouldn't endanger your site's data by updating to a Beta release.
      • You must already own a license for the software.
      • Please report all bugs / success reports to our forum.

Please remember, beta testing is one more level of testing we like to do before we make a release available to the public, it's not intended to be installed on your live website. So if you're interested in testing out these new features, the Beta can be downloaded here.


News from the Forum.

Article Manager Add-Ons: RSS Syndicated Content
We want to know how useful you think RSS syndicated content would be (RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication). Ben's created a workaround that makes use of RSS, but it's not perfect, so we want your feedback. While Article Manager already uses JavaScript to syndicate its Web content, RSS is an XML format for syndicating Web content.

Article Manager: One category in default body
Want to only output the headlines belonging to one category on your main category index? Donna shows us how! :-)

Article Manager: Different Article Editor for Writers
Want Writers to have a trimmed down version of the 'Create Article' form? Here's a solution that involves modifying one of the interface template files.

DocBuilder: SSI Templates
Do you dislike DocBuilders use of frames? Instead of using frames, what you could do is use Server Side Includes. And what's even better, instead of doing all the work to modify your DocBuilder templates to support SSIs, you can just download the files from the following thread!

Realty/Auto Manager: Charging a subscription fee with PAYPAL
This thread has been a few months in the making! Several of you jumped in on this one, providing suggestions on how to charge a user subscription fee for Realty/Auto Manager, while making use of Paypal and the free signup add-on. If anyone else is interested, join the thread! :-)

Article Manager: External article links open in a frame
Want to have your articles that link to other websites open within a frame that has links pointing back to your website? Ben provides a useful add-on to make this possible.


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