Bits and Pieces - August & September

Date

October 6, 2009 by Brian Ghidinelli

This update is a two-fer: two months and twice the updates! There are some major improvements to MotorsportReg.com since early August that impact all of our plans and introduce some important new features. I'll be brief so you can get through them all without too much reading.

August



Membership verification is now integrated into MotorsportReg.comA long-requested feature and major improvement to managing members is our new membership verification service. Premium plan customers can upload their member list as a CSV file and SCCA regions have real-time validation against their National database in Topeka. All plans can take advantage of the new form builder validation rules for validating club membership and region/chapter membership.

Registration date and status can be used for sorting detail reports. This allows organizers to create incremental reports without printing off duplicates.

Validation rule for vehicle make. PCA regions often limit attendance to Porsches only and this validation rule will enforce that restriction. You can provide a list of makes if you want to allow more than one.

SCCA Weekend Membership support. SCCA regions who accept Weekend Members (primarily autocross and rallycross) can now skip the paper forms and instead remit their weekend members electronically. Set up an inventory item for weekend memberships, make it part of a package on the order form and use the new tool to redeem In addition to saving time, the process also sends the registrant an email certificate that encourages them to redeem it for a full SCCA membership.

Street Survival events added to the calendar and restored our NASA events feed.

Introduced "No Show" Attendee Status. Useful for differentiating between people who cancel and those who don't show up. Many programs like to know who these trouble makers are. Also available in all of the reports as a filter.

August quickies:

  • Vehicles like racecars that don't have years can select "N/A" at the bottom of the year list

  • Add private notes (and therefore the Cancel date) to the Refunds and Credits manager to make it easier to determine who is owed money (hat tip to Starla McCauley from SCCA Cincinnati for the idea)

  • Clone event segments complete with classes, groups and class-group mappings (Mark passes out and Steve Davis from SCCA Atlanta does the happy dance)

  • Form builder now allows collapsing a node and its children as well as expanding the node and its children (hat tip Stacy King from Asphalt Ventures)

  • Billing tab for attendees now includes payment history for canceled registrations

  • Support merging member profiles with payment accounts on file to reduce the number of failed merges

  • Changed the deferred payment processing admin tool to pre-select New and Confirmed registrations to help prevent charging waitlisted or canceled registrations by accident










September



September is a great month - not only is it my birthday but both Mark and I went racing for a change (not at the same time, our business continuity plan prohibits it!) We also knocked out some other big items:

Highlighting groups and branches in the form builder layout paneWe continue to make our drag-and-drop WYSIWYG Registration Form Builder even better and more powerful. New styles help differentiate Groups and Branches and visually identify which children belong. This makes it easier to tell which items are mutually exclusive when placed on the form. Validation rules can now target a nested child! This is a big deal - it means you can hide your "may also be required" items so they won't appear to your attendees until the parent is selected. We also highlight the current node in the pop-up picker to make it easier to find your spot and all validation rule types can now have a custom error message to help you drive home your rules and requirements more clearly.

Reordering in the parts bin impacts the order everywhere else to give you maximum controlAnother big enhancement to the form builder is the ability to reorder the parts bin which will change the order of Questions and Packages everywhere else. On the attendee page. In reports. Everywhere. It used to be kind of random but now, if you have a bunch of questions or packages you would like to group together (say, a series of related questions), you can drag and drop them inside the Parts Bin as the screen shot shows.

Extend the REST API to get attendee lists. Using our API, you can now get your attendee list remotely for embedding in your own website. Hat tip to Mike Malsed at Formula RallyX for the request.

Updated our rich text editor to the all-new CKEditor 3.0. This is a major update that brings enhanced usability, a lightning-fast load time and the ability to insert a raw line break instead of a double-spaced paragraph (it's a long story, don't ask). It should also handle pasting from MS Word better than before. Be sure to use the "Paste from Word" icon with the little 'W' on the toolbar for best results!

Survey and Election answer typesSurveys and Elections! Premium plan customers can now run unlimited surveys and elections. Elections can be locked and anonymized providing secure secret ballots. Membership can be verified in the same way as the registration form described above. We also support a more advanced custom question with two new types available: essay/comment multi-line text boxes and Likert ratings plus working regular expression validation for the answers.

September Quickies:

  • Awhile back we combined a lot of our Javascript to make the page load faster. Unfortunately the script from AddThis.com was acting up and slowing down pages where it wasn't used. We've pulled it back out to improve the response time.

  • Updated to new Zero Dollar Authorizations for Visa credit card transactions. This replaces the $1 "ghost authorization" used to verify address and security code details before accepting a transaction and will reduce cardholder confusion.

  • Help content is getting close to done. Another week or so and we'll have our first online reference manual available 24/7. It's looking really good and most importantly will serve as a great foundation for all kinds of online help we have planned for the future.

  • Fixed bug in account options where enabling American Express cards did not actually work. Sorry about that!







With the 2009 season drawing to a close for many of our customers, we have a few more biggies we're planning to release before 2010 begins including registering multiple people with one account, bringing back our shared vehicle functionality and more. You can see the full roadmap on our internal Discussion forum.

On a personal note, I'll be out of the office from October 9th to 24th for my honeymoon in South Africa so development will take a short pause. If you have questions in the mean time don't hesitate to give a call at the office and Mark will get you squared away. Have a great October!






































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