Thursday, October 31, 2013

SmartSimple's October 2013 Upgrade

We've officially released our October 2013 upgrade! Read on for a rundown of the latest enhancements, features and upgrades that have been added to your SmartSimple system this month. For more information, check out the upgrade section of the SmartSimple Wiki.



Global System Upgrades

These features are available immediately to all SmartSimple users with the application of the October 2013 upgrade to your server.

Configuration Error Log
Available under Global Settings, the Configuration Error Log is a new tool that troubleshoots errors generated by the system when configuration changes.

New Calendar Format 
The system calendar has been enhanced with a new look, as well as the ability to click and drag events into different days. 

Google Maps & Street View
Users now have the ability to view the Google Map and Street View location of a company or contact by hovering their mouse over that contact's street address. 

Recent Viewed Objects List Now Enabled by Default
The Recent panel was introduced in last month's upgrade and is now auto-enabled for all roles. However, this feature can still be disabled using Manager Permissions.

On-Demand System Upgrades

These features are also available immediately to all SmartSimple users with the application of the upgrade, but they must first be enabled or configured by a System Administrator.

Creating Multiple PDFs with a Single Workflow Task
System Administrators can now enable the PDF file creation workflow task to create multiple PDF files from multiple web page view fields.

Update Company Categories with Workflow Tasks
A new workflow task type, Update Company Category, can now automate the action of adding or removing an organization category from an organization profile.

Have any questions about the October upgrade and how it can benefit your system? Don't hesitate to contact us at support@smartsimple.com or 1-866-239-0991.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chin's Musings - Variable Processor Best Practices

Welcome to another installment of Chin's Musings! In this series, Systems Controller Chin Chuah will create helpful rundowns of various system features and processes to help you better understand the SmartSimple platform. These articles are geared toward experienced SmartSimple system users.

For further information about the SmartSimple Variable Processor, please visit our Wiki page or click on any of the accompanying links in this article. 

The Variable Processor is used to dynamically replace various values throughout the system with context to the current user or the object being viewed. While the Variable Processor is a very powerful and useful tool, one must understand the basics behind how it functions to configure it properly.

In general, any time that you retrieve a variable for use in a calculation, evaluation, or assignment to another standard field, you need to always encapsulate it within double quotes.

In Template Formulas
Problem 1:
@level1.name@=@level1.owner.firstname@ @level1.owner.lastname@;
Reason:
When assigning a string value into a custom field, the string must be encapsulated within quotes. This example would cause an error on the server and nothing would be saved to @level1.name@.

Problem 2:
@level1.name@='@level1.owner.firstname@ @level1.owner.lastname@';
Reason:
Names with apostrophes (e.g. Chin O'Brien) will terminate the single quoted string. This will cause an error on the server and nothing would be saved to @level1.name@.
Solution:
@level1.name@="@level1.owner.firstname@ @level1.owner.lastname@";
Always use double quotes around strings to be safe.

In Browser Scripts
Problem 1:
frm.cf_@customfield.id@.value="";
Reason:
In some cases where the field value is null, the variable processor will not replace the variable with a blank and you will see frm.cf_@customfield.id@.value on the page. This will break this particular script and hence any subsequent script functions that follow afterwards on the page.
Solution:
document.getElementById("cf_@customfield.id@");

Problem 2:
var oppid=@opportunityid@;
Reason:
Again, when the variable doesn't exist or is blank, this script will break and all subsequent scripts as well.
Solution:
var oppid="@opportunityid@";

In Visibility Conditions
Problem 1:
@opportunityid@>0
Reason:
When you create a new Level 1 it will look like the condition's working as you don't see the field, but in reality, this will cause server errors. This occurs because the @opportunityid@ is not replaced, as that value does not yet exist for new Level 1s. An error will cause the visibility condition to always fail, which will lead to undesired behaviour.
Solution:
"@opportunityid@">0
Note: For this particular example, there is a check box setting within the custom field configuration that allows you to hide fields on new objects until the object is saved at least once.

Everywhere Else
Problem 1:
@ReportProperty(12345,recordcount)@ + @custom number@
Reason:
If either of the above values is blank or null, this will cause an error and will not work.
Solution:
"@ReportProperty(12345,recordcount)@"*1 + "@custom number@"*1
The *1 is used to explicitly cast the result into a numeric value. This is needed in the cases that your @custom number@ contains an alphabetic character, the  *1 will convert it to a 0. If for some reason you use a @ReportProperty()@ that returns blank, ""*1 will also convert to a 0.

Problem 2:
Not using quotes within @sslogic()@ or @sscalculation()@ conditions will also create errors, but again, you may be oblivious to them as the @sslogic()@ doesn't show up. This may appear to be correct for certain situations.

Note - The following situations should be considered:

1) The .inRole variable will always return the values of true or false so there is no need to encapsulate this within double quotes (i.e. @me.inRole(Organization Contact)@).
2) When the variable value you are retrieving contains double quotes within itself you will need to escape these, or encapsulate the variable within single quotes if you are sure the variable value does not contain single quotes within.

Contact us at info@smartsimple.com or visit our main website to learn more about SmartSimple.

Monday, October 28, 2013

SmartSimple Employee Spotlight - Brad Robertson

Our Employee Spotlight series will highlight a different member of the SmartSimple crew every week. Take some time to get to know the wonderful and diverse team behind the SmartSimple platform!

Brad Robertson is a Senior Relationship Manager and has been working at SmartSimple since October 2012. We've asked him a few questions so our blog readers can get to know him better.

Brad circa high school!
Productivity or subject matter expert tip:
Always prepare and distribute an agenda before you facilitate a meeting and always request an agenda prior to attending any meeting.

What is your favourite part about working for SmartSimple?
I truly enjoy the diversity of my role.

What are your hobbies?
They’ve changed over the years.

Ages 5-10: Coins and stamps
11-30: Baseball, Hockey, Golf
30+: My three sons.

What is your favourite movie?
Kelly’s Heroes.

Random fact about you that most people wouldn’t know:
I have an Orange belt in Karate.


Want to know more about SmartSimple and the team behind it? Visit our main website, email at info@smartsimple.com or contact us at 1-866-239-0991.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grants Management Webinar for Community Foundations

SmartSimple will be hosting a free webinar to demonstrate the power, flexibility and usability of our grants management system, GMS360°. This webinar will take place on November 1, 2013.

Please email sales@smartsimple.com to register today. All participants will be sent a WebEx link and login details closer to the date.

This webinar will be geared toward Community Foundations who seek a platform which manages their entire grants lifecycle from a holistic browser-based system. We look forward to hearing from you!

Visit our main website to learn more about GMS360°. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-866-239-0991 or sales@smartsimple.com if you have any questions or require more information.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Arthur's WikiPeeks - 10/21/13

In this series, Technical Community Support member Arthur Lathrop updates us on new and updated articles of interest in the SmartSimple Wiki! Read on to check out the latest Wiki news.

Showsave/Hidesave
Implementation Specialist Sandor Dasko has prepared new pages spelling out the use of a JavaScript function.

Role-Based Custom Fields
A new page has been prepared which defines the use of Role-Based Custom Fields.

Delete Redirect Template
The Delete Redirect Template page instructs users on how to customize landing pages after an entity has been deleted

UTA Provider/Consumer Relationships
Our Quality Assurance Specialist Ciaran Donnelly has also provided articles defining UTA Provider/Consumer Relationships for your consumption.

Questions? Comments? Don't hesitate to contact us at 1-866-239-0991, email us at info@smartsimple.com, or visit our main website.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Join SmartSimple at the TAG 2013 Annual Conference

SmartSimple will be attending the Technology Affinity Group (TAG) 2013 Annual Conference from November 11-14, 2013 at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas.

The TAG Conference is geared toward technologists in the field of philanthropy. Presentation and session topics include grants management, emerging technologies, cloud computing, engaging communities with social media, and the changing landscape of tech funding.

SmartSimple will participate as an exhibitor with representation from Cameron McLean (President of SmartSimple Ltd.) and Gary Modlin (Director of Business Development). Please visit our booth in the Exhibit Hall, where we will showcase the power and flexibility of our grants management platform, GMS360°.

About TAG
TAG is an active community of professionals who are responsible for information and communications technology in the philanthropic sector. They seek to promote the understanding of how information and communications technology can help their community members further their philanthropic goals. Visit the TAG website to learn more about them.

Discover more about GMS360° at our main website, and be sure to contact us at info@smartsimple.com or 1-866-239-0991 to set up an opportunity to speak with us at TAG.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chin's Musings - Correct Data Format

Welcome to another installment of Chin's Musings! In this series, Systems Controller Chin Chuah will create helpful rundowns of various system features and processes to help you better understand the SmartSimple platform. These articles are geared toward experienced SmartSimple system users.

For further information on correct data formats in your SmartSimple system, please visit our Wiki or click any of the accompanying links in this article.

What are data formats and why are they important?
When storing any information into any system (not just limited to SmartSimple) it's important to understand what type of information you're dealing with and how to format it accordingly. The purpose of this is to store information in a meaningful way such that you can perform calculations or analysis on it.

Take the example of someone's name. The easiest way to store this would be to have a single field called "Name" for us to store our full name into. However, the problem occurs when we try to manipulate or analyze this name field. We can't separate it into first/last name if we want to sort our contacts by last name, or if we want to address them as Mr./Mrs. lastname.

Solving this problem is simple. Use multiple fields that force the user to be specific and enter the data as such. We can do this by using separate fields for first name, middle name, last name, and or even a title field for Jr/Sr.

How can data be formatted correctly?
For information to be meaningful and useful, it must be formatted and stored correctly. It is unsafe to try to manipulate unstructured and unformatted data into another format. Data can be stored and represented correctly by:

1) Designing our architecture and schema in a meaningful way to begin with (e.g. using multiple fields to store a name in the example above).

2) Forcing the data input into a specific format.This can be done by using data validation and transformation techniques (e.g. validating that users can only enter alphabetic characters, apostrophes, and hyphens as their name input).

Where and how can data be stored?
The main area to consider is the custom fields that you create and how you design them. Some specific examples include:

1) Date/time: These values should always be stored as a single Date/time value. From this you can extract the year, month, date, day as numbers or words, etc. Specifically for MySQL (and most other areas for easy sorting), the necessary format is "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS". By using the Date validation on a custom field you can enforce a uniform date formatting to be stored in the system regardless of how each individual user specifies the way they wish to view dates.

2) Numbers: Always store numbers exactly as they are. Consider how you would store currency data. When you use the Numeric validation and Currency formatting on a custom field, the system actually stores the number value to the full number of decimals and without a currency symbol (e.g. "12.948576"). However, when the system displays this field, it is rounded to two decimals and with a currency symbol (i.e. "$12.95").

3) In general: Always have a specific format for any standard data. For example, the Canadian postal code could be entered as "M5V 2H1" or "M5V2H1" (among other variants using lower/upper case letters). Best practice would be to enforce that the user always enters one specific format with upper case letters. This can be done using the validation configuration of a custom field.


Contact us at info@smartsimple.com or visit our main website to learn more about SmartSimple.

Friday, October 11, 2013

SmartSimple's New York Community Conference Agenda

Our inaugural SmartSimple NYC Community Conference on October 8th was a great success! We sincerely enjoyed meeting with our American clients and partners and hearing all of their questions, thoughts, and feedback.

Our team was on hand to showcase system updates and new features, such as Quick Edit and various enhancements to Reporting functionality. For those who were unable to attend, we've provided the full agenda and list of discussed topics via Prezi:


We thank all of those who made the effort to visit us in New York City, and hopefully, we'll see everyone again for our next SmartSimple conference or event.

If you have any questions about the NYC Community Conference, or wish for a more in-depth exploration of the topics covered, please contact us at info@smartsimple.com or 1-866-239-0991. Visit our main website to learn more about SmartSimple.


SmartSimple is heading to CASRAI Reconnect 13 from October 16-18 in Ottawa. Please read our announcement and join us at the Fairmont Château Laurier next week to discuss how our research management platform RMS360° will benefit you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

AODA Compliance and SmartSimple

In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), SmartSimple has created a Customer Service Accessibility Policy which is now publicly available for download (right click, save as).

AODA is a statute that was enacted in 2005 to improve accessibility standards for Ontarians with mental and/or physical disabilities.

On October 3, we partnered with Sarah Vokey of Robinson Heeney to present our policy to SmartSimple employees in accordance with AODA standards.

Please visit the AODA section our website to learn more about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and SmartSimple's compliance.

For more information on SmartSimple, visit our main website, email us at info@smartsimple.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-239-0991.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brian Lai Receives the First SmartSimple Innovation Award

Congratulations to Brian Lai (Business Analyst) for being the very first recipient of the SmartSimple Innovation Award!

Left to right: CTO Keith Yau, Brian Lai, and COO Michael Reid.

According to Michael Reid (Chief Operating Officer), "SmartSimple is all about innovation for everyone: our clients, our communities and our staff.  When someone discovers a new, innovative way of using the platform that benefits all, that person will receive the SmartSimple Innovation Award."

This award is given on an occasional basis by Michael and Keith Yau (Chief Technical Officer).  Anyone in the company or the community can nominate staff member(s) for this award, but the innovation must meet the following criteria:

  • Can only use existing functionality and does not require system enhancements.
  • Must have the potential to benefit the entire customer community across all vertical markets.

Brian received the award for his stellar work on the PDF Parser, which is capable of generating offline fillable PDFs to populate data in a SmartSimple system. You can find out more about Brian's improvements to the PDF Parser with our video below:



Do you have any suggestions for future recipients of the SmartSimple Innovation Award? Please email us today at info@smartsimple.com or contact us toll-free at 1-866-239-0991.

Visit our main website or Wiki to learn more about SmartSimple.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Arthur's WikiPeeks - 10/4/13

Technical Community Support member Arthur Lathrop will be updating us on new and updated articles of interest in the SmartSimple Wiki! Read on to check out the latest Wiki news.

Submit Buttons - Quality Assurance Specialist Ciaran Donnelly has prepared an excellent set of instructions on the configuration of Submit Buttons and has improved the Submit Logic page.

Updated Instructions for UTA Calendar Template - Improved instructions on enabling and configuring a calendar view of activities in SmartSimple's Universal Tracking Application have been added.

Workflow Task Types - The pages containing instructions for the different Workflow Task Types have been fleshed out.

User Role - A page has been created spelling out the different features of the Edit Role page in detail.

Aggregation UTA - An Aggregation Universal Tracking Application™ "facilitates creating reports that span multiple related applications by defining the association between equivalent fields in each UTA™". Configuration instructions are now available on the Wiki.

Questions? Comments? Don't hesitate to contact us at 1-866-239-0991, email us at info@smartsimple.com, or visit our main website.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fall Conferences for SmartSimple

Fall is a busy time for SmartSimple, with several exciting conferences and events related to our served markets occurring within weeks of each other. Read on for a summary of what SmartSimple has attended and upcoming conferences later in the fall.

Council on Foundations Fall Conference

Director of Strategic Accounts Todd Lapin and Relationship Manager Sarah Jane Nicholson attended the COF Conference in San Diego from September 22-25. Todd and Sarah Jane were on hand to demonstrate our grants management system, GMS360°, and learned the unique needs of several diverse community foundations.

Todd Lapin playing cello with the COF conference band, Trio Gadjo.

We had a fantastic time at COF this year and hope to pursue the many connections and relationships we were fortunate enough to foster.

CASRAI Reconnect 13

Earlier this month we announced that we will be attending CASRAI's second annual Reconnect conference, which will take place October 16-18, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario. This event will focus on themes surrounding the standardization of research practices and information sharing in supporting knowledge discoveries and innovations.

Want more information on the Reconnect 13 Conference? Check the official site for the full agenda of speakers, session topics, presentations and workshops.

Technology Affinity Group 2013 Annual Conference

SmartSimple will be attending the Technology Affinity Group (TAG) 2013 Annual Conference from November 11-14, 2013 at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas.

The TAG Conference is geared toward technologists in the field of philanthropy. Presentation and session topics include grants management, emerging technologies, cloud computing, engaging communities with social media, and the changing landscape of tech funding.

SmartSimple will participate as an exhibitor with representation from Cameron McLean (President of SmartSimple Ltd.) and Gary Modlin (Director of Business Development). Please visit our booth in the Exhibit Hall, where we will showcase the power and flexibility of our grants management system GMS360°.


To learn more about SmartSimple and our upcoming conferences and events, please contact us at 1-866-239-0991, email us at info@smartsimple.com or visit our main website.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chin's Musings - Template Formulas

Welcome to another installment of Chin's Musings! In this series, Systems Controller Chin Chuah will create helpful rundowns of various system features and processes to help you better understand the SmartSimple platform.

What are Template Formulas?
Template Formulas provide a method for updating standard/custom field values on an object behind the scenes upon saving. They let you perform extra calculations after saving an object. They can be handy because they let you:
  1. Update an object and perform calculations after it's been saved (i.e. support ticket subjects). Say you want to combine an autonumber field with the Level 1 subject, but when you first create the Level 1 the autonumber hasn't been reserved and stored yet until after you save. (For more information about the Universal Tracking Application and the different Level Entities, read our wiki.)
  2. Affect objects at different levels (i.e. a Level 2 formula can be used to update a Level 1, an Level 1 formula can be used to aggregate its contacts).
  3. Easily perform difficult calculations with MySQL functionality and avoid heavy scripting (i.e. perform business day calculations).
Where can you configure Template Formulas?
The configuration settings can be found on most entities now, such as Universal Tracking Application Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, transactions, contact roles, company categories.

How are Template Formulas used?
You must specify valid MySQL syntax within the settings box, and each line is ended with a semi-colon. Each line is processed sequentially and in order after saving an object.

When do Template Formulas run?
Template Formulas run after an object is saved and uses the newly saved field values for their calculations. They are also chained such that when saving a Level 3 the formulas run in the order of Level 3 global formula, Level 3 type formula, Level 2 global formula, Level 2 type formula, Level 1 global formula, Level 1 type formula. When deleting a Level 3, the formulas for the Level 2 and Level 1 are also run.

Disclaimer
Template Formulas are run by the server, so for performance considerations should not be abused. A Template Formula should only be used when a calculation can not be achieved on the page with calculated value custom fields, or when trying to update a field that does not exist on the page (i.e. at Level 2 you wish to update a Level 1 field).

Learn more about Template Formulas by reading the SmartSimple Wiki. Contact us at info@smartsimple.com or visit our main website  for more information.