Category: News

New versions 2020.1, 2020.2 and 2020.3!

In the first quarter of 2020, we would like to introduce you to the innovations and improvements that we have implemented in our products for you.

alfa WebStore

alfa WebStore now runs on the Spring Boot 2.2.4 platform in a JDK 11 environment.

Adjustments in the administration allow a publication calendar to be available. If the option “Publication calendar” is activated, the number of publications is hidden.  That option is intended for booking single dates. In addition, you can now store or change preferred bank details so that the customer has directly selected the right account when booking.

If a user selects an e-payment method such as PayPal or Datatrans as their preferred payment method, alfa AdSuite is given a payment method of the deposit type. This means that the preferred payment method is not available when the customer data is read again. Instead, the first e-payment method found is displayed.

In the definition of alfa WebStore offers, a new option prohibition of auction clearing is provided (default: not activated). If this option is activated for an offer, no offsetting against auction credit is offered when this offer is posted, even if the customer has auction credit.

The form configuration has been extended by the possibility of a help text. You can define a text that is then displayed as long as the text entered does not correspond to the specifications. Example: “You may only enter letters or numbers. There must be a minimum of three and a maximum of 50 characters.” You can also assign several patterns to the same help text. To do this, you must select the appropriate help text.

alfa AdSuite

Invoices and credit notes can now be created in the ZUGFeRD / Factur X format, whereby the currently valid version 2.0.1 is supported in the “Extended” profile. The standardised ZUGFeRD / Factur X format enables the simple exchange of electronic invoices in the B2B sector and between companies and public authorities. The functionality described here is not part of the alfa AdSuite standard, but is subject to a separate license. If you are interested, please contact the consultant responsible for you or our sales department.

Opportunities as a new Adlet: There is a new portlet “Opportunities” (permission BpOpportunitiesPanel) in the portal, which displays the last opportunities of a customer. Our opportunities (or sales opportunities) are new in alfa AdSuite CRM and allow easy entry of a budget including the likelihood of a deal. By clicking on the portlet header, you can access the list of all opportunities that have been entered for this customer. By selecting a single opportunity, you can immediately access the edit mode of this. The “Opportunities” module is subject to separate licensing. If you are interested in this functionality, please contact the alfa sales department for a quotation.

The URL parameter custno is now also available for online adtaking agencies. This allows for example undertakers, who always act as client and advertiser at the same time, to ensure that the client is automatically loaded after login.

A new customer portlet is now available in alfa AdSuite Market, which can be filled with any HTML content about the customer. The content is provided by a field extension of the new type “Customer Browser Panel”; the name of this field extension also provides the name of the portlet area.

A new filter category “User group” is now available for the search for the result type “Changes”, which allows a selection from all configured user groups and makes the search results more precise.

When configuring workflows, it is now also possible to specify a fixed e-mail address to which all e-mails are sent when new workflow entries are created. In this way, a specific workflow can be linked to a certain channel of a collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, for example. For the text of the e-mail to be sent, “Internal order URL” and “Internal customer URL” are now also available as variables (for suitable workflow result types). These refer to the respective customer or order within an alfa AdSuiteMarket system. As a result, workflow entries can also be processed from one of the team collaboration tools mentioned above.

For a package order, the entry “Add component item” is now displayed in the corresponding menu. After clicking on this entry, the package booking area appears, where new component items can be added to the order.

A quotient can now be specified on the side panel, which is used to calculate the values of a side panel size info from the dimensions of the page structure. When assigning a page structure, the min./max. height, min./max. width (for areas) and min./max. number of columns (for column grid) are calculated and entered to the corresponding fields.

Until now, only alfa PageOne format or the alfa Stylo format could be used as default formats. Now full template formats are also permitted in the admin area.

When copying a motif, alfa AdSuite Market now asks for the desired copy profile. This profile is used for all copies of this activity. You can now specify a motif copy profile for motif replacement. You can also define which copy profiles are available for selection in the client. The option of specifying a status transition for motifs will be carried out automatically after copying. This is already known from order copy profiles and has been transferred to motif copy profiles. You can still make these entries in the order copying profile and overwrite the modules from any assigned motif copying profile. The new motif copy action from a previous sales order has been added to the action lists in the service overview and motif detail view. If you select this item, the system automatically enters the customer number for the current sold-to-party in the search template.

The booking of order positions for an entire week, certain weekdays of a month or an entire month has been simplified. Instead of one mouse click per publication day, only one mouse click is now required for each publication day. To do this, you can click directly on the guide label for a week or weekday in the calendar sheet for a month. In addition, a new button in the top left-hand corner of a month sheet has been made available, which causes all dates of that month to be booked. This button is only visible if several appointments may be selected in the calendar.

You can now determine the default confirmation time of a correction deduction from two further specifications. The deadline and the express deadline have been added. The first order deadline/express deadline for a publication for the selected motif is used here. If the motif has not yet been assigned to a publication, the standard is used.

The history now also documents changes to the target width and target height when history records are to be written for motifs, so that you always have an exact overview of what has happened.

If users have the ignoreExtendedBookingDeadline permission, they can enter items again even after the production start date has been reached, but not past dates. So that they are aware of this fact, they will in future receive a message informing them that the acceptance deadline has been exceeded. However, this is only a warning that can be ignored by the agent once they have become aware of it. This behaviour is activated depending on a publisher-specific option whose default setting is “active“.

If several languages are defined for alfa AdSuite/AdSuite Market, it is now possible to store e-mail templates (max. 4000 characters) for workflows in several of the AdSuite system languages. The language to be used is selected when the e-mail is generated based on the customer’s stored document language.

alfa Stylo

All objects are cropped by the ad frame. You can now assign an exception to individual objects, which means that they will be on the ad frame, but in any case within the ad space. The setting is made in the basic settings of the graphic objects by activating a checkbox.

Logos, gallery images and images imported via the Javascript interface and coming from an eCMS were sent to the automatic workflow when saved if the release image dialog was not called. Now these images are not sent into the workflow again. Also, these imported images were reset if the colour scheme in the document was changed. After changing the colouring and saving the document, the images were sent to the automatic workflow, this behaviour is also no longer performed for the imported images.

When creating new objects (text frame, rectangle, ellipse, line), they are given a preset frame thickness. For example, if you always want to create rectangles with a frame thickness of 0pt, you can now adjust the default frame thickness in the administration.

Ads and objects have the function “Gradient” in the context menu under “Background”. The catalogue is opened for the colour gradient. Here you can now assign a gradient template to the objects or create a new gradient by clicking “Add gradient”. If a gradient has been assigned, it can be removed from the catalogue by clicking “No gradient”. The gradients have the option “Delete” and “Edit”. When editing or adding a new gradient the gradient dialogue is opened. The gradient can be given a name, a type (radial or linear), an angle and two colours. To select a colour, you have to select a slider and click on the “Colour” field. In addition, the starting position of the colour can be selected via the slider or directly via the “Position” input field. There is a slider for the mean value which specifies the position where the gradient should reach its centre.


It is possible to carry out a double-opt-in registration of readers with alfa GlobalPurchase. The new reader is only granted access when he receives and confirms a confirmation link to his e-mail address. Only then does the reader’s usertype change to confirmed. The readers can be viewed in the alfa GlobalPurchase administration under subscribers. Readers registered in this way are only known in GlobalPurchase’s own database. The description does not apply to the connection of an ldap or the hnaSSO.

Trial subscription and daily additions: Various subscription types can be defined in the administration under “Order data“. The duration of access can also be limited by the expire date on a daily basis. An entry “+7” means that in case of a registerPurchase the access will be created with an expiration of one week. Free access is now also possible: With the parameter a free access for the apps and the desktop ePaper can be set. The rights can be set in an internal subscriber.

alfa WebTracker

alfa WebTracker now offers various evaluations of page data and production data in form of diagrams. When creating evaluations of page data, the statistics type, a period of the publication date and a selection of issues can be specified. When creating evaluations of production data, you can specify the statistics type and a production date period. You can also define that the evaluations are updated automatically and on a regular basis. This data can be stored for quick access in search queries. The evaluation can be restricted user-, group- or authorisation specific or globally via the property webtracker.right.statistic. The functionality must be activated in the license server and explicitly enabled in the application.

Extension for displaying and creating PDFs: The context menu now contains the menu items “Display and create product PDF”. With “Display” the product PDF for the selected print products is loaded from the database and displayed in the corresponding program. With “Create” a new job is sent to the PageServer for the selected print products, which then creates the respective product PDF and stores it in the database.

One or more dashboards can now be defined in alfa WebTracker. In a dashboard, several of the previous views can be combined into one view. The defined dashboards can be accessed via the “Dashboard” option in the main menu. Similar to the functionality for search queries, a dashboard can be defined as a start dashboard. This is then automatically displayed when alfa WebTracker is started. A dashboard consists of different zones, which are defined in a column/row structure. The number of columns and rows can be defined by selecting the basic structure. The maximum structure consists of three columns and three rows. The basic structure determines the maximum number of available zones. For each zone the extension, type and selection can then be defined. The extension of the zone defines how many columns and rows of a zone should be occupied. The content of a zone is defined by the type and the selection, whereby the selection depends on the type.

alfa ProductPlanner

To be able to set or reset a planning closure for certain partial page types, the selection menu in the context menus for print products, books and pages has been changed and enhanced. The menu item “partial page” has been changed as a menu with the following submenus: All partial pages: As before, all partial pages are selected. Editorial subpages: only the editorial subpages are selected. Collective subpages: only the collective subpages are selected. Ad part pages: Only the ad part pages are selected. The functions “Set planning completion” or “Reset planning completion” can be executed with the selection quantity then available.

alfa ProductPlanner und alfa AdPagination

It is now possible to integrate alfa Stylo directly into alfa ProductPlanner or alfa AdPagination. In the first step of this integration, the function for editing fillers was implemented. To do this, the filler must be placed in the application and the “Edit” function must be called up via the filler context menu. If this is done with a filler designed in alfa PageOne, further processing is terminated and a reference is made to processing in alfa AdPagination. At the start of this process, the relevant data is imported from the database and made available to alfa Stylo via Webdav accesses. Once the changes have been completed, pressing the OK button in the dialog copies the file data for the editor (.odt), imagesetter data (.pdf) and preview data (.jpg, .png, depending on the Stylo configuration) via the Webdav to the local workstation and stores them under the respective subdirectories. The dimensional changes made in alfa Stylo are also imported and assigned to the filler element. The changes made in alfa Stylo are immediately saved to the database.

alfa XML Server

When importing an article, the reference to images already stored in eCMS can now be specified. For each reference, a corresponding sentence is attached to the article and a usage for this picture is written on the article in eCMS. Work has also been done on updating articles, where the procedure has been extended so that an alphanumeric foreign key of up to 60 characters can be defined via the attribute foreignId of the Article element.

When updating articles, article attachments are now considered as follows:

  • Images: If an attachment with the picture name already exists, the picture is not checked into the eCMS again.
  • Image reference: If an attachment to the image reference already exists, the image will not be checked back into eCMS again.
  • Other attachments: The file is updated in the article attachment.

Existing article attachments that are no longer included in the new import data are now deleted. If the article attachment is a link to the eCMS, the usage is also deleted there.

alfa EditorialOrganiser

In the roster, any number of days can now be marked / deselected by clicking on a day and moving over the desired days while still holding the mouse button down. On devices with touchscreen this function is possible by first making a “longpress” on a day until it is marked (the duration for a longpress can still be configured as usual in the settings) and then wiping over the desired days without lifting the finger. The user saves time and clicks, as he can easily select the services via a multiple selection.

With the new right “EO_TEXT_TO_VARIANT” the user can see a new tab in the sidebar “Text inheritance” for articles that have one or more variants. With the help of this tab, text can now be copied from the current variant to any other variant. This is especially helpful if all relevant variants are to be created at the beginning of the workflow and then filled. The user can now do without time-consuming copy and paste. Desired text sections can be transferred directly from a view into various other variants, so that article sets created in planning can be filled with content quickly and easily.

In the administration of the standard exporter you can now define mandatory attachments. If a check mark is set here for a content type, at least one attachment of the selected type is required for export. Since images can now be defined as mandatory attachments, it is ensured that articles are exported complete with all editorial specifications and no “wall of text” is published without an attractive appearance.

Articles in a topic are currently sorted according to the standard sorting for all topic contents: alphabetically by article name. There is now a parameter in the local_settings that allows you to set the sort order for articles within the topic: ARTICLE_SORT_ORDER. This makes it possible to sort, for example, by department, content function, last update, and much more, in order to best suit your workflows.

Embedded articles: There is a new parameter that can be set in the local_settings: “SHOW_EMBEDDED_ARTICLE_PL_LINKS“. By default, this parameter is set to true, so that, as before, embedded articles will show an “Open in PL” link as soon as the main article has been exported there. If you set this parameter to false, these links will no longer appear for embedded articles, but only for their parent articles. This configuration prevents that embedded articles can be opened individually and thus be placed without the parent article by mistake.

If at least one of the fields “Publish from” and “Publish to”, as well as a user-defined field of the type date+time, was defined as a mandatory field, this previously only forced the specification of a date, but not a time. From now on, for each field of the type date+time, it can be specified whether the time is also a mandatory entry if the field as a whole is defined as a mandatory field.

Predefined aspect ratios for the image focus: In the local_settings file, aspect ratios for the image cropping can be defined as usual. These aspect ratios are now also used for selecting the image focus. Thus, the user immediately sees which focus he has to select for certain aspect ratios in order to achieve an optimal result.

Background work for a new editor at alfa EditorialOrganiser in progress: A completely new editor is currently being implemented to support the needs of publishers and editorial requirements. A configurable block system allows the use of strict layout specifications combined with the freedom of the block editor. Text areas will be divided into blocks and the user behaviour for content creation will be transferred to a modern system.

alfa ReporterApp

The password display is now optional: In case of a typing error, the user can check if his input was correct. This gives the user more security in handling and improves usability.

alfa NewsApp

Via the configuration, “weekli” inserts can now also be displayed in the issue overview. The weekli inserts are displayed in the same positions where the inserts of the alfa interface or the third-party inserts are displayed. Additional display of weekli and alfa/third party inserts is also possible.

DataWrapper charts can now be displayed in the article details of the alfa NewsApp, so you also have the option of enriching and enhancing the articles with this format. Likewise, Adnuntius ads can be displayed in the article detail view at the first or last position.

In the article detail view, up to three displays can now be shown in the article text area.  The ads are displayed before the first text block (1st ad), before the last text block (2nd ad) and in the middle of the article (3rd ad).

alfa ePaper

As in the alfa NewsApp, alfa ePaper can display “weekli” inserts in the issue overview.

The ePaper also calls the new Rest interface in GlobalWebAdministration to get interstitial data on the issue currently being read. The interstitial ads are displayed in the desired position when scrolling when opening or closing a page.

alfa Print Layout

Sentry Integration: Sentry is a tool for the automated, structured collection of software defects that occur during customer use of the software. The software independently reports errors to a central server via Sentry. There, the development department receives a clearly arranged list of errors, including the frequency of occurrence and some additional information to facilitate troubleshooting.

The page preview view now reflects a correct image, as it can be seen in the screen display. This avoids incorrect publishing of overlaid ads, as the correct placement can be checked in each preview called (both client and server-side).

The user can now already see in the page preview whether an article is written correctly on line or whether it contains overset, so that he can quickly and easily identify errors and take action.

If changes are made to elements that are placed on pages or partial pages, the previews of the affected pages or partial pages are regenerated. To optimise this process, performance has been improved so that the changes can be seen more quickly in the page preview.

New, additional columns in the search result for the article search now make it easier to keep track. You can now display the department, the issue and the author of the article directly in the search overview and, of course, sort by these values. Publisher-specific fields can now also be displayed as a column in the search results using the article search.

In addition, the search has been extended to search for combined issues. For this purpose, outputs are displayed in the selection of the search form in the form of a tree in which the individual outputs are listed below their combination output. If you select an individual issue in the selection, the search result will now include both the articles that appear in the individual issue and the articles that were booked in the combined issue.

The server part of alfa PrintLayout has been extended so that previews of individual elements are available in alfa WebTracker, even if alfa WebTracker is used in an alfa PrintLayout environment without alfa ProductPlanner.

alfa DAM

Sentry Integration: Sentry is a tool for the automated, structured collection of software defects that occur during customer use of the software. The software independently reports errors to a central server via Sentry. There, the development department receives a clearly arranged list of errors, including the frequency of occurrence and some additional information to facilitate troubleshooting.