New versions: 2020.4, 2020.5 and 2020.6
In this overview we would like to introduce you to the innovations and improvements that we have implemented in our products for you in the 2nd quarter.
New info icon leads to product news: alfa product information can now be accessed in ASE and ASM. The information icon takes you to our AdSuite news page, where you can read about current changes and find out about new ones.
Possibilities of cancellation fee settlement in AdSuite: Due to the unfortunate situation that many ads now break away, we were asked by one of our customers if there would be a possibility of cancellation fee settlement within AdSuite. Naturally, we didn’t have one at first. These are the kind of things you don’t want to do, but unfortunately they are unavoidable in the current situation. However, after our specialists have been working hard on this, we can now come up with a positive result and offer you this function. If you are interested in this function, please contact our sales department!
Individual order changes now configurable for workflows and history: From now on, you can define yourself which individual events ensure that these are logged in the history. Furthermore, a workflow can be set up on top of this. You can specify that certain values (e.g. a price or a certain placement) are noted when an order is opened. When closing, the system checks whether the original values have changed. If the changes comply with a certain rule (e.g. price reduction of more than 20% or new placement, different colouring, etc.), then we remember this permanently, i.e. we save it in the history. This can be done under individual names (e.g. “Title header cancelled”) and can also be used in workflows under that name! And even better: If you have set up the workflows in such a way that you are informed about an entry, e.g. via e-mail, this e-mail can now also be extended by the link to the order.
Fields “CRM action” and “Campaign” in order lists: Search dialogs, reports or workflows now offer two new columns “CRM action” and “Campaign”. For an order that has been assigned to a CRM action, the short name of this CRM action and that of the containing campaign are displayed.
ASM calendar display: Calendar maintenance has been extended so that the display of a calendar in AdSuiteMarket can be selected from the following variants:
Default: unchanged behaviour compared to the current state, i.e. display as calendar sheet or list depending on existing copy numbers for magazines.
Calendar page: Independent of the maintenance of copy numbers, the display as a calendar page is always chosen.
List: The display as a list is always chosen, irrespective of the maintenance of copy numbers.
Edit agency customer/agency certificate properties: Usability improvements – The interfaces for editing agency and agency assignment properties have been optimised.
Additional information for surcharge / discount: The configuration of steps in the discount / surcharge scheme of the type “Other surcharge / discount” has been extended by a checkbox “Free text input”. If this option is activated for such a discount/bonus step, it is possible to enter a supplementary free text (one line) during its manual entry (in ASE and ASM), which e.g. contains a reason or other additional information for the customer. In addition, an optional authorization module can be specified during configuration, which can be used to control which processor can view / change the information. When displayed in offers, order confirmations and invoices, a text entered in this manner replaces the general discount description. The entered text is also made available as a column “Object information” in hit lists for the result type “Surcharges / Discounts”. The entry of such additional information is also listed in the history.
Brochure supplements – Pre-assignment of delivery location and date: The maintenance of titles in the setup program is extended so that an optional insert delivery location can be stored for each title. When entering an insert with AdSuiteMarket or AdSuiteEnterprise, this delivery location will be automatically preassigned in future. The assigned delivery deadline is automatically entered as the delivery date. The agent can change both of these specifications in the insert order if required. In the AdSuite administration, the delivery locations can now be configured under Basic data / Key values / Delivery location.
Improvement in process monitoring: In AdSuite Setup, three new fields are available for OrderServer, which serve to monitor processes. Note: When installing an AdSuite version 2020.5 or later, OrderServers must be assigned to the appropriate start groups. The crontab will then only contain one entry with the start group and not for each individual OrderServer.
Extension of the customer import for addresses and communication data: Previously, when importing customers using the Web service method importOrder, the lists for postal addresses and communication data always had to be complete, since existing data records were deleted if they were not specified in the XML. Now the behavior can be controlled more precisely. The new attribute missingMode in <mailAddressList> can be used to control what happens to postal addresses that are not specified in the XML.
The new elements <restrictMailAddressesToUsage> can be used to restrict the postal addresses processed by the import. As soon as at least one <restrictMailAddressesToUsage> is specified, only those postal addresses with these <usage>s will be considered by the import. All other postal addresses are not changed. In addition, the mapping of postal addresses in XML and existing postal addresses has been improved: it is now more accurate to try to match identical names or identical addresses.
Brochure inserts – insert specification: Document texts (advertising texts) can be created for dispatch in the AdSuite administration. Shipping can depend on a variety of criteria, such as usage, activity type, product, issues, and so on. An additional option for optional (selectable) exclusion of default attachments has been added here. You can find the complete configuration in our DokuWiki.
Brochure inserts – Creation of separate inserts for multiple publication dates: To activate the described functionality, the setting “One insert per date by default” must be set in the client settings. Then, for example, a dialog for optionally entering the required insert attributes will be displayed additionally when booking a frequency. By clicking on the icon (Transfer document data), the data of the assigned field can be transferred to the subordinate fields. A separate insert is created for each date.
Order import with several third-party inserts: Previously, only one third-party insert could be imported during an order import; this restriction has now been removed.
Checking the minimum requirements for a password via WebService: The WebService AuthenticationService has been extended by the new method checkPasswordAllowed, which can be used to check the minimum requirements for a new password.
Extensions to WebServices for customers: The SOAP WebService BusinessPartnerService has been extended by 4 methods: sendBusinessPartnerShort, sendMailAddress, importMailAddress and deleteMailAddress. These methods and additionally a reduced customer import are also available as RESTful Service. In addition, GET businesspartner has been extended by the parameters migrationNo and RestrictToContext.
Order import no longer uses online objects: If a stylo motif is imported during order import via PageOneXinfUrl, the stylo URL from the client settings or from AdSuite.cfg is used and no longer retrieved from an online object. This means that online objects no longer have to be configured for order imports (and thus also for the use of alfa WebStore).
Option for suppressing auction clearing: In the definition of WebStore offers, a new option prohibiting auction clearing is provided (default: not activated). If this option is activated for a bid, no auction clearing is offered when this bid is posted, even if the customer has auction credit.
Recognition of the processor: Depending on the type of end device (desktop/mobile), ‘webstore’ or ‘bazaar’ is saved in the ASE order as orderImportControl.user.
Password requirements: On the administration page “Form settings” a switch can be set which ensures that the password requirements are checked via AdSuite. The rules stored in AdSuite are then used to create a new password.
Form handling with FormX: FormX is a tool to create forms for WebStore. Two goals are pursued here: Definition of the criterion values to be processed further and definition of the contents for Stylo user fields. FormX is defined as an external service in the client administration of the WebStore. The name of the client is freely selectable. For operation in the AdSuite environment, it is strongly recommended that you also use the publishing context as a FormX service client. If two clients are used with one WebStore, you could also define only one FormX service client for both WebStore clients. To start form design, the address stored in the client definition must be adjusted. After entering the user and password, the web application starts. When you press the button New Form, the name of the form is queried in a new window. For AdSuite system: In the AdSuite administration (from version 2020.4 onwards) a form name can be defined for a sample. This name must be entered here. For older AdSuite versions, the name of the ad criteria set must be entered here.
Flex displays: Almost too good to be true: You can now create ad templates in Stylo that are intended for multiple columns. Simply open the width of the ad and the width of the text frames and positions of all elements will change proportionally with it. This makes column changes a breeze in many cases, the number of templates that have to be created is reduced considerably and the transfer of ads to other columns is much easier – because the ServerRenderer also supports this function. You can get a small impression in this YouTube video.
Assignment of fonts: Often there was the suggestion that one should not always have to select text, but that the selection of text boxes should be sufficient; perhaps even with a multiple selection. Starting with version 2020.4 you can select multiple text boxes and assign font family and formatting, size and alignment. If no value is displayed in the toolbar, it means that different values are stored in the text boxes – you can then standardise these using your assignment. If you would like to take a quick look at this, we have also provided a short video for this.
Graduated grid: Since Stylo version 2020.3 you can create linear graduated grids in Stylo, with version 2020.4 we provide the possibility to create radial graduated grids. A number of ads no longer need to be created in third-party editors.
ServerRenderer generates SVG: With version 2020.6 it is possible to instruct the ServerRenderer to generate an SVG. This SVG contains the required fonts and the references to the images. If the option doEmbed was used, the images are also copied into the SVG.
Debug information: The stylo can create an object-file via the styloframe and call it up again. This object-file contains an exact state at a certain time. Via the administration interface the tab Logger was added, where the automatic creation of an object-file in case of an error can be activated. If this option is enabled, the user will be notified of the file just created in case of an error. The files are stored in the folder webapps/StyloCoreDump. In order to record a state manually the function writeDocumentObject filename is called in the StyloFrame. To load a state, the corresponding file must be stored in the folder webapps/StyloCoreDump and the function readDocumentObject Dateiname must be called in the StyloFrame. This extension serves as support for errors that are difficult to reproduce.
The list of fillers was changed to a group directory because it was rather confusing due to the large number of fillers. By default, the fillers are grouped by the filler group name and all groups are displayed in a collapsed state. The number of assigned fillers is shown in brackets after the group name. The individual groups can be collapsed or expanded as required by calling the corresponding function in the context menu for the relevant group. The group composition can be changed by calling the menu item “Group by: <Column header>” in the context menu of the column header. In addition, the directory has been extended by the new column “Editor type” to display the type of the editor.
New display icons: New icons representing the editor type are displayed in the tree directory of the fillers. There are now three different variants: Pure PDF filler – mostly created by import in AdSuite. Filler was created in AdSuite PageOne. Filler was designed in AdSuite-Stylo. Furthermore, the filler boxes in the graphic were extended by the color information on the bottom right.
Dashboard optimisations: The order lists for production and export orders can now be integrated into the dashboard in the same way as the other elements. An icon in the title of a zone in the dashboard can now be used to jump to the element contained in the zone.
The preview of PrintLayout subpages is now the preview generated in PrintLayout. The resolution must be configured in PrintLayout.
Customer specific fields: The customer specific fields for NewsSuite articles can now also be managed in the parameter management of ProductAdmin.
Conversion of the PrintLayout layers: For the export of PrintLayout articles and statistical data, a conversion of the PrintLayout layers to the NewsSuite layers is required to maintain compatibility with the export of NewsSuite articles. This conversion of the PrintLayout layers can now be done in the parameter management of ProductAdmin.
Exporting ContentLine articles from Atlas: Until now, ContentLine articles could only be exported via a page export. That is, they were exported if they were exported on a page edited with PrintLayout. Now, ContentLine articles from Atlas can also be exported individually.
Export of ContentLine pages with the status of the last exposure: In the export queues for pages and partial pages, it can now be defined that the status of the last exposure is exported for ContentLine pages. If the page is not yet exposed, the current status is exported as before. The status of the last exposure refers to the placed elements and their content, not to their meta data. The functionality requires ContentLine 2020.5 and ProductAdmin 2020.5 to configure the queues.
Export of statistical data from ContentLine pages and articles: In the existing statistics exports, the statistics data is now exported analogously for sub-pages that were edited with PrintLayout. ContentLine 2020.5 is required for this functionality.
For PrintLayout we have found a way to make the application accessible without prior Java installation and without a VPN tunnel. The user only needs a browser to log in to PrintLayout. With just a few functional restrictions in the area of shortcut and drag & drop use, the newspaper can thus also be used in the context of bring-your-own-device or at workstations that could not be prepared in time due to the speed of the corona aggravations. With on-premise solutions, all that is required is an additional installation on your system. For systems hosted by alfa no further adjustment is necessary. For further information please contact our sales department.
Vertical text fitting (colloquially: squeezing) is used to compensate for under- or overset without having to change the text. This is done by changing the line spacing and/or the space between paragraphs. In order to avoid errors and an “unattractive” final result, maximum values can now be entered here, beyond which squeezing must not be exceeded. Displacement has now also been implemented for tables, whose spacing can be changed. This extends the design possibilities.
Select multiple fee recipients: In the latest version of alfa PrintLayout, it is now possible to assign several fee recipients to an article, for example, if several editors were involved in its creation. Each fee recipient is marked with a checkbox in the list. This makes it very easy to select several authors at the same time. This way, the fee can be specified in more detail.
Import of PDF files via drag & drop from “relation”: Graphics supplied as PDFs in the relations of an article can now also be imported/placed in the usual way. As usual, drag and drop the PDF files from the relations of an article onto the workspace or a page if this PDF file has been imported as documents via the EditorialOrganiser. The PDF is then re-imported as a graphic and is available for further editing. Caution: The PDF is then imported as a new graphic. There is no connection between the graphic and the original document. The graphic is not visible in the EditorialOrganiser.
Optimisation of the communication between PrintLayout and FeeCon: To optimise the communication with FeeCon, the following changes have been made. Field name “Fee type” renamed to “Service type” (UI) Fee recipients should be able to be sorted by name (adjustable). Abbreviations of fee recipients should be able to be shown (adjustable).
Adaptation of the XML file extensions (.xml) to Intellitune: The current update of Intellitune requires an exact naming of the XML files, because files with the extension .jpg.xml are no longer recognized. Therefore the format extensions have been changed to .xml.
Warning message if the DKS is not available: If the DKS server is not available, a corresponding message is displayed in the application. This message is repeated every 5 minutes. If the DKS server cannot be reached by the PrintLayout server (e.g. for generating PDF files), a corresponding mail is sent to the configured “ErrorMailReceiver”.
We are currently working on the block editor project. It is intended to combine the flexibility of a block editor with the guiding functions of the publisher’s specifications. Blocks are used to enrich an article with text and multimedia content in order to create content in an attractive, intuitive and time-efficient way.
The editor can now plan Facebook picture posts for future timeslots or send planned contributions for further processing in Facebook without them being published immediately. This does not require leaving the EditorialOrganiser. Since the use of Facebook is restricted by Facebook itself, we have made information directly accessible on the channel, where the user can get a clear overview of the restrictions. This avoids time-consuming trial-and-error behaviour or the storage of information outside the EditorialOrganiser and enhances the usability/user journey.
The user can now search for articles of single issues and combined issues in a targeted and differentiated way, so that he/she immediately gets an overview of the use of the articles.
The user is shown directly in the roster when public holidays are in a federal state and can assign the corresponding services accordingly. The behaviour has been adapted to that for Sundays, so that free time compensation days are also allocated automatically. This saves time and provides an immediate overview of the days to be planned.
Widget for the dashboard (landing page): List employees with services: There is now a new widget for the alfa EditorialOrganiser dashboard that can be used to display the services of employees. A distinction is made between absences (off-duty) and attendances.
The services will be sorted alphabetically, and staff will also be sorted alphabetically by “surname, first name”. It can also be filtered by editorial offices, the standard display shows all editorial offices. A click on the user leads to the user information of the respective employee.
In addition, it is possible to jump directly from the widget to the roster. Previously applied filters are also transferred directly to the roster. If the widget is filtered according to the editorial office “City A” and the roster is then opened via the widget, the editorial office “City A” is also filtered immediately.
With the new widget, you will be informed directly on the landing page in a compact and clear way about which employees are available in which shift or are not in location. You don’t have to look at the roster first, which saves time and clicks.
Conversion of the editors for topics and dates: The function of user roles is now transferred to tasks whose functionality has been extended accordingly.
In topic and appointment masks, a field is now offered for adding employees who are on duty for the corresponding topic or appointment period. There is no need to divide the users into different roles, and any number of employees can be selected. Assigned employees continue to receive an e-mail, which they can use to jump to the topic or appointment, accept or reject it. Also the visualisation of employees who have accepted or rejected is retained.
The changeover separates the areas “Assignment of topic or online managers” and “Content creation” in a useful way, thus creating a simpler and more comprehensible way of working. In addition, any number of employees can now be added to a topic as responsible persons. Tasks are presented in more detail and in a more user-friendly way to optimise topic planning. Thus, a precise allocation of areas of responsibility is supported in depth.
Adjustments in the “Tasks” area: A task has the following properties in the future: Status: Status and corresponding icons can be assigned individually. Linked content: You can already link an article, an image gallery, etc. to a task. If an explicit article is linked, it is transferred with the task to the alfa ReporterApp and the link to the corresponding article is also displayed in the task overview. So the employee can jump directly from the dashboard to the article of the task. The link to other types is of an informative nature. Type: Task types can be configured individually. By default, the types “Text”, “Photo”, “Photo Gallery”, “Audio”, “Video” and “Video Gallery” are preset. However, others can be added and provided with icons. Processor: Employees can be added as processors of a task.
Checkbox “Inform user”: If the checkbox is selected, the user is actively informed about the configured notifications of the task. If not selected, the user is (for the time being) not actively informed. The task still appears in “My tasks”. Delivery date: This means a deadline, by when the task must be completed or the required content must be delivered. The deadline is to be assigned separately from the planning periods of the topic/date and can be differentiated from task to task.
The appearance of the tasks has also changed, as they can now be edited directly in the overview.
Scheduled exports extended by tasks and export categories: Scheduled exports can now be linked to task information to give an overview of what content must be present on a scheduled export (e.g. “Article” is necessary for the print export).
For each task in the topic, a checkbox appears here with the type of task as a label. If there are two tasks of the same type, two checkboxes of the same type may appear here in sequence. If you move the mouse over such a task information, the corresponding task is highlighted. The user sees at first glance all planned exports that are intended for a topic and can act on them directly from the overview without having to call up the article. This significantly optimises the overview within topics and appointments and saves clicks and time.
Display of priorities, processors and planned exports in the scheduling: Similar to the calendar, further information is now also displayed on the topic details in the scheduling. By default, the following icons/texts are displayed: Priority, is content available in the topic?, is the topic a recurring topic?, has the user marked the topic as a favorite?, are there accepted, rejected or unacceptable/rejected tasks of a content type in the topic?
In addition, the planned exports can now be seen as coloured boxes within the card (the colour corresponds to the colour assigned to a channel). If the planned export has already been carried out, this is indicated by a check mark within the corresponding coloured box.
As in the calendar views, the user immediately sees in the overview which priorities and processors are assigned to a topic or appointment. Planned and already implemented exports are also visible at first glance without having to leave the planning stage. This allows the user to see the status of a topic at first sight.
In addition, a new scheduling has been implemented, which now offers the relationship export channel to export categories. This can now be used to plan topics for the channels in terms of departments or categories. With this new scheduling, topics can be planned in terms of channel and department/category, so that it is possible to define immediately in the table in which area a topic should be published. Since the categories can be freely defined per export channel, you achieve a high degree of planning flexibility.
Mapping from departments to topic folders: It is now possible to use an automatism that sorts topics into certain topic folders as soon as they are assigned to a department. Sub-topics that have been created manually within a particular topic and that have been assigned a different department than the parent topic are not affected. This means that if you move a topic in the scheduling to a column/row that is preset with a specific department, the topic is assigned the department and sorted into the matched topic folder. Topics that are created or planned using the scheduling no longer have to be moved manually into the corresponding folders, but can be automatically arranged. This saves time and clicks and prevents chaos.
Free choice of date range for the agenda view (long- or short-term planning view): In the agenda view, the duration of the contents to be displayed can now be freely selected. A year view has also been added. In addition, the results can be filtered according to specific categories to obtain a more detailed overview. Users can display the upcoming topics of a certain period in a list view to get a quick and informative overview. The overview can also be filtered to provide more precise information on specific areas.
Deadline notifications: A rule-based notification system is now available for task deadlines. Periods of time can be determined which are calculated back relative to the deadline and after which, for example, creators and editors are automatically notified. Such notifications are sent for: all tasks that have an alert enabled, have a deadline, and have not yet been deleted, completed or given the appropriate target status at the appropriate time. Individual notification rules can be defined to ensure that no task is forgotten. In this way we support planning reliability and prevent incorrect or incomplete publications/exports.
User restriction by the roster for calendars and scheduling: In the scheduling for topic planning and in calendars, topics can now no longer be moved to a date/time when one or more editors of the topic have no time according to the roster (if the restriction of user selection according to roster is configured). If you try to move a topic to an unavailable time slot, the topic dialog opens, in which the new, desired time is already preset. As before, however, this dialog can only be saved if the conflict between editor and time is resolved. If you click “Cancel” instead, the topic is reset to the previous time.
Summation of duty types in the roster: In the roster you can now have duty types per user summed up over the month. You will then have a column on the right side of the roster for the desired service type, in which the sum of the assigned services of this service type for the respective user is shown.
Export of residual leave and free time compensation: The totals of residual leave and free time compensation can now be exported automatically. For this purpose, a time interval is defined at which the exports are to take place. After this time a file is exported and stored in a defined file directory.
Topic templates: Automated creation of tasks and scheduled exports: Topic templates can now be defined via the administration of the EditorialOrganiser. These can be used when creating a topic or appointment to automatically create tasks and scheduled exports. If a topic or appointment is created and a specific topic template is selected, the associated tasks and Scheduled Exports are immediately added to the topic or appointment.
Free rotation of images: Images can now be rotated in the EditorialOrganiser. The right-click menu contains a corresponding new entry. In the dialog that opens, the image can be rotated using the slider or by entering a degree. The image section can also be adjusted immediately to avoid edges or corners.
Sorting of scheduling and agenda: The topics / scheduled exports in the scheduling are now sorted by topic status by default if the times of several topics / scheduled exports are identical. In the agenda, calendar and list view, a new selection item has been added to the sort widget in the lower left corner: “has export categories”. This sorting causes all topics that do not contain a scheduled export with the selected export category to be sorted upwards.
Sentry Integration: Sentry is a tool for the automated, structured collection of software errors that occur while the customer is using the software. The software automatically reports errors to a central server via Sentry. The development department receives a clear list of errors including frequency of occurrence and some additional information that facilitates troubleshooting.
Administration added: An administration has been added to the Digital Asset Manager, which can be used to manage various setup data: Categories, photographers, image types, image descriptions, mandatory fields and content functions. The administration can be reached via the user menu (far right), there the menu item “Administration”.
In the page display of an issue, so-called interstitials can now be displayed.
The enterprise test version of the app is now also delivered with the Apple Watch Extension. For activation in the Store Version, the icons for the Watch must be provided by the customer.
The requests to read the used devices and to register an additional in-app purchase have been optimised.
The NewsStand download was changed to the so called “Background Modes”. This logic enables the NewsApp to run even longer running processes in the background. With this logic the NewsStand Download now works reliably. As part of these adjustments, a time delay can now be set for the execution of the queries required for the NewsStand download. The NewsStand download is now only executed if a publication is available for the current day. This means that a NewsStand Push on a public holiday will no longer download news from the previous day. The process of the NewsStand download is now also stored with the event “newsstand” in Analytics, the download time in seconds is specified as parameter.
When reading the GlobalPurchase subscription data, the permitted weekdays can now also be taken into account (customer-specific settings). Thus, subscription models for individual weekdays can be offered for the NewsApp. A prerequisite is that the distribution system connected to GlobalPurchase must have this data available. If weekday-dependent data are not available, all weekdays are allowed as before.
A gradient grid can now be placed over the display of images in dynamic content, for example to display a text in the lower part of the image, such as a title on a darker background.