The February 2019 Release of Alinity

This month’s updates:

  • Bambora payments
  • Practice hours summary
  • Quickly find previous announcements
  • New registration queries
  • Bug fixes and performance enhancements
  • Coming soon
    • Repeatable batch imports (DB Management module)
    • Revision to Registration screen for “All” and “Latest”
    • Upgraded query sub-system on Person screen
    • Email editor upgrade

Alinity is always being improved. While our team continues to work on the upgrade of the last remaining module from Version 5 to Version 6 – Jurisprudence – we are also working to improve modules already upgraded based on your feedback. Over the last month improvements to existing modules has been our main focus. These changes are being released into Test environments on February 8th for your review. They will be moved into Production environments on February 14. You will see a ticket posted to your project before we deploy into your Test environment to track progress and to capture your feedback.

Bambora payments

Support for the Bambora online payment processor was available in Alinity version 5 but was using an older, less secure interface. We have that upgraded now to the latest standard. Starting with this update you’ll be able to use either Moneris or Bambora to process online payments. We will be adding support for the Paymentech processing service soon.

Practice Hours summary

Up until now, seeing the total of practice hours within a given period has required quite a few clicks and some manual calculation. In this update we have changed that by adding a single hours summary line to the main Person details page. This line shows the total of hours within the period of years matching the requirement for your organization. For example, if your policy states that members need a minimum of 1,000 practice hours in the last 5 years, you’ll be able to determine if someone is compliant at a glance. The hours total is shown in green if compliant and red if deficient. You can then click the information button to see the details of the hours collected in  each year. In a future release we will add this display to the Registrations page as well, allowing you to look at both current compliance as well as compliance in previous registration years.

Quickly find previous announcements

You’ve always been able to access previous announcements in the Utilities menu, but now you’ll be able to get to previous announcements just by clicking the Announcement icon in the top right corner of the main Alinity header (it’s the one that looks like a megaphone!). This way you can review past messages you may have missed easier than ever.

New query: Expired licenses

We add queries to pretty much every new release of Alinity but a couple of them this month are worth highlighting as they can really help smooth out work-flow. The first, the “Expired License” query, appears on the Registrations page and lets you check for licenses or permits that expired when your latest renewal cycle ended. This can be a key part of your work-flow for moving individuals who now have expired licenses onto a non-practicing register. While this was possible through manipulation of previous queries, the new query makes it far easier.

New query: Did not renew

The “Did not Renew” query is somewhat different than the previous query that shows expired licenses because it begins with members who were eligible to renew (not already expired) but did not complete their renewal during the last cycle. This would exclude, for example, people with expired licenses on temporary permits who were not eligible to renew. This query is designed for those of you who have requested a simple method to reconcile the count of members eligible to renew, to where all those members ended up after the renewal cycle. Most will have renewed to the same register, some will have renewed to different registers, and some will have not renewed at all. This query allows you to quickly identify that third group. Other queries in the system already provided a quick way to find the other numbers in the reconciliation.

Bug fixes and performance enhancements

In addition to new features in this release there are approximately 20 bug fixes made. We won’t go through each of them but the most significant ones are highlighted below.

First, a bug was discovered when providing administrator feedback on text fields in forms. Normally your administrators and staff can enter feedback on individual form fields rather than just in the general comments area. A bug was preventing that from working correctly and it has now been addressed.

A bug was also discovered in multi-page forms where the save-for-later feature was enabled. In some cases it was possible to bypass the normal error checking each page receives when submitted, if the form was saved-for-later earlier in the process. This has also been corrected.

An error was discovered in pro-rated price calculations. Pro-rated prices are used where the registration fees charged should be reduced when a member joins/reinstates later in the registration year. This was working correctly for organizations using a January through December registration year but not for other year ending dates. This has now been corrected.

Some of you also have had questions about the numbers of members you see in your Renewal Statistics display versus the number you see when adding up individuals in your registers after the renewal cycle ends. No bug was identified here but we did add some new categories to the statistics display to clarify the numbers when viewed after the renewal cycle is closed. The key thing to remember is that the statistics display is based on the “starting” register the member is on. For example, if you have 10,000 members on your “Practicing” register, most will renew to “Practicing” but many will renew to other registers (e.g. Inactive, Associate, etc.) and some won’t renew at all. The statistics display is focused on where members started “from” while many queries are based on the register the member is on now (after renewal). Those numbers will not agree but a reconciliation from the starting numbers is possible using queries showing movement from one register to another and the new “Did not renew” query.

On the performance improvement side of things, we made important changes to queries on the Registration page to prevent timeouts on large client implementations and generally improve query performance so that most Renewal related queries now run in about 1/2 the time required by the previous release!

Coming soon!

  • Repeatable batch imports (DB Management module)
  • Revision to Registration screen for “All” and “Latest”
  • Upgraded query sub-system on Person screen
  • Email editor upgrade

Repeatable batch imports (DB Management module)

For many years we have been handling custom imports of data as a one-off service provided by our help desk. In the next release we will be adding a feature to enable these imports to be repeated without requiring the services (and professional service fees) from our help desk.  This feature was originally scheduled for this update, but we had to push it back to March to make room for other obligations.

Revision to Registration screen for “All” and “Latest”

The current Registration screen allows you to select a registration year from the drop-down at the top left and then shows the latest registration for the member in that year.  To see other registrations the member may have had earlier in the year, you had to visit the Person details page. This has worked well for most users but a few of you have expressed a desire to see all the registrations the member had in a year on the Registrations page directly. We completed a quick prototype of that in February and agree this would be a good feature to add. In the March release, we hope to include it. The screen will load showing the latest registration in the year as before but a new option will exist allowing you to toggle the screen between Latest and All.

Upgrade to query sub-system on Person screen

The Person screen has a lot of queries … and more are coming 🙂  A few months ago we upgraded the query system on the Registrations screen, Profile Updates, and most other main options in the system to use a much faster and more streamlined interface. We have not yet taken on that update for the Person screen but will do so for the next release. The update replaces the fixed list of filter options and replaces them with parameter-based queries which can be expanded easily to meet unique requirements. The base query list will be expanded and the underlying query engine upgraded to use our fastest methods. It’s a big change underneath the skin of the application but will look very much the same to what you are using now.

Email editor upgrade

We  will also put in place an update to our email editor which will improve consistency between how emails are displayed in the editor itself and how they appear in email clients. It should also improve the user experience by making the editor more reliable, so that fonts and font sizes don’t revert to defaults after paragraph breaks, along with some other general improvements. This update was scheduled initially for this month, but we had to push it to make room for some client commitments.

That’s it for now.  If you have feedback on this release or the plans for the next one, please do leave a comment.

Enjoy the new release everybody!