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Release 148 has Lift Off, I Repeat... (Release Notes)

The BC team is geared up for 2010 and we're ready to rock 'n' roll with our partner community! Starting with today's release (148) which went live at 11:30am PST, we're committing to a monthly release schedule over the coming year and beyond to deliver you exciting new features on a predictable and regular basis. So what's new in 148?

An Evolution in your Partner Portal

The most visible change you'll see from this release is your new Partner Portal user interface. Why the change you ask? With BC's focus now squarely pinpointed on Web Designers we needed a platform on which we could deliver the best tools for you to run your design business and that's the purpose of the new Partner Portal. We've streamlined the interface so that we'll have room for new features such as the ability for Premium Partners to automatically bill their clients using BC (coming next month) without cluttering the screen or creating an unwieldy work flow.

BC Extension for Dreamweaver Released

For all the Triangle users out there who are currently using Dreamweaver CS4 to design BC sites, we've rolled out a beta version of our next generation Business Catalyst Extension for Dreamweaver. You'll be able to access it from your Partner Portal by going to the 'Tools' tab and downloading the documentation and the .mxp file from the box on the right of the screen.

Unlike Triangle, the DW extension allows you to work natively in the Files panel in Dreamweaver. In Triangle, when you load a page, it is labeled untitled. Using the BC extension, Dreamweaver understands which file is open. You can use the Files panel in the same way you are used to working, to double-click files and creating files and folders to build out your site structure. But even better, you can now use the DWT files to build templates, just as with other sites. Choose File > New to create a new template, and then choose Insert > Template Objects > Business Catalyst editable region. After defining a region, you can choose File > New > Page from template and the new page will be linked to the template automatically.

This workflow is consistent with the normal Dreamweaver content management functionality, with the added bonus that the related files are all listed at the top of the document window, making it easy to update the CSS style sheets. Any pages linked from a template will display that information in the top right corner, and you can open the DWT files (located in the Templates folder) and edit them directly in Dreamweaver.

For more information on the new Extension please download and read the documentation from your Partner Portal. We will go through a 3 month period of beta testing where the improvements will be made to the Extension and your feedback submitted through a support request will be much appreciated.

FTP Access to BC Layouts and Templates

For partners who aren't using Dreamweaver to edit BC sites this has been a much asked-for feature. We've been testing this for the last 3 weeks now and today is the official launch for FTP access to Layouts and Templates. These are found in your site root directory in /Layouts and /Templates - these folders are now reserved for BC files. If your site previously had a folder called /Layouts or /Templates you will need to use the File Manager to change the names of these in order for the system versions to show up in FTP.

URL Redirection Manager

One wish-list item that's been asked for is to be able to view all URL redirects in one central location. Previously URL redirects were stored inside the webpage detailed view so it was difficult to find them. This functionality has been removed from webpages and is now been replaced by a URL redirect manager which you can access by going to Website > Web Pages > Manage URL Redirects. They now have their own interface where you can see the list of redirects on your site and easily create, edit and delete them.

"My Accounts" Page for Site Owners

If you're a standard partner who resells BC branded sites, your clients who are paying for hosting directly to BC will now be able to email invoices to themselves and update their credit card details automatically inside their admin console by going to their 'My Account' page. This feature will streamline customer service as you won't need to perform this task for your clients inside your Partner Portal anymore.

Coming soon in our March release (R149)

Next month you should be looking forward to three features -
  1. DNS Management Tools - we're giving you the tools to add your own DNS records to BC sites. You'll be able to create your own alias, hostname and mail exchanger records inside BC
  2. Sitewalk will be upgraded to InContext Editing - your clients will have a brand new editor for making changes to their site content as it would appear in their browser
  3. Premium Partner Billing Tools - this will enable you to set your pricing and automatically charge your clients monthly hosting costs
Following that, I haven't forgotten that we promised a number of wishlist items in December last year and you'll be seeing those delivered in subsequent releases. Stay tuned for more! 2010 is going to be one helluva year for BC product development!