Category Archives: Beginner

Redesigning for mobile

This is somewhat off topic but since this is my blog I reckon I can use a bit of poetic licence. I have been updating the main zeidman.info website so that it can be used easily on mobile. Everybody talks about the percentage of visitors coming from mobile platforms as having increased and will certainly increase over time.  When you have a good smartphone you do look at sites much more on the web. Having recently (within the last two years at least) redesigned our website I was somewhat reluctant to do it all over again. The homepage sort of worked for mobile. There were three large icons that could easily be clicked on to get into the site. However the rest of the site was far from optimised.

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Contactegration – An Integration between The Raiser’s Edge and Constant Contact

We are really excited to release Contactegration. Ever since we released Chimpegration we have been bombarded with people asking us to integrate other email packages. One of the most common requests was between The Raisers Edge and Constant Contact.

The functionality is similar to Chimpegration but not exactly the same. The two APIs differ somewhat so it was difficult to reproduce exactly the same functionality. However we are very close. You can export your email addresses and merge variables to Constant Contact and you can manage the bounced emails, the unsubscribes and everyone that the email was sent to so that you update the constituent record in the same way.

One new piece of functionality that came to Chimpegration with the release of Contactegration was the ability in both applications to remove subscribers who were not part of a particular query. This is perfect for membership organisations that steer their lists from RE and want to remove subscribers who are no longer have a particular membership.

Unfortunately we are also not able to offer a free version of Contactegation. This was something we were hoping to be able to do but for reasons beyond our control we are not able to do so.

If you are interested then take Contactegration for a test drive and let us know what you think.

The Raiser’s Edge Integrated with HubSpot… A series of case studies (3)

Our integration with HubSpot came about because they thought it would be a great idea. Well who wouldn’t think it a good idea to integrate with The Raiser’s Edge. HubSpot said that they had a number clients who use both systems and being able to transfer data from HubSpot back into The Raiser’s Edge would make both systems work better together.

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The Raiser’s Edge Integrated with Potentiality… A series of case studies (2)

Towards the end of 2010 we started working with Potentiality to integrate their system with The Raiser’s Edge. At the time I knew very little about them and their products. Their headquarters is in Melbourne, Australia with an office in London. Even though they have an office in London our main contact was with their Melbourne office. Their product was a community based content management system (CMS) targeted towards schools and universities but also used by any organisation that was trying to build up a community of supporters.

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What Should You Consider When Users Leave? (an additional thought to Blackbaud’s post)

I like BlackbaudKnowHow. The blog that consists of many articles on best practise within Blackbaud’s products often inspires me. The posts are written by a lot of different people at Blackbaud with a lot of experience in Blackbaud products. One post written recently, What Should You Consider When Users Leave?, highlighted what users of The Raiser’s Edge should do when one of their users leaves.

One issue it does not cover (there are probably many more that were beyond the scope of the article) was what to do about action reminders that have been assigned to a user. The article suggests either deleting the user or changing their name, giving them prefix of “X”. Neither of these solutions help when a user has actions reminders associated with them.

It is possible to go in and change the assignments one by one. It is also very easy to miss them too. It is quiet easy to see what could happen if you miss a reassignment. A major donor who was due to be reminded about their donation is now forgotten about because the reminder instead of going to David goes to “XDavid” who is not longer at your organisation.

Our free plug-in Action Reminder Updater helps solve this problem. Select a soon-to-be ex-user and select a replacement user. Press start and all of the actions will be reassigned to the replacement user. Simple.

The Raiser’s Edge Integrated with Gmail… A series of case studies (1)

This is the first in a series of case studies looking at custom integration of Blackbaud products.

Unlike very many of our previous third party integration application the main driving force behind this application, Biographica, was the fact that we could do it. We did not have any particular client knocking on our door asking us link the two products and Google , funnily enough, did not approach us either asking us to develop an integration between The Raiser’s Edge and Gmail.

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The Raiser’s Edge Integrated with… A series of case studies (Introduction)

Over the years we have integrated The Raiser’s Edge with a number of different products. Some are for the wider community whereas others are for specific organisations. In this series of posts we shall be looking at how each third party application has been integrated with The Raiser’s Edge, what the challenges were, what made the project unique and what the consequences of the integration.

Each case is different. In some examples the vendor of the other product was directly involved in helping to shape the customisation. They may have sold it or bundled it as part of their application. In some case we decided to do the integration ourselves with no or little input from the vendor. Finally individual organisations were the driving force behind an integration.

We are firm believers in integration. Everybody is a winner. All of a sudden applications are no longer islands and can talk with other applications.  The definition of “talking” has also changed. Where it once meant an exchange of files it now means a direct interchange of data between the two applications without the need to save data in a file. The fewer steps the more efficient the process.

By highlighting some of the applications that we have worked with we hope to show just how much more productive work flows have become.

Testing GoRaise Mobile for The Raiser’s Edge

I have been in the fortunate position to have been testing a new application for The Raiser’s Edge. GoRaise Mobile is a mobile interface to The Raiser’s Edge by Electric Plum. I have had a lot of contact with Shaun Sullivan, Electric Plum’s CEO in the past when he was CTO of Blackbaud. Those of you who have heard him speak at Blackbaud conferences will know that he is passionate about technology and is a real inspiration. Electric Plum’s, soon to be released product really shines and it is clear that this is a gap in the market ready to be filled.

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Documenting VB.NET and C# Code

If you are using VB6 then you are possibly somewhat limited as to the way you can document your code and then have it published automatically. (I say that from complete ignorance and somebody is very welcome to show me otherwise). However in VB.NET and C# there is the built in XML documentation. In both languages you simply place the cursor the line above the field, property, method or class that you wish to document. In VB.NET you type: Continue reading Documenting VB.NET and C# Code