There were a lot of complaints when in version 7.91 (?) of The Raiser’s Edge a major new feature was PCI compliance including a lock screen. Firstly there were issues with long running processes, global changes, imports and customisations also locking up and not continuing. There were many people who said “why?”. We don’t store credit cards and have no intention of doing so. Some of the security additions were very welcome. The previous password policy (nothing larger than 8 characters, no minimum and the ability for supervisor uses to reveal the password in security) was terrible. Even the policy of forcing users to change their password after a certain time, while annoying for the user, is an industry standard and can also be turned off.
However the lock screen is my pet peeve. I am somewhat of a different type of RE user. I am not a fundraiser (despite the many LinkedIn endorsements – thank you). I am a software developer. As a software developer I care very little for PCI compliance. Most if not all of my constituents are fictional. And yet I have no opportunity to turn off the lock screen. Most organisations that are careful about security will enforce a group policy Windows lock so that after a few minutes of Windows inactivity the screensaver comes on and returns to the password screen. Again this is a sensible precaution. As a small business I have Sage accounting software which is PCI compliant. It does not lock out.
My latest issue is that RE locks, I unlock it, it opens RE only to lock again. Or it locks, I unlock it, it opens and then something locks again. RE is open but the lock screen appears in front of it. I unlock it and, because there is not actually anything to unlock, it crashes. I don’t know what is going on but this is very annoying.
Come on Blackbaud, make the lock screen optional for all users. Not just those with non-supervisor rights (or with Windows Authentication)!
It has come to my attention that I am probably in a minority position here. I regularly have a development environment open with programs that are attached to RE. This may or may not be a cause of the problem. I don’t know. I know that RE crashes when I unlock it even if I don’t have external programs attached to it. I have not been told specifically of this happening to other people so it is unfair to say that it is buggy. (By all means feel free to share your experiences in the comments). The point is I believe that the lock screen is overkill.
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.
Continue reading The Raiser’s Edge Integrated with HubSpot… A series of case studies (3)
One of the benefits of using VBA or VB6 (probably one of the very few benefits) is the ability to easily debug code. Not that it is too difficult to debug using .NET but there are a couple of tricks that you need to know. When using VBA from within RE7 you need to do very little other than set a break point where it is needed. Using VB6 plug-ins you used to be able to just run the project and start the document (until, that is Internet Explorer stopped supporting the running of these component directly).
In .NET it is not as straight forward. Either you have to create a little application that starts the form that you are using for plug-ins or for “VBA” style macros and event based customisations you need to ensure all your files are in the RE7 plugin or custom directory and attach Visual Studio to the RE7.exe process. This is done using the Tools menu item “Attach to Process”. In the list you find RE7.exe and as long as you are loading the same version of the file in RE7 as you have open in Visual Studio you are able to debug.
One of the problems with this is that it becomes slightly difficult to debug events that happen on opening of RE7 i.e. in the application start events. It is possible that you can be quick and start the Attach to Process item and select RE7 before the application has reached the custom code but it is a pain.
What is more it seemed to me that there must be a way of automating this process so that it would be much quicker. Well I got out my automation handbook and started to program (I don’t actually have an automation handbook). I put together the following macro which does the trick. I then assigned the shortcut CTRL-ALT P (you could assign whatever you like but this is one that I assigned previously to open up the attach to process window).
Dim dbg2 As EnvDTE80.Debugger2 = DTE.Debugger
Dim trans As EnvDTE80.Transport = dbg2.Transports.Item("Default")
Dim dbgeng(2) As EnvDTE80.Engine
dbgeng(0) = trans.Engines.Item("T-SQL")
dbgeng(1) = trans.Engines.Item("Managed (v2.0, v1.1, v1.0)")
Dim proc2 As EnvDTE80.Process2 = dbg2.GetProcesses(trans, My.Computer.Name).Item("RE7.exe")
Catch ex As System.Exception
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.
Chimpegration, our plug-in that integrates Blackbaud’s The Raiser’s Edge and MailChimp has been shortlisted for a Digital Fundraising Award. We are really excited about this. So many organisations are using both The Raiser’s Edge and MailChimp and can now integrate the two for free with Chimpegration.
Vote now and tell all your friends and colleagues to vote too for Chimpegration!
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.
Continue reading The Raiser’s Edge Integrated with Gmail… A series of case studies (1)
I am really excited to release this new version of IDLookup which contains a major new component: IDLookup Search. This allows users to bring the power of IDLookup into day-to-day searching, with a large variety of search fields for looking up constituents on the fly (including those organisations who have yet to upgrade to RE7.92). It also lets you have complete control over your search results using IDLookup’s powerful criteria sets so you can decide how tight your search should be and tweak results based on your business rules.
We think that the new search functionality in 7.92 is really good. We also know that there are some people who have complained that they are not able to control exactly how records are searched. Also there are a load of organizations that, for whatever reason, are unable to upgrade currently to 7.92. This solution gives them the power of IDLookup but for day to day searches.
Check out the screencast for a better overview of how it works.
One of the most useful collection of methods available to users of the API is IBBUtilityCode. This is an interface which means that it cannot be created by itself but is implemented by another class. That other class is REServices which itself contains many useful functions.
Continue reading The Bag of Tricks that is IBBUtilityCode