Category Archives: feature updates

Seamless SongSelect Integration with WorshipPlanning.com

Song Select Integration

It’s a fact: one of the biggest hurdles with using an online planning service like WorshipPlanning.com is building your library of songs. Churches often call us asking if we can provide them song details and lyrics so they don’t have to spend hours keying in that information. The fact is we cannot legally supply churches with copyright protected information like song lyrics, however, we have partnered with a service that can: SongSelect™ by CCLI.

Chances are you already use CCLI, and may have a SongSelect account (http://aboutsongselect.ccli.com/). If you do, you will LOVE how we have integrated SongSelect functionality right into your WorshipPlanning.com account. Once you authorize SongSelect in WorshipPlanning.com finding songs and adding them to your songs library is a snap (and so is adding lyrics, song details and chord sheets). You can even search and add SongSelect songs on-the-fly as you build your worship flow.

We’ve created this brief video to show you how this new feature works. Take a look, and feel free to post any comments or questions you may have. We expect this feature to be available to everyone November 28.

SongSelect Integration Overview Video

SongSelect Integration and WPMobile Updates

SongSelect by CCLI

A few weeks ago, CCLI enabled a technology that allows services like WorshipPlanning.com to integrate directly with their SongSelect service.  This means is that SongSelect account holders will be able to search and import SongSelect songs right from your WorshipPlanning.com account.  You’ll even be able to import the chord sheet (if available) directly, in the key of your choice.

The SongSelect integration features is in active development here at WP, and we hope to have it ready for you by the end of October.

WP Mobile Update

WP Mobile ReorderWe recently made an exciting first step with the WP Mobile site (WPM) that’s in the direction I know many Planners have been wanting WPM to go.  If you are a worship editor (security level 1) or higher, you can now change the worship flow order.  This may seem small, but believe me when I say that adding and editing worship flow elements is not too far behind.  And shortly after that will be the ability to manage team schedules.

For those of you using the native iPhone app, we strongly encourage you to try the mobile site.  Most people agree it performs much better, and it already has more functionality (including the ability to scrub through MP3s and view PDFs).  You can easily access the mobile site by pointing your device to http://wplan.me. (accessing this link with your computer will take you to the main WP site, so feel free to use it on your desktop/laptop as well!)

Version 4.0.2 Update

WP Version 4.0.2

Well, we are about two weeks into WP 4.0, and the feedback has been great!  Let me just take a moment to thank everyone that has given positive and constructive feedback.  Since the update, we have applied several small fixes for bugs and other minor issues.  But today, we have a slightly bigger update that we want to share with you.  Here is what’s included with version 4.0.2, which was applied earlier this morning:

Song Selection Window

Selecting Songs for Worship – We replaced the cumbersome drop-down list of songs on the Worship Flow page with a much more functional window that lists all your songs.  You can sort by various fields and even see when the song was last used by clicking on the song’s magnifying glass icon.

User Info Window – We replaced the small user info box (that appears when you click on a person’s name) with a larger window that’s easier to read.  And notes you have entered about this user will also be visible to Planners.

Persistent Login Update – We’ve modified the “logout” button so that it no longer logs you out of ALL persistent session (across all computers/browsers). Instead, it just ends the persistent session of the computer you are on.  To end the persistent session on other computers, you can go to Account >> My Profile.  On your profile page you’ll see a button that says “Log me out of all other computers”.   Technically, this operation will just end the persistent nature everywhere you have logged in.  It DOES NOT force an immediate logout of all those sessions.  More information about persistent login sessions can be found on our support site here: http://support.worshipplanning.com/entries/20425211-stay-logged-in-setting.

Big ButtonsBig Buttons – On many pages, we took the most popular “actions menu” options and made them into big buttons on the left side.  It’s a simple enhancement, but simple is what we are all about.

Updated Audio Player

Updated Audio GUI

We are excited to tell you that the audio player in WorshipPlanning.com has been updated (finally!) with an interface that is much more useful.  The biggest feature improvement is the added scrub bar.  And a less-obvious feature that you’ll soon reap the benefits of is that this new player supports several different audio formats.  We’ve got a little more work to do before that is ready, but it is coming.

This new audio player was actually first implemented in our new mobile app, which is currently accessible to Android and iPhone/iPod/iPad devices (see our blog post for more details).  In fact, we recently updated the mobile app player to fix a known scrub bar issue for Android devices.

Happy listening!

Site Security Improvements – Phase 1

Secured by 128 bit SSL Encryption

This morning we rolled out the first of a few improvements to security on the WorshipPlanning.com site.  This particular enhancement ensures that all account data between your browser and our servers is transmitted with encryption.  Also known as SSL (Secure Socket Layer – read more here), this encryption helps ensure that data can’t be easily read by programs or servers sitting between your computer and our servers.

WorshipPlanning.com has always given Planners the option to log in securely with our “Secure Login” link.  That link took you to a special web address that was secure.  Additionally, credit card payments data was always transmitted via SSL.  But now we have secured all website addresses (worshipplanning.com, www.worshipplanning.com, my.worshipplanning.com, etc.).

So, how can you tell if your connection is secure?  Most of you probably already know that you can tell by looking at the web address.  If it starts with “https” (as opposed to just “http”), then it is a secure connection.  Depending on how you access the site, you might notice that many of the “external” WP pages (pages you can get to without logging in) don’t use SSL security.  But rest assured that after you type in your user id and password, clicking the “Login” button initiates a secure connection that will be maintained for the rest of your session.

If you have any questions about any of this, fell free to post a comment here.  In the next few weeks we will roll out the next phase of our security improvements.

“Display Options” Update Makes Scheduling People Easier

Display OptionsThanks to feedback from a few larger churches using WP, we have an enhancement to the People Scheduling page that will make it easier to use.  The redesigned Display Options menu now allows you to select which teams you’d like displayed.  Before this update, your choices were to display all teams or only the teams that you lead.

The other change we made to this page is how these display options are saved.  We were using your browser cookies to save these settings.  This worked great in theory, but not so well in practice.  Our update now saves those display settings to your WP account so that you’ll see them if you change browsers or computers (notice the button at the bottom of the menu).

WorshipPlanning.com Mobile

WP Mobile

The wait will soon be over, smartphone fans.  In just a few weeks, we expect to roll out a version of WorshipPlanning.com that is designed to run in the mobile browser of most fairly-current smartphones on the market.  The initial functionality will be similar to the current iPhone app, but  more responsive and polished.  Here are some reasons we are really excited about this mobile web version:

  • Android owners will finally have mobile access to their WorshipPlanning.com data, with the ability to respond to assignments, view service and song details, access contact info, and listen to audio.
  • iOS owners will be able see an improved audio player, be able to open PDFs, and submit notes with their assignment responses.
  • We will be able to develop and deploy more functionality much more easily (read “a lot quicker”) than before.  If you, the user community, like how the mobile web version works, we should be able to easily leverage what we’ve done to make device-specific apps (including tablet apps!).
So, keep an eye on our blog, tweets, and facebook updates!

WorshipPlanning.com 3.9.5 Update

WorshipPlanning.com version 3.9.5
Early this morning, we updated WorshipPlanning.com to version 3.9.5.  It has been a little while since our last update, but that doesn’t meant we haven’t been busy!  As a general policy, we intentionally avoid applying non-critical updates to the site in the weeks leading up to Easter.

Version 3.9.5 is a mostly-transparent update, but something we wanted to at least make you aware of.  Plus, the enhancements for this update are needed for some great enhancements coming soon.  Here is what’s in 3.9.5.

Improved Notifications Architecture
This was a big update that I wish I could easily convey the level of effort we put in to.  In the short-term, this change will allow us to handle the continued growth in users, especially with how many notifications WP is sending (thousands a day).  Down the road, you’ll be able to view a list of “sent” messages, as well as see exactly what messages your team members have received (originating from WP).

Bug Fixes
3.9.5 also fixes a few small bugs, one of which is a problem where linked services can’t be easily edited (as far as people-scheduling goes) if the master service is in the past and the linked services are still in the future.  The fix allows you to schedule people for all services, up to several hours after the service has passed.

We are continuing to work hard to bring you features that will really help you in your ministry.  Thanks to everyone that has provided comments, suggestions, and feedback!

A Little April 1st Fun

Our hope is that you won’t be disappointed that our Garment Conflict Management feature is not a real enhancement (yet).  We had fun planning this “way outside the box” idea.

While this feature isn’t currently on our radar, we are busy working on several enhancements due out soon.  And in the next few weeks, we plan on opening up a forum discussion where you can read about and suggest enhancements that you, the user community, would like to see.  Keep an eye out on our new Support Center (http://support.worshipplanning.com) for that discussion.

 

New, Highly-Requested Feature – Coming This Spring

We are very excited to introduce a new feature in WorshipPlanning.com that has become our most-requested enhancement:

Garment Conflict Management

As a musician performing in front of a worshiping congregation, being dressed like a fellow band member can not only be embarrassing, but also a major distraction.  Even if you serve in a ministry where you aren’t performing on stage, wearing the same outfit as another team member can lead to general distrust, and even identity theft.

Enter Garment Conflict Management (GCM). This new feature is design to help you avoid the awkward, and potentially hazardous, situation of wearing an outfit that looks just like a fellow team member’s.  GCM is very easy and fun to use.  And the best part is, it’s included with every subscription level, for both Planners and Helpers.

Create your Virtual Closet

Using Facebook integration, you can direct WorshipPlanning.com to analyze your Facebook photos for the types of clothes that you wear.  WP will then create a Virtual Closet of clothes, specifically for you.  And you can always add more garments by uploading picture from your cell phone.

Real-time Conflict Management

Once your virtual closet is complete, WorshipPlanning.com is ready to protect you from ever being asked “Oh, are you two twins?” (not that there is anything wrong with actually being twins).  When you respond to an assignment in MyWP, you’ll see a new “Garment Selection” option.  Simply select the garment you plan to wear, and click “Submit Response”.

Now that WP knows what you plan to wear, it will be on the lookout for another team member who may pick a similar garment.  Should that team member make such a selection, he or she will be warned of the impending doom if they proceed with their pick.  If the person ignores the warning, you will be notified immediately (thus giving you time to make any outfit adjustments).

Future plans for this feature include:

  • “Garment Suggest” – WP picks your outfit based on a complex algorithm that considers the set lighting, weather forecast, and last time the outfit was worn.
  • “Color Coordinate” – Use when your band wants their outfits to go well together – without looking like the Partridge Family.
  • “Fashion Police” – Warns you when your clothes are out of style, and suggests new clothes to buy, based on your age, the instruments you play, the songs you have performed, and the number of Facebook Friends you have.
  • “Onstage Conflict Correction” – Uses WorshipPlanning’s Virtual Stage and a projector to make your conflicting garment appear a different color or pattern while you are performing.

We have invested significant resources into helping you reduce the stresses involved with serving at worship services.  This new feature now helps you reduce the awkwardness.

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