Category Archives: feature 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.

New Customer Support Center

WorshipPlanning.com Support Center

 

We are excited to introduce our new Customer Support site that is designed with one major objective in mind:

Answering your questions quickly.

WorshipPlanning.com Support Center

So, what’s so new and great about this new support site?  I’m so glad you asked.  Since it’s all about quick answers, let me dive right in:

  • The interface is more streamline and intuitive
  • It is much easier for us to post updated information, thus promoting fresh and up-to-date content.
  • We’ve updated all the articles to be current with the existing features in WP.  Articles include knowledge base entries, FAQs, and video tutorials.
  • For many articles, WorshipPlanning.com users can post comments.
  • When you access the site from WorshipPlanning.com (by clicking on the “support” link once you’ve logged in), the system knows you from your WP account, thus making it easier to submit a support request.
  • You can easily track the status of your support requests.

We plan on adding much more content to the site over the next few weeks, including more video tutorials.  And, we are investigating some great options that will allow even tighter integration with the main WorshipPlanning.com site.

Feel free to check it out at: http://support.worshipplanning.com.  We welcome your feedback on the new site!  Feel free to post a comment here or submit a request.

New Feature: Serving Preference

Preferred Serving Date

We can imagine volunteers all over the world cheering for joy when they discover this new feature.  Serving Preference is a simple feature that might only take you a week to wonder how you ever ran your ministry without it.  The idea: allow volunteers to tell you when (and possibly even how) they would like to serve.  Currently in WP, Helpers can block out days they cannot serve.  But if there are days they prefer to serve…well…they’re out of luck, unless they email you, call you, or send you smoke signals.

MyWP  Serving PreferenceWith our new Serving Preference feature, your team members can select which days they prefer to serve, and optionally the role in which they wish to serve, right on the MyWP calendar.  This window is accessed by simply clicking on a date in their MyWP calendar. 

Team leaders can then see all serving preferences right on the People Scheduling page.  It looks similar to an actual assignment, but is in a special “Serving Preference” section of the assignments.  Simply click the blue check mark to schedule the person as they prefer.

Serving Preference - Planners View One last thing to note is that Serving Preference is a Team setting, and is disabled by default for existing teams.  To enable it, login to WP and click People >> Teams >> desired team >> Settings tab.

Facebook App Now Available

WorshipPlanning.com+FB=Smiley

That’s right!  We’ve been busy developing an app for all you Facebook fans out there (I understand there are at least a couple of you).  So, let me give you a few bits of information about the app that are important to know.

  • You must first link your WP account to your Facebook account, which we’ll prompt you to do the first time you run the app.FB Notification
  • The functionality of the app is similar to the iPhone app. You can respond to assignments, access service information, song details (including files), and contact info of fellow team members.
  • A link at the top of the page will direct you to the WP login page if you need to do more advanced tasks.
  • Once you link your FB to your WP account, you’ll see a new dashboard item on your Facebook page that will tell how many pending assignment responses you have (see image to right).

We hope you enjoy the app.  Click the link below to install the app.  And feel free to become a fan and post any feedback you have with us!

WorshipPlanning.com Facebook App

MP3 Transposer, PDF Setlist Builder, and Songbook/Worship-Flow Sharing, Now Live!

Version 3.9.4 of WorshipPlanning.com is now live, and we can’t lie to you -it was really fun to develop.  But we think you’ll have even more fun using it.  Let’s dive right in:

MP3 TransposerMP3 Transpose
This feature has been requested by several churches, and it won’t take you long to figure out why.  With the MP3 transposer, you can change the key of an MP3 so that your musicians can hear the song in the key they will be performing it, while maintaining the original tempo of the song.  To try this out, Planners can log in to their account, browser to Library >> Files tab, and click the transpose icon next to the MP3 they want to transpose.  The steps are easy, though it could take a minute or two for the new file to be generated.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll integrate it with other parts of the website.  Feel free to give us your suggestions via the Feedback page on the site!

Adobe PDFPDF Setlist Builder
Also know as “PDF Concatenator”, “PDF Combiner”, and the more ambitious “Virtual Music Stand”, this feature allows you to build a single PDF from the PDFs and lyrics of songs scheduled to be performed at a service.  You can select which details to include, and what the order should be.  And in a few seconds, a PDF is ready for you to download or email to yourself.  Why would you want this?  Well, our main goal was to develop a “budget-minded” electronic music stand that would work with your iPad (and other future tablets).  The iBooks app on the iPad lets you flip through PDF files using finger swipes much like how you would with real pieces of paper.  So imagine setting your tablet on your music stand and using it instead of sheet music.  With this PDF combining tool, you can do that.  There is even a USB foot petal device on the market that will let you turn the pages with no hands (http://bit.ly/cqpJGC).

The current version of the iPad OS requires a couple of steps for iBooks to read and store the PDF (we provide instructions each time you use the PDF builder).  But the next version of iOS for the iPad will make it very simple.

Songbook/Worship-Flow Sharing via Facebook and Twitter
Of course, it is super easy to share worship flow plans and songbooks with others in your WorshipPlanning.com account.  But what if you want others on the Internet to have a look?  Maybe you want their feedback?  Or maybe it is a special guest at your church that needs to see that info?  That’s why we’ve create a special page that, if you permit, allows people to access songbooks and worship flow lists via Twitter, Facebook, and a few other social media sites.  But don’t worry.  Only general info about the song and worship flow are shared (nothing copyrighted), and you can unshare at any time.  Just look for the universal green “share” icon in your Planner account to start sharing.

Song History and Secure Login Fixed

Secure UpdatesThis week we applied updates that addressed a couple of important issues.  First, many of you may have noticed that for the past few weeks, when clicking on a song title, the “Last Performed” field showed “Temporarily Unavailable” instead of the service date and time.  An incremental (and necessary) update we applied three weeks ago caused the searching of the Last Performed field to be very slow in our database.  In fact, it was slow enough that multiple simultaneous searches caused the application to be unresponsive.  So, we decided to disable this automatic search temporarily.  With the update on Monday, we re-enabled the “Last Performed” field in the song menu that pops up when you click on a song.  In fact, the update has made that songs menu considerable faster to pop-up than it was before.  And, you should notice page-load speed improvements on the worship flow page and the Song Statistics page.

The other fix that was applied this week addressed an issue experienced by Internet Explorer users logging in through the Secure connection.  Due to the IE security settings, you may have noticed multiple warnings that not all elements on the page where being transmitted in a secure manner.  Our update this week resolves that issue, and you should no longer receive that message.

We’re listening…and updating.

We're Listening
So much of what WorshipPlanning.com has become is the result of feedback from churches like yours.  This evening, we applied four enhancements that have been among the top recent requests.

Easily See Who Isn’t AvailableUnavailable People
Many folks have told us they would like to see who is unavailable to serve on the People Scheduling page before they click and drag them to a role.  Tonight’s updates addresses that by listing team members unavailable to serve for a particular service right on the team panel.  Check out the picture to the right.  You may need to use the Display Options on the scheduling page to get the empty teams to show up initially.

Applying Worship Flow Templates
More than ever, we have had questions from Planners on how to apply a worship flow template to an existing service.  Technically, that feature has existed for quite a while.  But we decided to make it more obvious to access AND more advanced in how it works.

First, to apply a template to an existing service, hover over the ‘actions’ menu on the worship flow page and select ‘apply a worship template’.  Next, you’ll notice a new and improved Apply Templates page that lets you actually choose to either replace existing worship flow elements, or append the template elements to the end of the existing worship flow.  It will even give you a preview of what your new worship flow will look like!

And for those curious as to how this was done before the Actions menu option, there was (and still is) an icon on the page where worship flow templates are managed (Admin >> Worship Flow Templates).  The small icon looks like a 2 stacked sheets of paper, and it is next to each template name.

Export Song ListPrinting and Exporting Song Lists
We’ve added a few buttons to the Songs Library page.  Lists of songs can now be printed or exported to a MS Word,  Excel, or CSV (comma separated values) files.  Just get your list of songs looking as you’d like to export it by selecting showing and hiding desired columns, and click the appropriate Print or File Export button (above the Selected Songs box).  And, by the way, the Print option will actually create a PDF document for you to print, since it is much cleaner than printing from a normal browser window.

Listen Button in Songs Menu
If you have associated one or more MP3s with a song, you can now listen to the them by simply clicking the “listen” button right in the song’s menu.  Just click on the song title (anywhere in your account), and click the little blue icon.

What’s next in the update cycle?
We have got a few more very exciting song-related updates that are about to enter the testing phase.  One of them is something we have unofficially called the song “back-fill” project.  This feature will give you the option to have WP look through the songs in your church’s library, and fill in any missing data that we have in our top-songs library (author, copyright date, record label, YouTube music link, Amazon MP3 link).

We are also working on a performance improvement project that should speed things up for pages with songs listed on them.  AND we have a very, VERY cool feature that we really want to tell you about….but can’t just yet.  Stay tuned!

Skip ahead with these bookmarks: