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Category Archives: feature updates

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!

Song Library and More

As many of you saw in an email from us, we recently applied some major site updates to WorshipPlanning.com.  In addition, we’ve begun improvements to our communication channels that we think you’ll find helpful. Let’s start with the features we rolled out Monday evening.

Song LibrarySongs Library
We’ve changed the page layout to make it easier to find the song(s) you want and quickly view the information you need. You can perform actions on multiple songs through the use of checkboxes (i.e. add a theme/category, change life-cycle stage, delete). And churches that have hundreds or even thousands of songs, you should notice the page loads MUCH faster.

Songbooks – This organization tool lets you virtually create and save personal or team libraries (or ‘books’) of songs. Team members (even of other teams) can be given access to view or modify the songbook contents. And while building a worship flow, you can open a one of your songbooks and pick songs from its concise list, rather than having to search through the long list of all your church’s songs.

WP’s Most Popular Songs – We’ve compiled a list of the most popular songs in WorshipPlanning.com and given you access to it. Each song contains general information, including title, author, and record label. But, to really help you and your team out, we have found the YouTube video and Amazon MP3 pages for most songs. This means your team can now have instant access to the music, either freely streaming from YouTube, or by buying it from Amazon.

iPhone App
If you follow our Twitter, FaceBook, or Blog, you have seen that our iPhone app was finally approved by Apple in late June (for the record, Apple has yet to tell us the reason for the very long delay). We certainly will start promoting the app more on our site, but in the meantime you can find it in iTunes and the App Store by searching for Worship Planning. Keep in mind, this is the first version of this app, and we have plenty of more functionality planned for it. If you are so inclined, tell us your suggestions at feedback@worshipplanning.com

Social Media Updates
We’ve hired an expert to help us take advantage of the social media channels. Our goal is to open up the communication between our team and yours, and provide you timely, valuable information. Follow us on Twitter (@worshipSense) and/or Facebook (http://fb.worshipplanning.com) to get in the action!

Newsletter
And speaking of communication, we are in the planning stages for a recurring newsletter that will cover worshipplanning.com happenings, as well as other planning related information. Our next communication to you should have more details on how to sign up for that.

More Great News About File Uploads

A week or so ago we rolled out the multi-file upload feature. We didn’t want to mention at the time, but that update was a precursor to an exciting announcement: Paid subscribers now have unlimited storage space for file uploads. You read that correctly: unlimited! Here is a screen shot of our new pricing page. This change is already in effect for all current accounts not in trial, so enjoy!

WP Version 3.9 Update and iPhone App Status

Greetings WP’ers! It has been a little while since we’ve posted an update, but that certainly doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. This Sunday night (April 18th) we will update WorshipPlanning.com to version 3.9. There are a couple significant changes you will notice right away, and many other subtle changes that will simply make your experience using WP smoother.

The biggest change Planners will notice is an extremely helpful menu system that makes getting to the pages you need quick and efficient. For those with the proper security settings, creating a service, series, or new Planner account is always just one click away.

The other significant change we made was to the worship pages (flow, roles, etc.). Our goal for this page was to more efficiently and intuitively use the space on the page. Rather than describe the changes, take a look at the screenshot below.

This shows one of the menus opened (when you hover over the Service navigation link), as well as how we’ve cleaned up one of the worship pages. The space above the worship tabs is now more efficiently used to show the general service info. We also pushed the date/time/location of the service into the top blue banner. The left side now has the clickable calendar opened by default, and the various team panels listed below. And, by the way, if you are using Internet Explorer, many of the nice rounded corners you see in this screenshot will appear squared off. That’s simply a limitation of IE (and one of the many reasons we recommend using FireFox or Chrome).

Here is a few other enhancements we made that might interest you:

– Planners can now indicate their own skills
– Helpers can specify their own profile picture
– Fixed a number of graphic design inconsistencies
– Fixed a number of mixed term references (i.e. “finalized” vs. “locked”)
– Improved process by which user passwords are changed (more intuitive and secure)

For those looking ahead, let me share with you a few things in the development cycle right now. First, we are nearly done with a feature update that will allow Planners to upload multiple files at once. We are also working on some very cool enhancements to the Songs Library page(s), which will include the ability to create “sub-libraries” of songs. This should make finding and organizing songs much easier and personalized. Finally (as in, that last one I am going to mention here), we are looking into making mobile versions of MyWP available for Android and Blackberry devices. For an update on the iPhone app we’ve developed, read on….

iPhone App Status
Most of you know we have developed and beta tested an iPhone app for WorshipPlanning.com. We had great feedback from the gracious folks that were willing to help us make the app the best it could be (for version 1.0). The app was submitted to Apple for review on March 24, and it is still officially “in review” by their app development review team.

This review stage is taking longer than we expected, though it is still well within the “typical” timeframe, according to Apple. We suspect the cause for delay might be the influx of iPad apps they now have to review. As soon as we learn more about our app’s approval status, we’ll certainly pass that information along to you.

WorshipPlanning.com Site Updates – Version 3.8

This evening we updated WorshipPlanning.com to version 3.8, and we’re quite excited to share with you what these updates include. So, let’s get right to it.

Helpers can view ALL services – If authorized, any of your Helpers can now access service details of all services, not just the ones for which he or she is scheduled. This includes worship flow, assignments, virtual stage, files, and printouts. Authorization is granted on the page where you add/edit the Helper’s information (People >> Helpers tab >> add/edit icon). We’ve added a checkbox that says ‘Can view all services (including ones not scheduled for).’ By default, no Helpers have this checkbox checked.

Worship Flow Edits Improved – If your duties include modifying the worship flow, you’ll notice a nice improvement to the way you add and edit worship elements. The worship detail fields now appear on a small pop-up window on the worship flow page. We’ve also changed the dropdown fields to have an ‘auto complete’ behavior (so you can simply start typing the desired entry, and WP will attempt to auto complete your text). Plus, we have put the Extra Notes on the same pop-up window, reducing the number of clicks needed to get all your information entered.

MyWP Home and Assignments – As we posted in our blog last week (http://blog.worshipplanning.com), we have redesigned the main page used by Helpers. The redesign makes it much easier for Helpers to access the information they need. We’ve also included a calendar view (that shows by default if they have no pending assignment requests), and some quick links on the home page to frequently accessed functionality, like team files, password changes, and adding text/email alerts. And our video tutorials have been updated, so anyone can always check there (or contact us) should questions arrise. If you’d like to see the updates to MyWP for yourself, you can do so by logging in to http://my.worshipplanning.com using your email address and WP password.

One last thing I want to mention is that our Worship Flow page improvements are really Phase 1 of some exciting plans we have. Phase 2 will likely include drag and drop of people and (hopefully) songs into worship elements. We also know some churches need down-to-the-second tracking of element durations. We anticipate including that in Phase 2 as well.

If you have any questions of issues with these new features, be sure to let us know via our support site: http://support.worshipplanning.com.

A Little Love for the Helpers

In the next week or so, we will be rolling out a major update to the MyWP site that we think your volunteers will really love. I’ll detail it out more in a blog post the evening we roll it out, but here are the highlights, plus a little screenshot to whet your appetite.

  1. Fancy calendar that shows their assignments and rehearsals.
  2. Cleaner assignments page with much more intuitive access to service and team information.
  3. Default worship flow display with Extra Notes for the Helper showing by default.
  4. (and this is a BIG one) Ability for authorized Helpers to view services details of ALL services.

We are in the last phase of testing, so keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and Blog updates for when we roll it out. And we plan on updating our video tutorials in time for the roll-out as well.

More (and shorter) video tutorials

As promised, we have added a few helpful items to Worship Planning support, both on our support site (http://support.worshipplanning.com) and within the main and My WP sites. All have centered around video tutorial improvements.

In the main and My WP sites, we have broken down many of the large (8+ minute) videos to shorter ones that allow you to jump straight to the “how to” information you need. This is especially helpful for new team leaders and volunteers as they try to figure things out.

On the Support site, the tutorial page shows a complete listing of all the videos. But, we have also created video “tracks” that allow Helpers and Planners easily walk through a set of videos to learn about certainly functionality of the site. Right now we have only 3 tracks, but we will certainly be adding more. Also, when you perform a search on the support site, the results now include a list of relevant videos that you might find helpful.

Our goal is to make it very easy for everyone, including team leaders and volunteers, to use the site. Got feedback on how? Post a comment and let us know!

Improved People Availability System

Last night we updated the site with a significant improvement to the People Availability feature (where Planners and Helpers block off days they cannot serve). Prior to this update, people could only only block off the AM and/or PM hours of a given day, one day at a time. With this new update, Planners and Helpers will be able to mark themselves unavailable for:

– Specific services (whether or not the services have been created in WP) – Time range within a single day (i.e. Jan 3, 9:30am >> 3:30pm) – Time range across multiple days (i.e. Jan 2 – 6:15pm >> Jan 5 – 11am) – Inclusive date range (Jan 1 >> Jan 8)

As before, Planners with a high enough security level can change the availability of Helpers and other Planners. But we have also added to the Teams page an “availability” tab that displays a calendar of dates/times/services blocked by team members. Only team leaders have access to see their team’s availability calendar. Team leaders also have the ability to change the availability of their team members, regardless of security level.

In the next few days, we plan on adding some enhancements to our support pages, as well as more video tutorials to assist team leaders and helpers with using the site. That will probably be our last enhancement update until the new year. With Christmas just a few weeks away, we want to avoid the risk of creating new bugs or issues with the site.

We continue to develop a mobile version of WP that will be a native app for iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian devices. We also are working on some exciting improvements to the Songs Library and Worship Flow pages. Stay tuned for more info….

Secondary Email and SMS Text Messaging

This evening we applied an update to the WorshipPlanning.com site that has been frequently requested. Planners and Helpers can now receive WP communications through multiple email address and/or text message numbers. On your Account Settings page, you can add additional channels of communication, and specify which types of communications should be sent to each channel. The image below shows an example of a Planner that has one secondary email and one text message number set up.

Notice that the Primary email address ALWAYS receives the message, regardless of the type of communication. But each secondary channel can be individually configured based on the type of message being sent:

  • Assignment Notification
  • Assignment Response Notification (Planners only)
  • Message Board Updates
  • Service Changes
  • General Team Communications
  • User Account Updates

When a secondary channel is added, WP will send a short confirmation code via the new channel. Once received, the Planner/Helper will need click the “confirm” link and enter that code. This will activate that channel.

Messages sent to secondary email addresses will be exact copies of what is sent to the primary email address. However, messages sent to text message numbers will be very abbreviated in attempt to keep the message all in a single text message.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to post a comment here or contact us via our support site (http://support.worshipplanning.com).