We just have released the third beta version of ORF 5, which extends the beta expiration from July 1 to September 15, 2012. If you already have one of the previous betas installed, be sure to upgrade in time to prevent the beta from expiring. The new release can be downloaded from the beta microsite.
It is a question that comes up frequently at our Tech Support – OK, the email was blacklisted by the Sender Blacklist, but which item triggered the blacklisting exactly?
The upcoming ORF release will offer three handy improvements to help answering these questions.
Predecessors of ORF 5 already support entering optional comments with IP, email, keyword, etc. expressions and these are logged on a hit. This can help identifying the expression in question. Due to a technical constraint, however, these comments were logged as “(Unicode comment cannot be displayed)” if they contained any characters outside the 7-bit ASCII table, which is pretty much the Latin alphabet and numbers only. We overcame this constraint in ORF 5 and now the logged comments are fully Unicode-compliant. Let you speak Russian or Danish, you can use your national alphabet without limitation.
Expression comments are sadly omitted in many cases, though, and ORF has nothing to log. Nothing is lost either; we have two features for these cases.
The first one is very simple: one-click sortable lists. Remember the Sort button next to the lists in ORF 4? It is gone. It really should not have been there in the first place. Bad, bad Sort button. Lists are ought to get sorted by one click in the header, because that is the maximum effort to be exerted to make order and find things.
The second one is a bit more exciting: the Test button that took over the place of the Sort button (which is, again, gone, forever) for every major list. Say you want figure out which Sender Blacklist expression blacklisted emails from email@example.com (ouch!), but the log did not reveal any further information. Just click Test, enter firstname.lastname@example.org and you will get a live, editable list of expressions matching that address. Like *@example.com. Turns out it was not the best.idea.ever, but hey, now you can fix it.
Stay tuned, we are coming back with more next week.
One of the biggest changes on the website coming with ORF 5 will be the introduction of a brand new Client Portal which will replace the Customers Area currently used on our website. The online services will add number of features and integrate others. Some features are a direct result of changes in the licensing while others are usability improvements to improve your ORF experience. Here is a quick summary of 2 key features:
Managing multiple companies
First some technical background. After the launch of ORF 5, customer accounts will be disassembled into individual user accounts and company accounts. This will allow role based management of company accounts and management of multiple company accounts by a single user. In order to facilitate this, users managing multiple company accounts will be able to select which company they want to work with within the Client Portal.
In the screenshot above, you can see the website header which will be the basis for navigating through your companies where ever you are on the website. Clicking the “Change” button (2) will show a dialog where all manageable companies are listed with some key information in order to make identification easier. From then its just a click of a button to make the selection the active company on the Client Portal.
A separate licenses page will give an overview of the licenses handled by your company. The list is ordered by date and the individual license details can be opened and closed using a simple chevron mechanic. An overview of the licenses can also be found on the My Company: Overview page as well to give you a quick glance at the status of your licenses. If one or more of the licenses are within the renewal period, you can renew your license from here with one click of a button.
This concludes the quick sneak-peek at some of the features of the Client Portal. Stay tuned for more next week.
In this sixth article of our ORF 5 series, we look into two minor improvements the new ORF release will offer.
Noticed that blue thing below the menu? That is the brand new and shiny toolbar, implemented in all three administrative tools of ORF.
True to the role of toolbars, this one brings the most frequently used actions right under your fingertips (1). The dropdown design also acts as a secondary shortcut menu, making the tools more discoverable and faster to use (2).
You will find the the connection information here (3) which helps identifying which ORF installation your are currently working with.
The toolbar also hosts another new feature, the Notifications button (see screenshots below).
Basically, this is the entry point of ORF’s new asynchronous notifications system. This is meant to eliminate situations when you get interrupted by randomly popping up dialogs like “Hey there’s a new version available!”, “You really should do something about these waiting items!” or “Look, I can create dialog boxes out of nowhere HAHAHA isn’t it great?”. There are many background operations in ORF, from checking for updates, to querying the status of the Transport Agents. All these operations may required your attention occassionally but from ORF 5, they are all neatly line up here.
As you have probably noticed, ORF 5 gets a pretty intensive facelift along with the numerous usability improvements. This design philosophy will also be visible on the ORF website. Let’s look at one of these in detail.
Experienced ORF users will be familiar with the FAQ found on our website. As the name suggests, we tried to collect and categorize frequent problems that ORF users faced and gave suggestions on how to work the problem.
In ORF 5, FAQ will be replaced by a Knowledge Base section that will provide a more user friendly and intuitive interface to find the required content. The KB will be a searchable source of information on all of the topics covered by the FAQ as well as brand new articles. As you can see in the first screenshot, navigating through the knowledge base will be based around the search function.
The search box will have all the functions of advanced search including partial matches and wildcards. Within the results of the search, the keywords will be highlighted to show the context of the words. Clicking on a topic title will take you to the full article. Navigating back to the search results will take you back to the search result list with the keywords still highlighted. This will allow you to look through the search results without having to repeat the search.
Ratings and Comments
One of the coolest features of the new KB is the ability for you to rate each article in the Knowledge Base on the basis of relevance and conciseness.
Giving a rating of 4 stars or less (5 is the maximum), you will be able to write a short comment on the article to give us feedback on how we could improve the text. The whole process takes a few seconds while it provides us with excellent information on how we can tailor the article to your needs.
The Knowledge Base function is only one of many interactive features in the new ORF website that will help with the communication between our users (you) and us. We will be showcasing more of these in future blog articles so stay tuned.