Administrator Email - 11/29/2021 - Announcing
We're excited to announce ClubExpress Version 64 (BTW, we've changed our numbering system. The previous version was 10.3, since renamed to version 63.)
This is the longest gap we've had between major releases - more than 7 months since the previous version was announced. Most of the features described in this email have already been deployed; we just never got around to announcing them! We were actually working on a major enhancement to our website template design tools, and we've been waiting for it to be done. Well it's now ready to announce and deploy.
This release adds dozens of features across the whole ClubExpress platform. We've also added a number of features for our Aging-in-Place Village customers.
We will be holding a webinar on Wednesday, December 1st, starting at 12:00 Noon US Eastern time, 11:00 AM Central, 10:00 AM Mountain, and 9:00 AM Pacific, for those who want to learn more about these enhancements. If you can't make it, the webinar recording will be available within a couple of days, on the ClubExpress YouTube channel
. There is no need to register for this webinar but it is limited to the first 500 attendees. Here are the connection details:
Meeting ID: 821 6287 6656
In this issue:
Website Look and Feel
With this release, we are excited to announce a new and powerful way to create and maintain the overall look and feel of your website. It incorporates a new Template Builder, as well as new and powerful tools to build the page header, left and right content boxes, and the page footer. We have leveraged the row- and cell-based tools you already use in the Page Builder to create and maintain static web pages. The new model also treats menus, social media, and the login/Profile panel as objects that can be placed anywhere on your website. Finally, the new model includes full versioning, allowing you to create and show different versions of your website at different times, including test versions to review with your Board of Directors.
Note that this new Template Builder has not yet been deployed. As with other critical functions, we wanted to show it to you before deployment so that it's not a complete surprise. It will be deployed next Monday, December 6th, and we'll also have a full session on the Template Builder during our Bootcamp on Wednesday, December 8th. The online help system has been updated and we're also adding a video tutorial for a deep dive into the functionality.
The Template Builder is selected the same way as always, by clicking "Website Look and Feel" on your Control Panel - Website tab. You will see the following floating panel:
Use the first button to select a template from our updated list of predefined templates. The old "Layout" option is gone; every template now optionally includes left and right panels that can be used or ignored. Templates are built around 4 panels that surround the content area, as shown in the following diagram:
Each of these 4 panels can be edited using the indicated buttons. Each panel allows you to define one or more rows into which elements can be placed. As with the Page Builder, rows can have a "Visibility": everyone, public only, members only, or hidden, as well as separate visibility options for desktop and mobile devices. Everything that can be placed in a row or cell is now defined as a widget, including your website menu, the Member Login/Profile panel (which includes the Control Panel and Favorites link for admins and coordinators.) Content placed in the Header or Footer automatically orients itself horizontally, while content placed in the Left Side or Right Side panels automatically orients itself vertically. So, for example, you can add a menu widget to the Header and it will be a horizontal menu, but if you add it to the Left Side, it will be a vertical menu.
This new architecture removes the separate options to maintain Content Boxes, since they are now incorporated into the Template Builder. It also removes the separate Mobile Setup option, since you can now specify panels in each area that are for mobile viewers only.
The other choices on the Site Editor (Colors, Width, Background, Watermark, Text Styles, Design Scheme, Menu Style, and Custom CSS) are unchanged in functionality.
When adding rows to a canvas, you can pick from a predefined template, or add blank rows to define your own layout. For horizontal areas, a wide selection of blank row layouts is available. Vertical areas have their own set of predefined templates but for blank row layouts, only "Full Width" and "50/50" made sense.
The list of available widgets includes some special options that apply to template only, such as a club logo, the main menu, the Login/Profile link, Social Media links, and the "Add Me to your Mailing List" option. Some of these widgets can only be used once and some of them are also required; you will receive an error message if you to try to apply a template that does not include them. Here is a complete list:
The Configure Section allows you to configure a background color and image for each section, including tiling options. If you then place the social media, member login/Profile, member logo, and menu widgets in the header area, you will end up with a page header looking like this, with the club logo and menu on the same row (an oft-requested feature):
The new "Save Version" option allows you to save multiple versions of a template. Select "Versions" from the Site Editor to view one or more versions of your website look and feel. Use the "Edit" (pencil) icon to recall a saved version for viewing or editing. Note that nothing is changed on the website until you click the Apply button for the version you are currently viewing.
We've made a couple of other minor changes:
- The Text Styles panel now allows you to globally style buttons, including font type, size, and color, border radius and padding, and background and hover colors.
- For those clubs who purchased the Banner Ads function, there is a new way to place and edit banner ads. Ads are maintained using a new Banner Ads module on the Control Panel - Website tab. Ads are added to the module and assigned to a panel. Within the Template Builder and Page Builder, you can then add a Banner Ads widget and link it to a panel; it will then display the ads in this panel.
- The Page Tools option has been removed from the Site Editor and is now available on the Website Options screen. The option for the floating toolbar has been deprecated and only the slide-out option is now available.
When you first open the Website Look and Feel tools, you will see a popup Update Notice, describing the new system. At that point, you have the option of converting to the new system or continuing to use the old system. However, the available options in the old system have been limited to only changing colors, background, watermarks, text styles, design schemes, and custom CSS. Making more substantive changes requires that you convert to the new system. Your current design for the page header, left and right content areas, and footer will be converted automatically.
If your website is heavily modified or has lots of custom CSS, be cautious converting to the new system. We will attempt to convert your current template to the system, but sites that are highly customized may appear as a generic representation and may need some restyling within the new system.