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    EAUG to Meet in Copenhagen April 13-14

    The annual get-together of the European Advantage User Group is slated for April 13-14 at the headquarters of Aller Media in Copenhagen. Kicking off on Wednesday afternoon, the first day will include a presentation of Advantage News and Strategic Direction and a demo of the new Contact Center functionality. In between, attendees will be taken on a tour of the magnificent Aller building, which is something not to be missed.

    Thursday’s topics include concurrent workshops on Automated Testing and Marketing in the morning, followed by a Technology Update. Rounding out the conference will be updates on other major Advantage development initiatives such as Project Central, Cider Phase II, and Membership.

    As always, there will be many opportunities for participants to network with other …



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    The Best of “Both-and” Worlds

    How the AdvantageCS Development Team Optimizes Contrasting Styles

    I am, by temperament, indecisive.  Wishy-washy. Equivocating. I embrace both-and-ism rather than either-or-ism. It gets me in trouble at times. 

    My wife is similarly afflicted. She and I joke that our family motto is, “Indecision: the key to flexibility.” It’s impossible to plan vacations.  “Scotland would be fun,” but so would Tuscany. Or France. Or Spain. We end up enjoying the tried and true cottage-on-a-lake-with-friends we have been visiting for 30 years.

    At times, though, both-and-ism is exactly what is called for.  Here are three examples from my role leading on the software development teams.

    Openers AND Closers

    Some software developers love to start new projects, even when it’s unclear how big the project …



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    QA Q & A

    New Initiatives in Advantage Quality Assurance

    Eva Weissman recently became the QA Team Leader here at AdvantageCS and brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Her expertise is not limited to quality assurance---she is adept at analyzing processes and workflows and instituting efficiency measures at many levels. Through a series of questions from eVantage, Eva describes her approach, the initiatives she has put in place and her future plans for QA.

    How do you describe your new role at AdvantageCS in quality assurance testing?

    I lead a team of analysts that is responsible for quality assurance. We focus on three main areas: software modifications, regression testing, and process improvements. With regard to software modifications, we develop test plans, do the actual …



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    New Features Coming 1st Quarter 2016

    These Advantage features are either available now or will be soon. Contact your Advantage account manager for more information.

    MST210 - Consolidated Processes, Plus Additional Process Changes: In a major enhancement to Advantage, five separate processes (CIR210, PRO205, AMB210, CEM210, RPS205) have been eliminated and replaced by a single across-module process, MST210. This centralized financial posting process strategy not only consolidates module order processing, but also allows the A/R associated with orders to be posted within the same process. You will need to continue to run ARP210 and ARP230 for standalone debits and credits, but the debits and credits associated with orders now flow through the centralized posting step. Besides MST210, Advantage offers other new posting …



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    AdvantageCS Welcomes New Client Bonnier Magazine Data

    AdvantageCS is pleased to announce our newest client: Bonnier Magazine Data (“BMD”).  Located in the Østerbro borough of Copenhagen, Denmark, BMD is an internal provider of subscription management systems, CRM system functionality and related services to Bonnier companies. BMD specializes in subscription management within the field of weekly and monthly magazines, publications and other media products.

    BMD is wholly owned by Bonnier Publications (“BP”) and Bonnier Tidskrifter (“BT”) which are also two major customers. Whereas BP is represented in Copenhagen, Helsinki (Finland), Oslo (Norway) and Stockholm (Sweden), BT is represented solely in Stockholm. Between the two publishing companies, BMD systems manage around 2 million subscriptions. These companies are part of the holding …



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    Dan's Blog: 6 Predictions for Publishing in 2016

    It's the week between Christmas and New Years and I'm reading lists of things that happened in 2015 and will happen in 2016. It's always enjoyable to be reminded of things that happened earlier in the year that we've already either forgotten or filed away into that part of our memory that can't quite remember exactly when it took place. (Like one's last dentist appointment once more than 5 weeks have passed.) What's much more fun, and risky, is to predict things that will happen in the future. It's risky, because the predictor is likely to be proved wrong. It's fun because the expectations are so low for being right!

    So here are mine:

    Publishing will continue to be unpredictable. I know. It's almost cheating to say this. But there is more truth to it than immediately meets the eye. …



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    Bug Extinction – Automated Testing Using Frameworks in Advantage

    “What is best in life? To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.” 

    -Conan, the Barbarian

    As software engineers, we find ourselves fighting a war against an enemy of our own creation. An enemy armed with complexity, obscurity, and redundancy. From a fortified position in legacy code it charges forth using our past compromises as a battle cry. Like the Hydra, software development can work against us: each problem we fix with a cutting change can sometimes spawn more bugs. What is an engineer to do in the face of such odds?

    Creating bug-free software can happen in one of two ways. Write no bugs, which given the complexity and breadth of Advantage is impossible, or find the bugs that are created and fix them. To this end, bug …



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    Dan's Blog: Communication has Incredible Consequences - 6 Tips to Improve Yours

    One of our traditional movies to watch around this time of year is the revered "White Christmas" starring Bing Crosby and friends. For those unfamiliar with the story, things begin to go wrong when the nosy housekeeper eavesdrops on a conversation but only hears 1 side of the message. She draws her own conclusions and sets off a string of events which produces the main tension in the storyline. Since it's a movie, it all ends well and they live happily ever after. But the movie has supremely good examples of all kinds of problematic communication:

    misunderstanding what the other person said

    misunderstanding what the other person didn't say

    beating around the bush

    talking about two different things and missing one another

    sarcasm

    deception

    bad assumptions

    and the list goes on …



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    Advantage Software: Cider Update! (Long Overdue)

    Wow, it has been a while since we provided an update on Cider. If you need a refresher, you can read my previous posts here and here. In short, Cider is our fully integrated eCommerce platform. So, what have we been up to? A lot! First and foremost, Cider is live! It was made available earlier this year with the 2015 annual release of Advantage. We continue to be hard at work with client implementations, modifications, and R&D.

    There are currently three clients live on Cider.

    Jerry Baker - Jerry Baker's store offers high-quality home and health products while allowing customers to mix-and-match bundled offerings.

    Palm Coast Data - The primary focus here was targeted self-service landing pages for subscribers served through email notifications.

    Ogden Publications - Ogden employs a …



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    Dan's Blog: eCommerce Platform Pitch at FIPP World Magazine Congress

    In October, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the FIPP World Congress in Toronto, Ontario. (FIPP is the Federation of International Periodical Publishers, in case you are not in this space.) This magazine congress is held every two years in a different country, and is attended by hundreds of magazine publishers from around the world.

    As one of the sponsors, AdvantageCS had the opportunity to provide a 100-second pitch of our product. This is a brilliant idea on the part of the FIPP team to allow sponsors to explain their product or service but to keep it brief. In fact, these 100-second pitches are placed between major presentations and become a bit of a game, which keeps the audience in their seats.

    Most publishers don't like to be "sold to" but the attendees can't resist …



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