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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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    Advantage Software: New Features Coming Fourth Quarter 2015

    Check out these new Advantage features.

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

    Customer Service Workflows: A new feature at the main SVCCTM customer maintenance view allows you to perform extended customer service without needing to route to other Advantage views. This is useful in on-the-phone situations. You can, for example, perform subscription or agreement maintenance, review the customer’s A/R, and more. A special “retention” phase allows you to save cancellations by offering the customer special discounting, premiums, or credits. This feature uses the standard Advantage scripting functionality, allowing you to tailor the flow to the specific customer service situation.

    Scriptable AMB …



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    Dan's Blog: Ad Blocking - Good for Advertisers?

    The current panic in the marketing world about ad blocking is being eclipsed by thoughts such as those found in this excellent piece.  As marketers, we at AdvantageCS have found native advertising to be a great vehicle for getting the word out about our products and services.

    What are your thoughts on this hot topic? 

    Dan



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    Advantage Software: Workflow Event Feature

    Have you ever had the need to perform an action like one of the following based on a threshold Advantage event?

    Send an e-mail as soon as an order has been entered in the Advantage UI

    Send notification to an outside system as soon as a customer or address change is logged

    Automatically cancel---or restart, or skip---an Advantage process when a predefined condition is encountered

    If you need to perform tasks like this in a near-real-time environment, then the Advantage workflow events feature could be just what you’re looking for.

    The workflow events feature creates a record of certain business-relevant events that occur in the Advantage software or database.  A background service continuously monitors events (you configure how often), evaluating each event against a …



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    Connecting Our Clients

    Last week AdvantageCS facilitated a meeting in Paris between Ouest France and Agora’s Publishing Services subsidiary. Many in the AdvantageCS User Group are familiar with the rapid growth of Publishing Services over the past 15 years and their use of Advantage to support many of the world-wide publishing affiliates of Agora. Publishing Services has established Advantage at the hub of their systems architecture, making it the system of record for all interaction with customers and prospects. Now that Ouest France has upgraded to Advantage 2014.1, they are considering moving more business onto Advantage and making Advantage the core system of record for their customer relationships and transactions…reminiscent for me of a similar direction taken by Agora in their pre-Publishing Services …



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    Matt Varblow Named Vice President

    Matt Varblow has been promoted to vice president, engineering services. He reports to Dick Hile, vice president, product engineering, who states: "Matt's leadership -- both technical and organizational -- has been a key contributor to our progress in improving our product and our engineering services." In addition to managing the engineering services teams, Matt is still one of the chief software architects at AdvantageCS, helping to steer the application architecture as our software continues to evolve.

    In his sixteen+ years at ACS, Matt has filled multiple key roles. Before joining AdvantageCS permanently, Matt began working here during the summers when he was 14, helping out with configuration control.  Even at that time, Matt was an old hand at computer programming, having taught …



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    Dan's Blog: Smartphones Outsmart Us

    Is it just me, or is everyone experiencing more use of their smartphones? These "mobile moments" are becoming more frequent in my life, at least. A year ago I hadn't installed my bank's app and did all my banking on my laptop. Now I do all my deposits using my smartphone and find myself checking balances there more and more. A couple of years ago I thought I'd never use Facebook on my smartphone...but I almost never use it on my laptop now. Recently my wife was writing a long email on her smartphone and I asked why she doesn't use the desktop so she can edit more efficiently? Her answer was that the desktop was upstairs.  

    I guess that's what the word "mobile" means, after all: able to move. Our mobile phones can be with us all the time. I see more participants in meetings looking at …



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