Working on Event Payments

This week I am working on event payments. Here are some of the changes I am trying to get done:


- Redesigning the workflow so that you can pay for multiple RSVPs at once by putting RSVPs in a shopping cart until you are ready to pay


- Allowing users to choose between paying with a money account or a credit card (Stripe) or PayPal


- Allowing a troop to accept payment via Stripe and PayPal rather than just one of the two


- Allowing troops to specify that users are responsible for Stripe/PayPal transaction fees


- Allowing troops to specify that they are responsible for TroopTrack transaction fees


- Allowing troops to accept manual payments (checks, cash, etc) for items in a shopping cart


- Preventing users from paying for a shopping cart with a money account that doesn't have adequate funds


I hope I can get this done and live soon - I will keep you posted.


~ Dave


Minor updates to service stars (AHG & BSA)

Just a couple of changes this morning:

1) We updated our page about the ScoutBook acquisition to be less snarky and more current. One of the issues with being committed to openness about our product is that customers are occasionally exposed to how we feel when tough challenges occur. I think that's okay, but we need to update stuff as we get distance and perspective from those events.

2) We've added support for BSA Service Stars for Troops.

3) AHG Service Stars now appear properly in the Advancement Overview.

4) We are more consistent in how user names are displayed throughout the application.

Have a wonderful day!

~ Dave


How we roll

We are very committed to being open at TroopTrack about what we are working on, what we are struggling with, etc. While this is generally a good thing, it gets us in trouble with users sometimes who feel we should be working on something else. I've been thinking about this a lot today because of some recent exchanges we've had on Facebook and I'd like to explain a bit about how TroopTrack works.


First of all, we don't all work on everything, nor can we. We divide things up, and some of the work we do requires experience and education. Here's how TroopTrack work is divided up.


- Marc works on our mobile applications (iOS and Android). He's the only one with this particular skill.

- Ryan, Spencer, and I work on the web application. Ryan and I also do consulting work for our enterprise clients such as Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls.

- Claire, Sam, Wesley, and Coleman are primarily responsible for answering your questions and identifying any important bugs that you report.

- Melissa is primarily responsible for configuring TroopTrack to support specific programs. She adds achievement, training, etc and works with customers who have asked us to add support for their organization to get everything set up.


I want to clarify this because it's pretty common for us to announce something I am working on and have someone say something like "You should be working on the Android app instead," as if me adding some new feature to our web product is somehow preventing Marc from moving forward with our Android app.


This is simply not the case. I can't really help with the Android app, and Marc can't really help with the web app. Heart surgeons don't generally do kidney transplants and vice versa, even though they are surgeons. Programmers are no different.


Likewise, when we add support for a new organization, like Search and Rescue Groups, there is virtually no programming involved. Melissa does almost everything to set them up. She can't write code, so her doing this work doesn't prevent Ryan, Spencer, and I from adding new features and fixing bugs. We don't stop working on our backlog of bug fixes and feature requests just because Melissa is adding a new group.


I share all of this in the spirit of openness and friendliness. I hope nothing I have written will be perceived as haughty or uncaring. We love TroopTrack and we try very hard to make it better every single day. We don't always succeed, and sometimes we make it better in ways that only benefit some of our customers, but we keep at it, and we hope it shows.


Have a great night,


~ Dave


Important fix to the AHG Connect importer

Well... yesterday's release of categories for money transactions was a bit of a comedy of errors. Except it wasn't funny. We think we've got everything squared up now. Here is the list of things we fixed this morning (items with an asterisk were introduced as part of yesterday's release).

1) Creating a transaction that is not a transfer no longer requires that you include a transfer-to account. *

2) Signing up for a free trial is no longer crashing. *

3) Editing a transaction now shows the proper fields. *

4) The new "money" menu is now available to BSA and TLUSA troops.

5) We fixed a really confusing bug with the AHG Connect importer. If a girl had two or more level awards in AHG Connect that were not complete, the importer was replacing the requirements of the last incomplete award with the requirements of the first incomplete award. For example, let's say Susie has not completed the Fanny Crosby and Sacagawea awards and you imported from AHG Connect. Susie's record wouldn't show the Fanny Crosby award at all and her Sacagawea award would show the Fanny Crosby requirements. This is fixed.

I'm very relieved to have figured out #5. It's been vexing me for a while and was a source of significant frustration for our AHG troops.

If you find you have a girl with one of these mixed up achievements, you can just delete it from her profile and then either import again or just add it directly.

Have a great day!

~ Dave



Calendar and Money Updates

Happy Monday! Today we released a number of improvements to money accounts and the calendar we hope you will like. They are:


1) Better control of money accounts on the manage menu. See the picture. Due to a slight error on my part, this won't be there for BSA Troops until tomorrow. Sorry!

2) Direct control of categories for money transactions. You can create categories you want to use, then select one or more for each transaction. We replaced the autocomplete category feature because we were getting lots of complaints about duplicate categories with slightly different wording, like "Camp Fees", "Summer Camp Fees", etc.


3) The "All payments" page for events was really only working for events that accepted payment from money accounts, not Stripe (credit cards) or PayPal. It now works for these payment methods as well.


4) We've added icons for switching between the calendar and agenda views to make it easier to go back and forth. The links retain the other settings you've made, such as to show only the events you are invited to, etc.


5) All-day events are now displayed the same way we currently display holidays (at the top of the calendar box for the day on which they occur).


Have a great day!


~ Dave


Better quick switcher, percent complete, and no more explorer badges on pioneer tabs!

Some minor changes went live this morning:

1) The "quick switcher" link on user profiles was great for switching between the achievement tabs of users, but not so great if you were working on the money tab or other tabs. One of our users in Australia pointed this out and we have updated the quick switcher to switch to the same tab you are currently on of the user you select.

2) We've been having problems calculating the percent complete value for certain awards, particularly in cub scouts. We have fixed the problem and the next time you make any changes to awards the percent complete will calculate properly.

If you don't want to wait for that, just open a help desk ticket and ask us to recalculate percent complete for your entire pack/troop/group.

3) For AHG troops we were showing Explorer badges on the Pioneer tab for certain girls. We have fixed that.

That's it! I'm off to Orlando tomorrow morning for a week. We will have reduced help desk availability during this time as it is spring break for half of our staff and we all want to take vacations.

Have a great day!




The youth member formerly known as Jenny and more!

One big change, some new features, and some bug fixes went live this morning. First, the big change:

1) TroopTrack now has full support for UTF8 mb4 character sets. Wait. What? Yeah, that's probably gibberish to most people, but here's what it means: you can now use emoji everywhere in TroopTrack. If you want to have a scout named 🔮you can totally do that. There's going to be a lot of "the youth member formerly known as Jenny" in our futures.

Okay, maybe that's not likely. But you guys use emojis all over the place, and we used to crash unless you used a very specific set of emojis. No more. We are super excited about it at TroopTrack because we hate it when things crash.

2) We can now import Scouts Australia data from Dibbs export files. Contact the help desk if you'd like us to do that for you.

3) The participation tab on the user profile now shows all events the member was invited to whether they attended or not by default.

4) You can now sort files on a user profile by the date they were uploaded.

5) Web pages with no contents were crashing. This is fixed.

6) We have added support for sending text messages to Republic Wireless customers

7) Board of Review Worksheets (BSA only) were crashing for certain scouts. Fixed!

8) Some people don't like the fact that any member can use the email feature to send a message to every member of your unit using the "CC" field. If you are one of those people, there is a new setting you can use to limit the CC list to people they have access to based on their access level. Just go to Manage -> Settings -> Edit Troop Settings and click on the TroopTrack Settings tab. The setting is called "Restrict Emails".


Limited Help Desk Staff March 13 - 19

Next week is Spring Break in Weatherford, TX, where many of our staff members live. As a result, we are going to have reduced support for the week as we deal with the fact that everyone wants to go on vacation (me included!). We will still have coverage of the help desk every day, but the office will not be open normal businesses hours and we may be unable to answer the phone.

Thank you for your patience - my family and I are going to Universal Studios in Orlando and I am really looking forward to the break!


BOR Worksheets that are easy to print and create a meeting schedule from an event.

1) You can now create a meeting schedule from an existing event. To do this, just visit an event details page and click on "Repeat Event."

2) We've made it easier to print a board of review worksheet. You can now print a BOR worksheet directly from a user's profile. I've included a pretty picture.

In other news...

1) We are having some trouble with TurboNET advancement reports. They work in most cases, but cub scout packs with Tigers in them continue to cause us problems and so does the recent addition of a survey question by the BSA to ScoutNET. Ryan is working on this.

2) Our database does not fully support the cute special characters (emoji) that people like to use in email, web pages, etc. This causes errors when people try to use emoji in fields we haven't specially configured to support them. We are working on an update that will allow the use of emoji in any text field anywhere in TroopTrack. Ryan is also working this.


Customer feedback surveys and more!

This morning we released a few significant improvements and some bug fixes:

1) When we "solve" one of your support requests, the email you receive will include a section for you to rate the support you received. It's really important to us that you take a minute and let us know how we did - customer support is a big part of our never-ending quest to make TroopTrack better every day.

2) When you rate a help desk ticket, you will also be able to leave comments if you desire.

3) The "full edit" link on meeting schedules was intended to take you to the "full" form for editing events, but it did the same thing as the quick edit link. This is now fixed.

4) There was a minor security issue in the way meeting events were saved. We have fixed this.

5) The columns on the meeting schedule detailed view were not lined up properly. Fixed it!

6) We gave you more room for the description fields in meeting events.

Have a great day!


~ Dave


It's the little things...

A few minor changes:

1) The "custom directory" option under Communicate is now available for Australian scouters.

2) The wording on the newsletter was changed for events which don't require you to RSVP so that it just says "Get more information about this event here:" instead of "Get more information about this event, RSVP, or change your RSVP status here:"

3) We were not listing empty households on Manage -> Members -> Households. You now have the option to see those households.

4) Creating a new leader with a new household was not building the household properly. This is fixed.

We've had a lot of people try out the new subdomain email and marketing site features that are currently in Alpha and have gotten lots of great feedback. We are always interested in learning more, so please let us know how those features are working out.

Have a great day!


~ Dave


ScoutNET is down for maintenance

If you are trying to use TurboNET this morning to import your roster from ScoutNET or report awards to ScoutNET...

ScoutNET is currently down for maintenance. We won't be able to do anything until BSA completes their release.

You can check ScoutNET's status here:

TurboNET will work as soon as ScoutNET comes back.


Bug fixes - rank upgrades and monthly meeting schedules and events

This morning we are releasing a few fixes:
1) Boys with completed ranks who were upgraded to 2016 ranks or downgraded to 2015 ranks were being listed as Scout (0%) on the patrol page. This is fixed.

2) Monthly meeting schedules that weren't supposed to start right away were doing that anyway. This is fixed, thanks to Spencer. He's got an eagle eye for weird bugs like that.

3) Spencer's bug fix for meeting schedules got me thinking about a similar problem with regular recurring events, so I checked it out. Sure enough, the root cause was the same. This is also fixed.

4) Meeting schedules were ignoring your selections about sending invites and reminders. Spencer fixed this too. What a guy!

Have a great day. Try not to have a Monday!

Friday I am traveling to Maryland to hang with the Sea Scouts!

~ Dave


Slim header, subdomain email updates, and super fast deployments

We just pushed a couple of changes to production:

1) Ryan made some cool improvements to the way we update production. It used to take about 14 - 17 minutes to update the site, but now it takes about 2 minutes. This makes it a lot easier for us to deploy even in high traffic times, something we have been forced to avoid in the past.

2) For customers trying out the subdomain email feature, we have fixed a number of places where we were displaying the email address incorrectly.

3) Previously email messages would have a status of "Scheduled" even though they had actually failed to be delivered. We have changed the process to update the status to "Failed" and to include an explanation of what causes failures.

4) There is a new setting to let you use a "slim" version of the header. This will give you more vertical real estate. You can also customize the background color and the menu color. Just go to Manage -> Settings -> Edit Troop/Pack Settings and then go to the "TroopTrack Settings" tab. Here's a screenshot.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

~ Dave


PiPa Progress reports and more

We just released a number of changes. Here they are:

1) Unit Progress Reports now work for PiPa units (AHG Only)

2) We fixed a bug allowing percent complete to exceed 100%

3) Under some situations, upgrading or downgrading ranks took a really long time (BSA Only)

4) We updated the print CSS of the site to make printing screens work better

5) We made it possible for us to decide which awards are added to a youths record when you change their level. Sometime today we will be adjusting AHG awards so that only level awards are added.

6) We moved two alpha features into production that I will be announcing a little bit later. We will be looking for brave customers to try them out.


Have a great day!


~ Dave