Greetings from ebase Central!
Organizations continue to download, install, and use ebase—including the original version 1.03!—so we know there's still demand for free, open-source desktop CRM. This inspires us to keep working, slowly but surely, on keeping ebase current. Below is the latest news on ebase's new release, version 2.80, including:
- New email features added
- Alpha testing progress
- New testing program volunteer coordinator
Please take a look and give us your input; we depend on the knowledge and experience of our users and implementers!
New email features
Longtime ebase implementer and volunteer Larry Bednar has been working hard to add email features to ebase 2.80. Not only has he completely rebuilt the old features from the ground up to make them more reliable and extensible, but he's added a number of powerful new features:
- Any ebase user can now check mail and send mail using multiple email accounts.
- Multiple ebase users can now manage the mail coming into any one email account.
- Email attachments can now be sent and received within ebase
- Non-standard email protocols are now supported: if your email provider wants you to use an unusual port or uncommon authentication method, ebase can probably handle it.
Version 2.80 now also includes the email features found in prior versions of ebase, including the ability to send personalized thank-you letters, newsletters & marketing, and solicitations to individuals or thousands of your contacts at once. If you have questions about ebase 2.8 and email, contact Larry through his web site http://quimdas.com.
Alpha testing progress
We have a new version of ebase 2.80 in alpha testing. Tim Leed, an active volunteer on our technical advisory committee, has been testing enthusiastically and providing great feedback in the form of bug reports (when he's found bugs) and confirmation when he finds things working as expected. Larry Bednar and Allen Poole have been fixing the bugs Tim's posted; a list of recent bug fixes can be found here.
If you're interested in volunteering as an alpha tester, click here to read more about the testing program.
Several new volunteers have offered to provide testing feedback since the alpha release, but unfortunately we haven't been receiving enough test results. This is a serious roadblock: without more guidance from people who will use and implement ebase, we won't be able to bring out this new version we've been working so hard on. We're committed to providing a high quality software and ebase is an all-volunteer effort, so volunteer testing is essential to our success.
To support ongoing testing, Larry Bednar's prepared a comprehensive list of every feature & function in ebase 2.80, 800 in all! We'll use this list to make sure testing has been thorough, and to divide testing tasks among volunteers according to their interests & abilities.
New testing program volunteer coordinator
Camryn Porkandi has stepped forward as a new volunteer, and she's first taking over the role of testing program coordinator. Camryn has a wealth of experience with software use, development, and support, and she currently works for the US Forest Service. This month, she'll be contacting all ebase volunteers personally to get acquainted & find out how she can support your efforts. She'll be making sure ebase 2.80 is thoroughly tested and also work on documentation for the new release. Stay tuned for more!
Dear ebase Community Members,
We have fair news, and great news.
1st, the fair news, the port of ebasePro 2.20 to run under FileMaker Pro current versions, is taking longer and much more effort than we had planned on. It is a mature, robust database, so much work had to be done. While doing the work, we've taken a few steps to make updating this new version easier on a go forward basis.
2nd, the great news, is that we have the majority of the work done and it is running under FileMaker Pro 8.5, 9 and 10. We are in Alpha testing phase, which means it's not ready for production/real-life usage, but we are finding and fixing bugs and any remaining issues.
AND we have additionally an update to ebase Classic, called 1.04 that will run in shipping versions of FileMaker Pro.
ebase.org has been hard at work on updates to two of it’s nonprofit software solutions offerings. A core group of the ebase Technical Advisory Committee has been meeting (tele-conferencing) weekly consistently over the last couple of years to advance these efforts. Just one of our programmers has logged in over 700 hours to date, on these efforts!
First up, is a port/partial re-write of ebasePro 2.20, one of the most mature, robust, powerful, flexible nonprofit donor and constituency managers out there, to be used with current versions of FileMaker Pro. ebasePro is built on FileMakerPro, so you can use it cross-platform mixed environment (Macs or PCs), as a standalone database or in a server-client environment with multiple users. Versions of ebasePro 2.80 are expected to be available as a free download. The runtime version has FileMakerPro embedded, so for single users there’s no additional cost. If you want to customize ebasePro 2.80, you’ll need a licensed copy of FileMaker 8.5, 9, or 10 - with testing yet to be done, it may work in FMP 7 and 8 as well. The server-client deploys will require you to have licensed versions of FMP server and FMP client (for each user), though the new ebasePro 2.80 has been tested to work in the FileMaker workgroup sharing mode as well.
Secondly, the simpler, though powerful for many nonprofits’ needs, ebaseClassic 1.03 is being updated to run in currently available versions of FileMakerPro. ebaseClassic 1.04 is currently ready for our testing schedule and is looking very good. A refresh of Classic’s appearance has been implemented to make it more contemporary.
ebase.org has moved it’s Community website hosting and is continually working on updating the website. Joining the Community membership gives you access to information, forums and other ebase users and helps to support these efforts - nonprofit software for nonprofits from a nonprofit software developer. ebase has the refinement of years of use and the input of hundreds of nonprofits that have contributed ideas and help in making it a great solution for nonprofits.
ebasePro 2.80 and ebaseClassic 1.04 are both expected to be available towards the end of 2009. Please visit our website at www.ebase.org for news, updates and downloads when available.
Yours in ebase - the ebase Board of Directors and the ebase TAC (Technical Advisory Committee).
Dear ebase Community Members,
We're working hard on getting the port of ebasePro 2.20 to the newer FileMaker file format done. While we're adhering to the scope of our project -- to convert the features of ebase 2.20 to FileMaker's new file format (.fp7), and not spend time coming up with new features--FileMaker's newer format has prompted us to make a few key decisions. Over the holidays, we delayed release of an alpha version to testers so we could establish how the new version of ebase, and versions to come, will interact with new aspects of FileMaker. New FileMaker features have already allowed us to condense ebase's 40+ files into one file, making for much easier installation! Right now, we're integrating aspects of FileMaker's new format to support
• a two file installation, which will permit easy drag-and-drop upgrade as new versions come out
• easier creation and installation of add-on modules that extend ebase's functionality
• possibly sharing ebase among users in a small office without setting up a database server (like so many did with ebase v.1)
• possibly sharing ebase among remote users over the Internet
We'll update the ebase community news again with updates and as this version goes into alpha testing, and again for beta testing. If you're interested in joining either testing team, or in being an early adoption site for the new ebase after beta testing is finished, please contact Allen Poole at allen [at] cdsnw.com. In the mean time, as always, questions are welcome in the forums.
We've recently updated the ebase community web site to Drupal 6 and are researching ways to possibly implement a hybrid of the listservs and forums to facilitate better community support.
We will post updates as we have it, but for now, please consider a donation to really help our efforts and build the ebase community. We are excited by the commitment and direction to update ebase... but we need your support.
All the Hope for a Wonderful New Year, yours in ebase - the ebase Board of Directors and the ebase TAC (Technical Advisory Committee).
Dear ebase Community Members,
We are diligently working on our port of the mature, refined and valuable to many NPO’s, nonprofit management tool and database, ebasePro 2.20, to the current .fp7 file format. Much progress has been made, and we’ve identified the project pathway and needs, to stay on track on to getting this done
We've undertaken several of the steps in working on producing a new version of ebase that will be compatible with currently available FileMakerPro software. It will use the .fp7 file format.
As the transition from FileMaker 6 to FileMaker 7 was a major change in the underlying data structure, this update was difficult of us to achieve using only volunteers. We had looked into outsourcing this, and made some dedicated efforts into asking for grants to perform this work, but with little success. So we are financing some of the work from a long-term ebase volunteer, and so your contributions and renewals of memberships are critical in helping in these efforts and building and supporting the ebase community.
So, please renew your annual memberships, especially if they've lapsed and there's a donation page, see menus above, so that you can contribute additionally to these efforts. Donations, from individuals, are tax deductible within the guidelines set forth by the IRS for nonprofit donations!
A couple of key benefits from transitioning the mature robust ebasePro 2.20 database to the next generation will be:
- Being able to work in the new FileMaker environment.
- Also, most apparent will be the small number of files required for installation.
- Another ability that we think will be very nice in the new file separation model will be the ability to easily swap in any of a number of "test" data sets. We think this will be very helpful for troubleshooting, etc.
- Another new feature, which may appeal to implementers, will be the return of peer-to-peer sharing as an option for small multi-user deployments. Of course server-client deployments will be supported for robustness and data integrity and backup.
We will post more news as we have it, but for now, please renew memberships and consider a donation to really further these efforts and build the ebase community. We are excited by the commitment and direction to update ebase, but we need your support.
With warmest wishes for the Holidays, yours in ebase - the ebase Board of Directors and the ebase TAC (Technical Advisory Committee).
** ebase News Update **
Oct 25th, 2007 - Here’s the latest from ebase-Central. Your ebase Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is proud to announce the following:
“Release Build” of ebasePro 2.20 is up.
After much testing, we are excited to announce the release of our flagship product ebasePro 2.20. For sites that are using earlier ebasePro 2.x versions, this is a substantial update! With over 200 bug fixes, many feature enhancements, reported better stability and speed, and dozens of new features ebasePro 2.20 is ready to handle your relationship tasks. It is a version that will run on your existing investments in FileMaker 5.5/6. We've also completely revised and updated the documentation to help you get the most out of ebasePro 2.20.
Early adopter test sites have been thrilled with all the improvements we've made. "We had contacted our ebase consultant with about a page full of needs and issues we were having with our install of ebase 2.11 - the recommendation was to update to the then current build of 2.20 - which addressed almost all of the issues we had with ebase. We find ebasePro 2.20 to be far more mature, robust and are really thrilled with the improvements. - Lisa J. Fiorese, Business Manager, Dutchess County Arts Council
Just a few of the new features:
- Move selected log entries to another record
- Greater duplicate checking customization
- Enhanced "thank you" processing
- Ability to make a family record a POC (primary organizational contact)
... and our New Web site is LIVE
We have also pulled the switch on the launch our new Web site to support ebasePro 2.20 and better support the ebase community. The address will remain the same - http://www.ebase.org/ - and it's live now! It is a single site for all viewers – whether just visiting/browsing or to login as a member of the ebase community.
Ebase community members will continue to have special access to the email lists, on-line Q&A and the Knowledgebase. We are working hard to make it a place you'll want to visit often for news, how-to articles, FAQs, Support Forums and more. We are working on transitioning pertinent data off the old community site, to the new site. So post your questions to the new site forums. Meanwhile the old site archive is available for signed in users at the new site.
So sign up, or renew your ebase community membership!
We are strongly urging users to plan on updating to the superb ebasePro 2.20 for your nonprofit contact relationship management needs.
Last but not least!
We've started work on a port of most of the feature set of ebasePro 2.20 to a version that will run on FileMaker 8.x/9. As ebasePro is a complex, mature and robust database and the transition is a lot of work, we do not have a target date yet. It will be a while.
Call for Volunteers!
If you have expertise in FileMaker transitioning from versions 6 to 8 and want to support nonprofits everywhere by contributing to this worthwhile work, please let us know.
Yours in ebase,
ebase TAC Team
After many months the TAC has launched the new ebase website. This site merges content from the old ebase website, and the old community site in an attempt to make ebase support content more accessible to ebase community members and potential members.
If you had an account on the old ebase community site, your account settings have been transferred to this new site and you may login using the login box on the left hand side of the page, or CLICK HERE TO LOGIN.
The site will start to fill out as we migrate data from the old servers to this new system. The support archives are currently located at: http://community2.ebase.org/ebaseArchives.
Thanks to everyone who helped in the development of this new site, in particular, Tim Leed, Allen Poole, and Beth Hynes.