T5 – Tendenci Upgraded

June 20, 2011

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Over the past year, we have been updating several sites to the 5th version of Tendenci which we lovingly call T5. The new software brings several of the features you love from Tendenci like:

  • Membership Management
  • Event Calendar and Registration
  • Job board listings
  • Stories for featured content
  • Photos and Photo sets
  • Basic Pages
  • Articles, News, Resumes, Business Directory, and many others

We have added a few new features as well, such as:

  • Boxes for quick content editing
  • Easier template editing
  • Videos gallery
  • Case Studies
  • Staff Profiles

Tendenci 5 has been launched on several sites, including the Houston Technology Center (HTC) and Discovery Green. We also run T5 on Schipul.com with 12 different dynamic content areas on the homepage alone.

Tendenci 5 Calendar

HTC Calendar

Tendenci Dynamic Content

Discovery Green Homepage

Tendenci Photo Albums

Photo Albums

The Tendenci development team is making updates and adding new functionality daily, all of which is automatically added to all Tendenci 5 sites. We’d like to highlight a couple of the backend features that we think make Tendenci a standout product.

Open Source Platforms

Tendenci 5 is built on top of several open source technologies. We utilize apache for our web server, a free software that powers some of the largest sites on the internet. Our databases our in MySQL, which provides similar functionality to Microsoft SQL databases without any of the licensing fees. Our servers live in the cloud, to provide maximum uptime and durability. The Linux operating system powers our servers, and provides us with great open source tools to help enhance the websites that run on top of it. And the specialized search indexing functionality comes from Solr, an open source product that provides fast, accurate search results for sites with thousands of pieces of content.

The crown jewel is Django, a framework built in python that supports thousands of websites. The Django community continues to provide active development and security updates, which helps keeps Tendenci secure. Django and python offer speed and functionality for publishing content and have a highly flexible template system to make your site your own. The built-in tools in Django allow the Tendenci development team to makes changes quicker and make the software more flexible.

T5 Additions

Tendenci allows organizations to manage memberships as well as groups of people that may not be paying members. T5 takes these associations and allows admins to create selective benefits for members on the website. For example, a site could have a set of Members-Only pages where members could read articles or see news updates that weren’t available to the general public. These selective benefits also apply to event registration, so specific member groups can be offered a lower rate than non-members. These controls allow organization administrators to provide extra benefits to their membership which can help increase member turnover and grow the organization.

New advancements have also been made in site-wide search. Tendenci utilizes Solr search combined with Haystack to create a fast and accurate search across multiple apps at once. This means you can search for Articles, News releases, Jobs, Resumes, and Photos all from the same search box. The search also handles all of the selective benefits, so each member can only search content they are permitted to see. Site-wide search allows administrators to filter through all of their content and site visitors to find the info they need.

Tendenci has advanced features for administrators that let them perform advanced actions more quickly. There is an admin bar across the top of the website where admins can quickly jump to different apps in the software like articles or events. Admins can view reports, update their template, or add a new photo set all from the admin bar. Because of the selective benefits described above, different site users may have access to different pieces of content. Tendenci 5 comes with impersonation, the ability to view the website as another user. Admins can quickly impersonate a user to see how the website looks for them. We have found this to be a time-saving feature that gives administrators a quick tool to check security settings for their content.

In previous versions of Tendenci, it was difficult for a single website to have a customized feature in the “core” code. Tendenci 5 helps this in two ways: Templates and Plugins. Templating is a feature of Django, and Tendenci leverages it to allow site owners to customize every part of the visual display of their site. From customizing automated emails to changing a list to a grid, template customization gives site owners the power to make the software work for their organization. Plugins are completely new to Tendenci. Our plugin system allows site owners to activate custom plugins for them. This may be in the form of an app like a Testimonials list or a Donations plugin. These plugins can be completely customized. Get with our sales team for more information on custom plugins.

In addition to this post, we will be spotlighting some of the newest functionality in Tendenci 5 right here on the blog, so be sure to subscribe if you have already migrated to T5 or are interested in migrating. For more info, please contact Schipul or call us at 281-497-6567 ext. 700 and ask for T5.


Comments on T5 – Tendenci Upgraded

  1. 1

    From Glenbot:

    Well said. Thanks JMO!

  2. 2

    From Jennifer:

    How does T5 handle mobile viewers?

  3. 3

    From JMO:

    Great question! We track the majority of mobile browsers and allow you to change the template based for mobile browsers. We also include a link to switch back and forth between the mobile site and the regular site for mobile viewers. If you visit http://discoverygreen.com from your mobile device, you will see an example of what a different template could look like.

  4. 4

    From Haynes:

    I understand that T5 will not have a Newsletter Generator feature (as there is in T4) requiring instead a contract with a third party vendor that charges to send emails. If this is the case, that would be a significant drawback and we wil not be migrating to the new platform nor creating any new sites using T5.

  5. 5

    From JMO:

    We are integrating with a third party to enhance your experience creating newsletters. You will not be required to sign any kind of contract. We are working now on the Newsletter Generator feature, so your content on your site can be automatically loaded into the newsletter. We chose Campaign Monitor because we think they are easy to use and they offer an array of features that we did not have in T4. They have better testing for sending newsletters to different types of email accounts, they have the ability to use multiple templates, and they also have a full range of tools and metrics that report on the success of your newsletters. I’d be happy to discuss with you more about our plans for newsletters.

  6. 6

    From Haynes:

    Will we need to pay for sending emails via Campaing Monitor in T5?

  7. 7

    From JMO:

    Yes, there is a fee for their service. You can pay per campaign, or if you send quite a bit, you can pay based on the size of your list of subscribers or members. Their full pricing is available on their website at http://www.campaignmonitor.com/pricing/.