Refactoring Tendenci 7.1

Tendenci-Logo

The time has come for us to refactor Tendenci, the fully Open Source Solution for Nonprofits and Associations.

Why?

The current version of Tendenci (7.x) has significant changes which are not compatible with Tendenci 5. This has prevented us from publishing the new code to make it easier for new users to install.

When?

We will begin publishing Tendenci 7 as a package possibly as soon as October 1, less than two weeks from now. It may not get pushed out on October 1, but people who are using the open source version and are on the 5.x release need to be prepared. The actual date Tendenci 7 will be pushed out as a package is when it is ready. But please plan on October 1.

Who?

Well, if you are hosted on tendenci.com’s servers and we manage your web site then you don’t have to change a thing and it will all just happen in the background. Clients on version 5 will remain on version 5 because of the theme changes made between version 5 and 6. Clients on version 6 will be upgraded to Tendenci 7.1

If you have your own developer or you are a developer, maybe jump over to github and the docs and keep an eye on things for the next couple of weeks. Maybe even submit issue requests for features.

Why are you telling us if there is nothing for us to worry about?

Because not everyone hosts with us and we need to try to make sure their IT team knows the upgrades are possible, but will require your technical team to do them. This is important to us even if they aren’t hosting because they are part of the community.

In fact growing the open source community of people using Tendenci is the biggest driver pushing us to refactor Tendenci. We’re geeks and collaborate on github.

tendenci-github

Wait, what does “Refactor” mean again?

It means making it easier for programmers to work on the code. Technically from wikipedia they define it as “Code refactoring is the process of restructuring existing computer code – changing the factoring – without changing its external behavior.”

It’s time to refactor so we have more happy programmers. Tendenci is just too hard to install in the wild right now. That isn’t right. Plus Happy programmers means more contributors and it builds on the virtuous cycle that is what makes FOSS (Free Open Source Software) so cool. It truly takes a village.

Can’t you just contact every one who self hosts?

Unfortunately we don’t have a list and Tendenci doesn’t “phone home” so we really don’t know how many people are using it by self installing. But we care about them and we’re doing everything we can to get the word out. Everyone should be backing up their sites of course, but still, if you click “upgrade” and your layout goes wonky that isn’t fun. No data will be lost, but what a hassle.

If you self host we are working hard on these documents so you can smoothly upgrade your site (after running backups of course)
https://tendenci.readthedocs.org/en/latest/

Where is everything documented?

Over at readthedocs. Click the image below and you’ll be on your way.

tendenci-readthedocs

What if I self host and I don’t want to upgrade?

You should be fine as long as you don’t try to do an automatic upgrade. And of course you will need to keep an eye on the django project LTS timelines. https://www.djangoproject.com/download/

If you are on Tendenci 5, because of the changes with the django project itself you will need to upgrade from T5 to T6 and then to T7.1. This is all documented at https://tendenci.readthedocs.org

If you need legacy files they are linked at the bottom of this post.

OK, tell me the biggest benefit of refactoring again?

A programmer will be able to type “sudo pip install tendenci” and make a few server configuration changes and they’ll have a site up and running quickly. This matters because ease-of-use changes behavior. If you want to move forward, we have to take care of our programmers first! They care about you, so it is a virtuous cycle.

Wait, I want more technical info!

We’re gonna be pushing the technical details to https://tendenci.readthedocs.org/en/latest/ as soon as we get it all tested. We’ll be able to push the master branch to pypi again and life will be grand!

Wait, this stuff is too technical! (the opposite of above question)

I apologize for the technical stuff, but sometimes when working with software it can be technical. Just know that if you self host, talk to your local programmer and they will take care of you with the documentation we are posting at https://tendenci.readthedocs.org/en/latest/

So if I self host, and my webmaster clicks “update tendenci” and I’m on version 5 my site will break?

Yes. You’ll be able to fix it and you won’t lose any data, but you’d probably want to just restore a backup. And then go to https://tendenci.readthedocs.org/en/latest/ for the technical info.

What if I don’t wanna upgrade ever and my server is completely isolated on a ship in the middle of the ocean? 

OK, well, we like an occasional steak so you have our sympathy for a diet of 100% fish. But secondarily we have all of the historic zip files, that are still on github but will be removed, available for download for some time at https://www.tendenci.com/download/release-archive/ 

Intermittent Rolling Outages Tonight as Patches are Applied

To our Tendenci 5 and 6 clients. We will be applying updates to the sites tonight and tomorrow night. Please expect intermittent outages of up to 30 minutes during the course of the upgrades as we migrate sites and continue our focus on increased security.

Note these will be rolling updates and will not hit every site. While they are preventative in nature, they are critically important to prevent future issues.

Amazon’s Announcement of End of Life for Windows 2003

Note: This bulletin is a repeat of the January 22, 2015 EOL announcement, the helpdesk notifications and numerous direct calls to the clients impacted.

REMINDER: EOL for Tendenci 4

Scope of impact:

Clients still running Tendenci 4 classic.

Deadline:

April 21, 2015 is End of Life for T4. The Windows servers on our network will be shut down and be offline permanently. Original EOL Announcement here.

Why do you keep repeating this?

Just to be sure. Because we care. We want you to land safely. Sometimes our contact doesn’t relay to the board with the urgency needed. This is a hard deadline and once the servers are shut down on April 21, 2015 and archived there is no easy way to restore them.

We are concerned and want to be sure the right people within your organization know. We have been banging on this drum for some time.

April 21, 2015 is End of Life for T4. You have options. Click that link as your options although they are much more limited since we announced it in January.

Here is Amazon’s announcement stating the same thing in line with Microsoft’s timelines.

Amazon Web Services

Dear Amazon EC2 Customer,

Microsoft is ending support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. If you are running Windows Server 2003, this may put your applications and business at risk, since there may be no security or software updates.

AWS provides you with options, whether you are moving to a modern MicrosoftWindows Server operating system, maintaining 32-bit applications in the AWS Cloud, or rewriting legacy applications.

You can migrate your applications to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances running a newer version of Microsoft Windows Server (2008, 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2). Preconfigured Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) with different combinations ofWindows and SQL Server are available. Amazon EC2 running Windows Serverenables you to run any compatible solution on our cost-effective, high-performance, reliable cloud-computing platform.

Sign up to attend the Windows Server 2003 Migration webinar, or visit our WindowsServer 2003 page to learn more.

Sincerely,

The Amazon EC2 for Windows Team

 

The World is a Big Place: We’ve Gone Virtual!

Two years in the making, November 2014 marked the launch of our initiative to be a virtually enabled team!

We have moved out of our corporate office space in Houston’s Energy Corridor and are now stretching our wings in the boundless space of working in the virtual world – any time, any place.

With employees and partners situated all over our lovely planet Earth, it only made sense to reduce our carbon footprint and embrace the flexibility that comes with working without walls. A lot of planning went in to setting the company up for this change, altering our processes and finding new systems that increased communication and tracking. Here are some of the things we have changed.

1. Using HipChat for internal communication.

hipchat

Our employees are online during corporate business hours and we have a running chat going for constant communication. By linking to client sites or helpdesk tickets, we can share information, collaborate on projects and retain our water cooler discussions. We also hold daily standup meetings via HipChat to make sure everyone has the information they need for the day ahead.

2. Implementing HelpDesk for client communication.

Helpdesk

Our new ticketing system at helpdesk.tendenci.com allows our clients to submit a request directly into the queue where any member of the team can grab the ticket and begin the dialogue. By having all requests in one place, tickets don’t get lost in one employee’s email, assistance can be shared among the team and we can spot trends that indicate where a systemic solution may be needed. Screenshots and other files can be uploaded to the tickets, too, for better communication.

3. Switching to a VoIP-based phone system.

If you are still reading, this is where we could really use your help! We are using a national VoIP vendor but have had calls dropped or not ring through. Very embarrassing. Can anyone recommend a good option for a virtual phone system? We love to talk to our clients! In the meantime, if you are having trouble reaching us over the phone, please use helpdesk.tendenci.com to ask your question so that we can reach you!

And while working in your slippers does have its advantages, sometimes you just need to meet up in person to review a project. Those of us in the Houston area still meet to collaborate as teams a couple of days a week at one of the many co-working facilities in town, such as the space at Houston Technology Center in Midtown and ShareSpace out on the East Side.

So if you drive by the old office, you won’t see our name out front as we are no longer rooted in one place. We have set up a mailbox for written correspondence at this address:

Tendenci, Inc.
14027 Memorial Drive #177
Houston, Texas 77079-6826

And our dropbox for payments remains:

Tendenci, Inc.
P.O. BOX 301750
Dallas, Texas 75303-1750

But as to where we are physically located, well… spread out a world map, close your eyes and point. There we are!

(This is the first of three blog posts that discusses the tools we are using as the brain can only process so much in one day. Talking about mine, not yours! We welcome any feedback on tools you have used in your virtual work environment to increase communication – the biggest hurdle we are facing a dispersed team.)

Server Reboots Today Jan 14, 2014 for Security Patches

First – it is Wednesday and Microsoft pushes out patches on Tuesday evenings. So in an overabundance of caution we will be rebooting the Tendenci 4 Microsoft Servers between 4 and 4:30 PM today (10 minutes from now or sooner as I type this.)

Newsletter Generator Coming Soon!

We are excited to be in the testing phase of our Tendenci Newsletter Generator on alpha sites!

This feature will be available for our general community when individual sites are upgraded to Tendenci 6 from Tendenci 5.2. But just to give you some eye candy, and to save Executive Directors HOURS of work building newsletters, here are some screen shots of what is coming.

Tendenci Newsletter Generator

 

Which results in a newsletter similar to the quick test below. Forgive the graphics – but you get the concept of aggregating the content so you can use it in the email provider of your choice with a simple copy paste with fully qualified URLs for the images so they work via email.

test-newsletter

There is a slight catch that only sites using the new navigation will be able to use it as the old navigation (blue bar) causes issues with mobile and we are trying to make these frameworks coexist as we have settled on Bootstrap3 for the core, but a front end designer can override this.

In other words, there are a few strings attached but it truly saves our webmasters hours and hours of work.

Next up is to allow you to put in an account for mailgun or SES if you don’t need full reporting from higher end tools, and many of us don’t given we can derive similar information on open rates from mailgun and use google analytics for AB testing etc….

Have general questions about Tendenci? Check out our community forum! https://community.tendenci.com/

possible tendenci.com company email outage during migration

We are moving our Google apps primary domain from schipul.com to tendenci.com. It doesn’t affect clients email. But a support request may be delayed or kicked back during the 24 to 48 hour transition. Send again if that happens. This only applies to our company, Tendenci, formerly Schipul, and does NOT apply to any client email servers.

Longer version: Clients, friends, employees, former employees, friends of the tribe, et al….. we are using the Christmas lull to migrate our primary google apps account from schipul.com with an alias of Tendenci, to be Tendenci.com with an alias of Schipul – The Web Marketing Company. This reflects our new corporate name and aligns our brand and just simplifies things.

christmas2013Alas Google apps for domains isn’t as simple as we would like and overlaps and time delays are involved. To make the move takes 24 hours just to set up the new Google apps account. And you can’t have a domain associated with two different Google app accounts requiring us to remove tendenci.com as an alias so we can set it up as a new Google Apps primary domain.

Thus, temporarily while the migration is in progress, our @tendenci.com aliases may or may not arrive in our inboxes at the speed of light as usual. In theory it should be ONLY a delay and the Internet mail servers should catch all of the email and retry until success.

Then we will have a similar window of time for the schipul.com domain emails, although that should be much shorter if I get all of this right. (this is Ed typing.)

Former employees: We still love you guys. And we have always been very generous keeping former employees accounts active to prevent any possible disruption in your lives. However, the migration utilities charge us by licensed user and unless we download an encrypted archive and then delete the mostly unused forwarding accounts, it increases costs and lengthens the migration. If you need me to set up a forward again once the migration is over – email me at eschipul at my personal gmail.com address. Sorry for any inconvenience! And it is possible to restore the encrypted archive to a new account as it is all in compressed files. Bottom line – even if you have moved on to new adventures, we still want to be sure you are taken care of and this is just temporary. Thanks! – Ed

The Decision to Change Our Company’s Name to Tendenci

Tendenci Name Change

Yesterday, we announced that Schipul–The Web Marketing Company will now operate under the name of our open source CMS software, Tendenci.

Tendenci Sign

Since the company was established 16 years ago, our vision has been “To connect and organize the world’s people. Do good.” Since 2004, our Tendenci software has enabled all types of organizations to achieve this greater vision. We have provided a platform for developing high value websites at a cost-effective price through the ongoing development of Tendenci’s baked-in capabilities that catered to the unique needs of organizations, such as membership management, event management and online fundraising.

It struck us a few years ago that Tendenci could be much more than our in-house proprietary software.  It could be the WordPress or Drupal for cause-related organizations. While writing it from scratch in ASP originally, a liability, rewriting it we had the chance to make a leap forward past PHP in technology and rewrote Tendenci in Python and Postgres on Linux. Tendenci lives in the cloud and is the future.

Removing Obstacles

Why do people start cause-related organizations? To affect some change in society, of course. Yet, if you search the internet for advice on starting a non-profit, instead of basic steps towards establishing your group, experts from all sides of the table will tell you not to do it. Besides the headache of running a thankless organization, they claim, it’s also expensive. Not only do you need to have funds in place to pay for lawyers, accountants, and bookkeepers to keep your records and file paperwork for you, there are numerous other expenses associated with incorporating your NPO. Add website development and hosting costs on top, and your average American’s dream of starting an NPO to honor the loss of her baby or to save circus elephants is damn-near unattainable.

This is where Tendenci’s vision comes in. We still want to connect and organize the world’s people, ethically. But we also want to change the world and Tendenci is the software that will take us there. This movement isn’t about me — I’m not in this for the glory or recognition. Hell, it wasn’t even my idea to put my name on the door.

My goal is for Tendenci the software to be bigger than we are as Schipul the agency. Hence the decision to change the name of the company. Tendenci is our future and we want to align our name with our company’s future.

Tendenci will be the #1 software for NPOs and NGOs globally. I want Tendenci to live on long after I’m gone. I believe in this software and I believe in what it can do.

What does this mean for our current clients?

Tendenci  Sign Caitlin and Becky
Becky and Caitlin Holding the New Tendenci Sign

We will continue to serve you and take care of you in the best way. One of our company’s values is a Win/Win mentality, as described in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We don’t want to just come to a compromise that vaguely works for both parties — we want everyone to come out on top. There is always a third option, a better alternative.

By serving you as Tendenci, you will actually have more options available to you due to its open source nature. You will have the benefit of a community of programmers from all over the world working to make your software better. Tendenci will grow and mature, and as more developers start to use the software, there will be a larger pool of developers you can access to keep your Tendenci sites up to date. Your developer in your hometown can upgrade your site to the latest technology. By being open source, we give you freedom — freedom from vendor lock-in, freedom to develop, and freedom to impact a global community.

Operating as Tendenci, we get to focus on what’s truly important to us — connecting and organizing the world’s people and doing good! By focusing on these goals, we will be more efficient and we can provide better customer service to our clients. We are keeping the knowledge of a 12 year old brand, learning from all of those years listening to our clients and prospects. You can still expect the superior customer service and expertise you’ve come to expect from Schipul — it will just be packaged in Tendenci colors.

The transition has already begun. We haven’t changed locations, but instead have begun outfitting our office in Tendenci aqua and blue. We’ve said goodbye to some staff members and welcomed others. We have renewed our commitment to our Tendenci clients and users to focus all of our efforts on making the software great.

We understand that the Tendenci platform exists to help you do good. It takes people to make change happen – we have chosen modern, agile software as our foundation to serve you in your objectives. Tendenci exists to serve YOU.

I am truly excited to embark on this new phase for our business, our clients and the community. And I am humbly grateful to the clients and programmers who have given us so much valuable feedback to improve Tendenci.

I look forward to working with you to change the world.

Peace & Love – CP

It’s not goodbye…it’s see you later

It is difficult to sum up into words what an incredible ride it has been these past [almost] 5 years at Schipul. It is even more difficult to express the impact each one of you has had on my life walking in these doors every day. You all have become my second [crazy] family which is why my decision to start a new adventure in my life has not come easy…

At the end of August, I will be moving to Austin, TX to start a new chapter and of course, keep things extremely weird. But no matter where life takes me, I will always be a Schipulite and remember everyone that has made my Houston world absolutely amazing. So with that…here’s a little gem [highlight reel] of some of my favorite Schipulite moments…queue Phillip Phillips….

Peace & Love,

-CP