TownCMS v5 Changelog – January 2016
In January 2016, we rolled out some new changes and enhancements to TownCMS v5.
For more information about what is TownCMS v5, click here. But real quickly, it is the latest version of our municipal web design software. Any municipal customers on TownCMS v5 will automatically get free upgrades.
What is a Changelog?
According to Wikipedia, a Changelog is:
A changelog is a log or record of all or all notable changes made to a project. The project is often a website or software project, and the changelog usually includes records of changes such as bug fixes, new features, etc.
Since TownCMS v5 is continually upgraded and improved upon, we are publicly announcing all the new features, enhancements and bug fixes that went into our software.
TWD Events Plugin
For those that do not know, one of the custom plugins we have is TWD Events. It is a special plugin that shows the Calendar of Events for a municipality. It has a couple unique features that cannot be found with off-the-shelf calendar plugins.
- The clerk can add Recurring events (such as 1st Tuesday of every month; every 2nd Wednesday, etc.)
- The events are labeled by categories (see image above)
- These categories can be color coded
- When your agendas are posted, the will be shown automatically as a PDF link from within the calendar (nobody else does this!)
- The next five upcoming events from the calendar will show on your website’s homepage
- Enhancements Rolled Out to the TWD Events Plugin (January 2016)
Hover boxes improved
The latest version now shows a longer hover action. This means that when a visitor goes on your calendar page and hovers over an event, the hover text will “stick” longer, and it allows the visitor to click the link inside it before it disappears.
We fixed a bug where the Event Ending Time did not display if it was entered. Now if there is an Event Ending Time, it will display in the calendar and on the homepage Calendar of Events blurb.
Selecting Categories for Homepage Blurb
Since the Calendar of Events Blurb on the homepage can show the next five or so events, we got some feedback from some town clerks that they did not want certain categories to display. What we did was add an option whereby specific categories can be pre-selected to show on the homepage blurb. If a category is not pre-selected, it will not be shown on the homepage.
Say, for example, you have a specific category for the “County Highway Department”, but do not wish to have its events shown on the homepage. By clicking on “Options” you can selectively choose which Categories to display or to not display on the homepage Calendar of Events Blurb. (see image below)
TWD Repository Plugin
This is the plugin that makes it easy for the Clerk to post the Meeting Minutes and Agendas in one area. It also is used for posting meeting packets and links to meeting videos or audio files.
There is now a new column in “Agendas & Minutes” page named Notes for entering a free text. This will allow to further explain the meeting on that date. We received some input from a couple Clerks who said they wanted to have one Category “Town Board Meeting” and to use that single category for both “Special Meeting” and “Regular Meetings”. By using the Notes feature, you can write some text, like “Special Board Meeting” so that it shows on the row for the Agenda and Minutes for that specific meeting. (see image below)
Another enhancement we added was a “Pin to the top” feature. Prior to this, all meeting categories were organized in alphabetical order. Now you can select which one to Pin to the top when the Agendas & Minutes page is displayed. (see image below)
We also made a couple new options in the Settings so that you can better organize how the Minutes & Agendas are organized. The columns display the Meeting Date, its Agenda and the respective Meeting Minutes on a single row. You can check/uncheck the other rows such as:
- Agenda Packet
- Audio (if you wish to display a link to an Audio recording of your town’s meeting)
- Additional Documents (links to a supplemental PDF beyond the meeting agenda/package/minutes)
- Notes (mentioned above, this can display free text in a column)
- Search Functionality – Residents can now search keywords with PDFs
New Search – Residents will now get keyword search results found within PDFs
One big enhancement that all TownCMS v5 customers received is a new and improved search function! The added functionality is the ability for a resident to do keyword searches inside of PDF files. This is HUUUUGE!
In the past couple of months, we had reports that residents who subscribed to receive updates to their town website were receiving updates in their Spam folder. We looked into this and found a perfect solution to provide a more robust delivery method.
You will now notice that emails delivered to your residents will be sent from a domain “MUNICIPAL.EMAIL“. This is the new domain name that Town Web Design is using for your municipal email.
And of course, if your residents do not wish to receive these emails, all they have to do is click the “unsubscribe” link that shows up at the bottom of each email. They will immediately be unsubscribed and will not have to ask you to be removed from the list.