Archive for the ‘Programming’ category

Orange Leap On Demand v14 is Here! What’s New?

August 19, 2011

We have made several improvements and incorporated new features throughout the product.  The following list highlights some of the major features and enhancements included in this release:

Redesigned user-interface 

A major improvement with Orange Leap On Demand has been the user interface.  All of the functionality is still available, however, how you access the information is redesigned to be easier and more user friendly.

Search Functionality

The search functionality is located in the same place — on the top right in the title bar area.  However, there are a couple of key improvements:

  1. Search Auto-complete — As before, the default search is a fuzzy text search, however, as you type results will start to display records that match what you are inputting.
  2. If the record you are looking for appears in the list, you can click on it to navigate directly to it.  If an exact match is not found, the constituent search results will display.

Import Functionality

The import functionality provides an auto-cleanse option to automatically cleanse the data and to resolve common formatting issues, such as dates and check box values, with imports. The check box associated with this feature is checked, by default. If you do not want to use the auto-cleanse feature and allow the import to work similar to how it was previously, you will need to uncheck the associated check box.

Events Module

Sections called Event Goals and Event Details have been added.  There are Event Goal Category and Event Attributes associated picklists for you to input the types of goals you might have for the event; there are also Event Goal Category Items and Event Attribute Details that have values dependent upon the Event Goal Category or Event Attribute Details that you selected. 

Sponsorship Module

Additional attribute grids are available on the sponsorable record, program, and home screens.  Their setup is similar to the additional constituent attributes.  There are picklists associated with each attribute list and attribute details can be added based on the selected attribute.

NEW Modules!

  • Prospect Research: We have a new module, Prospect Research, the purpose of which is to give you tools to help you understand your donors and potential major donors and their ability and probability to give.  This module will often be used in conjunction with complementary products such as Wealth Engine or Donor Tools.  If the module is enabled, it renders as an item under the Constituent’ Profile menu.

The Guru

  • Enhanced Charting: For all charts, you can now add a Title, Subtitle, an X-Axis Label, a Y-Axis Label, There are several new chart types supported, including 3D charts.
  • Enhanced Postal Radius Criteria: The Postal Radius custom filter criteria is now available on the Constituent & Primary Contact data source.

For a more in-depth review of all the product and feature enhancements log on to confluence and view our Orange Leap On Demand and Guru Feature Release pages.

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MPX Journal Entry and Pledge Screen Delay Hotfix 10.2.3932

October 11, 2010

This October Hotfix, MPX Version 10.2.3932, is being released to resolve two issues. The first is an issue where journal entries were not being created correctly at batch posting (MPX-5474). The second was an issue with delays in opening the donor pledge screen for databases containing a large number of active pledges (MPX-5821).  This hotfix is located on Source Forge.

The next scheduled MPX release will be delivered in November 2010. If you chose not to upgrade to this hotfix, all of these changes will be included in the November release as well. Please check the release notes to see if you need to upgrade before November.

Data Conversions: How We Clean-Up Data During the Conversion Process

September 22, 2010

We’ve recently implemented new ways to do data conversions from legacy systems into OrangeLeap.

The first way, for simple data sets, is to use the import option in the UI to bring in Constituents and Gifts.

For more complex source data, previously we had populated database tables directly using scripts, which relied on a number of complex data relationships being constructed correctly, and manual implementation of business rules.

The new process starts with population of a set of intermediate conversion tables.  These tables are fairly simple and straightforward, and vary sightly based on the customer since they include separate columns for custom fields.  The data is run through a first pass of sanity checking and scrubbing at this point by an analyst or dba.  The second step is where the program is used to take the data from the intermediate tables into the program using the same application service layer that the UI uses to process the data.  This results in all the business rules being executed and the relationships and internal structures being populated correctly and consistently.

Another advantage the new conversion process provides is the ability to import many-to-one data sets such as multi-line gifts, and to associate the gift lines with pledges, soft gifts, and events.  The associations are made using references to the original legacy system’s identifiers, so that the original data links can be brought over in many cases.

We are also able to import many more complex relationships in a two step process, where all the constituents are brought over first using the ‘add’ function, then the complex relationships between the constituents are constructed afterwords using a ‘change’ function.

By Dan Meany

Dan is a Senior Developer at Orange Leap

What are the Benefit’s of Open Source?

September 21, 2010

Since Orange Leap is an Open Source company we often get asked “What are the Benefit’s of Open Source Software”. We often talk about cost, choice, freedom, etc… but there are actually great resources available on the web that clearly articulate the benefits to an organization. Here is one that I often refer people too. http://open-source.gbdirect.co.uk/migration/benefit.html

Dirty Data: What is it, how does it cause problems, and what is the solution?

September 8, 2010

Dirty data is a huge problem during implementation. It slows performance, causes crashes, and is an overall nightmare for our developers. What is it, how does it cause problems, and what is the solution?

Dirty data is data that is riddled with inconsistencies:

  • Misspellings
  • Numbers and letters in the same fields
  • Data in the wrong fields (for example, phone numbers in postal code fields)
  • Invalid data (for example marking a donor as a lapsed donor when they gave a gift last month)
  • Duplicate data
  • Format errors (such as a comma in an email field)
  • Incorrect, inconsistent, or misspelled titles

The main problems associated with dirty data are:

  • Slowed performance
  • Invalid reports
  • Inconsistent donor communication (for example, sending a lapsed donor letter to a current donor or failing to recognize a major donor as such)
  • Software crashes and freezes

What’s the business impact of dirty data to a non-profit?

Dirty data can cost a non-profit 10’s of thousands of dollars!  How?  It increases implementation costs.  It loses donors (failing to properly recognize a donor can result in donor’s not giving to your organization again). System crashes or freezes cause unnecessary down time and generate unwanted maintenance costs for an organization.

What is the solution?

Our developers have created a program to automate the clean up and conversion of data in order to facilitate a cleaner implementation. The process locates and fixes all of the mistakes in the data before conversion.

At Orange Leap, our software prevents users from creating dirty data by limiting the amount of access they have. We use a variety of strategies to prevent the mistakes that lead to dirty data:

  • Pick lists eliminate input errors by forcing the user to make a choice
  • Automatic format verification (using regular expressions)
  • Business rules ensure that you don’t accidentally create a duplicate constituent or manually mark a donor as “lapsed” that has recently given a gift.

Our short term goal is to facilitate cleaning up of the data during implementation and our long term goal is to prevent the data from getting contaminated to begin with. Once our software is installed and tested with clean data, hopefully our strategy to keep data clean will prevent the data from becoming corrupted in the future. Find out more about Orange Leap here.

Open Source Project: How to be a good partner with an open source software project.

June 8, 2010

A big challenge to the success of an Open Source Software project is creating and maintaining a strong community. It is vital to have strong and dedicated partnerships and have symbiotic relationships to ensure mutual success. So what exactly are good partners and how do you can we become one?


Good partners solve problems instead of asking for solutions. An important aspect to participating in an open source project is recognizing that it is a partnership and not a customer/vendor relationship. This means that you take initiative in overcoming any challenges you come up against by utilizing all of the resources that the open source community provides before engaging the developers directly. At Orange Leap this means becoming familiar with our Knowledge Base, forums, and partnerships first, and hopefully finding solutions on your own. Often, community members have come up against the same challenges that you are facing and will help to resolve the issue. In the short term this is an adjustment for many newcomers, but in the long run it is empowering to be able to successfully navigate your way through problem solving. This brings us to the next point. Contributing to the community.

Sharing and making contributions to the community. In the event that you have successfully solved a problem, it is important that you contribute your information to the rest of the community. This is vital for the long term success of the community and in turn, the overall success of the Open Source initiative. Firefox is a great example of a successful community that has provided an incredible level of success in software design and implementation because of the community participation. Helping others to be successful is the key to open source success. Here is an example of how Orange Leap contributed to Spring. SpringSource.org

Engage other members of the community, and community resources to help and encourage others to solve problems. A good way to gauge whether you are a strong community member is to look at how much you have contributed to the community. Do you log into the forums and look for problems to solve or do you only log in with problems that you need solved? This type of proactive participation is vital for the long term growth and success of a project. Here is an example of how Orange Leap contributed to Jasper. JasperForge.org

Sharing information with the community by providing solutions, customizations, and contributions to help others overcome their challenges and obstacles. This is a key ingredient. At Orange Leap, we share our source code and software for our mutual success. We try and provide resources so that non profits are no longer held hostage to software licensing fees and minimal customizations. We are interested in being a good partner and in turn we ask the same from our partners. If you come up with a great customization it is vital that you provide your solution to the community so that all can benefit. In this free and open model, it is important to contribute to the overall success of everyone.

A good partner recognizes and honors the partnership and strives to make contributions to the community to ensure mutual success. It is a core value of Open Source Projects to give back to the community, which is also a core value to the non profit world we all choose to be a part of.