business catalyst new feature highlights

Rob Miles - Thursday, November 08, 2012

Below are my highlights for business owners:

Level 1 PCI Compliance

Adobe Business Catalyst is happy to announce that they are now certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. If you’re not familiar with PCI, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council’s mission is to enhance payment account data security by driving education and awareness of the PCI Security Standards. They created the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), designed to prevent, detect, and react to security incidents. All Level 1 PCI DSS compliant service providers must undergo an annual independent audit by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) to confirm compliant status.

Introducing the “Beta features” program

BC has introduced a new opt-in beta program, so you can easily take new features or system enhancements for a test drive, while they’re still in the development and testing phase. The goal of this program is to gather your valuable feedback on new features, and make sure they’re production ready before rolling them out across all sites. The new “Beta features” screen can be accessed under “Site Settings” from the Admin Console, and lets you opt-in on a feature-by-feature basis, per client site. 

Product inventory control for attributes (beta)

This much anticipated feature enables you to manage product inventory and stock levels based on what we now call “variations”. You can enable this on a site-by-site basis from the new Site Settings > Beta Features section of the Admin Console. 


Email list segmentation (beta)

In order to send a targeted email campaign in the past, you have been required to first create a custom report to filter your customer database, then go back and create the campaign. BC are simplifying this process by enabling business owners to segment their customer database and create targeted mailing lists during actual campaign creation. This new feature is accessible in beta from the new Site Settings > Beta Features section of the Admin Console. 

Embed dynamic modules inside email campaigns

BC are now enabling you to insert dynamic modules such as news items and blog posts inside email marketing campaigns, using a completely revamped Module Manager. These modules are then dynamically rendered when the campaign is sent, so the recipient sees the latest content. Using the new specifiable module templates feature, you can easily create and render these modules in a way that’s email newsletter friendly, opposed to simply inserting the web-version of the module.

A fresh set of email newsletter templates

We all know the time it takes to build beautiful email newsletters that look great across the wide-range of email clients out there. That’s why BC has put together a brand new set of cross-client compatible email templates for you to use. 


The ability to “exclude” lists or custom reports from final email campaign recipients

Easily exclude a certain list of recipients from your total pool of recipients. For instance, this is especially handy if you’re sending to a large list, but would like to exclude all customers who haven’t made a purchase in the 6 months.


New campaign performance report for email clients recipients are using

A brand new report for monitoring which email clients your recipients are opening newsletters with. Keep an eye on this metric, and make sure you optimize your campaign content to look great in the most popular clients.

Updated “sending” status for campaigns so you can easily monitor it’s sending progress

Keep an eye on the sending progress of your campaign as it sends to recipients. 

Refreshed Toolbox (previously Module Manager) for Admin v3

A completely revamped module manager (aka Toolbox) that neatly docks to the right of the WYSIWYG editor. 


Easily add Google Apps accounts for domain email

Simply select the new “Use your Google Apps account for email” when adding or editing your domain. Read this article for further details. 

Introducing Akismet for SPAM protection

In the previous months we've noticed an increase in SPAM related (primarily) to blog comments – and we'd like to thank our partners for making it clear to us that this was dramatically impacting most of the sites hosted on BC. Akismet is the de facto SPAM protection solution for blogs – easy to manage and use, smart (it learns quickly which comments are SPAM and which are not) and reliable. BC has extended Akismet for all types of comments on BC (web pages, products, catalogues, web apps, etc). For web forms alone BC are still investigating if Akismet is the right solution, as people tend to feel more secure if CAPTCHA is involved when filling out a form (whether we are talking about a donation form, a payment form or just a contact form).

All site owners or partners will have to manually enable Akismet on their websites. BC hasn't enabled it by default. Click here for more information

Improved tax rounding engine

BC has improved the algorithm that calculates the value of sales taxes. This invoice calculation now respects best practices in the industry, fixing error propagation and including intelligent rounding for 2 decimals. To enable the improved tax rounding engine on existing sites, please follow this guide. The improved tax rounding engine is enabled by default for all new Business Catalyst sites.

User interface consistency for renamed modules

The new admin user interface has been updated to consistently use new names for these modules:

  • Media downloads (former Literature)
  • News (former Announcements)
  • Events (former Bookings)

Offline payment security improvements

The security of the current offline payment workflow has been improved in order to meet international security standards for offline payments:

  • A new, additional “Offline payment password” must be set, and updated every 90 days
  • Pass phrases are now unique to each order. You can no longer use the one pass phrase to access every secure PDF

This will help transactions be more secure and protect business owners from potential attacks. Here's a more detailed view of this feature.

SEO options enabled out-of-the-box

The Site Settings > SEO menu entry in Admin Console has been removed. The available options were:

  • SEO friendly URLs for eCommerce, Announcements, Web Apps – these will be enabled for all sites
  • Enable partial URL matching for SEO friendly URLs – this will remain as is for all sites, and will no longer be possible to enable it for new sites, which will have it turned off
  • Enable sitemap.xml for search engines – this will remain as is for existing sites, and always enabled for new sites

Note that trial sites will not be indexed by search engines. Should you want to disable search engine indexing after upgrade, please use a custom robots.txt file or upload an empty sitemap.xml.

If you'd like to use a custom sitemap.xml file, simply upload it to your site. If this file exists, it will be served instead of the BC-generated sitemap.xml.

Updated user and email accounts user interfaces

To simplify the user and email accounts management workflows and increase Admin interface performance, BC has updated their corresponding user interfaces.

While email and user accounts will continue to share data to facilitate email and admin access for the same email address, the management of emails and user accounts will be separated. In addition, for better security, the user and email accounts will be created using an invitation workflow, which means that the user creating the account will not be able to set a password for the account they are creating.

In addition, by separating the email and user account management, BC are dropping the option of having a user that doesn't have admin and email access. While these accounts will continue to live on the system, they will have no interface to manage them. To manage these, you will need use the old user interface to enable email or admin access for each of these user accounts.

Enhanced code editor for File Manager

The file manager code editor has been enhanced to support syntax highlight and other features. This is just a start to make code editing more productive inside BC, more will come.


New plan names

BC wanted plans to have names that are more descriptive of what they actually include, and as such, have been updated as follows:

  • Starter > webBasics+
  • Business > webMarketing
  • Pro 1 > webCommerce
  • Pro 5 > webCommerce 5
  • Pro 10 > webCommerce 10

For more information on any of these features, please refer to the Business Catalyst Blog or contact us.