Beta test version 3.30: Running as non-Administrator

Hello again DONATION beta testers. I finally have at least an initial pretest of the next release (3.30) available. Because in some ways this is a fairly major release, I have bumped up the version number from 3.23j to 3.30, instead of just going to 3.24.

This version consists mostly of the changes discussed in my two previous blog postings, Running DONATION as a Non-Administrator, and Per-Database, Per-User and Overall Settings.

This is an odd release in a way, because on the one hand, I had to make a huge number of changes to the program internally, and to the installation program, in order to achieve the changes discussed in those blog postings (and in the detailed list below). But on the other hand, the perceived value for users is fairly slight (mostly Windows Vista and Windows 7 users not having to click a button to allow the program to run as an Administrator). Fortunately, there are also some additional small improvements, bug fixes etc.

For testing this, I need at least some of you to install it as an upgrade to (i.e. on top of) your current installation, because some of what has changed is the location of many files, and thus the installation program has to move these files. If I got something wrong, which my own testing didn’t show up, this could cause problems. I will of course make myself as available as I can to solve any such problems that come up, ASAP, either by immediately fixing them on your computer for you (via a remote control session if necessary) or with a quick new release of the beta version that fixes it.

Having said that, testing the new version as a new install on a different computer would also be helpful.

Here is the complete list of the changes in this version:

  • Made a lot of small changes to allow the program to not require being run with Windows Administrator privileges on Windows Vista, Windows 7 or other versions of Windows with Microsoft’s User Account Control feature in them. This saves on having to click on a User Account Control “Allow” button to allow it to run, every time you start it, and better conforms to Microsoft guidelines for applications. (It also no longer requires being run as an Administrator on Windows XP.)
  • Among other changes required for the point above, moved a lot of data files from various places under the standard installation folder (usually C:Program FilesDonation) to a new data directory that is not under C:Program Files (where non-Administrator programs may not modify files).
  • Also among those changes, the program now stores it settings in various different places. Many settings, such as those in Maintenance -> Main Window Options, are now stored in the database, which means they go with it when the database is backed up from one computer and restored on another. It also means that if you have two databases for two organizations, they can have independent settings on that window.
  • In the windows for Letters -> One Letter and Letters -> Mass Mailing, removed the final sections for specifying whether or not to use a standard save pathname for the merged file, and for specifying an alternate save pathname if you aren’t using the standard one, and for editing a previously saved merged file. Those sections were just confusing and not particularly useful. Now the standard save pathname (the letter file name with “_save” added before the “.htm” extension) is always used.
  • Also in the mail merge windows, added a new OutstandingAmount field to the Donor Information and Total Donations Information merge options, which is filled in with the donor’s annual Pledge amount (or 0, if there is no pledge) minus the Total Amount donated.
  • Created a new Tools menu, with new options Explore Data Directory (which opens a Windows Explorer window in the new data directory) and View Saved Settings (which displays all settings saved by the program, and where they are stored).
  • Moved the Help -> Register by Email menu option to the new Tools menu.
  • Made a number of small improvements to the installation program. In particular, if the program has been copied to a new computer (instead of installed there properly, as explained in the Help topic Move the Program from One Computer to Another), it now offers an option to delete and recreate the license file if the current license key is out of date, which previously would have prevented the install from completing.
  • Fixed a small typo in the French and bilingual receipts: “d’enterprise” was corrected to be “d’entreprise”.
  • Renamed Help -> DONATION on the Web to Help -> Software4Nonprofits Web Site, for clarity.
  • Changed the installation program to always write a log file C:WindowsDONATIONSetupLog.txt, which can be used to diagnose any problems that come up during an installation.
  • Fixed a bug in Reports -> Custom Report, where if you picked Sum(Total Amount) or Sum(Eligible Amount), or both, and also at least one of the Receipt fields, it generated incorrect SQL that gave an error message when you tried to run it.
  • Added a new Help topic, Pledges in DONATION, to explain various aspects and limitations of using pledges in the program.
  • Fixed a bug in Reports -> Donation -> Details, One Page per Donor, where donations that had longish Descriptions could have part of those descriptions cut off at the right.

As usual, you get the beta test version from the page http://www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm. You will see that versions of all of the installation programs are available there. For most of you, all you will need is to use the first option on that page, the update installer donupdtBeta.exe.  It will upgrade anything except for a Lite version to be version 3.30 Beta1. But if you want to try any of the other installers (the Lite version update, full Lite version, full Standalone installer, full Network Server or full Network Client) that would be great too. You can easily switch between the various versions (Standalone, Lite, and the two Network versions) by just running the appropriate installer.

Thank you so much in advance for any testing you can do on this, which will help prevent me from releasing any bugs to the thousands of other users. Of course, as well as reporting any bugs, I would very much appreciate any comments you have about the changes, once you have played with them. As usual, the best way to comment on anything you note is to Reply to this blog posting. But emails are fine too!

One thought on “Beta test version 3.30: Running as non-Administrator

  1. I forgot to mention one important new feature, which I have just added to the Revision History page in the Help:

    – The program is now much more flexible about the names and locations of logo and signature bitmap files for your receipts and letters, allowing you to select them on a window you reach from the Maintenance à Receipt Options window, and allowing them to have any name and standard bitmap filename extension (e.g. BMP, GIF or JPG). Also, you can specify different logo and signature bitmaps for different organizations/databases, if you have multiple databases on the same computer.

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