DONATION beta test: Mail Merge Docs in the DB

Hello DONATION beta testers. We’re working towards releasing version 3.66, which moves all mail-merge template documents (letters and receipts), and memorized reports, from being files on your computer’s hard drive to being stored in tables in the database.

The big advantage of this comes for any organizations that have the program on multiple computers, whether with the network version, or multiple users with the Standalone version, following the instructions in the Help topic “Transfer your Data between Computers”.

Previously, in each case, if one user edited a mail-merge letter or receipt, or memorized a report, the other users would not see that, unless the special backup and restore procedures were followed for either of them, to get the files from one computer to another. Now for network users, it “just works” – as soon as one user makes a change, it is what all other users will see. And for Standalone users, transferring their data between computers, the mail merge documents and memorized reports will be transferred with every database backup and restore.

A side effect of this change, which has both pros and cons, is that the mail merge documents and memorized reports are now per-database, if you have multiple databases for multiple organizations or multiple parts of your organization. The first time you run the program with a given database (or switch to a database), after this upgrade, all existing mail merge documents and memorized reports that are on your computer are copied into that database.

Since this is a fairly major change, it would be great if at least some of you could do some beta testing (pre-testing) before we release it to everyone. As usual, you get it from the page www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm. If you do use the program on multiple computers, please carefully read the special installation instructions on that page, to do things in the right order to load the up to date mail merge documents and memorized reports from all of your computers.

As well as any testing results, we’d love to hear feedback on those special installation instructions (since they will have to go to everyone when this is released) and of course on the revised Help topics.

There are lots of other smaller changes in versions 3.65 and 3.66 (the versions since the last announcement to all users of an upgrade, which was for version 3.64). They are detailed both on that Pretest page, and in the Revision History help page that you will be prompted to view when you run the program after the upgrade.

Many thanks in advance for any testing and reporting back that you can do!

New Testing Rewards

Anyone who does any of the following things, prior to the official release of this version (planned for around November 31), who is currently up to date on their payments for DONATION, will receive an extra 3 months’ renewal for support and upgrades:

  • Find and report something that we consider to be bug in a new feature (something larger than a typo in the Help).
  • Point out a flaw, that we consider should be fixed, in the design of a new feature.
  • Do very thorough testing of most or all features in a new release, evidenced by a thorough report back to us on that testing.