4 Nerdiest Upcoming Convio Features | npENGAGE

4 Nerdiest Upcoming Convio Features

By on Dec 13, 2011 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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And proud of it.

Over the past several months I’ve had the pleasure of working with Convio’s Engineering team on a number of new features for Luminate Online. As we begin the countdown to our Winter release, I wanted to share my top 4 list of the nerdiest, but nonetheless super cool, upcoming enhancements. If, like me, you spend much of your time knee deep in code, hopefully you’ll derive as much joy from this list as me. If not, well … I’ll try to keep the tech jargon to a minimum, but no promises.

1) HTML5

The time has come. Practically every browser other than that one released ten years ago now supports HTML5. What “support” means exactly varies from browser to browser of course, but the point remains — with the advent of HTML5 the internet is fundamentally changing all around us, giving non-profits new and exciting ways to engage constituents online. This Winter, Convio will be joining the e-revolution, allowing organizations to select the HTML5 DOCTYPE when building out content in Luminate Online. By doing so, you’ll then be able to push the envelope with mobile-friendly <video> and other new-fangled webby goodness. If your organization needs convincing that its time to adopt HTML5, just share the following tidbit from Wikipedia with the powers that be:

“According to a report released on 30 September 2011, 34 of the world’s top 100 Web sites were using HTML5.”

2) Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)

Anyone who has ever written an AJAX application will likely agree that while it makes sense from a security perspective, the “same origin policy” is the root of all evil. If you haven’t ever written one, the same origin policy essentially says that client-side languages such as JavaScript are allowed to make requests only within the same domain. This is good because it means that a page on imaspammer.biz can’t read information from your organization’s website, but this is bad because it means yourwebsite.com can’t read information from yourotherwebsite.com, at least not without a lot of hackery. With CORS, a somewhat new-ish spec from the W3C, the internet finally figured out a solution to this age-old problem. The tech jargon (sorry, I tried): with the Winter release, Convio’s Open API will support the Access-Control-Allow-Origin response header. By using this feature, Convio clients will be able to do things like, for example, use the API to display a list of your organization’s upcoming events on your website. Whether your website’s hosted on Drupal or it’s static HTML (I really hope your website isn’t static HTML), all you’ll need is a few lines of JavaScript. And don’t worry, imaspammer.biz still won’t be allowed in. If you want to learn more about CORS and Access-Control-Allow-Origin, the Mozilla Developer Network has an article with lots of useful information.

3) Asynchronous Google Analytics Tracking

Years ago, Convio was an early adopter of Google Analytics, back when it was still called “Urchin”. Oh, memories. A lot has changed since then, most notably, Google has updated Analytics to use what’s known as an asynchronous script. This new script, which loads silently in the background without holding up the rest of the content on a page, is faster and more precise than the older synchronous version. The out-of-the-box integration with Google Analytics in Luminate Online is getting a facelift, making use of this new, better tracking code, including both basic page tracking, as well as more sophisticated pieces of Analytics like Ecommerce tracking. Best of all, Convio clients won’t need to do a thing to get this update, it’ll just automagically happen when your organization’s site is upgraded. You’re welcome.

4) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Enhancements

No matter what Siri says, search engines are still one of the most important tools that prospective donors, volunteers, and advocates use when they want to find out about your organization. To that end, SEO really is a required part of good website design. A lot of the time SEO can seem to be some form of black magic, but there are some basic web-authoring tactics that virtually anyone can employ to improve search engine performance. This Winter, we’ve made a number of updates to adhere to some of these SEO best practices. First, we’ve made some significant improvements to the <title> and meta description that is used on your organization’s events and action alerts, dynamically pulling in information about each page. Second, we’ve added some really fancy logic to redirect old event links to new ones. To provide a real use case, this feature will make it so that if an event participant attempts to go to your organization’s 2010 walk, which is obviously over with as it’s now the end of 2011, they’ll automatically be redirected to the 2011 walk instead. Oh, and what will happen come January when you close the 2011 walk and open 2012? You guessed it, they’ll go straight to 2012. And if you consider yourself an honorary SEO Guru, you’ll be happy to know — these are 301 redirects. For the non-Gurus, this means that when the 2010 walk page is requested, Convio will respond saying that the page has permanently moved, so the next time a search engine robot attempts to crawl your site it will “see” this and update the link in its index, swapping out the 2010 link for 2011. I mean really, going to a page about an event that has come and gone is like so last year.

Again, I hope this list made your propellers spin too. Leave me a comment to let me know what nerdy feature you’d like to see Convio take on next!

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