What a long strange trip it's been. Xinet dam development at NAPC

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 03:25 PM

Tags: agile, Xinet, Elegant, E6



It's been 3 years since I took the NAPC development team back under my wing. In that time we've rewritten our products, gotten amazing results for our customers as well as record sales, added new resellers, and had a huge surge in our market share as people have come to realize the NAPC difference.

 

Here's a quick review of what's been going on behind the scenes. I was going to make a fancy timeline, but we did so much so quickly I just couldn't wrap my mind around how to show it graphically.


BF-3MM-wall.jpg

 Yes! We hit the 3 Million mark for E6 usage!


How we started:

We implemented Agile, I became a signatory of the Manifesto for Agile Software. Agile is almost like CrossFit, you just can't help but tell folks you're into it. It's world changing, man...

We rebuilt product licensing from the ground up, planned out self installers and autoupdaters, automated version tracking of customer code, and about a bazillion other things you never see. Why should you care? We cut about 2.5 man weeks of labor a month when we were done. That's time we can perform QA, Document, and Code. The things that matter to YOU.

Once the foundation was poured and leveled:

We dove into the products- how they were used, and what could they become? We spoke to every customer, and discussed where we were heading. Some of these sessions got downright electric, as folks got what we were thinking, and the ideas were flying back and forth. A TON of where we are now came from that, so give yourselves a golf clap if you're one of the 200 or so folks I spoke with.

Here's a short list of major features that came from those calls-

Better info about version changes (thanks John)

Easier navigation without moving from the keyboard (thanks Evan and krewe)

More feedback (damn near everyone, but especially Charlie)

Documentation (emberassingly widespread, but the tip-o-the-hat goes to Carol)

Self updaters (thanks RP. I mean our resellers)

Drag and drop file management (Ginnie)

23 different SM improvements (Ginnie  ;)  )

A 'real' metadata interface (Emily and Dave)

Awesome uploader interface (Charlie and Emily)

Make AFR work (Todd, Kevin)

The list goes on and on. I was looking over my contemporaneous notes, and the thing that stands out is your desire to be part of the process, and help us to help you.

We dove into wireframing, blueskying, and figuring futures out as we were also doing final bug fixes for our existing suite. The developers mandate was to squash bugs, not put some scotch tape over 'em. After numerous insurrections were put down, this really started paying off. Again, the time we saved here allowed us to do what YOU care about, delivering amazing new tech that makes your worklife easier, better, and simpler.

 

The good stuff- releasing code:

Since we live and breath Agile, we started releasing code. First out the gate was the basics, with a couple ooh-ahh factors. Then we started adding in functionality as the market demanded. Turns out we're not mind readers, and things that seemed important to me no one else cared about. Alternatively, things that felt 'buried away' were actually key to production. Agile lets us react immediately as demand changes and evolves. Hey, did I tell you we do agile?

Oh, and of course we started a formal Beta program, so users could get in early.  I cannot thank the early adopters and Beta testers enough. Power users helping deliver powerful, rock solid features.

On a whimsical note, the developers made a video, showing the lighter side of the last 3 years :) We all love this stuff!

NOTE: mildly NSFW

 

 

 

 

 



A heartfelt thanks to all, and a bonus

I'd like to personally thank everyone involved, from the customers, to the developers, to the NAPC employees who  made this possible. We have a great team, one I'm incredbly proud of. Since you made it allll the way to the bottom, click this link if you want to beta our rewrite of CreativeBanks- CB5. We now give you a single interface to create and brand sites - CB5 is built into E6, so there's only one place to go. Fewer buttons, far less bouncing between screens, this cuts about 50% of deployment time from what's needed to rollout a landing page/E6 site.

CB5 Beta Invite


 

Veni-Vidi-Probi

Posted by Scott Tully on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 @ 10:36 AM

Tags: Elegant, ProofHQ, Softproofing, productivity, E6, Production Central


Latin anyone?

Julius Caesar wrote the famous "Veni. Vidi. Vici." [ I came; I saw; I conquered. ] in a letter to the Roman Senate around 47 A.D. Today, I've modified the statement, replacing Vici with Probi.

I came; I saw; I approved.

You've got the industry's most popular Digital Asset Management platform: Xinet™. You've got the industry's best interface/toolset for Xinet: Elegant 6. So, what is your department/organization missing? An integrated softproofing solution that humbles even the most demanding of approval cycles.

I'd like to introduce Production Central™, the Xinet plugin that transforms your already potent production platform into a professional proofing portal. With Production Central, the proofing and approval process couldn't be easier or more flexible.

And you guessed it, the Production Central plugin is engineered for your E6-driven production environment !E6-PCE-Demonstration Xinet Dishes.pngProduction Central seamlessly joins E6 with proofHQ® to deliver an intelligent, enterprise-level softproofing solution. Infinitely configurable, Production Central leverages your existing [and future] job structure(s) to automatically generate and manage proofHQ proofs and send email notifications.

Probi

No matter your approval cycle's simplicity or complexity, Production Central facilitates real-time collaboration and status updates on every proof.

Decision Icons.png

The colorful, easy to interpret, Proofing Dashboard ensures that Reviewers, Approvers and Managers alike can, at a glance, see who has [or hasn't] Opened, Commented or made a Decision on every proof out On Approval.

Impromptu Inclusion

Need to add someone to the proof at the last minute? No problem. Need to modify the deadline? Click and reset it. How about corraling perpetual procrastinators? Production Central can automatically chase'em with time-sensitive, reminder email. Time for an immediate, executive decision? Make it and move on. Need to alert everyone assigned to the proof? Use a custom BUZZWORD in your proof comment to reach everyone. On the road? Approve, reject, mark-up on the go with the proofHQ app for smart phones and tablets.

Production Central will empower your personnel without adding more work.

Schedule a Production Central Demo Today !

Contact your NAPC Account Manager to schedule a Production Central demonstration, today !

Wait, is that ... Xinet? What's new in E6

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Tue, Jan 05, 2016 @ 10:57 AM

Tags: GUI, Xinet, Elegant, DAM, NAPC, metadata, SSO, E6

    Welcome back from the holidays! To start your year off right, here's a list of some really cool improvements we've made over the last 2 months or so in E6, our Xinet interface. We're focusing on usability, performance, and generally easing the adoption of using a DAM system, both for casual and power users.

In no particular order, here's what we've been up to-

We released a new theme- 'Air'. It allows a single background image across all pages, custom volume and folder icons, and lots of other neat features. Check it out:


New 'uploader' plugin- a really nice interface for editing metadata on lots of files. It does drag and drop, and drag and select to choose the files you want some metadata applied to, etc... We'll port the code to Batch Keyword Apply in the next couple weeks, so your cybrarians will have a *much* easier time of setting and correcting metadata on groups of files. And of course, we kept the best bits from the original version- individual progress bars, feedback to the users.

'Steal a Link' in SuperMail- both when browsing in E6 and from the Mac desktop. You can now get a SM link copied to your clipboard to add into a personal email. We had lots of folks who didn't want to send a SM to themselves, then copy the link from there into their email client.

New versions comparison function- you can compare 2 files side by side and zoom in on them. Choose different versions of the same file, (even if the filetpes are different!) and compare them.

You can now export and Import E6 sites- Host to host, or on the same host. We had someone build a site on a Dev server in Cali, export it, and import it into the Prod server in Chicago. Cool stuff!

Gallery view- who doesn't love themselves a Gallery? We then added drag&drop to it, because well, drag&drop.

E6 AFR with SuperMail- with fine grained permission rights. It's awesome - reusing the SuperMail interface, it's 100% reliable (a marked improvement over the OOB experience). Check out Sully's video here: bit.ly/E6_AFR

True SSO- we built a SAML plugin for E6 that will work with any idP out there that 'speaks' SAML 2. It just works, as I like to say. 

Better Navigation- We're always looking for how to bump productivity and ease of use. We added in the ability to navigate up through higher levels using the breadcrumbs along the top. Little triangles of joy I call them. The developers try and tell me stuff like "it's built with AJAX, so no page load hit", but I just nod my head and enjoy the experience.

little_triangles_of_joy.png

 

Internationalization- It's a global world, and people want a familiar touch. We fully support any and all date formats automatically, based on your browser's settings. If you're in the US, you see month/day/year. If you're in Europe, day/month/year. Text is easily customised too, everything can be translated usng a simple text file.

InPress plugins compatibilty- We wrote E6 with an eye towards openness and ease of integration. All InPress plugins are fully compatible with E6, as are all WebNative Basket plugins. 

Documentation- We're documenting everything on our online docs, usually the same day a new feature get's released. Click the help button on any page, and you go right to the correct help page for that subject.


   


 

    So, start the new year off right, and push that 'update' button in Elegant6.  Or,  jump the E6 install  line by dropping us a line - helpdesk@napc.com . Make the subject "E6 install" or "I need me some E6" (fastest response for that one), and the installation elves will get cracking.

    We also hold a  weekly E6 training, every Friday at 12:30 Eastern.  http://bit.ly/E6_Class

              Make your users happy. Make your work life better. E6.

 

 

 


 

Awesomeness, reborn. Elegant 6 for Xinet is out!

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 05:48 PM

Tags: Elegant, DAM, Xinet Training

I’m incredibly excited to report the release of Elegant 6. It’s been a long, strange trip from it’s origin over 10 years ago as ‘Green’ - a simple, intuitive DAM interface for casual users.


Many of you have seen previews from the last couple webinars we’ve held, and some of you have been Beta testers (huge props to the Beta team!). For the rest of you, here’s what you can expect:


Performance- It’s fast. Really fast. Our Engineering, Performance and Metrics team have said it’s waaaay faster than Elegant 5, Exhibit, or anything else Xinet out there. That’s a technical term, of course.


Ease of use- we stripped out as many doodads as possible, removing buttons and confusing options for the user all over the place. Everything you see on the screen that is text is customizable, so you can make the buttons say what YOU want. Makes internationalization a breeze too.


Mobile friendly- Out of box we’re multitouch compliant. Pinch and spread away, the interface will zoom in and out, just as you’d expect. Sweet for quick reviews from the road.


Ease of use also translates into more feedback. We’re providing feedback all the time- from adding files to baskets, to browsing into empty folders, you always know what’s going on. And the new interface for uploading files is “light years ahead” (another technical term) of the current. No more users cancelling big uploads, or closing windows before their time.


Send supermail from the finder! Yep, a user can be browsing from the mac desktop, highlight some files, and send links to them without having to go to portal and repeat the operations. “Amazingly useful” is the least flattering comment we’ve gotten on this one.


12000% improvement in file management. OK, that’s an approximation. But real, robust file management through Elegant’s web interface is here. And it’s awesome.


Easy color theming- using online tools like Painstrap, it’s simple to create a color scheme to die for, and then slide it into Elegant 6. See previews of the new look  in the interface as you are applying and fine tuning. We got more than a little applause from the community for this one.


There’s dozens and dozens more, of course. Since we started from scratch it’s built with modern tools, making support a breeze. There’s a self updater, so you can see what’s new in the latest and upgrade yourself to get the latest feature set. We also built it so anyone with CSS skills can change the look and feel without having to pore over a Portal manual, and climb the steep learning curve of legacy software.


We’ll be in touch over the coming days and weeks, working with you on getting you into the future right now. Feel free to drop a line to helpdesk@napc.com with “Elegant 6 install” in the subject, and we’ll move you up the list (you deserve it for getting this far in a blog post!).


Here’s some common questions:


Any downtime for the install?

No, ‘course not.


Do all my users need to switch over right away?

Nope. Elegant 6 and Elegant 5 live next to each other.  E6 doesn’t even need portal to run, believe it or not. It’s that different!


Will my Elegant plugins/ custom CSS/ custom javascript port over?

Sadly, no. Given the vast difference in the code base, these kinds of things need to be recreated from scratch. That being said, we’ve included in E6 a ton of the plugins we’ve built over the years.

 

 

Is there a video I can watch?

Yep- right here: http://bit.ly/elegant6release

 

 

 

How much does this cost?

 

If you’re currently under support, Zilch. Zip. Nada. This is what support should go to- modernization and better code. We hate fixing bugs and retrofitting code too. So upgrade, and make your life better, already!

 

Tutorial: Installing Xinet Elegant Plugins

Posted by Michael Carusi on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 @ 05:00 PM

Tags: Xinet, Elegant, Xinet Plug-ins, Xinet How To

In a previous blog, we discussed NAPC developer plugins for Elegant. These plugins allow you to modify an Elegant site in a less intrusive way. The goal is to allow site's your modifications to work or be easily ported across major new releases of Elegant admin/portal. Plugins reduce the need to wade through the templates for any changes you may have/need to make. Additionally they allow you to enable and disable customized features on a per site basis. This will give you more granular control over your end-users experience.

This quick tutorial will walk you through the three step process of installing Elegant plugins to enhance your Xinet functionality.

WARNING: Do not install a demo (30 day trial) plugin on a production server. It will halt production if it expires!

Installing a plugin is easy. Simply log into elegant admin as nativeadmin on your portal server: http://your-portal-server/elegant_admin/ Be warned: You need a web browser that supports HTML 5 (this tutorial uses FireFox version 20.0)

On the homepage, you want to click the button to the far right called “Manage Plugins”. It will take you to the plugin screen. After that you can follow the steps below:


Step 1: Click Install Plugin

elegant plugin

 

Step 2: Click and drag the Plugin to the grey area. You should see a loading bar and a green checkmark when it’s completed the install

 elegant xinet plugin

 

Step 3: Refresh the page and make sure the plugin appears on the list

 

elegant step 3

That was easy, wasn’t it? Congratulations: You’ve successfully installed your new Elegant plugin. If you’ve taken a look at existing plugins but we aren’t offering functionality that you would like to see, contact us to make a plugin request.

Xinet Goes Mobile With Elegant 5

Posted by Kenny Kirsch on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 @ 05:03 PM

Tags: Xinet, Elegant, digital asset management, mobile, tablet, smartphone

We live in a mobile world, and the odds are that you do as much work on your smartphone or tablet as you do on a desktop. When Xinet version 17 was released, it was optimized for tablets but it didn't know you were on an iPad. There was no variable between Xinet tablet access and regular desktop access.

NAPC leveraged its UX team and pushed the envelope with delivering theme-based user interfaces for the Xinet community, and we felt it was important to put a lot of time and energy into the mobile experience. As a result, Elegant 5 is intelligent and can easily be enabled for iPad. It’s more intuitive for a tablet and disables everything that wouldn’t work in a tablet setting. The ability to download a high resolution asset, for example, is disabled.

Elegant 5 mobile

As a result, the Elegant 5 experience on a tablet is not not going to confuse the user. Everything you can do on a tablet with Xinet is focused exactly on what works with the tablet. It’s the full experience without the frustrations and any added bloat. It even feels like an iOS application, but you don’t need one. You come in through the browser.

Check out our video for a more detailed walkthrough of Elegant 5 so you can start taking your work mobile.

So, how can Xinet help me do. . . . .?

Posted by Brian Dolan on Wed, Apr 01, 2009 @ 11:27 AM

Tags: Xinet, Elegant, knowledge, Dalim, Dialogue, Creative Banks, nTransit, how to

Being in the position that I’m in affords me the opportunity to travel and see many of our clients around the country.  I love working with all of you and you all have your own unique personalities as well as challenges in your respective environments.  Something I want to share with you all is a question I’m often asked, “How can I make Xinet do more for us?  I know it can do X, Y or Z but I only use it for (fill in the blank) and want to do more with it!”  Usually the next questions is, “How do your other clients do it and how are they using Xinet?”  Well, let’s start with the second one. . .how DO other clients work with Xinet.  This is a hard one since all of you use it for different reasons and have unique needs even though many of you are in the same business. 

So, how do I make it do the trick your asking?  Get to it already would ya!

A couple of things to think about before I can suggest anything:

1) Listen to your clients (internal and external)- You know your company and how it ticks better than us.  Yes, we at NAPC all have been around the industry for a long time and bring plenty of knowledge to the table but. . .you're the one hearing the conversations in meetings or through the hallways with questions like, "How can we share out assets to client X but not allow them to do or see Y", or "How can I automate the process of creating multiple PDF's from one print command?", or "How can I customize the interface so it looks like my clients brand?" or "Can I do . . ."  You get the point right???. . .if not, the point is you know your world better than we do so listen to your user community and then start thinking about how to solve their challenges with the tool set at hand. And if the current tool set doesn't accomplish the needed task, then there is most likely a plugin or a solution to make it do the trick like Creative Banks or Elegant or nTransit.  Xinet is an open product so customizations can be done and probably already have been.  Ask us-we'll be happy to help.

2) Be creative yourself- it's easiest to hear from someone that says yeah, we did this thing and it really rocks or ask us to replicate something that was done before but think about how to do "it" yourself.  You may be in IT or work in some IT capacity but that doesn't mean you're not creative!  You are-you just have to find the time to sit down and think about it. I know, I know, easier said than done as we're all super busy but if you want to really do something, you'll make the time. 

3) Is my idea even possible? Look, all technologies have their limits so if you want Xinet to make your coffee (not too strong of course!) AND fold your laundry, you might be pushing it.  So, this is a good time to ask NAPC as well as look at the Xinet manuals.  Seriously, look at the manuals.  I know a lot of you depend on NAPC for the knowledge to be handed to you and we don't mind that at all.  That's what we're here for!  Although, you might be better served by reading up on the technology you manage.  Right!?!?!?!?!?  You've all heard RTFM or to be politically correct I should say RTM but whatever, you get the point.  I've been to plenty of training classes, received lots of great advice from others in and out of the industry but my best resource to date has been the manuals.  Read up everyone!

So really, those ARE my suggestions.  Listen to your clients, be creative yourself in coming up with ways to solve the challenge and do your research by speaking with us and reading up on the Xinet manuals.  Seriously, you all will be waaaay better off in the end if you put the time into it.  Again, I know you're all busy but this is important stuff here right?!?!  Just like working out, which I do all the time! :), it takes dedication and Xinet is no different.

Also, after working the three steps above first, you'll be able to better answer your first question yourself,  "How can I make Xinet do more for us".  And if not, again, we're here to help with suggestions and industry knowledge to get you to where you need to be.

Bottom line, be proactive with learning this stuff . . .it'll really help you in the long run.

Oh yeah, one more thing on this subject, work closely with the people that have a hand in Xinet.  If you're more on the creative side of things, create the relationship needed to work together harmoniously with your IT staff.  Contrary to popular belief, they are truly there to help you, not hold you back even though sometimes it may seem that way.  And, if you're in IT, be open about this stuff and the ideas that may come your way.  Don't start with "No", think about it and be creative in helping solve the problem or challenge at hand by working closely with your clients.  Can I get a "Kum ba ya!"

Any way. . .two quick things before I get off my high horse. . .

1) Dialogue ES is around the corner.  If you're familiar with how Dalim's Dialogue currently works then you'll probably be happy to hear how it's evolving.  This week Dalim is releasing the internal beta so I'll get my hands on it and write another blog entry just on that subject later but some quick things to mention:
The interface has changed quite a bit.- this is good stuff guys and gals. . .totally revamped and much more slick.  Again, more to come later.  As far as functionality, it's totally rewritten from the ground up and now has a database behind it.  This can open up all kinds of possibilities, think about it.  Linear versus non-linear workflows.  So now, instead of having user a, b, then c approve or reject a document, it can be more of fluid approval process and not so much in a linear fashion as it is now.  Also, once a user approves or rejects the document, that action doesn't have to stop the process as it does now in a multi-user approval process.  In other words, if user a rejects the document, user b or c can still approve or reject it themselves versus how it is now.  In the current version, if a user in an approval workflow rejects the document, it's done, that's it.  No one else can approve or reject it using the built in approval tools.  That changes with ES.  New icons for statuses, new list views to easily see all users status, new interface, etc.  Lots more to come there.

Any way, thanks for taking the time to read our blog and I hope you all stay tuned for more from NAPC.  We're dedicated to making you successful!

Brian

For more info go to www.napc.com