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.


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 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


 

Xinet V19 pre-release webinar

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 @ 11:24 AM

Tags: Xinet, NAPC, E6


There's big news on the horizon- join us and get a preview of whats coming up in December in the world of Xinet. NP is holding a pre release webinar this December 1st, going over their next major release- Version 19. I won't spoil their thunder, but there's some great enhancements coming.

 

We've been running a  Version 19 beta internally for a few weeks, and it's great stuff. Alongside major news about SMB support and SAML there are some really, really cool improvements in the display layer.

E6 of course will be fully compliant and able to take advantage of the new nuanced abilities provided by the upgrade right out of the gate. We'll also have a information-rich list view in E6 at the same time, for users that need to see lots of files on each page, with metadata and a preview. It's DAM good, if you have that need.

Join us and NP on the 1st, and see what all the fuss is about!

 

Stay in the loop: Sign up for the December 1st webinar-


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See you on December 1st

 


 

DAM, MAM and GLAM!!!!

Posted by Grant Mongardi on Mon, May 02, 2016 @ 10:53 AM

Tags: BAM, Xinet, DAM

THIS is the Xinet User Interface you've been asking for!

Glam02.png

Create visually stunning, mobile friendly, and state of the art interfaces for each of your customers and end-users with E6 from NAPC. We've spent years developing for and extending the underlying toolset to meet the needs of our hundreds of customers in order to bring you a fully customizable UI with tools that you could only dream of.

We've built this interface from the ground-up based upon our years of experience with Digital Cybrarians, Studio Managers, Retouchers, Video Production departments, Brand Managers, and Printers. We've done our best to add all of the tools and UI enhancements that our customers and their customers have asked for. And we're adding features everyday. Here are a few screenshots showing just a touch of what you can get from Xinet when you use E6 from NAPC:

A Zoomable, pinchable, dragable viewer!
GlamViewer.png

Mouse-over large previews!
Glam01.png

A swipe-able, side-scroller Gallery View with popup metadata!
Glam03.png

A Drag-N-Drop Lightbox for basket integration, side-by-side compare tool, emailing and file management!
GlamDnD01.png

 

Call NAPC today to schedule a full demo of our product suite. This is something you should really get excited about. We are!

 

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.

 

 

 


 

Decrease your digital clutter this Spring

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 @ 08:06 AM

Tags: digital assets, Bynder, Archiving, Xinet, DAM Systems, digital asset management, DAM, ProofHQ, brand asset management, NAPC, assets, graphics, productivity, production

                                                       ScreenShot2015-03-17at11.03.22AM

Unlike the elements of nature we, the human species, are not busy adding to the spring canvas with sprouting leaves or blooming flowers. Just the opposite. The changing of seasons sets off some internal urge to declutter, organize and air out our spaces with a good, deep cleaning.

But it’s not just closets, attics and wardrobes that benefit from organization. Like your lifestyle, your entire workstyle can benefit from a good declutter. You might even kickstart a whole new level of productivity and even, yes even, cost savings! What a way to enter a new season!

If your desktop, archive system, production schedule or asset and graphics library look like your garage (pre-cleaning), then there is still some serious work ahead. Good thing we’ve got the most simple, yet effective, solutions that will help you git ‘er done.

Just as storage containers and label makers make grouping, naming and accessing our personal items a cinch, digital asset management solutions help us easily do the same for our digital files at work.

Digital asset management solutions streamline and organize to give you the single source of truth you and your team need. The right solution can actually make all the difference by helping to break down barriers between internal teams, clients, vendors and staff to accelerate productivity, and increase revenue.

Whether it be ProofHQ for online proofing and collaboration, Bynder for your all-important brand asset management needs, or a more work in progress digital asset management system, like Xinet, organizing and decluttering your workstyle will create a sense of harmony...just like that found in springtime nature.

Learn More

Insights on North Plains Ngage 2015 & Xinet 18

Posted by Jeff Zakim on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 @ 01:22 PM

Tags: MySQL, Xinet, DAM Systems, Xinet server DAM Systems, digital asset management, DAM, North Plains, NAPC, Xinet Pilot, technology

Hear about the North Plains nGage 2015 conference and what is coming in Xinet V18 from our intreped travelers, Mike and Larry who ventured out to this years conference in sunny Orlando, Florida. Not only was the weather great, but so was the content, speakers, presentations and hearty discussions with clients, partners and vendors. Read on, you will feel like you were there.

#NGage2015Mike Gershowitz, Vice President 

My Orlando trip for North Plains' nGage Conference was delightful! Just the 85 degree warmth would've been sufficient, but this conference also had a very rich agenda

During Partner Day, North Plains' new executive team impressed me as enlightened professionals who listened while presenting their product development roadmap. They also asked for future contributing ideas, announced some smart, like-minded speakers for an enriched eGage experience and ended an excellent day with a relaxing cocktail party with many global North Plains channel partners. All were eager to collaborate in an effort to best service multi-site Xinet clients, including SYD Conseil - Cogito Digital Management, Bay Digital, and Visual Products Japan.

North Plains most intriguing development roadmap topic to us at NAPC by far was the upcoming Xinet Version 18 release, which further resolves many of the most important issues affecting current users, as well as potential new users. What's still a future is the ability for a 'master' Xinet file system and database to effectively synchronize with local, disparate deployment instances.

Read the rest of Mike's NGage 2015 experience here

 

Larry Chase, Vice President

Well folks, just back from the North Plains nGage Conference in Orlando and it was a great one. We experienced great weather and outstanding company with fellow Integrators and clients from around the world. There was an outstanding Keynote delivered by Robert Rose, a Content Marketing Strategist, Author and Speaker. His presentation on content marketing was quite impressive, and I have since looked up a video of a similar presentation to share.

One of the main highlights on nGage was the announcement of some very cool updates regarding Xinet, specifically the forthcoing release of Xinet 18. This had all in attendence very eager to learn more about this roll out.

First on the agenda is that of a certification that was granted by the DAM Foundationwhich is an organization focused on the betterment of the DAM ecosystem. The certification is based on a review of the 10 Core Characteristics that make a DAM a DAM. Now Xinet is on the short list of certified DAM software authors. Congratulations to Dale Dawson and team on this.

Read the rest of Larry's NGage experience including details on Xinet 

 

How To Score Big and Avoid Penalties With New Archive Solutions

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Tue, Jul 01, 2014 @ 08:01 AM

Tags: Archiving, backup, update, FlashNet, demise, plug-in, retrieval, systems, Xinet, file

worldcup

 

Archiving, like professional soccer, is usually relegated to a remote corner of the IT department, or the smallest TV screen at your local burger and wing joint. It isn’t until something like the demise of FlashNet in the Xinet space, or the FIFA World Cup, that people sit up and take notice.

But what happens when all the initial excitement has inevitably waned? An organized love of soccer will surely find its place back on youth team fields.

However, you’re still left without your FlashNet and a stadium worth of files and assets. What now? What next? SHOULD WE PANIC???

We’re throwing out a yellow card of warning; here’s why you should not let your team drop the ball on keeping up with what’s yet to come for this necessary utility.

As we all know, for every problem in the technology world there is always a game plan. And usually it’s a faster, easier, better solution that makes us wonder how we ever did it the “old way” in the first place. ‘Tis so, now, for Xinet.

Three new players to watch include a software update, a new Xinet plug-in module and new backup software. With this power team in place, quick and easy file archival and retrieval from within Xinet server application will continue

seamlessly, as before.

Better than before...users will have the ability to archive and restore files and assets from the Portal Basket, and even drag and drop jobs directly into Hot Folders.

Soon, too, Xinet systems administrators will be able to determine approval processes, quotas and restore methods at both a user and group level.

So huddle up on this with your team. Psych them up with a rally cry. Promise them drinks and a little professional soccer watching at that favorite burger and wing joint of yours. Whatever keeps their eye on the archiving ball.

Make it your GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL!

See the World Cup of new archiving solutions, click here.

Why paper proofing is a thing of the past. Or, how not to be George Costanza.

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 @ 10:14 AM

Tags: Xinet, Xinet Plug-ins, ProofHQ, online proofing, review and approval

george ProofHQblogRemember that episode of Seinfeld when George Costanza’s wallet, over-stuffed with receipts, burst open like parade confetti? We laughed back then, because we could relate. We were still a paper world…in the 1990’s. 

Now, in 2014, we’re becoming paper-less. Trying to, at least. We have the option to pay bills online. We’re asked if we’d like the receipt for our new pair of pants e-mailed instead of printed. Schools deliver information through parent portals, instead of via notes stuffed into backpacks. 

In fact, most everything we do in business is paperless. Think of where your layouts are created (in a computer), and where general correspondence happens (in a computer). It would be silly and time consuming, now, to take out a piece of paper and a pen, write your client a note and send it in the mail. Right? You would look horrifically behind the times for one thing. And, for another, you’d for sure blow your deadlines. Communication would crawl to a snail’s pace and mistakes would inevitably happen.

 “That’s not us,” you say. “We don’t do business like that.”

But look. Right there on your desk; that pile of papers. Edits to a layout? And those three other stacks? Copy changes. How many rounds?  You’ve got staplers, too, of course. And red pens. Or maybe you’ve got a special color-coding system, just to help keep your sanity.  Good for you. But is it really?

How many times has your paper proof not matched the digital file

Even though you checked, double checked and triple checked the latest proof to the earlier proof, and then to the client supplied proof. The file on the server mysteriously changed. You don't know how, or when, or why, or by whom. You only know that somewhere along the way, a mistake was not caught in time. 

With 99.9 % of all print campaigns originating from, and being produced within, an entirely digital space, the only sure way to get it right is with a digital proofing platform that represents where the file lives. 

How do you keep track of who’s requesting what? 

Someone, (you're not sure who) made a comment to retouch out the logo. Someone else had a last minute copy change. On top of that, the client called to say that their website is about to change, and you need to update all of their collateral for the entire year to reflect the new look (yippee)!

Your magnificently organized file cabinet of duplicate paper proofs isn’t going to help anyone who doesn’t have a key to your office (or a view into the inner workings of your thought process). A digital proofing platform, however, tracks, captures and notifies the entire team at once of changes, all in an easily searchable way.

Has your client ever asked for a copy of everything you’ve ever produced for them in the last year?

Unfortunately, those assets were archived long ago. And some were specialty printed with spot colors, varnish coatings, white ink. How can they be converted? How much do they cost to be converted? Digital proofing gives you full access to your work, so you can do with it what you need, including printing, downloading and sharing the same file that went to the print vendor. And it doesn’t cost you a dime.

How often is a job approved, then suddenly "un-approved"? 

With paper proofs, routing a simple, last-minute text change, and expecting it to be a simple process, is impossible. Digital proofing gives you the option to "Approve with changes". 

How many unbillable hours have been wasted printing out paper proofs?

It’s costly to print layouts. Think about the paper and ink. Not to mention the time and labor. It’s also time consuming; taking hours or sometimes days to reach the person who requested it. A digital proofing solution can get a proof in front of your client in seconds!

The bottom line is, if you are still printing out layouts and routing them, you are not working efficiently. In this age of green thinking and instantaneous digital expectations, you cannot be George Costanza; forever tussling with a whirlwind of papers. Not so funny, anymore.

For more information about digital proofing solutions contact us at: echase@napc.com

 

Business Not Buttons

Posted by Rob Steinberg on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 @ 02:07 PM

Tags: brand management, Xinet, Dalim, DAM, ProofHQ, brand asset management, North Plains, Centrify, On Brand

Business Not Buttons

Many New Year’s resolutions focus on making relationships better. Whether it’s a friend you don’t see enough, or a family member you’d like to appreciate more, now is the time to start fresh, set goals, and make things happen.

Often, the best way to build a better connection is to simplify your approach. Our goal for 2014 is to strengthen bonds with customers by helping you truly understand the full value of what we offer, in the easiest, most direct ways possible.

At NAPC, we’re more than just smart, simple software solutions; we’re a dedicated bunch who love the technology side of things, but love connecting with our customers even more. We see your work life at your level, and know you simply don’t have time for a lot of buttons, bells and whistles. Too many apps, too little time…we get it.

Now in 2014, we’re striking a balance with social channels using their up-to-the-minute capabilities, while still keeping our messaging straightforward, and “all business.” Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are there for quick tips, tricks and solutions that keep you in touch with the support you need. We’ve even got a helpful “how-to-fix it/use it” video at FlatHeadU.com.

 When that isn’t enough we’ll do it the old-fashioned way and, come hell or high water, get to you in person.

Like Sully (pictured in a bike helmet beneath a beam of sunlight), who drove 3 ½ hours to his client TWICE in 48 hours to fix a late night crisis. And Grant (proudly sporting a big white ‘stache at bottom right), who hopped a plane and spent a long weekend helping to defend a client’s files from a devastating device failure.

Most often, the service side of business relationships isn’t truly appreciated until something goes wrong.  There’s a better way. We need to prove ourselves to you constantly, consistently.

We’re here to help you learn how to use your products, be comfortable with them, and make the most of all they can do for you.

Even better, we’re eager to get out of the office and get on the road! Set up a free consultation today by clicking here, or calling us at 781-894-3114 x1002.

And, of course, you can start following us immediately by connecting with any of our social channels below.

 We wish you much health, happiness and clarity in 2014.

 Your friends at NAPC.

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NAPCgroup

Twitter: www.twitter.com/NAPCgroup

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/napc

 

New in Xinet 17.6

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 @ 04:34 PM

Tags: Pilot, Solr, Searching, Xinet


I wanted to follow up our Webinar about what's new in Xinet 17.6
We mentioned three things and looked at two. Extensible Archiving is the
topic for an upcoming Webinar about Archiware P-5 and OnFile from InPress.
Modern search with Solr from the Apache Lucene Project was second.
( here's a link for the curious: http://lucene.apache.org/solr/ )
And the enhanced asset accessibility with Pilot was third.

When reviewing Pilot, we had a lot of questions about it and I don't think
I did a good job explaining what it is initially. My apologies. I should
have realized that even though this actually came out with 17.5, a lot of
you hadn't actually seen it yet. We had posted a video to our FlatheadU
Vimeo Channel several months ago.
( http://vimeo.com/channels/flatheadu/71254975 )

So lets get technical and take one paragraph from the Xinet Client Manual:
XINET PILOT
"Xinet Pilot is an evolution from the Asset Browser feature into a Xinet-aware media browser for Mac client desktops.
( and Windows as of 17.6 )
Liberated from Adobe plug-in status, Xinet Pilot runs on the client as a service, no longer restricted to working within a single Adobe application. One instance of Xinet Pilot can flow seamlessly between InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop to allow users to search, browse, annotate, add metadata, and drag-and-drop assets from this browser directly into Creative Suite files without opening a separate Web-browser application. When launched, Xinet Pilot will be the forefront-most application on the Mac desktop, but visibility can be easily toggled on and off as necessary."

That's not too much Geek Speak.
It's a desktop application using WebKit which is an open source web browser
engine. The connection goes to a custom Portal site called pilot. This site
is based on the Default Portal settings. As the product matures some of the
configuration settings will become more administrable. So we're told.

You can drag assets out of Pilot and into InDesign and if you have an AFP
mounted volume, it will 'link' to the Xinet path. If you don't have an AFP
connection it will download an FPO file. Dragging to the desktop however,
will download the original full resolution file. Based of course on the
user logged in Volume permission set. If you have web permission for high
res downloads, you can drag them out of Pilot. No high res download perms,
then no drag and drop download.

On the other hand, the Solr search engine seemed to be well received and
understood pretty quickly. More so than I was expecting actually. I guess
that's due to familiarity of the typical google search, since Solr drives
most of the web's searching.

Solr benefits will be huge for Xinet users as North Plains brings in more
and more of the features. This is their first pass and so far, it's pretty
impressive. I'm looking forward to working with you all to open up this new
tool in Xinet. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at the
helpdesk@napc.com, or reply below and we'll help you along.
And forgive me, but I can't pass up this one liner:
With Solr, the future's so bright, I gotta' wear shades..!

 -Sully