Saturday, February 9, 2013

Enhancements for the FFBC Broadcast Manager

Added up over all CopiaFacts customers, it is likely that a similar number of broadcast faxes and e-mails are sent from FFBC as are sent by larger users from Job Administration.  We have recognized this by upgrading and enhancing FFBC to introduce some of the features enjoyed by Job Administration users. The basic structure of the program is unchanged, and will remain familiar to current FFBC users, but hopefully we have made it easier and quicker to use.

The only elements that have been removed are the job owner and ID fields for the legacy job management system (you can still enter this information in the template editor) and the counts of multiple .1 .2 .3 files making up a single document, which have been replaced by more useful fields showing the file size.  The file size field enables you to see at a glance how long each broadcast item is likely to take to transmit.

Among the many improvements are:
  • A new document selection dialog, which makes it easier to select individual files for broadcasting.
  • The ability to pick a non-TIF document to be broadcast and have it pre-converted to fax format.  For PDF documents, this is done directly in FFBC: other document types are passed to Document Converter for pre-conversion.  You can also convert high-resolution TIF files to standard resolution from the same document selection dialog, and view both original and converted documents.
  • The OmitListHeader option, which treats the first row of the broadcast list as a header instead of one to be faxed or e-mailed, has been extended with the CreateBCXVars option, which causes 'BCX' variables to be generated from the column names.  So you can now refer to the faxnumber as @BCX_FAXNO as well as @BCF1 if you have a header row which names its column as 'FAXNO'.
  • You no longer have to manually edit commands like $fax_phone in the FS template.  Instead, you can right click a column header in the broadcast list and select 'use for fax number': this will automatically set up a $fax_phone command referencing the column you have selected and right-clicked.  The same method can be used to set up voice and e-mail broadcasts by selecting the column.  A new box on the Broadcast page confirms the type of broadcast that has been selected and what list column contains the destination.
  • The columns you have picked for phone, e-mail, and recipient name are identified by different colors in the broadcast list display.  This feature has also been added in JOBADMIN.
  • Checkboxes are provided for the De-Dupe and OmitListHeader and CreateBCXVars options: no need to remember the FFBC_OPTIONS syntax.
  • There's a new button to open the selected user profile, in case you need to edit retry parameters or other settings.
  • FFBC can now set the enhanced broadcast scheduling options introduced last year.  You can set up a schedule for times of day between which a broadcast can be sent, and you can optionally specify that these times are to be based on the time zone derived from the area or country code of the destination phone number.  And you are no longer limited to setting times in quarter-hour increments.  If you want a broadcast to start at 8:23, you can do that (and in JOBADMIN).
Along with all these enhancements we have re-tested everything and fixed a few minor bugs and cosmetic issues along the way.

Finally the documentation has been rewritten to include all the new features: you can find it at: http://www.copia.com/support/refmanual8/index.html?ffbc.htm.  The new features are in build 8.1.0.122.