September 18th, 2011

LuxSci Meets Customers’ Unique Needs with Custom Development

LuxSci is well known for the depth and breadth of its feature set — many complex business needs can be met via the right combination of features and configurations.  This is one thing that really sets LuxSci apart from its competition.

Perhaps even more unique than having extensive features is the fact that LuxSci is willing to add and/or prioritize new features and extensions to existing features to help customers meet specific needs.  LuxSci’s development team is agile, often able to complete custom development work within 2-3 weeks of the time that it is agreed upon and commissioned by the customer.  

About Custom Development Work

Custom additions to the LuxSci feature set can be commissioned by a customer and completed within 2-3 weeks at a cost that is usually much less than developing comparable solutions in house or elsewhere — typical instances have ranged from $500 – $2500, depending on the complexity of the work.  The resulting features are then available to other LuxSci customers going forward, as well!

Have you searched everywhere for a specific feature that you need only to find that no one offers it?  Would it be useful to automate specific tasks or streamline certain processes? Perhaps LuxSci can help by extending its feature set!  LuxSci development generally agrees to custom development if the features requested would be of general usefulness to others as well as yourself.  The work can even be expedited for an additional fee (some people need things “ASAP”).

The fee for the development work is generally estimated at $100/hr for the development and testing time to implement the changes.  This fee is the cost to prioritize and expedite the changes to the LuxSci system and not to “purchase the changes”.  The customer does not gain any rights to anything developed, except in so far as the ability to use those features as agreed on with LuxSci.

Some Recent Custom Development

LuxSci customers paid to prioritize the implementation of many features and improvements over the years, and new requests are coming in every week.  Some of the most recently completed changes made for customers include:

SecureForm: Ink Signatures

Customers can now capture hand-written signatures in their web site forms when using SecureForm.  These signatures appear as image files in the posted data and cab be auto-appended to re-filled PDF template files.  See Case Study: LuxSci SecureForm and Ink Signatures Eliminate Downloading, Printing, Signing, and Faxing of Contracts for an example of the application.

SecureForm: FTP and SFTP Support

Data and files that are posted from PDF and web site forms through the SecureForm service can now be FTP’ed and/or SFTP’ed (Secure FTP over SSH) to a server of your choice.  This complements the pre-existing options of emailing the data, saving it in a MySQL database, and saving it in WebAide documents.

SecureForm: Allow re-filled template files to have dynamic file names

Customers can now opt to have re-filled template files from SecureForm posts have names that include data from posted form fields.  For instance, job numbers or other IDs submitted in the form can now be dynamically included as part of the file name.  Any SecureForm customer can use place holders to included the content of any posted form data in their template file names.

Custom Email Filters: Dynamically modify the subject line of inbound email messages

Customer needed the ability to include the “From Address” of the sender into the Subject lines of inbound email messages.  Now, any LuxSci email hosting customer can dynamically modify the Subject of any inbound email message, using a “template” that is used to construct the new subject out of any combination of: static text, the original subject, the from name or address of the sender, and date and time information regarding when the message arrived.  This allows for many actions such as time stamping subjects and pre-pending and appending text to subjects.

Tasks: Add the “Epoch Seconds” of when a task was created and completed to CSV exports of Task data

Customer uses CSV exports of WebAide Tasks to perform analysis of how long tasks take to get done. By using “Epoch Seconds” (i.e. the number of seconds since January 1st, 1970 in GMT) for detailing when task items were created and completed, the times can be easily subtracted and sorted and the time-to-completion easily obtained in seconds (without any date-time parsing and conversion needed).

Tasks: Improve the display of the “Date Completed” field

The “Date Completed” field in WebAide Tasks is a text field that can contain anything (and this supports synchronization with other systems like Outlook where this can be anything).  However, it is usually a date and time. Now, if it is a date and time that can be parsed by LuxSci, it is displayed in the user’s local timezone in a nice and consistent format, no matter how the underlying data is formatted.  This improves usability of this information.

Bulk Email Bounce Analysis: Include the raw bounce message content in the report

LuxSci’s High Volume Bounce Analysis system can be used to send High Volume customers a list of all addresses that they are sending to that are bouncing back — so customers can improve their lists.  This improved feature now allows customers to optionally get a CSV file that includes the main content of the bounce messages along with the address that bounced, allowing customers to perform more detailed analysis on the bounces, if they so choose.

SecureLine Escrow Private Labeling: Hide the “Email Message Header” data in the message view

The way this customer uses SecureLine Escrow, the recipients of their messages do not need to know the Subject, To, Date, and other “header” information.  With this feature, all customers can choose to hide it from SecureLine Escrow recipients using their Private Labeled interface, thus simplifying the interface for them.

SecureLine Escrow Daily Report

With this feature, SecureLine customers can get a daily FTP’ed  report that includes a CSV file that is just like the “Escrow Report” available for manual download in the Reports section of the LuxSci Account Administration area.  It lists all of the Escrow messages viewed by recipients in the previous day.  This can be used by customers to track (in bulk) who has and has not read their messages.

Normal Development Continues at a Fast Pace

All of these paid-prioritized changes go hand-in-hand with normal LuxSci development, which, as always, continues at a fast pace!   At the same time we have churned out the above updates, we have also released many other changes, including:

  • SecureForm: Permit storage of PGP-encrypted data in Documents WebAides encrypted for a “Group” of people — so anyone in the group can access the data using the Group password.
  • High Volume: Revised the service to make the limits more generous, the plans much simpler, and added “pre-paid” sending plans where you buy the ability to send to blocks of recipients and then have a year to do so with no further charges.
  • Outlook WebAideSync: Completely revised our WebAide (Calendar/Task/Address Book) synchronization plugin for Outlook with support for automatic synchronization, Outlook 2010, and more.
  • Private Cloud Servers: Support for dedicated customers in our new Private Cloud environment
  • Basic Environment for Cheap Disk: Support for shared email services in our new “Basic Environment” where you get much much more disk space for less.
  • Leave-Page Warnings: The LuxSci web interface now warns you when you try to leave many pages where you have started working but not finished what you are doing (like composing an email or changing settings).  This helps prevent accidentally lost work.

At this minute, LuxSci development is working on (among other things):

  • Outlook SecureLine Plugin: Allows using Outlook with LuxSci SecureLine as easily as WebMail does — define Escrow questions and answers for recipients on-the-fly, enable encryption on demand, etc.
  • Aut0-Save Drafts: New feature of WebMail email composition that can save your email compositions as drafts for you automatically as you are working.  This prevents lost work if you accidentlly leave the page, your computer crashes, you get logged out, etc.

LuxSci is always pushing the envelope, adding more features and enhancements to make the system more useful and usable.  If you have suggestions for new features or improvements, just let us know (use a Support Ticket or email us).  If you would like to talk to us about prioritizing certain things that would make your life easier, please contact Sales and we’ll work on a proposal for you.

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