April DS Product Update – Improvements and enhancements to products & services

Apr 29, 2015

NPR Digital Services Monthly Product Update

Here is a summary of bug fixes and feature enhancements that we have made to Core PublisherComposer 2, the NPR One AppStationConnectDS Marketing Forms & QuickPledgeStation Analytics System, and our Streaming Service over the last 4 weeks.

Core Publisher Updates

Defects addressed – A number of Core Publisher defects have been fixed during the last month.

  • For all sites:
    • All files–including audio–with names that include a percent character (%) now upload as they should.
    • Editing posts in "source" mode using the WYSIWYG will now display correctly with all browsers including Firefox.
  • For responsive sites:
    • The "WAYS TO CONNECT" links no longer break when certain characters are present, and they now work correctly on all site pages.
    • It is now possible to place numbered and bulleted lists into block quotes without adversely affecting the display.
    • The "Read More" links for web clips in the responsive theme now lead to the correct location.
    • Web clip headlines can now include special characters like apostrophes and quotes without breaking the display. 

Allowing stations to add their own Bit.ly account – We are removing the NPR bit.ly default account information in Core Publisher responsive sites and allowing all Core Publisher sites the option to add their own bit.ly account. We will be removing our NPR default account from all responsive sites today, April 29, 2015.

  • For Look1 and Look2 sites – You can continue to use the default NPR bit.ly account until you migrate to the responsive theme, or update your site with your station’s bit.ly account now.
  • For Responsive sites – You can update your site with a station bit.ly account. The default if you do not add a station bit.ly account will use tiny URL and in the event that service fails the full URL will be shared.
  • Sign up  Stations interested in setting up their own account can sign up for one here. Note; use a generic station email account to avoid connecting this to a single staff account.
  • Update your bit.ly account (available April 30) – Go to “Configure Corepublisher”, scroll to the “Other Site Management Links” to click on a link to manage your bit.ly account information. You will need your bit.ly login and API key information to add to Core Publisher.

Improved user experience in the CP responsive theme Admin configuration – We updated the “Configure Corepublisher” table of links:

  • Added links for "NPR News Title" and the "Block Factory”
  • We removed links that benefitted Look1 and Look2.
  • Station Admins will also see a new “Responsive Ad Config” link in the “Other Site Management Links” area.

Persistent Player update – Our team has been focused on getting us closer and closer to being able to make the Persistent Player active on station sites. We’re in the process of making sure that the player’s position, functionality, and display across different devices is just right before we start rolling it out. It is important that the player experience is smooth while navigating around a site and that it works well with all browsers—IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.—and we’re working to get this feature ready as soon as possible.

 

Composer 2 Updates

The widget redesign is live! – We worked all month to put the finishing touches on the new Composer 2 Playlist widget. This work mainly focused on the Playlist widget, but all of the Composer 2 widgets have been upgraded to match the improved display and function of the Playlist widget. The Playlist widget, Now Playing widget, and metadata configuration changes are now live and you can find resources including a How To guide, aWebinar video, and an overview of the widgets redesign on the Digital Services website. We ran into a compatibility issue when releasing the Daily widget and are working to resolve the problem. You should see the Daily widget update soon following an update to Core Publisher. Coming soon: Composer 2 Twitter chat on May 6.

Improved error message for failed logins – We rewrote the error messages that appear when users try logging into the application. The new messages provide better information to help users understand the problem.

Negative song durations in playlist display – It had come to our attention that some songs in playlists were showing a negative duration for their length. We fixed the issue so that all songs will now show their proper length in the playlist display.

False program conflicts – We fixed an issue that stations were seeing where programs were conflicting with other programs even though end dates were properly entered. Program dates now register properly so that these false conflicts do not exist.

HTML <br> tags in playlists – Stations reported seeing <br> tags in edited playlists. This has been fixed moving forward, but stations will still see these tags in historical playlists.

Incorrect song display – Stations reported that imported songs were showing incorrectly in the playlist widget and the Now Playing block on Core Publisher sites. We fixed this defect so that imported songs now appear, as they should.

Duplicate air times – Some stations reported that certain programs were erroneously displaying on the widgets as airing multiple times a day. This issue has been resolved.

 

NPR One Mobile App Updates

Improved podcast features – These features include styled Program Pages, better search with GSA (Google Search Appliance), increased back catalogue of Podcast episodes, updated Now Playing cards with Program Page links, and the ability for Listeners to Follow programs. 

NPR One platform sponsorship service in development – We have started the build out of a new sponsorship service powered by AdsWizz that will integrate across all NPR One versions for iOS, Android, and Windows.

Adding promo cards to the flow - We are working to implement Promo Cards into the listening experience of NPR One on iOS and Android. Promo Cards are being used to promote program episodes. We have built Promo Cards for PCHH, Planet Money, Ted Radio Hour, How To Do Everything, Ask Me Another and Snap Judgment. We are working with KPCC to add Promo Cards for their local Podcasts, Off Ramp and The Frame. There are no changes to local content experience in NPR One. The learning from this test will help inform how to scale a solution for local stations.

 

StationConnect Updates

New failure error message – We’ve added a new error message to inform users when their changes cannot be saved due to a system failure. Users are now instructed to return at a later time and re-save their work.

  • Note: We are currently working on a feature that will not require additional work from users to re-save information.

Local story expiration – Stations can now set the expiration date for stories submitted to NPR One.

Pledge audio upload – Stations can now upload their own pledge audio, which will overwrite the default audio in NPR One.

Default content stream URL field – Users are no longer required to click “Add” to manually create a field for their content stream URL. There is now a default field for station stream URLs.

Podcast categories display – When stations assigned a category for a podcast, the podcast was not appearing in the assigned category in the podcast directory. This has been fixed.

 

QuickPledge & DS Marketing Forms Updates

“No Ask Amount” sample forms are now available. These forms feature a no ask form field and are designed for NPR One stations that want a mobile optimized form as well as stations that want an invoice form for underwriters. Stations live on the platform may request that sample forms be added to their account.

For QuickPledge users, contact Jackie McBride to confirm your date for moving to the new form if you have not done so already. All QuickPledge users must be on the new DS Marketing Forms platform by July 31. Email jmcbride@npr.org.

  • QuickPledge Security Upgrade – As part of our routine security review of the QuickPledge platform, NPR Digital Services will be making some updates to the platform to improve security that will change the way you access the admin panel and access to encrypted files. Read more about the security upgrades here.

Station Analytics System Updates

Bug fix – We have resolved a bug that was causing stations to see a false error message when they tried to enter their correct FTP credentials when setting up On-Demand data reporting.

New Features:

  • ​SAS has been reconfigured to allow stations to use SFTP in order to setup On-Demand reporting for their sites.
  • Monthly data is now available for On-Demand reporting.
  • Percent change numbers for triton charts can now be used to compare data vs. 1 week ago and vs. 1 year ago. 

Streaming Service

REMINDER! Limelight has shut down Windows Media Streams – As of March 31st, 2015 Limelight Networks has ended use of Windows Media Streams formatted streams. All stations that use Digital Services for streaming should remove links or references to the WMS formatted version of their streams from their websites and applications. You can use the .mp3 stream in place of the Windows Media Stream.

Pre-roll changes coming in May – As noted in our recentannouncement to shut down Jukebox, we will work with stations using pre-roll on a new solution for hosting audio files throughout May to meet the end date in June.

 

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