Beacon

Product Update: August 2019

David Simpson Posted on 1st Aug 19 by David Simpson

Hot off the production line at Beacon HQ, here's an overview of all of the latest product improvements for you to try right now.

Auto-number fields

Auto number fields are number fields that are automatically set by Beacon. They start at 1, and +1 for every new record that's created.

Auto-numbers are really useful whenever you'd like to assign a unique number to each record, for example if you want to set a member, donor or volunteer ID.

You can convert any number field into an auto-number field by checking the box below the field type when you create or edit the field.

Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 16.56.22

You can find out more about auto-number fields in this docs article.

Fixes to the login system

You have no doubt noticed our fancy new login interface by now! Unfortunately, when we released the new system last month some users reported problems logging in to Beacon. This ain't good, and I'm really sorry if you had trouble. We've reviewed and redesigned the mechanisms in place to restrict logins from new devices which have solved these problems.

Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 16.22.12

You can read more about using multiple devices to access Beacon in this article. This is also a good time to remind you that we strongly recommmend activating two factor authentication on your account. Also, here's our guide to choosing a secure password.

Improved PDF exports

We've completely overhauled the mechanism we use to generate PDF exports. If you haven't tried them yet, export templates make it really easy for you to pull data out of Beacon and present it either as a configurable CSV or a very handsome PDF. You can see an example here.

Improved CSV importing

Getting your data into Beacon is always a very high priority for the product team. Our import system is already very powerful (Beacon breezes through importing 50,000 rows without breaking a sweat) but we're always striving to make it smarter, too. This month we've added a number of improvements to make data imports better:

  • Intelligently merge existing people's names when importing them
  • Intelligently merge existing addresses based on postcode
  • Intelligently merge user and reference fields
  • Automatically clean up special characters
  • Automatically populate dropdown mappings based on the values in the example CSV
  • Validate dropdown mappings at import time (see below)

Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 17.26.22

Up next...

This month you can expect the much anticipated release of our brand new memberships system, along with updates to donation forms, even more CSV import improvements, and a whole host of UX updates!

David Simpson

About the author

David Simpson is the CTO at Beacon. He's dedicated to making Beacon the best nonprofit database in the world.

Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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