Making Music Platform News

We will email whoever you have listed as the main contact person for your group's Making Music Platform with the latest news. This includes updates that the developer has made to the Platform as well as service disruptions. If you have missed any news, then see the most recent items below.

2023

App now supports your Event Calendar and Availability notifications 09/02/2024

Event Calendar

The new Event Calendar screen presents your group's calendar two ways (shown below): In calendar view and in list view (list view shows upcoming events only):

     

All details of each event are shown, including a Google Map, and attachments. The event's program will be supported in a future release (we will inform members when this is available).

 

Availability

Members can indicate their availability for any event (as long as that event has attendance/availability tracking enabled). They can do that from each event's screen, or event from the List View, where they can see all upcoming events as well as their own availability:

 

Push Notifications

As with songs, documents, and announcements, you can now send push notifications about an event from the website to all members:

When the notification arrives on the phone, tapping the notification will take you straight to the event, where you can view all details, indicate your availability, etc.

 

Push Notifications about Members indicating their availability

There's a feature in Making Music Platforms whereby the system can notify the event coordinator whenever any member indicates their availability for an event. The notification would go out via email, and could optionally also be sent via SMS text message. There's now an option for such notifications to be sent via "push notification" to the App (for the event coordinator only):

You can now track which members are using the App 19.01.2024

Your Making Music Platform has a system for tracking who has logged into the website. This system has now been expanded so that it also tracks who has logged into the App. So you can now see at a glance who has logged in using the App and who has not.

The system for tracking who has logged in (either to the website or the App) is an optional system. If you want logins tracked, you need to enable that tracking system - if you haven't done so already. That's done as follows:

  1. Logged in as an admin, visit your Admin Dashboard
  2. In the Members section, in the right-hand column, click the link called Login/logout events
  3. Click the Create button

Note that logins into the App before today will not be recorded in the database, or would be recorded as logging into the website (not the App).

So finally, to view who has logged into the App and who has not, simply visit the App page (typically via the App icon on your main Members page) and scroll to the bottom of the page.

If you've only just enabled the tracking of logins, you will need to wait a few days for people to actually log into the App before that list becomes meaningful/useful.

You can now send notifications about Announcements 19.01.2024

Similar to sending notifications about songs or bulletin board items, you can now send notifications about Announcements (the items that appear at the top of your main Members page, if you have any):

Note that you're not sending the announcement itself - you're sending a notification about the announcement. When members receive the notification, they need to tap on it to view the actual announcement.

Sent push-notifications are now stored in the website 19.01.2024

This first update means that when you send a notification from the website to all App users, the notification itself is stored in the website.

The stored notifications can be viewed from your Member's Home Page (near the bottom, just above the Comments' box):

Please note:

  • Notifications sent before today will not be stored in the database
  • This database table that stores the notifications can be administered in the usual way - there's a link on the Admin Dashboard. Look for the link called App Notifications in the right-hand column, in the Email section.
  • If you wish to completely hide/remove the App Notifications box from the main Members page, you can do that as follows:
    1. Logged in as an admin, click the little cog icon in the top-right corner
    2. Click the cog icon on the Making Music Platform row (the top row)
    3. Click the Appearance tab
    4. Set the (new) field called App Notifications Box: Number of recent app notifications to show to 0 (zero)
    5. Save your changes at the bottom of the page
Push Notifications for the App 20.12.2023

You can now manually push (send out) messages to any of your members that use the Making Music Platform App (more information about the app can be found on our website). Those messages can be simple text messages (similar to an SMS, but free), or a notification about a song or a Bulletin Board item (document, news item, etc). Event integration into the App is still in development, but will be coming soon. You can send messages out individually or in bulk - to everyone in your group, or to a subset (a member grouping).

 

Send a General Notification

Sometimes you simply want to notify your members of something, urgently, like a change of venue for an event. In the past, you may have done that via an SMS text message - but those incurr costs. Sending general notifications to the App are completely free:

  1. Log in to your Platform as an administrator (via your Browser)
  2. Visit your Admin Dashboard
  3. Look for the new link in the Members section of the Dashboard, called 'Message all members via the App':
  4. From here, you can preselect a member grouping, or manually tick the members you want to send the notification to:

    The Subject/title can be changed by you, of course, but it's good to leave the group name there, so your members understand that this is a message from your group.

    All the members in the member grouping selected at the top of the page are 'pre-ticked'. Naturally you can tick/untick any listed member.

  5. Press the Send button.

 

Send a Notification about a Song/Document/etc

More often, you're going to want to notify your members about a new (or updated) song on your website, or perhaps a Bulletin Board item (a document, news item, etc). The notification itself will be quite simple - just a few words to say what's new or what's changed, without needing to include any details about the song/document/etc. When the member taps on the notification, the App is opened and they are taken directly to that song/document/etc where they can see all the details.

To send such a notification use the instructions below:

  1. Ensure you're logged in as a Webmaster/Admin
  2. Visit the song's page, or the document's page
  3. Click on the new link at the top of the page called 'Notify members via App'...
  4. A box will pop up. You must enter the subject and message (you can change the pre-suggested text), and then nominate which set of members (member grouping) you want the message to go to.
  5. Press 'Send'.

This works currently for songs, and for Bulletin Board items (documents, news items, teaching resources, etc).

You can still send out the song/document/etc details via email - you may wish to do both.

 

Further App developments

The developer is now working to get push notifications activated for Events. As part of that, the developers will be including a means for members to register their availability for events through the App. You will then be able to send out a notification about an event, and your members can advise their availability for that event easily via their phone. We will advise members when these updates are completed.

 

Note about App updates

This is a very new feature for the App. It has been extensively tested by the developer, but it is always difficult for it to be tested with large groups of people. Please do let us know if you see any unexpected behaviour.

Further to this, if you send out multiple notifications in quick succession (and a member has the App open at the time) it may be hard for them to view all the notifications. The developer is aware of this and looking for a solution.

Completed updates to the MM Platform App 21.11.2023

Some of these upgrades were mentioned in the most recent update, but they have now been completed.

Improvements made to the Audio player:
•    Can now do A->B looping (continuously repeat one part of one track). When playing a track, press the new Loop A -> B button to mark the start of the section you want to repeat. Then press it a second time to mark the end of the section. Playback will immediately loop between the two points, until you press the button again to stop it.
•    In the past, you had to wait until the entire track downloaded before the track would start to play (either single track or in a playlist). Now, the song will start playing as soon as it has enough of the file to play, typically a couple of seconds.
•    When you play a track or playlist, there is now a mini player in the notification area of your phone which means that tracks can continue to play even if the MM Platform App is not on top (it is in the background, behind other apps).

General improvements
•    Fixed issues with large screen sizes (iPad, etc)

If you have not already, please update your App in the App Store/Play Store.

Google Chrome has updated its security 21.11.2023

Google's primary web browser, Chrome, has just changed the way they handle the security of websites. Their new update now means that when you visit a website in Google Chrome, the browser first tries to load a 'secure' version of the website, even if the website doesn't have a secure version. By secure, we mean that the address of the site begins with https, rather than http (s stands for secure). For example, if your website's address is www.mygroup.com, then Chrome will first attempt to load https://www.mygroup.com (the 'secure' version). If the website has an SSL certificate, everything will work fine. If the website does not have an SSL certificate, then either the browser will show a security warning message instead of the website, or the website will load but format incorrectly. This has now started to affect MMP users where their website doesn't have an SSL certificate.

So, if you or your members open your Platform in Chrome and it doesn't look right, or shows a warning message, then you have two choices:
 
1. Use a different web browser (this may cause an inconvenience).
2. Recommended: The better solution is to get your Platform an SSL certificate, to make your Platform more secure. To get an SSL for your Platform, please request one from platform@makingmusic.org.uk - for a one-off fee of £15. More information about this additional extra can be found in the service hub.

Sending emails and playing songs update 3.11.2023

We are following up from the previous news update regarding the errors experienced when sending emails and playing songs through the Platform.

Firstly, we can confirm that both errors have been resolved and that the email and songs functionality are working as expected. We have investigated both errors with our server provider and the developer to determine the causes and have outlined more information for you below:

  • Unable to play songs through the Platform - this error was caused by a temporary glitch in the connection between the server and the additional storage functionality which was then re-established by the existing software shortly afterwards. To minimise the risk of this glitch happening again, the developer has upgraded the system used to connect the server and the additional storage functionality to ensure that this part of the system is as robust as possible. 
  • Emails sent through the Platform are not being received by recipients - this was caused by a separate glitch on the server. Unfortunately the server company are unable to provide further details about the temporary glitch and we will be working with them (Hosting UK) to ensure that these glitches are monitored efficiently and anticipated in advance where possible.

We are confident that both errors were resolved quickly due to the robust systems in place but we will continue to work with the server company and developer to ensure that future glitches are flagged and resolved as soon as possible.

Once again we want to apologise for any inconvenience caused by these errors and appreciate your patience while these were investigated.

Sending Emails and playing songs 30.10.2023

We have received reports over the weekend that the following errors have occurred on a number of Platforms:

  • Unable to play songs through the Platform - this includes not being able to play songs or receiving error messages when trying to play songs through the Platform. This error has now been resolved and we are asking the developer for more information and will advise members as soon as possible.
  • Emails sent through the Platform are not being received by recipients. This error is still ongoing and the developer will be looking into this as a matter of urgency.

We want to apologise for any inconvenience caused by these errors and want to thank the MM Platform users who have raised these with us. We have flagged both of these errors with the developer as a matter of urgency and will keep members informed with any updates, so ask that if you have experienced any of the above errors that you do not raise a ticket for these.

Future Upgrades to the MM Platform App 18.10.2023

The developer has made a statement about the forthcoming developments for the MM Platform App - which includes some highly requested features:

'The next thing we'll be working on is "push notifications".  This will allow you to send messages to each member, similar to sending them a text message via SMS.  Such messages will be completely free (text messages sent via your MMPlatform cost money).

Once that's in place, we'll have the infrastructure in place to develop the Event Calendar, with particular attention to allowing members to indicate their availability for events (our most-requested feature!).  You will be able to request members to do so via push notifications - all intuitively built into the system that you're already used to.'

On top of this, the developer will shortly be updating the Playlist feature. This will:

  • Start buffering/playing tracks immediately rather than waiting for the entire song to download first.
  • Introduce a music player widget in the notification area of your phone, so that you can control playback of the track without actually going back to the App. This means that the Playlist will play regardless of other apps being open.
  • Introduce a new feature called A -> B Looping, so you can loop over one specific part of the track.

Do also look out for future updates from us announcing these (and other!) App developments.

Upgrading the Browse Server function 18.10.2023

Over the next couple of weeks, the developer will be upgrading the Browse Server function - the function that lets you look through the pictures or videos previously uploaded to your Platform and place them on a page. This upgrade will be done to keep the system as up-to-date as possible.

How does this affect your day-to-day Platform use?

For the main part, this shouldn't affect your day-to-day use too much and you can still upload pictures or videos to a page. However, if you want to change the picture or video on one of your webpages, you will not be able to search through your previously uploaded pictures or videos and will need to re-upload them instead.

To do so:

1. Navigate to the Body of Page section in the Content tab in the settings of a page. From here, when you click the image icon or the video icon, you will get a pop-up:

2. Instead of clicking 'Browse Server', switch to the 'Upload' tab. From here, you can choose the image/video from your computer with the 'Choose file' button. Then, click 'Send to Server':

3. Switch back to the 'Image Info' tab, and you'll see your image/video is uploaded and ready to use.

You are done! Please note that this is only a temporary change, and the Browse Server functionality will be re-introduced once the upgrade has been made (expected time 2-3 weeks). We will inform members once the developer has completed the upgrade.

Internal data leak 03.10.2023

An (internal) data leak was reported to us at 4.30pm on Thursday 28 September. We have outlined the information relating to the incident below but if you have any queries or concerns then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

When did the incident occur and what happened?

We received a report on Thursday that a MM Platform user had created a member grouping in their MM Platform and this gave them access to the information from individuals who were not linked to their group:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Town
  • Home phone number
  • Email address

As soon as we were notified of the error, the member grouping was deleted, and the developer was asked to investigate. The developer confirmed that this error was fixed on Thursday evening.

What caused the leak and who had access to the data?

After investigating the error, the developer confirmed it was caused by a bug in the code that had existed since Tuesday 26 September. This affected 9 MM Platform users who had set up member groupings with no criteria selected. During this period, these 9 groups could have viewed the above information for individuals not in their group by going to their own member database and selecting the affected member grouping.

Only these 9 groups could have viewed this data and only those who had access to the member database on these group’s MM Platforms. No further groups or individuals could have accessed this information.

What impact does this have on my group and what do I need to do?

As data controllers, you will need to refer to your own GDPR policies to decide if you need to inform the individuals you have listed on your Platform that the above data held for them on the system may have been viewed by other MM Platform owners during this period  (Tues 26-Thurs 28 September).

What is Making Music going to do to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

We take data protection extremely seriously and are aware that this data leak could potentially have had a significant impact. We want to assure MM Platform users that we are working with the developer to implement extra procedures to ensure that this scenario does not happen again. In the meantime, the following precautions have been taken:

  • The developer has updated the code to stop member groupings with no criteria being created (an error message pops up preventing such a group being created)
  • We will be contacting the 9 groups separately to advise them on the change to their relevant member grouping(s)
  • We are continuing to talk to the developer about other measures to ensure that this does not happen again

We are very sorry for what happened and any impact on your group. We are very grateful to the member who alerted us on this occasion and always act very promptly on any such reports. Do always contact us if you notice anything unusual. We are confident that on this occasion the bug was discovered and dealt with before harm could occur.

Error with Emails and Mailing list page resolved 3.10.2023

We are also writing to update you on the email sent yesterday regarding the Email address and Mailing List functionality to confirm that this has now been resolved.

As a reminder the problems reported to us yesterday included:

  • Users unable to set up new email mailboxes or forwarders when creating new position email addresses
  • Error messages showing on the Email addresses and Mailing List page such as:
    • Mailbox need to be created on server
    • Email address needs to forward to
  • Users unable to access mailman to manage any email addresses that have been created for mail to be held on the server
  • Some email addresses that have been set up as forwarders in the MM Platform are not receiving emails (those set up as mailboxes for emails to be collected on the server are receiving emails to the webmail system despite the email and mailing address page as above saying that there is an error) 

The developer has now confirmed that these have been fixed and that the issue was related to a communication error between the MM Platform and the server.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Error with Emails and Mailing list page reported 02.10.2023

We have received reports that the Email address and Mailing List functionality has the following errors:

  • Users unable to set up new email mailboxes or forwarders when creating new position email addresses
  • Error messages showing on the Email addresses and Mailing List page such as:
    • Mailbox need to be created on server
    • Email address needs to forward to
  • Users unable to access mailman to manage any email addresses that have been created for mail to be held on the server
  • Some email addresses that have been set up as forwarders in the MM Platform are not receiving emails (those set up as mailboxes for emails to be collected on the server are receiving emails to the webmail system despite the email and mailing address page as above saying that there is an error) 

These errors are affecting some but not all MM Platforms. If you are experiencing any of the above errors, we have raised this with the developer as a matter of urgency so please do not raise a ticket for these. If you notice any other problems then do email us on platform@makingmusic.org.uk so that we can look into these.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will keep you updated once we have more information from the developer.

MM Platform App 18.09.2023

Making Music are happy to announce the launch of the new MM Platform app, available in the Apple App store or on Google Play. It’s now easier for your members to access the main features of your MM Platform’s members area using the app. 

Which features are included in the app?

The app is designed for your group members (group administrators and webmasters will still need to edit their MM Platforms via the website). It includes the following functionalities:

  • Access to the music library
    • Members will be able to view and download sheet music and listen to learning tracks
  • Playlists
    • Exclusive to the app and not available in the website version of MM Platforms
    • Create playlists of your learning tracks with no limit to the number of tracks included on each playlist
  • Access to the Bulletin Board/Documents
    • Members can view and download files, documents and news available on the bulletin board/documents section of your group’s Platform
  • Assessments
    • Members can view and listen to any recordings submitted for past assessments
    • Members can submit a new recording for an assessment
  • Event attendance
    • This feature is only available through the app and allows members to record their attendance at an event by scanning the event’s QR code. The group can print out a QR code and make it available for members to scan at each event to mark their attendance
  • Update personal details
    • Members can update their personal information such as email address phone number and email preferences.
  • One click link to the group’s full website in case the member needs to use a tool not available on the app

We will add more functions as we develop the app further.

How much does the app cost?

Access to the app costs £36 per year, per group. Once you have paid the fee, any member of your group can download the MM Platform app for free and connect to your website. Your members can then log into the App as they usually would to access the available features.

How can we add the app?

If you would like to add the app for your group, please email us on platform@makingmusic.org.uk. We will then send you an invoice and once we receive payment, we will enable the app for your group’s use. Your members can then download the app from either the Google Play store or Apple store and connect to your group's Platform.

Update to Financial Members Report 18.09.2023

A small, but important change: to add clarity to the Financials Member Report, the column titled Expiry Date has been updated to read Expiry date (of current schedule). This field was amended to make it clearer that the dates of the financial schedule are the dates the member's current membership/financial schedule expires - or put another way, the date up to which the member has paid. This change can be found across the Platform (wherever the words Expiry Date previously appeared), but the most important place is in the Financial Member's Report:

Update to emailing out Event details 18.09.2023

Another small change that some members will have noticed - emailing out an event (and its details) is now easier than it previously was. Whilst the option to email the event's details out used to be in the Event's settings, it is now on the Event's display page:

When clicking this button, a pop-up will show that allows you to customise the email, as well as choosing the Mailing List to which the Event is sent.

Error with Homepage banners and the Music/Song Library 01.09.2023

We have received reports this afternoon that some MM Platforms are experience the following errors:

  • Home page banner (main image) has disappeared
  • Unable to edit or upload a new home page banner - error message received
  • Resources in the Song/Music library have disappeared
  • Unable to play or download Song/Music library - error message received

These errors are affecting some but not all MM Platforms. If you are experiencing any of the above errors, we have raised this with the developer as a matter of urgency so please do not raise a ticket for these. If you notice any other problems then do email us on platform@makingmusic.org.uk so that we can look into these.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will keep you updated once we have more information from the developer. If this issue has not been resolved by the close of business this evening then do keep checking your Platforms across the weekend.

Twitter Feed Update 17.08.2023

Due to a change in Twitter's own Policy, the Platform's integrated Twitter feed - which you may have on your Homepage (and other pages) - can now only be seen if the viewer is logged into their Twitter account on their browser. This means that members of the Public viewing your site without being logged in to their Twitter account will simply see the following message: 

Unfortunately, it does not look as if this is a feature that Twitter will be reversing and is therefore something to be aware of if you are currently using this feature on your Platform.

New: Making Music Platform Video Guidance Page 17.08.2023

You may be aware of Making Music's Platform Service Hub - a place to find all our Platform Guides nicely organised, as well as a link to all the Latest News. We've now added a new section, the Video guidance for using your MM Platform page. 

In here, we will be posting recordings of our Platform Events, as well as future video guidance clips created by the Platform team. Make sure to keep an eye on this page!

Hiding or Showing Position-Holder Pictures on the Officer's Page 18.07.2023

The developer has now introduced a new privacy feature, on the request of Making Music Platform users. This privacy option gives you the choice between hiding or showing the profile pictures of your position-holders on the default Officers page.

 

To find this option:

  1. Click on the cog in the top-right corner of your page.
  2. Click the top-most cog on the next page.
  3. In this Website Setup and Configuration Page, navigate to the 4th tab entitled Configuration.
  4. Scroll down to the Privacy section, and either tick or un-tick the box called 'Show photos of position-holders on positions page?'.
  5.  

  6.  

You are done.

Google Drive and Box.com Song Integration 18.07.2023

Google Drive and Box.com Song Integration

Last November the developer released a great feature for your Song Library - the ability to simply embed into a song's page an existing Dropbox folder full of song files (PDF sheet music, MP3 learning tracks, etc). This prevented the need to manually upload each file to each song's page (as long as you had your files organised nicely in Dropbox).

As soon as this was released, several members requested the same thing for Google Drive and Box.com - at the time however, Google/Box didn't offer such a thing. Now, it is possible, and so both have now been integrated into the Platform.

If you have a folder in your Google Drive/Box.com containing the song files (PDF, MP3, etc) for one song, then you can easily and simply embed that folder into the song's page in your Platform.

For Google Drive, when it's embedded in the page, it will look like this:

image-20230711163037-1.jpeg

 

And for Box.Com it will look like this:

image-20230711164100-1.png

 

This means that you would no longer need to attach files to each song in your Platform, which usually means uploading the files from your own computer, either one by one or one set of learning tracks at a time.

 

To do this for Google Drive:

  1. Log into Google Drive
  2. Right-click the folder in question
  3. Select the Share option
  4. In the Share pop-up, in the General access section, pull down the list with the heading Restricted, and select Anyone with the link

    image-20230711163037-2.png

  5. Click the Copy link button
  6. Click the Done button
  7. Whilst logged into your Platform as an administrator, visit the song's page, and click the Update button
  8. Click the Integrations tab
  9. Paste the link into the "Google Drive Folder Share URL" box. The link will look something like this:

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY_abcdefghij?usp=sharing

  10. Save your changes.
  11.  

To do this for Box.com:

  1. Log into Box.com
  2. Navigate into the folder in question
  3. Click the blue Share button, top-right
  4. In the Share pop-up, click the Invite as editor drop-down, and select Viewer

    image-20230711164157-2.png

  5. Below that, in the Share link section, click the Copy button
  6. Logged into your HarmonySite as an administrator, visit the song's page, and click the Update button
  7. Click the Integrations tab
  8. Paste the link into the "Box.com Folder Share URL" box.  The link will look something like this:

    https://app.box.com/s/abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

  9. Save your changes.
  10.  

That's it! Not only is this quick and easy, it doesn't use up any of your Platform's space allowance.

 

Further to this:

  • All files can be opened, viewed and played directly from the new embedded box on the song's page.
  • You can still use the existing Platform feature for uploading files and resources, especially if the resource you want to attach to the song is a YouTube video. All files that have been uploaded to a song will still be accessible to your members in the normal way. In other words, this new system does not affect anything at all - except giving you another option for providing a song's files to your members.
  • A downside to this new feature is that you can't track which of your members have downloaded each Google Drive file.
  • Unfortunately, there is no similar feature available for Microsoft OneDrive as they do not allow integration in the same way.
Making Music Platform System error update 31.05.2023

Following on from our email sent yesterday regarding the MM Platform system error we are writing to confirm that this has now been fixed. The error which occurred around 4pm had an impact on the ability to login to the Platforms which was due to an error on the MM Platform database. The developer has confirmed that this database has now been restored and the error resolved. He has however advised that if any changes were made to the member database page on Tuesday 30 May between 2am - 4pm then these may need redoing. 

If you notice that an individual is still not able to log in to the group's Platform and they are receiving an error message along the lines of 'can't reach this page...took too long to respond' it is likely that their IP address has been blocked by the server. In this case they can unblock their IP address quickly by following the instructions in the IP address unblocker tool:

We are sorry for any inconvenience which this error may have caused and if you have any questions during this time then please don't hesitate to contact us at platform@makingmusic.org.uk

Making Music Platform System error 30.05.2023

We are emailing to advise you of a Platform error that has occurred which means that some individuals are currently unable to login to their Making Music Platforms. We are currently working with the developer to get this error resolved as soon as possible and will be in contact with you again as soon as we have more information.

We are sorry for any inconvenience which this error may cause and if you have any questions during this time then please don't hesitate to contact us at platform@makingmusic.org.uk

Changing the Font Size for the new theme (Mercury) 11.05.2023

Further to the Dark vs Light mode, you can now adjust the website's Font Size if using the Mercury theme as well.

We often get requests from groups to increase the size of the font throughout their site, often for accessibility reasons. That change can be made for the group, but that change will affect your entire Platform. The new Mercury theme allows everyone to have their MM Platform look just the way they want it – members can individually change the font size for only their Platform, on their browser.

The options for changing the Font Size are found in the same place as the new Dark Mode:

If you want this new option available for your members (and the new Dark Mode), you'll need to switch to the Mercury theme. This new option is not available in any of our other themes.

Note: It's always been possible to change the font size in your website's configuration (in the Custom CSS field on the Appearance tab - such a change affects all users of the site). If you're one of the sites that has made such a change, and if you're using or plan to switch to the Mercury theme, then the custom CSS changes you made will likely interfere with this new font-size-change option. The particular custom CSS added to your site for changing the font size will need to be removed once Mercury is the active theme. If you don't know how to do that, please let us know at platform@makingmusic.org.uk and we can do that for you.

Dark Mode for new theme (Mercury) 11.05.2023

The new Mercury theme, that we recently announced, and many of you are using, now has a Dark Mode. For those that don't know, Dark Mode is something that's available on many operating systems (Windows, Android, iOS, etc), where you - the user - can change from a predominantly white/light colour scheme to one that's predominantly black/dark. This is typically done via a clickable Toggle in the top-right hand corner.

Now your Making Music Platform offers that option too. There are 3 options:

1.    Light Mode is the default (the default that you are used to seeing)
2.    Dark Mode is new
3.    Follow System, which means that your MM Platform will automatically select light or dark mode depending on your browser's light/dark mode setting (which may in turn depend on your device's setting).

The new option to switch modes is located in the top-right corner when you're logged in:

The change you make applies to only you. Each member gets to decide their own preference. The preference is stored in a browser cookie.

Our demo site (https://demo.makingmusicplatform.com/) looks like this in Light Mode:

When switched to the new Dark Mode, it looks like this:

This is now live and available on your MM Platform - but only if you are using the new Mercury theme. It is not available in our other themes (e.g. Stockholm). If you don't have Mercury yet, feel free to experiment with our Demo site: https://demo.makingmusicplatform.com. If you want to switch to the Mercury theme, instructions of how to do this can be found in our help guide.

Stripe Payment Gateway Upgrade – 2 Factor Authentication 11.05.2023

The developer has now completed the upgrade of the MM Platform integration with the Stripe credit card payment gateway - the company that processes all credit card transactions made through MM Platform. If you use stripe payments on your platform then process wise, there is not much change – the main change is what your customers see when they click the Pay with Card button.

This is what your customers used to see:

And this is what they see now:

Instead of a pop-up, the customer is redirected to a separate payment page (hosted on the Stripe servers). In all other respects, the experience and the process are the same. Your funds from the purchase still arrive into your Stripe account (and your bank account) the same way, and your Stripe account is not affected. This new security is transparent and automatic. The Stripe system looks at each attempt at payment, and if it deems it to be risky, it will ask the customer to confirm the payment - usually via text message or email (this is the 2 factor authentication feature). In most scenarios this extra 2FA step will not happen – it is up to Stripe’s algorithm to determine whether this 2FA is beneficial or not. For most transactions, however, it will just be as before: the customer will enter their credit card details, click pay, and they are done.

This new system is still new within MM Platforms, so if you experience any unexpected behaviour then please contact us.

New Member’s Area Icons 11.05.2023

A set of 71 new Member Area Icons have now been added to all Making Music Platforms. Many of you made suggestions for new icons, and most were added (some were omitted if they were too similar to other icons). There is now total of 105 possible icons, which you can find on our demo site: https://demo.makingmusicplatform.com/dbpage.php?pg=hsicons. Note that the page simply lists available icons - it's not a whole new set of functions for your Platform and clicking on an icon on that page will not do anything.

These icons can be used in your Making Music Platform main member’s area (which can be found by clicking on the members home button at the top right hand corner of your Platform), for your members to click on to access a particular page within your site. If you want to use one of the new icons then complete the following instructions:

  1. Ensure you're logged in as a Webmaster (or as a Data Administrator with permissions to edit Navigation Links).
  2. Click the Admin link in the top-right corner to view your Admin Dashboard.
  3. Click the Site Navigation Menu link:
  4. Either click the Add new navigation link button in the top-right corner, or click the little Update icon to the right of the existing navigation link that you wish to change
  5. Fill out the following fields, if necessary:
    • Enter any Text to display you want
    • Nominate the page that the icon should link to (select it from the drop-down list called Page from this website)
    • The Parent should be your main Members menu (this is the menu item that your members click to access their Members Dashboard). Usually this is called Public Access - Members (80) (or similar).
    • The Display ranking specifies where this icon should be positioned within the set of icons. If you get it wrong, the icon can easily be dragged into a better position, if necessary, on the Site Navigation Menu page
    • The Members page icon field is the important one here. Just below the spot for the icon, there's some yellow help text. In that help text there's a link called Members Area Icons:

Click that link to see all available icons to choose from. When you have chosen the one you want, copy its name (e.g. icon-assessments.png), and paste it into the spot on the previous page. IMPORTANT:  You must also copy/paste the text in the yellow help box that reads /brostools/applications/singing/images/icons/ - so the contents of that box will look something like: /brostools/applications/singing/images/icons/icon-assessments.png

  • The Members page text field is optional text that members will see in a little pop-up tooltip when they hover their mouse over the icon on the main Members page
  • Ignore the Display ranking in footer box
  • Set the Access Level required to either Restricted Member Access or Regular Member Access, dependent on whom you wish to access that particular funcitonality.
  • Do not select anything from the Only display up to drop-down.

6.    Click Save at the bottom when you're done.
7.    Visit your main Members page, and you'll see your new icon.

If the available icons don't meet your needs, you can also add a new icon to your main Members page with any text on it (but no picture). For example:

To do so, follow the steps above, and make sure:
•    The Text to display at the top of the Navigation link Details page is set to the text you want on the icon
•    In the Members page icon field put: /brostools/applications/singing/images/icons/icon-blank.png

That's it – you are done. If the text you entered for the icon is too big, and it is truncated or overflows, please email platform@makingmusic.org.uk and we can fix it for you (or if you know CSS, you can fix it yourself!).

Making Music Platform Event for current users - Register now! 11.05.2023

On Thursday 1 June, at 2pm, we will be hosting an event for all MM Platform users. This event is called Making Music Platform Current Users: Settings and Admin Features Explained (online event) and will focus on the following:

  • Permission Levels: Setting permission levels for members & pages, and how they correlate.
  • Website Pages vs Navigation Links: How to build pages and place them in menus.
  • Website Setup and Configuration: All your Platform’s settings in one place.
  • Admin Dashboard: All the tools an administrator needs, and how they are categorised.
  • Member’s Area: Organising and presenting tools for members.

Register on our website now to learn more about how you can use your MM Platform from our dedicated MM Platform Support Officer. Book your place here.

Domain name management price update for .uk domain names (excluding .org.uk and .co.uk) 19.04.2023

We have been advised by the developer that he is increasing the fees for anyone using the domain name management service who has a domain which ends in .uk. Please note that this does not include any domains which end in .org.uk or .co.uk and refers specifically to those ending in .uk only. The new cost for the domain name management service for .uk domains will be £30 inclusive of VAT per year. If we already manage your domain and this does end in .uk then the new charges will be reflected when the groups MM Platform is up for renewal.

Minor Gmail issue Addressed 19.04.2023

Recently there has been a small issue where emails sent from the Send Email page in your Making Music Platform to Gmail recipients were having a problem where the images in the emails were not being shown correctly. If the emails were downloaded to some other email programme (e.g. Microsoft Outlook), then the images would be displayed fine in that email programme - just not within Gmail itself.

The issue is now resolved. Images sent from the "Send Email" page in your Making Music Platform to Gmail recipients will now be visible inside Gmail.

What is the Mercury theme and how do we adopt it? 19.04.2023

Your MM Platform comes with a selection of visual themes.  Each theme is a design for your website, a way of presenting your website's content to site visitors and members.  It is possible to change the entire look of your site quite easily, and which theme you choose is simply a matter of personal preference. As standard, all MM Platforms are set up using the Stockholm theme.

The newest theme the developer has created is called the Mercury theme. It is an elegant theme that sits well with modern web fashions with the home page slideshow taking up the whole screen. Similar to the Stockholm theme, the Mercury theme is mobile-friendly which means that viewing and navigating the groups Platform on a mobile phone or tablet will be seamless.

The theme looks like this (on our Demo site).  Naturally it will look different with your logo, colours and photos.

 

What is the process for changing to the new Mercury theme?

You have two main choices for changing themes:

  1. You can do it yourself - if you are comfortable with basic HTML skills. Full details on how to do it are below, but the basic steps are:
    1. Select the new theme in the website configuration
    2. Upload a new logo
    3. Replace the photos in your slideshow with new versions that have a different size
    4. Replace the HTML in your Home page (we provide the new HTML, below).  This requires a basic competence with HTML (not expert).
    5. Replace the HTML in your site footer's Contact Us area (we provide the new HTML, below)
    6. Replace the HTML on your Contact Points page (we provide the new HTML, below)
  2. Or the developer can do it for you. This will costs a one-time fee of £30+VAT if you would prefer the developer to do this process for you.

 

What do I need to get started?

No matter whether you choose to do it yourself or ask us to do it, before any changes can be made, you should read the following checklist:

1) Logo.  The first thing you may need is a new logo.  In the new Mercury theme, the logo will be sitting on a black background.  This is a departure from the other themes, where the logo sat on a white background (or you had two versions of your logo - one for a white background and one for a dark/black background). So your logo should not have any black in it - the black won't show when the logo sits on a black background.

By way of illustration, here is an example of a suitable logo:

Note that it's a transparent logo, with no black in it. Here's what it looks like when the same logo sits on a black background

Here's an example of a logo that's NOT suitable (note this is a different logo from above)

Note it has a few black elements. It looks fine on a white background (above), but on a black background it doesn't work

So you may need to create a new version of your logo. You will need the logo to be:

    1. PNG format (GIF is also fine)
    2. Transparent background
    3. Little or no black
    4. Anti-aliased to look good when placed on a black background.
    5. Landscape layout
    6. Around a 3:1 aspect ratio is ideal (e.g. 300 x 100 pixels).  Variations on this are fine
    7. The size should be no bigger than around 150 pixels high

2) Home page slideshow photos.  If you are currently using the Stockholm theme with the full-screen slideshow format, then you don't need to change any slideshow photos - your existing photos will be suitable for the new theme.

If you're not using the Stockholm theme, or are using Stockholm with the regular slideshow format (where each slide/photo is exactly 1150 x 448 pixels), then you will need to change your photos.  You would need to go back to the original high-resolution versions of the photos in your existing slideshow and create new versions - crop/resize the originals anew to be suitable for the new theme. Or you can simply start with entirely new photos.

In the Stockholm theme, with the regular (non-full-screen) slideshow layout, each photo needed to be exactly 1150 x 448 pixels, In the new theme, slideshow photos should be approximately 1200 x 800 pixels in size.  If each photo has an aspect ratio of about 4:3 or 3:2, and its width is between 1000 and 2000 pixels, then it should be fine.

Every other aspect of your site will automatically adjust itself to the new theme - with three manual changes required by you (see below).

Instructions for adopting the new Mercury theme

If you prefer to do this yourself, here are the full step-by step instructions for changing themes.

Note that we have designed these instructions so that if you change your mind or get stuck at any point, you can reverse your changes and go back to the previous theme.

 

Ensure you're logged in to your MM Platform with full Webmaster privileges before beginning:

 

Step 1. Switch on the new theme

  1. Click the cog icon in the top-right corner of the site 
  2. On the Website Setup and Configuration page, click the top cog icon next to where the type is Making Music Platform
  3. Click the Appearance tab
  4. Make a note of your existing Visual theme
  5. Change the Visual theme to Mercury
  6. Acknowledge the information box that pops up
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save

The new theme will take effect instantly.

 

Step 2.  Home page slideshow photos

Visit your home page.  If your previous theme was Stockholm and you were using the full-screen format of the slideshow, your slideshow may look fine.  If so, there is nothing else for you to do in this step.

If you were previously using the Stockholm theme with the non-full-screen slideshow layout, or any other previous theme, then you'll need to change each of your slideshow photos.  For each photo, you'll need to do the following

  1. Locate the original high-resolution photo (on your computer - not in your MM Platform
  2. Make a backup copy
  3. Using some photo-editing software, crop/resize the photo so that it's approximately 1200 x 800 pixels.
  4. In your MM Platform, click the Admin link top-right
  5. Click the link called Banners (home page) (on the Website Content line, in the middle column)
  6. Locate the slide that corresponds to your photo, and click its Update button
  7. Find the spot to replace the existing photo with the new one you've just prepared
  8. Click Save at the bottom

 

Step 3.  Remaining home-page content

As every MM Platform is different, the remaining content on your home page may not look right. If the home page looks fine to you, you can skip this section.

The rough process for updating your Home page is:

  1. Save a copy of your existing Home page content (HTML), into Notepad or similar
  2. Copy and paste our default Home page content into your Home page (link below), overwriting what's there
  3. Bit by bit, copy your saved Home page content back into the page,

Note that this requires you to have a basic competence with HTML.

The full process is as follows:

  1. Visit your home page
  2. Click the edit button in the bottom-right corner
  3. Click the Content tab
  4. On the big box that contains all the existing content of your home page, click the Source button in the toolbar
  5. Highlight all the HTML source code (Ctrl-A) and copy it (Ctrl-C).  Open up a simple text editor, like Notepad, and paste it (Ctrl-V).  Save it - you will need it in the latter steps
  6. Ensure that you're still in Source view
  7. Click this link:  New home page text   It opens in a new window.
  8. Highlight all of the text (Ctrl-A) and copy and paste it into the Source view of the page contents box, overwriting any text in there already
  9. Switch out of Source view to see what the new content looks like (by clicking the Source button again)
  10. It will look better if you click the icon to view the editor full screen - the icon looks like this:
  11. This is the tricky step.  This is where you need your HTML skills. Bit by bit, copy the content from the safe copy of your actual content (above), and paste it into the right place in your Home page.  You can do this either in Source view or in regular view, whichever makes more sense to you. Be sure to copy only the useful content from your saved backup - not the entire HTML code! Unless you're an expert at this, you are likely to make mistakes. Feel free to use the undo system (Ctrl-Z), or revert back to an earlier saved version and start again.
  12. Click Save at the bottom when you're done.

If you have trouble with any of this, please do contact us at platform@makingmusic.org.uk.

 

Step 4.  Contact Points page

Your existing Contact Points page will also need an update.

The process is very similar to what you just did with the Home page (above):

  1. Visit your Contact Points page
  2. Click the edit button in the bottom-right corner
  3. Click the Content tab
  4. On the big box that contains all the existing content of your home page, click the Source button in the toolbar
  5. Highlight all the HTML source code (Ctrl-A) and copy it (Ctrl-C).  Open up a simple text editor, like Notepad, and paste it (Ctrl-V).  Save it - you will need it in the latter steps.
  6. Ensure that you're still in Source view
  7. Click this link:  New contact page text it opens in a new window.
  8. Highlight all of THAT text (Ctrl-A) and copy and paste it into the Source view of the page contents box, overwriting any text in there already.
  9. Switch out of Source view by clicking the Source button again
  10. Switch into full screen view (as per screenshot above)
  11. Again, bit by bit, copy the content from the safe copy of your actual content (above), and paste it into the right place in your Contact page.  You can do this either in Source view or in regular view, whichever makes more sense to you.
    Be sure to copy only the useful content from your saved backup - not the entire HTML code!

     
  12. Click Save at the bottom when you're done.

Again, if you have trouble with any of this, contact us on platform@makingmusic.org.uk.

 

Step 5.  Contact Us box - home page footer

The Contact Us section of the footer of most public-facing pages also needs a tweak.

The process is similar to the previous two steps:

  1. Click the "cog" icon in the top-right corner of the site 
  2. On the Website Setup and Configuration page, click the cog icon next to Making Music Platform
  3. Click the Footer/Sidebar tab
  4. In the Footer section, locate the Text for contact slideshow area field, and click its Source box
  5. As before, copy all the code there and paste it somewhere safe
  6. Click this link:  New contact footer box text it opens in a new window.
  7. Highlight all of the text (Ctrl-A) and copy and paste it into the Source view of the Text for contact_slideshow area field, overwriting any text in there already
  8. Switch out of Source view by clicking the Source button again. No need for full screen mode this time.
  9. Again, bit by bit, copy the content from the safe copy of your actual content (above), and paste it into the right place.  You can do this either in Source view or in regular view, whichever makes more sense to you.
    Click Save at the bottom when you're done
  10. Return to the home page to examine the results

Again, if you have queries with any of this then please do contact us on platform@makingmusic.org.uk.

New Visual theme (Mercury) 19.04.2023

We are pleased to announce the developer has now released a new theme (visual style) for Making Music Platforms called Mercury. If you want to give your Platform a new look, you can adopt this new theme in a few short steps. It would be a bit like having a new/redesigned website, but with all your existing content – you don’t have to do this, as the existing themes will remain active indefinitely. However, if your Making Music Platform is still using one of the older themes (NextElement, Sparta or BHA), we would recommend that you switch to one of the newer themes (Mercury or Stockholm), as the older ones are not mobile-friendly.

To see what the new theme looks like, check out our Demo Site using this new theme: demo.makingmusicplatform.com

You are welcome to log into the Members area (Username: demo Password: Platform1234!) to see what that looks like with the new styling. Please note that the demo site will be reverted back to the Stockholm theme on the 19 May.

Benefits of this new theme (compared to Stockholm)

  • It's visually bolder, and more impressive.
  • The photos in the Home page slideshow now don't need to be exact sizes. The size recommendations are more flexible and forgiving.
  • When editing the Home page, the content in the page-editing window now looks almost exactly like the actual Home page. This is an improvement on the page-editing window in the Stockholm theme. This will make editing the Home page easier and less prone to causing errors.
  • Your site will be a little faster to load.
  • [Future Update] The developer has a plan to include a simple one-click ‘dark mode’ - so each site visitor can choose whether they want to see the site in ‘dark mode’ or the default ‘light mode’ (only affecting them, not anyone else).  The developer may also be introducing a simple one-click ‘make the font-size bigger/smaller’, so that each visitor can choose their own font size. We will keep you updated about if and when these features have been implemented

Drawbacks of using the new theme

  • As with the existing Stockholm theme with the full screen slideshow layout, your slideshow photos that have been created by graphic designers (i.e. not plain photos) will seldom show in their entirety. The portion of the graphic that's show in the slideshow will vary based on the visitor's browser window size and aspect ratio, and therefore parts of the graphic may be cropped out on the left/right sides.

To switch to this new theme you will need:

  1. A version of your logo suitable for a dark background. It should typically be a PNG or GIF file and have a transparent background. You may already have a logo for a dark background. If you're using our existing Stockholm theme and are using the full screen layout for the Home page slideshow, then you likely already have a suitable logo. That logo will need to replace your existing logo for white backgrounds.
  2. New photos for your slideshow.  Most current Making Music Platforms require that the slideshow photos be exactly 1150 x 448 pixels. This new theme does not require exact sizes for slideshow photos - instead they should be approximately 1200 x 800 pixels. They will be shown full screen (as you see in the Demo site). Unless you're already using a full-screen slideshow, then your existing slideshow photos might be cropped off or may look pixelated.
  3. Some basic working knowledge of HTML, and about 30-60 minutes to make the change. If you don't have such knowledge, or don't have the inclination to do the change yourselves, we can do it for you, for a £30 + VAT one-time fee.

To help make this change take a look at the step-by-step help guide: What is the Mercury theme and how do we adopt it?

Please keep in mind that this theme is brand new and may have some minor issues to begin with. If anything in your Making Music Platform doesn't look right with the new theme, simply report this to platform@makingmusic.org.uk, and we'll fix it.

How to recognise a scam email 15.03.2023

Whenever you decide to create a public facing website, such as many of your Making Music Platform’s provide, it is often useful to publish information about your group – such as the name and email of the Music Director, or of the membership secretary.

This information, whilst important to have visible on your site, does mean that anybody will be able to reach out, and very occasionally they may do this with bad intentions. Often, a scam email is created in the following way:

  • Scamming technology scours the internet for public names/email addresses (looking especially for words like ‘director’ or ‘treasurer’)
  • The scamming technology then creates an email address with that found name, and messages another email address on that site with a request for money/information

With a little vigilance, however, these emails are easily spotted and prevented. Here are our top tips for spotting one of these emails. Firstly, check the actual email address of the sender: Many email clients allow email addresses to show a ‘Display Name’, a bit like a nickname. Whilst this Display Name may be the name of your Chair or Treasurer, by clicking or hovering on the name you will see the actual email address behind it. This is likely to be something randomly generated, with random letters or numbers. Even if it is a more convincing looking address, it is always useful to cross-check that email address with the actual email address of the sender.

  • A scam email will often want you to act quickly (so that you overlook some of the signs that it is a scam email). This may come in the form of asking for a quick response or suggesting that it is an emergency.
  • A scam email will often be trying to obtain money, bank details, or personal information. Most often, there is a request for a bank/BACS transfer that needs to be done quickly.
  • Scam emails often use generic phrasing or formatting – they can be impersonal and to the point. Compare this with what you know of the supposed senders usual writing style. Giveaways can also be things such as the signature or send-off.

With these in mind, here are some good suggestions for what to do if you receive and identify a scam email:

  • Review the information that you have publicly available. Do you need the email addresses and names of all your committee on your public website? It may be better to have just the membership secretary and a general contact email, for example.
  • Share advice with other members of your group that you have received the scam email, so that they can be looking out for similar things.
  • If in any doubt about the origin of the email, contact the supposed sender via an alternative email or even via a phone number to confirm whether they sent it. It is good practice to do this kind of double confirmation when discussing financial or sensitive information.
  • Let us know of the scam email (or other scams related to the Platform) on platform@makingmusic.org.uk. We will then be able to make groups aware of these attempts and what to look out for.
  • Stay vigilant – scammers may change their tactic or try something new, so always be careful if something doesn’t look right.
New MMP visual theme 15.03.2023

The Platform developers are preparing to release a new theme (visual style) for Making Music Platforms in the next few weeks. When it's released, in a few short steps you will be able to adopt it for your Platform, to give it a new look. It would be a bit like having a new/redesigned website, but with all your existing content.

You are under no obligation to switch your Platform to the new theme - the existing themes will remain active indefinitely. Switching to the new theme will take about 30 minutes' work:

You will need:

  • A version of your logo suitable for a dark background. It should typically be a PNG or GIF file and have a transparent background.
  • New photos for your slideshow. Most current Platforms require that the slideshow photos be exactly 1150 x 448 pixels. This new theme does not require exact sizes for slideshow photos, but they should be approximately 1200 x 700 pixels as they will be shown full screen. Your existing slideshow photos will still work, but they may look pixelated or distorted.
  • Some basic knowledge of HTML. If you don't have such knowledge, or don't have the inclination to do the change yourselves, the developers will be happy to do this for a one-off fee of £30 (+ VAT)

Further details on implementing this theme will be announced at the time of release.

Event Audits can now be exported to CSV 13.02.2023

If your event has one or more member audits attached to it, the details of these audits can now be exported to a CSV file, for opening in Excel or similar. To do this:

  • Navigate to the Event's page
  • Scroll down to the Audits section
  • Click Export to CSV
Member Name badges can now have photos on them 13.02.2023

If you feel comfortable using HTML, you can now include a member's photo on their name badge (assuming the member has a photo in the system). To automatically include the photo on all member's badges:

  • Navigate to the Members section of the Admin Dashboard and click Print Name Badges.
  • Click Update Badge Design
  • Add the shortcode [Thumbnail] into the Badge template wherever you'd like it.
  • For optimal formatting, click Source in the editor window, and edit the HTML as you see fit.
Stripe fees and SMS fees 13.02.2023

Stripe Price Increase - Stripe has officially announced that they will be increasing their transcation fees from 1.4% (+£0.20) to 1.5% (+£0.20)* from the 10 April 2023. That means that if you are using Stripe through the MM Platform, you will be charged 1.5% + £0.70 per transaction. For further details on our Payment Gateways, including all breakdowns of fees charged, please look at our payment gateways compared guidance.

*For Premium UK cards (commercial & business Visa/Mastercard) paying on your Platform, Stripe has alternative pricing. Please email us if this will affect you.

SMS Fees - If your group uses MM Platform's SMS/texting functionality, Making Music will now be sending you an invoice for these text messages at the same time as you receive your standard renewal invoice. Each SMS costs 8p +VAT to send (for example, if you were to send the same text message to 10 people, it would cost 80p +VAT), and we will be invoicing your group on all SMS messages sent from December 2022 onwards.

Spam Protection for Shopping Cart 26.01.2023

The developer has now created a way for the Shopping Cart system to have an added layer of protection, via the 'I am not a robot' challenge. Whilst this feature is not required for secure payments, it is available to groups who believe that they would benefit from having this added to their shopping cart system. To have this extra layer of security added, please contact us at platform@makingmusic.org.uk

Assessments Configuration Change 26.01.2023

In your website configuration there used to be a field where you specified how long (in days) before an assessment expires (if you set it to 0, then assessments never expire). This option has been moved. It's now part of the Assessment Result Types system, meaning that every assessment result type (e.g. Passed, Nearly there, Please resubmit, etc) has its own expiry setting. So now your assessments can expire at different times, depending on the result of the assessment.

To adjust an assessment result type's expiry, visit your Admin Dashboard, then click on the Assessment Result Types link in the right-hand column on the Songs line.

In-site Backups 26.01.2023

Currently, your Making Music Platform has a system for tracking any change to the various database records in your system (members, events, website pages, etc - in fact everything in the system). This logging of changes can be enabled for any part of your system (go to your Admin Dashboard and click on Log Changes). The system will track updates and deletes for the areas you specify.  You can even elect to have notification of changes emailed to a specific email address.

The developer has added a new element to this system: Whenever a change is logged, the old version of the item is stored, in full, in the change-log (in other words, a backup). This now allows you to rewind/revert to a previous version of the thing that was changed.

For example, if you have the logging of changes enabled for Website Pages, and then someone makes a change to a page in your system, then a copy of the entire page, as it was before the change was made, is stored within the system that logs the changes. You can easily restore the old version of the page (overwriting the version with the changes in it). This is useful if you ever make a mistake in a change and want to go back to how it was before the change.

The developer has enabled this change-logging system now on every Platform and enabled the logging of changes to Website Pages specifically. This means that every change anyone makes to any page in your system (including your home page) is now logged, and you can revert to any previous version at any time. You are welcome to enable this for more areas of your system, besides Website Pages, if you want.

To revert to an earlier version of a Website Page, use the following instructions:

  1. Go to your Admin Dashboard
  2. Click the Log Changes link (on the Website Config/Info line)
  3. Scroll down to Website Pages
  4. Click the View link next to the number in the right-hand column (which represents the number of logged changes that have been made to all pages)
  5. Look in the ‘Backup available?’ column for a Revert button next to the change to the page you want restored. The version of the page shown in the ‘Old value’ column will be restored, replacing the current (incorrect) version of the page.

If you contact us to advise that a change has been made on a website page that you would like to undo we will simply revert it the most recent version in the change-log. You can then attempt the change again. If you still have any problems then email us with the exact changes you want made and we'll revert the page again before making the changes you want.

2022

Dropbox Folder Integration - Integrate whole folders of songs with only 1 link - 30.11.2022

If your group uses Dropbox to share music files with your members, then this new feature could be really important for you. It is now possible in your Making Music Platform to embed on a song's page all the files from one Dropbox folder in one simple action, by copying-and-pasting one web-address. An example of this can be seen below:

You now no longer need to attach files to each song in your Platform (previously this meant uploading the files from your own computer, one by one). Instead, you can now do the following:

  1. Log into Dropbox and obtain the 'Share' link for the folder containing the song's files (note that members will have access to all files in that particular folder). This is done in different ways, depending on where you do it - via the Dropbox website, on a Windows computer, on a Mac, for example. Generally speaking, you locate the specific folder in your Dropbox storage, right-click on it (or similar), and locate the 'Share' option. Share the folder (usually for viewing only, not editing) and you'll be presented with a Dropbox Share link, which would look something like this: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/abcdefghijklmno/ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY?dl=0 (Note the "?dl=0" bit at the end. That's needed, so make sure it's included.)
  2. Copy the Share link
  3. Back in your Platform, update the song, and paste the Share link into the new field:

    1. Save your changes

You are now done. This is a quick and effective way to provide access to many files. Things to note about this new feature:

All files can be opened, viewed, played directly in the new Dropbox area of the song's page - that folder can even contain sub-folders.

  • For those of you without Unlimited Storage, it doesn't use up any of your Platform account's 1000mb Storage Space allowance. 

  • You cannot track which of your members have downloaded each Dropbox file.

  • You can still use the existing Making Music feature for uploading files and resources, especially if the resource you want to attach to the song is a YouTube video. 

  • All files that have previously been uploaded to a song will still be accessible to your members in the normal way.

Scheduled Tasks - 15.07.2022

Scheduled Tasks

This new additional feature allows you to save time by automating tasks that you would otherwise run manually, Certain tasks can be scheduled to run at certain times of the day or month. 

Examples of such tasks may include:

  • Perform regular member invoicing (invoice any member whose fees have recently become due)
  • Send reminders for overdue invoices
  • Send a reminder email to anyone that has not responded to a request for event-availability
  • Send a text message to all members
  • Send a specific email to group of people
  • Back up the member database to a CSV file
  • Or anything else that you can think of that can be programmed to run in an unattended way

Tasks can be run:

  • Every fixed number of minutes (e.g. every 5 minutes, or every hour)
  • At a specific time of the day
  • On a specific day (or days) of the week
  • On a specific day of the month

If you are interested in using this additional feature then there is a fee for doing so, this costs £18 (per annum), let us know if you would like us to enable this for you. If you do pay to enable this system, you would not be limited to the tasks outlined above. You can also request other scheduled tasks you think would be useful and if possible, they will be developed for you. 

This feature is now also visible in your Platform. There is a page on your Admin Dashboard called Scheduled Tasks. But as advised above this will only be enabled once requested and paid for.

Search by Order or Invoice number - 11.07.2022

Search by Order/Invoice number

On the Orders/Invoices/Bookings/Donations page which can by found on your Admin Dashboard, you can now search using the invoice number.

Home page banners - 11.07.2022

Banners Administration

In Platform, a banner is the term used to refer to a photo which shows in the slideshow on your home page. The developer has now improved the Platform to make it easier to resize and move the optional text box overlaying the banner as well as reorder the photos which appear in the slideshow.

To do this you will need to go to the new link on the Admin Dashboard called Banners (home page) (the one in the centre column not the one in the right hand column). From this link you can easily reorder the banner by dragging and dropping the banners up and down.

You can also resize and/reposition each banner's text box by clicking on the Adjust Quote box link for each banner. When you click on the Adjust quote box link this will take you to a separate page

Repositioning the quote box is done by either (a) entering numbers into the Top and Left boxes or by (b) double clicking with your mouse on the banner photo where the quote box should be.

Resizing the quote box is done either by (a) entering numbers into the Width and Height boxes at the bottom of the page, or (b) dragging with your mouse the resize handle (a small triangular ridged area in the bottom right hand corner of the quote box). If you click and hold down your mouse about a millimetre in from the bottom right corner of the quote box and start moving your mouse, you should see the quote box move.

You will need to click the save button at the bottom of the page to save all of your changes.

 

Large files report - 06.05.2022

Large Files Report

There is a new page in your Platform which allows you to find out the largest files that have been uploaded to your site. This is particularly useful for any group who do not have the unlimited storage option and they want to find out which items are taking up the most of their storage space.

The page also indentifies empty files that have been uploaded to your Platform (files that have been uploaded but something went wrong and no data actually got uploaded). You can find this new page by going to your Admin Dashboard and under the website content section click on the link which says Large Files.

 

Merchandise items can now be picked up from regular meetings/rehearsals - 06.05.2022

Merchandise items can now be picked up from regular meetings/rehearsals

If you sell merchandise through your Platform you can now offer buyers the option to collect the items from your regular rehearsal/meeting venue. This is enabled on an item by item basis, so update each item that you would like to make available for pick up and tick the box called Allow free pick up from regular meeting/rehearsal

The buyer will then be able to select free pick up or pay for shipping/delivery at the time they add the item to their cart.

Riser Stacks can now work for Multiple Ensembles - 06.05.2022

Riser stacks can now work on multiple ensembles

If you have multiple ensembles set up within your Platform and sometimes those ensembles perform together on stage at the same time, then you can now create riser stacks that work on all members from the combined ensembles.

To enable this for any stack you would need to update the riser stack and tick the box next to each ensemble you would like to include.

Please note that if a member has different voice parts in each ensemble, then the voice part shown on the combined stack will be chosen at random. 

Print offline tickets for Events - 06.05.2022

Print offline tickets for events  (including complimentary tickets)

It is now possible to print tickets for any event that you are selling tickets for within your Platform, and the system will track how many tickets have been created in this way.

From the event's page click the Manage tickets link at the top of the page and then click the Print Offline tickets link

Donations Report and offline donations - 06.05.2022

Donations Report

The developer has created a new report which lists only donations made to your group. If you have multiple donation targets (what the donation is to be used for) then the report also shows the breakdown for each target. This report can be found by going to the Admin Dashboard and under the financials section there is a link called Donations report.

 

Offline donations

Sometimes members may make donations to your group in person and not via your Platform (e.g. giving cash or a cheque at a rehearsal for example). The developer has now created a way to record these donations in your Platform which will then appear on the donation report outlined above. You can do this by going to the members's profile page and just below the orders section and above the donation section you will see a link which says Record one paid donation from this member. Click the link and complete the donation details. Once completed the member will be issued with a receipt automatically by the system

2020/2021

Adding non-members to the Platform database 25.08.2021

If someone places an order for merchandise, books a ticket to an event or makes a donation, you can now easily add them to the member database. You wil first need to visit the page which contains the details of the order/booking/donation for that individual. Next to the individuals name you will then see a Add to member database button. Please note that this button will only show if the order/booking etc. was not placed by a logged in members

You can now sub-categorise posts and documents on the bulletin board 24.02.2021

The developer has added a required field to all documents and posts which has been called Sub-type. All existing documents and posts will now automatically be set as the Sub-type of 'No Sub-type'. If you do not want to sub-categorise your documents then you can just leave the items under this sub-category. If you do want to use sub-types then you first need to create new ones using the instructions outlined below.

How to create new sub-types

  1. When logged in as a administrator, visit the Bulletin Board page or the Documents page
  2. Click on the name of any posts/documents
  3. Click the 'update' button at the top of the page
  4. In the Sub-type section click the link called 'Click here to add/update/remove Post Sub-type items

 

5. On the next page, they'll be a button to add a new 'list item'. Click that and add the details fo the new sub-type as required

Please note that each sub-type is not actually associated to one particular type. So for example if you have two Types on your Platform - documents and videos - and you create a sub-type of 'Financial Document's' this sub-type can actually be used for either documents and videos.

Once you have assigned your documents to certain sub-types you can then view your documents grouped by these new sub-types. You can do this by going to the documents or bulletin board page and clicking on the 'Show separate groups by Sub-type' option.

 

Please note that you are unable to filter by 'Type of post' and 'Sub-type' simultaneaously.

If the set of options do not include 'Sub-type', then try the following steps:

  1. Click the little edit button in the bottom right-handed corner of the page
  2. Click the 'Data' tab
  3. You'll see a set of tickboxes called 'Show filters to the user'. Tick the box next to 'sub-type' and click the save button at the bottom to save your changes
DMARC - Email reports 30.01.2021

We have received some reports outlining that some emails sent from the platforms are ending up in recipients spam folders. After some investigation the developer has noticed that the big email poviders e.g. gmail etc. have tightened up their spam filters. It appears that if a domain does not have a DMARC record added then any email sent through that domain are more likely to end up in recipients spam folder. To help ensure that emails sent from the Platform do not end up in the recipients spam folder the Developer has now added DMARC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMARCto all Making Music Platforms.

DMARC works by: Each of the big email providers (gmail.etc) sends a report every day to the email address designated in the DMARC record. There will probably be 2 or 3 of these a day. They are not hugely important and can usually be discarded.

Each report summarises how many emails were receved by that provider in the last 24 hours from emails connected to your domain name and what happened to each (delivered, spam folder, rejected etc.) The reports sent however are in XML format which is not easy for people to understand. There are several websites which will translate the information for you and some of these are free if you are interested in reading the reports.

These emails will go to your webmaster email address e.g. webmaster@mygroup.com. Every Making Music Platform would need to have a webmaster position and related webmaster@ email address set up in order to receive these reports. The webmaster position and email address set up is very important so that you also receive other important emails such as mailing list moderation. More information about setting up positions in general can be found in the Making Music Platform project plan under week two.

Necessary to create a webmaster email address in your Platform 22.07.2020

Webmaster email address

The developer has asked that all groups create a webmaster@yourdomain email address - please note that this is different to having someone with webmaster access permissions. It is extremely important to have this position and email address set up as without it you would not know when an email to a mailing list needs moderation or could not be delivered.

How do I create a webmaster email address?

  1. Go to the Admin dashboard (Admin button at the top right of the page) and Visit the Email Addresses and Mailing Lists page which can be found in the email section of the dashboard.
  2. Click the Add new position link at the top of the page
  3. Complete the details on the page:
    1. Enter the name Webmaster for the position
    2. Select a category
    3. In the box called Email address associated with this position, select Forwarder to a member's personal email address
    4. Enter webmaster in the Email address to create box.
    5. Tick the box next to the name of the member who is your webmaster
    6. Enter a display ranking
  4. Click "Save" at the bottom
Emails can now be saved as a draft or in a separate sent emails folder 15.06.2020

When compiling emails you now have the option to save the email as a draft or in a sent emails folder. This allows you to keep sent emails and resend them with one click, if necessary. To take advantage of this feature you would need to switch it on by going to the website and configuration page (cog in top right of screen).

  • Click on the top cog
  • Under the configuration tab scroll down to the emails section. You can then select one of the following options: 

  • Once saved you will be able to view all sent emails in the Administration Dashboard, where in the email section you will now see folders which say Sent emails and Saved Draft emails.
  • Important note: If you have given certain members access over the send email function you will now need to amend their permissions slightly so that they can access the Emails Saved/Sent. Please note that this only applies to those with data administration permissions as webmasters will always be able to access this function. You can do this by going to the Administration Dashboard and then going to Logins. From here you can amend which aspects those with data administration permissions can access.

 

 

 


We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.