As reported in their last quarterly newsletter, VSI is planning on implementing a new UI (User Interface) in the near future. The user interface is the “look and feel” of the application. It defines how you interact with RecTrac. Giles Willey, President and CEO of VSI describes it as “a more modern looking style that will become the foundation for RecTrac going forward.” A re-design of the WebTrac interface is also in the works.
We do not yet know what the new UI will look like—neither for RecTrac nor WebTrac. There are no samples available yet on VSI’s Customer Support portal. However, we do think it’s likely that a demonstration will be part of VSI’s Minnesota Regional User Group Meeting in October.
The new RecTrac interface is scheduled for completion by the end of the third quarter, which means our users will likely be seeing it by the end of this year. The new WebTrac interface is scheduled for completion sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. The “VSI Roadmap” (see the graphic accompanying this article) is available from the “Customer Success Center” of VSI’s customer support portal.
You may not be aware of it, but VSI, the developers of RecTrac, provides free graphical email templates that may be used for various purposes. These templates provide an HTML-based “shell,” which allows you to deliver professional-grade marketing and other emails to households within the RecTrac database. The templates provide a solution for you that spotlights your upcoming events and registrations through customizable text, graphics, and links to URLS such as your registration pages in WebTrac, your department’s home page, or any other valid Internet location. Currently VSI has four (4) templates available, all developed with responsive design, so your patrons can receive and read the emails you generate from RecTrac on any smart phone, tablet, or computer.
The templates must be downloaded from the VSI customer support portal and uploaded into RecTrac. The process is too involved to get into in this short article, but if you want additional information, refer to Topic Doc – Graphical Email Templates for more information and setup instructions. You can also contact LOGIS RecTrac support at Rectrac@logis.org.
The “Primary Person” for a household in RecTrac is considered to be the account holder. Usually, you would want this person to be an adult. There is a method for enforcing this in both RecTrac and WebTrac. This method involves a custom screen design.
Go to Management > System Management > Screen Management > Management Screen Management and create a custom screen for Household Update. (If one already exists, simply open the existing one.)
On the Birthday Field for the Primary Person, set the MaxDate field to: “DaysFromToday|-6575”. This will ensure the Primary Person has to be at least 18 years of age. To use an age other than 18, simply adjust the |-<x> value appropriately by multiplying 365 by the minimum age desired. |-7665, for example, would be a minimum age of 21.
(Optional) You can make the field “Required” by selecting the FieldRequired option from the Advanced Field Parameters screen.
Save your changes. Be sure to apply your custom screen. Refer to the Topic Doc linked below.
You can do this for WebTrac also. Go to Management > Systems Management > WebTrac Mangement > WebTrac Management Screen Management and repeat the steps above. At this time WebTrac does not prevent the user from accessing “newer” dates on the calendar, but when validating the value it will give them a message that the birthday has to be prior to <x> date.
RecTrac has the ability to make “mass changes” to text capitalization for household, family member, and address data in the RecTrac database. This is called data “beautification” in RecTrac. The changes you can make are:
All lowercase letters
All uppercase letters
First letter of text uppercase
First letter of text uppercase and rest of text lowercase
First letter of each word uppercase
First letter of each word uppercase and rest of text lowercase
First letter of each sentence uppercase
First letter of each sentence uppercase and rest of text lowercase
You can choose from a list which fields will be affected.
To access this feature, go to Management > System Management > Miscellaneous Management > Beautify Fields. If that menu item does not appear for you, your menu will have to be changed by LOGIS RecTrac support. (Contact email@example.com.) On-line help for the screen will provide more information about how to use it.
RecTrac 3.1 relies heavily on datagrids. Datagrid columns often have configurable search fields, where you can enter text to search on and indicate how RecTrac should run the search:
“Begins With” is often the default search, but “Contains” is a much more powerful search, as it will locate the search text no matter where it is in the field. It is easy to default the search to the “Contains” type:
Begin by navigating to Management > System Management > Screen Management > Management Screen Management.
Click the “Update Default Widgets?” button at the bottom of the screen.
On the Management Screen Update screen, select the “DefaultWidget_CharacterFillin” field.
On the left side, click the pencil next to “FilterOptionDefault,” and change the option to “Contains.”
Click the check to switch it back to a pencil, then click “Done” to save.
The next time you run a search from a datagrid column, it should default to “Contains.”
If you have any questions about how to set up this feature, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may not realize it, but RecTrac has a feature where you can make quick edits to file maintenance data using “in-line” editing right on the datagrid, without opening the update screen. This can be handy if you need to make the same or similar changes to multiple items on the grid. To use in-line editing, do the following:
Click on the box in the left-most column of the datagrid item you want to change. The “stylus” icon will change into a check mark.
Locate the field (column) you want to change and change it. Note that only certain columns are eligible for changing.
Click on the box in the left-most column again. The check mark icon will change back into a stylus icon. The change is now complete.
Repeat as needed with other rows in the datagrid.
If you have further questions about in-line editing, please contact email@example.com.
VSI, the developers of RecTrac, have a quarterly newsletter available on their website that contains a lot of good information about the product and how to best use it. It usually has a column from Giles Willey, the President of VSI. For the current edition of the newsletter, Giles reflects back on 2018 and looks forward to 2019.
Most users should be getting this newsletter delivered to their email address automatically. If you do not, you can access the latest newsletter (Winter 2019) by clicking here. If you’re not getting the newsletter and would like to get on VSI’s mailing list, please contact LOGIS RecTrac support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RecTrac training videos are now available through RecTrac’s on-line help system. Previously, they were only available from Vermont Systems’ (VSI’s) customer portal, which required a login and password. Now, all you have to do is click on the question mark icon (?) on any RecTrac Screen.
In the upper-left corner of the on-line help screen that appears, click on the Table of Contents Tab. You then click on the link titled “Topic Documents, Instructional Videos, and Other Listings.” Currently, there are 35 instructional videos available on various topics. VSI often adds additional videos with new software releases.
LOGIS just hosted a RecTrac user group meeting for its members. The main purpose of this meeting was to prepare for the VSI-sponsored Minnesota regional RecTrac User Group meeting on October 25, hosted by the City of Plymouth. The preparation for the regional meeting involved gathering issues from our cities to present at that meeting. The regional meeting is a day-long affair, with lots of opportunity to get into detail about the system and network with other users.