October 2021 eCourtDate Updates Blog

3 weeks ago

The Log Blog

As I write this I feel like a certain white rabbit- ‘I’m late! For a very important date!’ It is already a few days into November here, and we need to talk about October. October is my favorite month. It is also one of my busiest- hence the late. So much to do- so much to do!
Now this October was a busy and exciting month at eCourtDate. I would have been remiss to skip telling you all about it. So here we are, another LOG BLOG. Check out what our amazing developers added and improved last month!

Saving the Best for….FIRST

Our clients LOVE Auto Messages. And what is not to love? Auto Messages help our customers eliminate tons of time-consuming (which means costly) calls and texts. They are exactly what the name implies. Messages are sent via email and/ or text automatically when triggered by a triggering event. There are loads of triggering events to choose from, and you can customize a delay or have messages default to business hours. You can even have your auto message templates saved to send manually, on demand as well.

This October Update allows you to now send downloadable files along with your auto message. How cool is that!

If you need to send documents or files when new clients are created, or new appointments are set, you can now send them simply and automatically right within the texts and emails you are sending them automatically anyway! Not only can this save you time- but it could possibly save you loads in postage and printing costs too if your agency is snail-mailing any docs that can be sent this way.

Simple. Cost effective. Efficient. Can you see why I am so jazzed about this update?

E-Mail gets some E-nhancements

OK. So that hyphen is completely unnecessary. But it is a blog, and I like my blogs to look cute. I am here to educate and to entertain. Or should I say: to e-ducate..and to….nope. Definitely not. Sorry about that. I got carried away.

So...EMAIL! If I am perfectly honest, I think email has a hard time making people excited anymore. It has been around for quite a while now, at least in tech-terms, and has become so common-place that it has lost some of its luster. Add to that the fact that this last year and a half, with more remote and hybrid work, many of us lived in our inboxes.

But perhaps we have just forgotten how awesome email really is. Email was first developed in the mid 1960s, but had become fairly prolific by the 1990s (Check out this awesome article about email), even inspiring the classic 1998 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film “You’ve Got Mail." It was a cute movie!

Now, almost 4 biillion people actively use email, and according to this article from Optin Monster, 99% of email users check their inbox at least daily. That’s a lot of people that are reachable by email. Emails not only reach a ton of people, but they are very inexpensive and super simple. So while we LOVE texts, email isn’t going anywhere, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it. We offer amazing email notification solutions, and we will continue investing in making those solutions work better for YOU- our customers!

More CC and BCC Support

In October, we added a CSV setting to the CC and BCC fields in our email settings. That was a lot of abbreviations, so let me break that down for you. CSV stands for Comma Separated Values, which is often associated with databases, tables, and data mapping. CC is Carbon Copy and BCC is Blind Carbon Copy, which are email fields you are probably already familiar with. CC is the one that sends your email to other people along with your main recipient, BCC sends to other people, but doesn’t allow your main recipient to see who else got the email. It’s sneaky.

You can now use up to 50 individual emails for each CC and sneaky BCC field, separating them with a comma. This can be great for our larger agencies who may need to include teams of folks in email notifications they are sending. The use cases here are plentiful and I know several of our agencies are really going to enjoy this enhancement!

HTML Email Template Support

We have added a “Template Layout" field to the email settings allowing you to choose the default email setting, or an HTML template. You can now use the HTML template setting to use custom HTML in the email body as well as the header, footer and signature components.

When using the HTML template, only HTML tags will format your message. Normal typeset/ keyboard formatting will not work. (For example, you will need to add line break tags, instead of hitting Enter on your keyboard.) If the template is also sent as a text or voice message, HTML tags will automatically be removed.

For the coding-savvy agencies out there, this can help you to customize the appearance of your messages and send more graphically pleasing content.

Verify and Validate that From Email

Wouldn’t it stink if all the emails you sent to your clients failed because you had a typo in the address you were sending them from? All of those client emails were uploaded properly, and your own address was a dud. Yup. That would stink.

We already automatically verify and validate the client emails, which you know if you have ever attended one of our live product demonstrations. Now we will validate your email too. We are committed to making sure your intended receiver receives your messages.

More Monthly Upload Updates

There are three cool enhancements for Uploads this month. The first is for our Multi- Agency customers. (If you are interested in becoming a multi- agency customer, and maybe adding another court, or other affiliated county, district, or state resource to expand the reach of your eCourtDate notifications, we would love to help you! Email us and we will schedule a meeting!) We added an “Agency" Upload Template field to simplify processing for our Multi-Agency folks. Now these customers can upload lists that contain multiple agencies within the same upload.

The second Uploads update has to do with your client groups for your uploads. Maybe in your agency, the vast majority of your clients are defendants, but you have the occasional client who is in a different group. Maybe there is a probationer, or victim group that you use, but not quite as often as the defendant group. Now, we can place all those defendants in that defendant group for you automatically. All you have to do is make “Defendant" your default group. If a particular row does not contain a value for “Group", we will make the group Defendant, or whatever you choose. If there is a value in the Group column, it supersedes the default. Just one more way we are simplifying your workload.

The final Uploads update has to do with the data mapping. Now you can have your data mapped during upload by the column number, instead of or in addition to column titles or headers. You do have to use one or the other- we have to map the data somehow to make sure the data is assimilated into the site appropriately, so the numbers will be required if you do not have column titles in the first row of your upload template.

Progress for Portals

eCourtDate does a lot of really cool and amazing things. With all the cool things we do, I wouldn’t be surprised if each one of us on the eCD team has a different favorite thing. My personal favorite is most definitely PORTALS. Some of this may be related to an obsession I have with the concept of liminality- I am a quirky person, so it only makes sense that I have weird obsessions.

In a super basic sense, a portal is a mini-web page. But our portals can be dynamic. And aside from being dynamic, a portal is, by definition, a gateway. It is the rabbit hole. Your rabbit hole. A well- designed portal is magic- it can bippidy-boppidy-boo your agency’s workflow and make so many once tedious tasks a piece of cake! Or a glass slipper. Or fancy tea party. I lost track of these mixed metaphors. But I think you get the picture. Or pictures.

If you have your portals set up so that your clients can self-enroll through their portals, you can now make it so that you (or some contact in your agency) receives a notification when they do. Our sending a notification to the notifiers about clients signing up to receive notifications is so meta. Also, very useful.

Activate Courtroom5 in your portal settings.

The next portal related update is going to warrant a blog of its own- and it is getting one soon. If you follow us on social media, you know we recently announced an integration partnership with Courtroom5. Courtroom5 is an innovative tech company who helps pro se (self-represented) litigants prepare their court cases.

Now you can provide access to this amazing resource on your portals to ensure that- as Courtroom5 says: Justice Is For Everyone. As always, you can manage your portals from the Settings page, and activate resources on a per portal basis. There are already plans in the works for additional portal resource offerings, but for now we are over the moon about Courtroom5. It is an honor to partner with a company who shares our passion for judicial accessibility.

Check out Courtroom5’s website and learn more about what they do for your self-represented clients.

More Enhancements, Fixes, and Upgrades

There are a few more things we added, tweaked, and improved in October. Check it out:

Header Search Field Fixes

The following fixes were applied to the Header Search Field:

  • Pressing ENTER on your keyboard should return your search result. This saves you from having to toggle between your keyboard and mouse.
  • Clicking on a search result will now use your local app link instead of the region link. This should help return those results a little faster.
  • Search results response time has been improved in general.
SFTP Timeout Option

You can now customize the Timeout duration of your SFTP Gateway. The timeout setting controls the amount of time spent on an idle connection before it will disconnect. Some agencies were finding that they needed some more time, so this allows them to customize the timeout window to make sure their connection is complete.

New Options for Console Tools

The Console Tools to “Delay Messages" and “Sync Messages for Future Events" support some new optional parameters.
Delay Ahead allows you to choose how many minutes ahead you would like to delay any messages.
Max Days Ahead will let you customize the maximum number of days ahead you want to sync messages for.
Since is used when you need to go back and resend messages. It will allow you to select how many hours backwards you need to go in resending them. No flux capacitor required.

Agency Switcher Enhanced Privacy

Before October, when you used the Agency Switcher tool in the console to change agencies, you could see all the agencies immediately. Now the list of agencies is now removed. You can still easily find additional agencies easily though- just click the magnifying glass search icon to see the assigned agencies that you can switch to.

Until Next Month...

Next month will be here in a blink. I’m so excited about these October updates, and to see what November will have in store for you.

For next month:
What new features or tweaks do you think we should add next? And
Which is your favorite October addition?

Let us know on Social Media!
Connect with us on Linked In network, be our friend on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.