Today we are proud to announce the release of Brixwork version 4.1 with many new enhancements, including the usage of the new reCAPTCHA V2 API for human-verification of your email forms to fight spam. Of course, going from version 4.09 to 4.1 involves more than just this upgrade, and we’ll get to those updates later.
Bye Bye to The Old CAPTCHA
It was hard to read, even on a good day, with the best eyes, or the best reading glasses. However, it was the lesser of the two evils we had to choose… Once spam starts to flow through some of our websites, it could have put the entire server under a spam black-list, jeopardizing lead-generation capacities for all of our real estate clients! Having a Google-provisioned solid anti-spam measure was a must.
Hello, reCAPTCHA Version 2.0
The new version makes human-verification much easier, so you can get more leads from your website. In fact, in some instances, based on mouse movement or previous browsing history of a specific machine, often the check can be bypassed altogether! In cases where the machine does not immediately determine that the viewer is safe, it will pop up a simple image-based question like this:
Brixwork version 4.1 also packs many other upgrades culminated over the few months of development, and here is a list:
- Multiple main-images for pages now available (while this won’t affect existing sites, it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for tight-knit designs with great visual effects)
- Buildings list label sizes fixed.
- Double slashes accidentally added when typing in URLs would pull up wrong pages, and that has been fixed.
- Setting the listing brokerage/office on self-loaded listings is now easier.
- And many other internal fixes to optimize processes and reduce bugs.
This morning Brixwork Real Estate Marketing Inc. version 4.04 was released with numerous new bug fixes and some new features.
4.04 Release Notes (February 20th, 2015)
- When featuring MLS® listings, the screen would freeze after processing. This has been resolved.
- Menu labels on the new navigation system glitch fixed (only applicable to sites set up after February 2015)
- Maps within the Homes & Buildings sections no longer affected by mouse scroll or screen swipe.
- You can choose whether the street direction come before or after the street name. In Vancouver, “W 4th Avenue” is common, whereas in Calgary “3rd Street SW” is more common. This default can be set on a site-wide basis, and can be set on each individual property so it can be overridden on a case-by-case as well.
- Instagram feed has been updated as per slight security changes on the Instagram servers which was blocking our API calls.
Future Development Plans Coming Up
The Brixwork system is a forever evolving platform. We don’t charge a subscription fee just out of formality – the funds our clients pay goes towards betterment of the system as a whole for the benefit of all our clients against their competition outside.
- Dashboard to include more insights, potentially directly integrating Google Analytics into the page.
- Duplicate building module detection mechanism.
- MLS Search forms updated with slide-out or in mechanisms.
- More (yes, even more) upgrades pertaining to URL controls for SEO purposes.
- LinkedIN share buttons made universal.
We are excited beyond anything to announce that the new version 4.0 of Brixwork is under development. It actually has been for several weeks now, and this is our first official release on the status of development.
The overall direction of the new and improved version is to make the back-end much easier to use with a brand new user interface, while making it more accessible from mobile devices. There are functionality improvements too, of course.
What this means for our real estate website clients:
All of our clients who are subscribed to our services will receive this upgrade when it rolls out, which is forecasted to be before the end of the year. This will give you a much easier to use, and more mobile-accessible back-end from which you can manage your website & listings, but also quickly glance at your listing data while you’re on the go, or perform a quick MLS® search.
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Features Already Coded, Implemented & Tested
- New mobile-first visual framework
- Login by email rather than username
- Password recovery by email
- Mobile friendly morph navigation
- Quicker login mechanism
Some upcoming Features Planned (these are not all!)
- Level-based login to restrict users from certain sections for security.
- Better pages & subpages display.
- Easier MLS® import modules.
- Manual photo-import from the MLS® for pre-existing listings.
- Basic Google Analytics data integrated.
We have been conducting user surveys, direct interviews with some clients who came into our office, as well as staff meetings to find ways to make the back-end more user-friendly, intuitive, and overall a pleasure to use.
Do you have any feedback, ideas or complaints? Leave it in the comments below!
We are rolling out an update to the Brixwork core system later tonight, version 3.9.6, which includes numerous improvements, bug fixes as well as improvements in the MLS® search functionalities. This round of updates have a heavy focus on functionalities on the internal side, as well as improving our MLS® listings filtering function which will lead to better targeted SEO results on Google™.
MLS® Search Function Improvements
- Added function to allow for minimum bedrooms, and fixed bedroom numbers. Traditionally users were only able to use 1+, or 2+ bedrooms for minimum settings. Now we are able to provide solid “1 Bedroom Condos in Vancouver” or similar results.
- Able to search listings by listed date (custom function that is setup on a site-by-site basis, not a default function on search yet).
Some bug fixes:
- Page deletion mechanism fixed to avoid empty instance running
- Lot size and Frontage size calculation was off for REBGV data (they changed the unit increments).
- Home retrieval function returns boolean on lack of property ID in database (useful for coders to determine whether home exists or not by simply returning the boolean)
- Semi-transparent image rendering improved on Firefox, Opera, Safari & Chrome
- Condo storeys class added, previously only accessible through the data array ($home->story, the database was set up without the “e” so we have to live with the minor typo, as we cannot overhaul all existing sites).
- Lead forms are able to send to multiple emails in an array (useful for partnerships or groups)
- URL fix for Facebook shares when Facebook converts space/semicolon characters to ASCII
- Google Analytics code update to enable demographic data scraping.
- Default gallery image size increased to 2400 pixels in light of larger monitors becoming standard (existing sites may need manual adjustment).
- Added default animate-fade-in elements that can be easily applied for a smoother & more interactive user experience.
Future Updates Planned
Here at Brixwork we are committed to continuously upgrade our system and software to keep up with the demand of changing technology. Here’s more items we have on the roadmap:
- Hourly sync of same-day listings only
- Instagram feed into your websites
- User interface changes throughout
We are announcing two new exciting developments today. BRIXWORK version 3.8.6 has been released today (March 18th) and will spread through our clients’ websites later today or tomorrow morning, depending on your locale. We have also acquired an office lease in Yaletown Vancouver and just moved in as of yesterday (March 17th), and hired a new part time staff, Elisabeth, who will be assisting with data entry, administrative tasks and more. Our space will allow us to work with more efficiency and handle the volume of business better. We have experienced a fair bit of growth in the past few months thanks to your loyalty!
New 3.8.6 version Upgrade Notes
SEO Upgrade on Listing Search Pages
SEO tricks are a trade secret of ours so we won’t divulge on the details here, but we made some upgrades that will definitely increase the odds of your listing pages (both your own listings and MLS® listings) being picked up by Google.
User Interface Errors Addressed
HOMES screen pagination bug
We had an issue where the HOMES screen would display one less page (i.e. when you need 6 pages of 20 listings per, it only showed 1 2 3 4 5), and that has been resolved. This was in fact discovered by our new staff, Elisabeth.
Page content editor module fixed & upgraded
The page content editor that looks a lot like a wordprocessor has been upgraded to a newer version with more stability and bug fixes. We also had an internal bug that was disallowing pasting on certain editing screens depending on the browser you were using. That will be resolved also with the propagation of this upgrade.
Listing Retrieval Mechanisms Being Upgraded
Listing retrieval mechanisms are being upgraded. While this upgrade is not taking effect on all websites immediately, this is a phased upgrade that we are planning, and testing on small scales on select websites. This upgrade will take effect on the next upgrade, and will make your listing pages more stable and streamlined.
Our New Office in Yaletown
We have finalized a lease for a new office in Yaletown, Vancouver. Our new office is located at 1080 Mainland Street, Vancouver BC. Drop by for a visit anytime during business hours!
Later today the new version of BRIXWORK, 3.8.5, will be propagating throughout our networks automatically. This version includes several back-end updates to make life easier for our clients, some data field formatting bug fixes, speed improvements, and also very notably, WLS integration upgrades.
Back-End Updates & Bug Fixes
The edit home screen has been updated so that the MLS® number field is on the top of the form, easily accessible. This will be especially helpful when converting an MLS® sourced listing to your OWN listing.
The list of homes that you see when you click the HOMES tab under the Admin section now shows the MLS® # in the list for easy reference. The area/city has been merged into one field so save some screen space.
Our latest project has been a website for a Whistler Real Estate Agent, Nick Harriss (Sotheby’s). This is our first project that involved utilizing the WLS® (Whistler Listing System – the Whistler equivalent to the MLS®) and we are now successfully integrated with the WLS® reciprocity system to get Whistler listings fed into our website systems!
Bug Fixes & Speed Improvements
The home square footages (including the upper/main/lower fields) now display with more precision. The numbers are automatically converted to include the comma at the thousand mark even if you miss it, or if the MLS® data is missing it. For example, “1249” will display as “1,249 sqft”.
We made changes to our cache controller so that your website viewers can load the pages even faster than before.
Over the weekend the new version of BRIXWORK, 3.8.4, has propagated throughout our networks. This update incorporates back-end user-interface upgrades, internal bug fixes and some more! The majority of the improvements revolve around Buildings management within your system.
Buildings Filtration Improved
The Buildings section of the back-end UI has been upgraded so that you can now load buildings by its Featured status, or by ones that have a name set up already. This makes it easier to load up your most frequently used buildings.
For those of you who do not have any building features on the front-end of your website, this is a good time to request upgrades (charges may apply). We have been working diligently on our buildings module to introduce new ways to effectively market condominiums and townhouses.
In the future, this is what our buildings module can do for you:
- Display building pages (your featured buildings first for niche marketing)
- Display pictures, building amenities & features, photos, PDFs.
- Show all available listings by building
- When viewing a condo/townhouse unit, visitors can immediately look at other listings in the building.
More robust buildings data editing
Other Internal Bug Fixes
- Our number/digit calculator module has been updated to work better with decimal numbers.
- The mortgage calculator has been updated so that it can calculate in the Canadian method and the USA method (compounding periods differ between these two countries). You can see a preview of this on Eunice Lee’s real estate listings page.
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