Access URL will be automatically recognised when a printer logs in using a new access URL for the first time. The URL needs to be entered manually at present. It’s quite confusing for many printers.
We’ve just released a WordPress plugin for an image generator.
The plugin can connect to your catalogs and users will be able to email your designs as e-cards.
It is not possible to email directly from Flash. The server-side part of the plugin handles all the configuration and emailing.
There are a couple of minor glitches, still, but overall it is usable.
This service is free. You are not paying anything. There is a link on every design page in Flash to jump to the ordering page.
Make a few simple templates your audience may want to use and let them have a bit of fun before they are ready to order. Ideally, you need to approach other blogs and ask them to embed this to get more traffic to your site.
We’ve been flat out working on Magento web-to-print integration. It is now in a stable beta stage. You can grab it directly from Magento website. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you run into any glitches. We are giving full installation assistance at this stage. This is an open source project, so you can always get your own developers to turn it into a web-to-print store you want.
Three main streams of work:
A re-designed PayPal Pro plugin for WordPress is coming out soon too. It should reduce number of declined transactions as PayPal may get fussy with it’s hosted payments page.
Users should not wait for their order files to be prepared. The plan is to change the final file preparation to an asynchronous process where the user gets an instant message that the order is being processed. The order page will be refreshed every 10 seconds. The payments will still be processed and the order should be completed by the time the payment is done.
Invoices for our web-to-print service are due to be generated on the 10th of each month and January is the first time we were going to do so, but some printers got back to us with their corrections to the web-to-print billing figures, so we are held back by this.
To help us get it right, please, check if your web-to-print order count is correct and send us URLs of any orders incorrectly charged to your account.
There will be no pressure to pay by the 20th because of the delay, but we’d like to see a payment within 10 days from the invoice generation. Thank you for your patience. There will be another post when the invoices are generated.
A minor, but still annoying “bug” has just been discovered in some of ZetaPrints non-English interfaces.
Users clicking on catalog name in the left-hand-side menu do not get the list of templates as expected. The screen shows the list of catalogs instead. Users can then choose from the list of catalogs on the main screen.
The issue will be corrected in the next few hours. We apologise for this oversight.
Template details can be edited in a bulk mode (more than one at once) to save you time on changes such as prices, additional options, terms and conditions and some others.
You make changes and then choose web-to-print templates from the same catalog to apply the changes to:
Business name field is now optional in customer details.
Product types field is mandatory.
Your customers will see 2 different sections on the home page: business catalogues and all the other catalogues. A business catalogue is the one you gave a business/brand name to.
One more New Year change is to the way users are entering the site for the first time.
As soon as they click on the link in the confirmation email they are taken straight to their catalogues and can start playing with the templates. It makes sense to show them what this is all about before asking all the registration questions.
Users are asked to provide a password with the first order. No order will be accepted without a password. No registrations screens even after that – the order is processed and the user is taken to the order details page.
There are 3 ways users can be registered:
– manually added to the list
– self-register where allowed
– self-register using their corporate email
There will be one more way – straight in, but only where it’s allowed by the printer owning the catalogue.
One of our entrepreneurial printers kindly agreed to share his great marketing idea that works really well.
His sales approached several mid-size businesses and offered them to set up Christmas card templates with their branding and print a certain number of them for free. Some bit the bullet and agreed. All they pay is the postage.
One templates has the corporate branding, a standard message from the CEO to the customers and a place for an employee to put the name, address and a custom message to a particular customer. There are only 5 cards in a template. It is easy enough to fill in the forms as there are only 4 fields per page and the front side is not changing. They show the front page only once in the preview template (6 pages), but the printing one has the proper printing layout (one A3 page).
They send the PDFs directly to their hot folder and the rest is automated, including cutting, creasing and folding, but they do stuff the envelopes by hand.
It is a great way to get the customer hooked on the convenience of online ordering. Our printer already has just under 100 of their employees registered in the system and accessing catalogs with other branded products. A small investment in printing the cards for free will hopefully go a long way to bring much more business later in the new year.
Copying a template creates a new copy in the destination catalogue. The user stays in the source catalogue, in the context of the source template. A message reminds the user what actually happened.
Creating a copy of a catalogue copies all template files over as if they were uploaded by the user. None of the catalogue details are copied. The new catalogue gets name — CLONE —. The access control is set to CORPORATE, meaning that users need to be added to list.
Printers using Zetaprints web-to-print system can now customise their homepage greeting and and link to their own presentation.
This feature is useful for printers using password protected catalogues only. Their customers land on a login page first. The greeting message can help them understand where they are and what to do next. E.g. that they need to register, who can login, who provides the services, etc.
Detailed instructions can be found in this help post.
We’ve got a few designers having a go at making custom web-to-print skins for a test site. It’s been a bumpy ride for us as we had to go back and forth making changes in the markup, adding classes and ids, but we are getting some results now.
Note: you need to log out from your site if you get a 404 error looking at the test one.
You can see the menu is dramatically different from the pain boring default style. It does look better in FF and Safary than in IE, but it’s because IE doesn’t support rollovers as other browsers.
Anyone who wants a custom skin it’s a good time to start browsing around looking for websites you like. Once you have an example it’s easy to explain to a web designer what it is you want.
Zetaprints services are running from a new datacenter now. The IP address has been changed, all data migrated and the old site shut down.
The downtime was just over 1 hour against expected 30 minutes due to slower than usual connection between the sites. No more downtime is planned, but the new cluster is smaller than at the old data center. You or your customers may experience delays with getting previews refreshed in the next 24 hours while the hardware is being shipped to the new site.
It is possible that some files got mixed up, went missing or were replaced with older versions. The chance is negligible, but cannot be discounted. Please, check all order files carefully until Monday and report any issues.
Thank you everyone for your patience!
ZetaPrints help section got a new category for advanced design tips and tricks, currently under Text tricks tag.
It is amazing what can be done using combinations of simple techniques and a bit of imagination. For example you can replace multiple text fields for small tables with only one input or produce complex text effects.
Printers working in real estate will immediately recognise this image and recall how many fields it ads to the form.
Find out more …
Producing this effect is easier than you may think. Find out more …
Sorry, we had a break. All web-to-print development was stopped due to loss of direction in the team. Now we are back on track with renewed energy and clear goals. Web-to-print rocks!
Users registered by printers are expected to click on the link and enter their details themselves.
Printers can enter new user profiles and type in their details, including passwords. Despite that, new users were still required to click on the link to log in. It was an unnecessary step, now removed.
Transparent images were handled inconsistently by our web-to-print software resulting in loss of transparency in most cases. It has been fixed in the latest update. Some minor issues still remain:
There are many flavours of PNG, GIF and TIFF files when it comes to transparency handling. Check before using them in your image libraries and let us know if something does work as expected.
Sorry, not any more. There were too many security issues with them and they are not used that widely to be of a concern.
You will see more changes to our web-to-print user interface in the coming days. They will be deployed one by one and your feedback sought before moving further.
1. Changes to the page layout – cleaner, more space
2. Changes to uploaded files handling – cropping, rotating, resizing, deleting, etc.
3. More interactivity – scripting and asynchronous processing will be added here and there
We may need to take our web to print system down to make a major update in the next few hours.
Apologies to European customers. They may be affected most. Please, let us know if you planned any demonstrations or can’t tolerate any downtime today. Email email@example.com.
Keep an eye on announcements to track the progress.
* major performance improvements
* change from all-pages-at-once to per-page preview updates
We will enable the new per-page previews for “web to print” templates with 3 or more pages to begin with. Then drop it down to 2 and then remove all-at-once completely.
Please, voice your opinion on the changes.
Old “Saved orders” and “drafts” may not display correctly in the format. There are only several hundred of them. Some are too old and unlikely to be used. Any new orders will display correctly.
We fixed an old bug that prevented printers completing saved web-to-print orders on behalf of customers.
As a bonus, there is a choice of checking out or updating the preview from a a saved web-to-print order. Users don’t need to update a preview to check out a saved order. There is a risk the preview and output files can be out of sync if the template files have changed since the order was saved. Keep an eye out for a day or two. We are fixing up this one as well.
We are still adding final touches to our new open source e-cards plugin, but here it is nonetheless.
It can be embedded into any web page just as I embedded it here.
Width: set to width in pixels or % (in 2 places)
Height: set to height in pixels or % (in 2 places)
Data source: this is an address of RSS feed for the catalog you want to show. The catalog needs to be public.
Don’t ask. It’s one of those pet projects. Maybe there is some use for it.
The most obvious is to promote your products. Build a catalog with a few simple templates that work well in small size and are fun. Embed the plugin on your site. Ask others to embed it. The user may want to click through to your site and actually order something after playing with these small designs.
Your suggestions on what features to add are welcome.
Reconciling PayPal payments with your list of orders may be a bit difficult and specially so when most payments are from unregistered users. Now every order paid through PayPal has extended payment options sent to us from PayPal. Click on the transaction number to show the details. They are hidden by default.
Featured products now show at the top of the catalog (sorted alphabetically) with all the other templates following in the alphabetical order. They have larger titles to stand out.
This featured was added on top of the existing upselling where featured templates are offered as suggestions after placing an order.
Before you proceed, click Home and then click REFRESH in your browser to get the latest style sheet, if you haven’t got one yet.
This change affects Printers and Designers only. The end users do not have access to the same screens.
Go to the preview page and click on the field name
The form expands and opens a sub-form as in this screen grab.
Click Close to leave the fields untouched or Save to apply changes.
The only user change is the hint showing under the input field where you provided one.
Changing a name using this screen does not affect the template, yet. We may add the roundtrip change later on so that changes through this screen edit the template as well.
Oops … we had to roll back ALLOW, DISALLOW and PHONE NUMBER FORMATTING due to a compatibility conflict. A fix is expected in a day or two. No good.
Cost centers are of no interest to casual customers, but regular business customers, specially corporate ones love them. Their accountants do, perhaps.
We always had an option of giving a list of cost centers per catalog, but it may be hard to maintain, so we added a new feature – free text cost centers.
Simply enter * as the only text in the cost center text box in catalog details and the user will get an additional field for entering a free text cost center in the order form.
More details here.
First of all, do not go to any SEOs. If you want a snake oil recipe we’ll give you one for free.
Filling your web to print catalogs with content and linking to them from other good websites is the way to go.
Talking about getting found is only relevant in a context of keywords. What would your customer type into a search engine?
For example you sell “business cards”. Tough luck. There are already established players with catalogs much larger than yours. Google has approximately 60mln pages for anyone searching for “business cards“. Your chance is slim, but hard work may get you there over time.
A search for “business cards plumber” returns only 160,000 pages. You’ve got a real good chance of landing on the first page there.
What is your geographical area? Do you want to be found by anyone from anywhere? Probably not. A search for business cards on Google Australia has only 345,000 pages. You still have a chance of getting close to the top.
More in the coming posts.
Image mangement has just become wee bit easier – we upgraded the image library and template images sections.
Images can be organised into folders, copied and edited right on the site. Check it out.
Detailed explanations posted on web-to-print help site.
This divisive feature got another update over the holidays. Any image uploaded to the server is stored and kept for as long as it is used or can potentially be used. It’s very convenient for some users and a nightmare for others.
Re-uploading 15MB files may take a wee while on some DSL connections, so reusing an uploaded image is very convenient. The trouble begins when there are too many images in the library and it’s easier to upload again than to find the right one.
The image library is currently limited to 50 images. Least used images are purged from the library as new ones are uploaded. It keeps the size of the library sane. This is what it looks like:
A user can change if thumbs from the library should be displayed on the template preview page. It’s a matter of choosing the right image now:
This feature is disabled by default with the screen looking like this until the user chooses to see the thumbs:
Image library feature will stay in the state of flux while we are getting more user feedback and keep adjusting.
If an old order is pulled out and the user clicks Re-order then all the images uploaded for that order are added back to the user’s image library. It’s just another way of saving time on image uploads – go and find an order where the image was used. It may be a bit too much hassle, but all depends on how slow your ADSL is.
There are no help documents for image management and file transfer. This is because these features are in a state of flux and haven’t been finalized yet.
An update has just been applied. No interruption to the service was noticed. There were some important changes included with the update. Please, read to the end.
Users can no longer approve their own orders if there is a nominated approval person for that catalog. An approval person can be set/removed through Modify catalog details. Orders can be approved by the approval person or moved to in print by the printer.
Any users can place an order on hold before it goes in print and approve them later if there is no nominated approval person.
ZetaPrints began cautious introduction of Java Scripting as part of the workflow. The reason we are not rushing into making the website “sing and dance” as all popular websites do these days is purely practical – to get you more orders. Java Script and Flash technologies are often disabled in corporate environments. We cannot afford to discriminate your customers on the basis of technology they are using.
Introduction of Java Scripting is purely complimentary to improve user experience. Any user with Java Scripting disabled will still be able to place an order without any hindrance.
Only one template can be in preview generation or initial processing at a time per user. Users that try to update previews for more than one template at a time will notice that only the last one completes successfully. All the previous ones get canceled with a message as on the image below:
A user would not need to work with more than one template at time under normal circumstances.
No, ZetaPrints web-to-print pricing has not changed, but you have to use a slightly different syntax when specifying prices for your customers.
This change affects only printers that collect payments online.
Read more in the new help section.
Prices can be placed anywhere within the quantity description line as long as they are enclosed in [square brackets] with the currency symbol outside.
You can now specify fixed price or percentage discounts and surcharges in Options. E.g. UV coating – add [10%]. The total order price will be calculated based on the options and quantities selected by the customer.
Your existing pricing is not affected until you save template details again. Please, take case to change the syntax next time you update template details.
Read full help article on how to set up prices and discounts.
Order reporting has just got a major revamp with new report format and faster download speed.
The report contains most of the fields related to the product, the customer and the order. Please, tell us if any of important fields were left out.
Reports are now available to users, designers and printers. Any set of orders that can be shown on the screen can be downloaded as a report.
Zetaprints will be changing its datacentre provider in the first week of June 2007.
The primary reason for moving is to consolidate all the hardware in one location closer to support and development. Our current host has been great with exceptional uptime and very helpful support services, however, we have to make this step to continue on the growth path.
Printers are required to set up a subdomain to unlock all Zetaprints functionality and brand the site. It has been done through setting up an A record with a host at 22.214.171.124. This IP address will change as we move from one location to the other and may change again in the future when we open other data centres.
We recommend replacing your current A record with a CNAME records for “ZETAPRINTS.COM”. You need to contact your domain name registrar or use their web-based domain management system to do it yourself. Not every registrar has this facility , so you may need to send them an email and ask to do it manually. Use this email template:
Can you please change a DNS A record or DNS redirect to 126.96.36.199 for [INSERT YOUR DOMAIN/SUBDOMAIN FOR ONLINE ORDERING]
to a CNAME record with a host at “ZETAPRINTS.COM” ?
Their IP address is about to change in a few days and we need continuous operation of our online ordering facility.
Your should not notice any difference after changing from A record to CNAME. It is a purely “communication thing” transparent to the Internet user. The upside of this change is that you need to do it once only even if zetaprints.com changes its IP address again in the future.
Some downtime is expected during the switch-over, which will take place over the first weekend in June. All customers will be informed directly via email closer to the date.
Your customers will be accessing your online print ordering without any changes to the URL, login or password. The access URL will remain the same and show in the browser’s address bar just as before.
Read more about using CNAME here http://www.zytrax.com/books/dns/ch8/cname.html
We added a special notice for them and help pages on how to resolve it. Unfortunately, only so of them can do it themselves.
Please, synchronize your custom web-to-print help pages to make sure the links to instructions are not broken. The easiest way to do it is to copy our content as is.
Some printers and designers have grown their catalogues to a 3-digit numbers. The lists are getting hard to manage. The suggestion is to show only top X recently used catalogues in the menu and all of them on the home page, but in an easy-searchable form. No search function is planned at this stage. Printers and designers can use their browser to search the page.
Large templates may take time to upload and may be slow to process later on. The current official limit is 20MB. The unofficial limit for “close friends” is close to 40MB.
The bulk size of the file is taken by images.
Replace them with simple solid-fill placeholders produced right in Corel.
The template may look too unattractive, like this one:
Upload and test the template using attractive images. When the preview is generated look for SAVE link under the image. Click on it to replace the default preview image with the current one. Now your template thumb looks OK and the file is still small:
Sometimes the list of products disappears from under its heading (catalogue name) in a user view. This doesn’t happen often and is no more than a nuisance.
There used to be a ridiculous limit on the number of fields in a web-to-print text frame. it was a real impediment to many good web-to-print designs where shifting up and down was a requirement.
This limitation has been removed. There is still a limit, but 1024 characters should be enough for a long list of fields! Tell us if you ever need more.
No, we are not finished with the web-to-print infrastructure upgrade, but there is a breather and a light at the end of the tunnel.
A critical piece of file replication s/w went live last night and seems to be holding on OK. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, it came to our attention that we missed a few very embarrassing bugs in order lists. First, Next, Last, Previous links didn’t always work. More like they worked only occasionally. They should be fine now. Sorry about it.
By popular demand, we removed Feedback text box for unregistered users. They can always click on Contact Us link and send you an email. Too many users were sending important information without leaving any contact details.
Logged in users get Feedback text box in the same place as before.
Some image properties such as paragraph wrapping, shade and a few others are not applied to user images correctly, which causes a lot of grief with some templates.
Every PayPal transaction results in one or more messages sent from PayPal directly to Zetaprints bypassing the user browser. This is a secure option to ensure that no data is being spoofed and the transaction status is genuine.
Zetaprints relied on some non-documented PayPal notification service features to ensure that the messages were coming from PayPal and not some other source. In the hind sight it wasn’t a very wise decision as the non-documented features changed without warning. As a result, several transactions were listed as unpaid in Zetaprints when, in fact, they were paid in full.
We made some quick changes to the way PayPal notifications are handled, but cannot guarantee that all of them will be processed correctly. It is possible that some orders will remain listed as unpaid. A proper update will take place within 48 hours. In the meantime, please, check your unpaid orders folder and PayPal transactions manually for any discrepancies.
We apologise for the inconvenience and are working over the weekend to update the system.
In case you haven’t noticed, there are 2 new features to make your web-to-print site a bit better.
Web-to-print catalogs used to be lists of text links. Now they can be replaced with icons or images like in this example:
Images can be made in Photoshop in any size or format. Read more in Catalog icons post on web-to-print help website.
The web-to-print homepage layout can be changed showing one or more of the following blocks:
Read more on web-to-print homepage customization.
Lists of web-to-print users can be downloaded as an MS Excel file from Users page of a catalog or printer’s homepage. Read more in this help article.
All payment notifications for your web-to-print products are now captured and displayed in order details, including declined, refunded and pending payments.
Users are taken away from the site where they placed the order to PayPal to make a payment in the same browser window. It used to open a new window.
Users can click on RETURN TO MERCHANT link in PayPal to return at any time. However, we expect some users to feel lost because the link is not very obvious. They can still step back in the browser.
Once a payment is processed the user clicks on a highly visible RETURN TO MERCHANT button and is taken back to the order page.
It takes some time for PayPal to process the payment and send a notification to ZetaPrints and the user may return before the notification arrives. I this case they will still see PAY NOW button, which may also be a bit confusing. The order page uses a background script to check the status and remove the button as soon as the payment is confirmed.
The button will disappear as soon as a notification arrives regardless of the transaction outcome. E.g. if the transaction was declined the user cannot make another payment and have to arrange it with you directly or re-order. Most of declined transactions are fraud anyway.
An update was rolled our a few hrs ago to all web-to-print sites.
We changed the way web-to-print users register for public catalogs where registration is required.
They now see a small registration form as part of the order form where they are asked to enter their email address or log in. The ORDER button is disabled until they either register or log in.
There are a couple of known issues with the update and we’ll be working through them in the coming hours.
At the same time we launched a “garbage collector” to delete old order files. You may notice that web-to-print orders older than 3 months don’t have the files any more. You can regenerate the files, if you need to. No charges apply.
Users will see a message saying that files were archived, if the files were actually available to users. In most cases they are not.
Did you notice that some URLs for your web-to-print catalogs and templates changed?
The difference is noticeable in public access catalogs. Instead of long IDs our web-to-print system imitates static page URLs in a format http://your-domain/catalog-name/template-name.htm
Because search engines love them and we see some amazing results with our web-to-print products making it to the first page on their key searches within just a few weeks!
More to this – they even have a page rank with Google, which is very unusual for this type of content.
Go to quality websites that are relevant to the products you offer and try to get a direct link to either your website, a catalog or individual web-to-print templates.
Using link farms, spammy directories, spam, paid links or any other questionable tactics may land you in hot water and see your domain removed from search engines altogether.
We are still ironing our a few issues and your customers may get an occasional 404 error on perfectly valid URLs. Please, let us know immediately if it comes to your attention.
Released only minutes ago, some long awaited user management features to make life of web-to-print printer accounts easier.
You can add a user to the web-to-print database and then assign the user to multiple web-to-print catalogs using a new user profile page. You can still do it per-catalog.
Full user profiles can be viewed on the new user profile page. Profiles accessible through Add user or clicking on user name in lists of users per catalog.
You can edit profiles of your customers, but only for those without a password. Once the password is set up the profile can be edited by the user only. More …
An order placed by an unregistered user can be assigned to an existing user or a new one. Click on Assign to user link on order details page and follow the instruction. More …
Zetaprints has launched a new web-to-print help site located at http://www.zetaprints.com/help/.
The individual topics will be linked to from the main system over the coming days. The old help site will remain available in the meantime.
The new help site is built on a popular publishing platform called WordPress. It is very easy to provide and manage content using only a web browser. It is open for anyone to write an help article or leave a comment or a suggestion to an existing article after a quick registration process.
You are very welcome to register and submit your tips and tricks on any relevant topic, not necessary Zetaprints system directly. Here are some ideas for you:
See you there!
A fault has been inadvertently introduced into the code recently. It affects the list orders – they simply won’t show. We are working hard to make necessary fixes and will upload an update in the next few hours.
1. Click on Add new catalogue
2. Click on the group of orders you want to see
The fault affects printer accounts only.
Next / Prev and Last / Next controls may also be affected and not work correctly.
We apologise for the inconvenience. The problem should be fixed in the next few hours.
We’ve been stuck with an infrastructure upgrade to our web-to-print system for months now, but there is a bit of light at the end of this long dark tunnel.
A few old (and new) bugs were fixed in the last few days. Error pages were all messed up, permalinks didn’t always show correctly, non-Latin letters were getting into user-friendly URLs, etc. About 20 bugs were fixed today alone.
Several areas got minor improvements that you may or may not notice.
The most notable update is the change to how optional web-to-print template features are handled.
They used to be all optional and users kept missing them. Now users have to make a choice from the list, unless the list contains a blank option (nothing). The value is not cached in the DB, meaning that they have to make a choice for every order.
Our architecture is based on a small cluster of computers. We had a reasonably reliable application cluster for all the image and vector processing, but the DB and web servers were not flexible enough to grow beyond a certain size. We reached that size back in September 2008. Now the main problems are behind and new web and file servers can be added as needed. It is as easy as slipping a new box in the rack. Still quite a few things to iron out before checking this off as “done”.
We keep “loosing” files from time to time. They may disappear for a few seconds, a few minutes or a few hours. Approximately 10 files were affected today, which is a fraction of a fraction of a percent of daily volumes, but still, it is not acceptable. We are working on this elusive problem and your help will be greatly appreciated – just tell us that something’s missing as soon as possible.
Peak hour performance can be slightly degraded. We run on 1/2 the power of the database. It was OK for low traffic over holidays, but it started picking up today. We need few more days before the DB servers are back into full swing.
Thanx everyone for your patience with us!
Previews should be updated one page at a time. Currently, all pages are updated at the same time.
We had an unexpected glitch with PDF generation that affected orders placed in the last 28 hours.
In some cases PDF files were not generated at all. It has now been fixed. Any affected users, please, use Generate Files Again feature on these orders. This feature can be found in order menu for every order. Only holders of printer account can use this feature.
Apologies for the hiccup. A credit goes to David from Postcardz Home for raising it.
Some of heavy users might have noticed that it takes longer and longer for the site to respond. Not that it was slow, but not as fast as it used to be. Not any more!
The reason for the gradual slowdown is the enormous size of your cache on the server. The system tried to remember all your text input and uploaded photos from day one.
Now there is a limit on what it remembers:
– 1000 input fields
– 300 files
The limit does not mean that you can have less templates, catalogues or users. It applied purely to how well it can pre-populate fields in test-orders for you.
This is a quite generous allowance that exceeds the size of the average cache. Only old unused data is likely to be affected.
This change does not affect any of your customers – their caches are tiny compared to yours.
Phone number formatting has always been a difficult one with some designs requiring strict compliance with formatting guidelines.
The problem is that every brand or business has its own formatting rules, sometimes reasonable, sometimes outright weird.
You can use our new feature to specify the rules exactly the way you want regardless of what the users enter.
Input: 321 09-33
Input: 321 09-33
Pattern: ### . ## . ##
Input: 321 09-33
Output: 321 . 09 . 33
Pattern: (###) ### ## ##
Input: 821-321 09-33
Output: (821) 321 09 33
The system applies the following logic to the formatting process:
1. Take user input and strip off any separators (spaces, hyphens, dots, commas, etc)
2. Stop formatting if any letters are encountered. E.g. 0800-call-4-help will not be formatted, but a warning will be raised and recorded in the order details
3. Match numbers entered by the user to #(pound sign or hash) and fit any other characters from the formatting string in their respective places.
4. Stop formatting, raise an warning and record it in the order details if there are more or less numbers in the user input than #’s in the formatting string.
Formatting patterns can be entered into the same screen as other field constraints. Click in Edit fields in the template menu.
Update: We had a word from the ISP the outage was canceled.
ZetaPrints system will be switched off for up to 2 hours on Sat/Sun for maintenance.
Our ISP will be changing the power wiring in the rack and there is no way we can have the servers running at the same time.
NZ/AU: early Sunday
Europe: Saturday afternoon
N/America: Saturday morning
You are probably aware that Zetaprints is moving from one data center to another to accommodate growth.
There are 2 main aspects that will affect your operation:
Service outage over the weekend
A minor disruption will take place over the weekend.
During Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday you and your customers may experience the following problems:
– recent orders have disappeared from views
– image files you uploaded recently do not appear in your image collection
– some fonts you uploaded recently are missing from your fonts collection
Although unlikely, these problems may surface.
1. Avoid uploading new templates, fonts and images between Thursday and Monday.
2. Download new order files and print out order details if needed.
None of your data is going to disappear, but it may become temporarily invisible during the “house shifting”. Please, contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately if you notice any missing data.
Normal preview image size was limited to 400px by 400px.
It has been increased by 50% to 600px by 600px. Other preview sizes increased by 50% as well with Jumbo size going up to 1200x1200px.
1. Any new templates will automatically get the new preview size
2. User-generated previews will be generated in the new size
3. Existing template previews remain unchanged
4. Images from orders will not change
Some templates with low grade images may start looking grainy when enlarged by 50%.
It would be probably be better to use higher quality images, but please, inform us if this becomes a problem.
The new preview size is experimental and will be adjusted based on user feedback.
Fresh off the web2print development mill – changes to the printer interface.
The main menu moved into a horizontal line at the top of the screen.
The side bar on the left shows catalogs and templates only.
You need to click on Orders link in the menu to see order folders with order counts.
Orders report now includes most of payment information, if there was a payment made.
It has only the last transaction details. E.g. if you refunded the order it will have the refund transaction, not the original payment.
PDF settings are now managed from a separate page.
Every catalog has a setting for order retention. The default is 6 months. You can reduce it down to 1 month per catalog.
Clicking on Empty next to Deleted on Orders page will permanently delete any order that are older than the set retention period in the catalog as well as all deleted test orders.
Orders can be deleted only after you paid for them.
Watch a quick demo of the new interface
Zetaprints has recently made changes to its consumer website www.zetaprints.com and added major new features for promoting its customers and design community.
ZetaPrints customers holding a printer-type account should go to My details and describe their business using keywords (tags) and choose if they want to be advertised as a printing business (e.g. a commercial printer) or a publisher (e.g. newspapers, newsletters, magazines, etc), or both.
The keywords will be used to help users find the right printer / publisher.
Read more about tagging in a help article.
A random pick of printers with good reputation is shown on ZetaPrints homepage as Featured Printers.
This is an automatically generated list. There are no personal preferences or paid placements.
Customers can not only find printers / publishers, but also request quotes. It’s a simple and straightforward process that will be improved as we go along. Your feedback is crucial in making it better.
For a more detailed explanation watch a Flash demo.
Choosing public access + user registration for a web to print catalog will force users to register before placing an order, but browsing catalogs and updating previews will still be open to anyone. More on this in a help article.
Remember, that registration is an unnecessary step from the user point of view. Giving them a form with a dozen of fields is bad enough. Asking them to confirm their email can be the straw that burns the fuse and they leave.
Zetaprints customers can now sell printing to the general public through Zetaprints web-to-print interface. It was a long awaited feature that took quite a bit of effort for the development stuff.
Corporate access – nothing changed there. You can still specify a corporate domain name or add users manually.
Self-registration – minor improvements to the registration process. You can publish a URL for self-registration for a particular catalogue and anyone can register with any email address. It may be a good option if you print for franchises or some community where there is no drama with some outsiders getting hold of designs or placing an odd order through.
Public access – all new. Catalogues marked for public access will show on the home page. No login, no registration is required to place an order. Anonymous users can register at any time or log in.
1. File transfer is not available
2. Image library management is not available, but all images are cached anyway
3. Access to orders may be difficult if they try to access them from another computer later, but they can always bookmark the page or register to avoid the difficulties
4. No order copies are sent to an unregistered user until the email address is confirmed
As a printer, you can now offer a range of printed products to the general public. This may not be as lucrative as serving the corporate market, but still gives you additional room to grow your business.
The other spin-off from this feature is addition of generic product ranges to your corporate catalogues with a minimal effort. For example, you may need only one set of greeting cards set to public access to make it available to all your corporate customers as well as the general public.
There are 2 ways of user registration: add users to the list or self-registration for web-to-print.
Add users to the list of web-to-print catalogue users
Any user added to the list gets a registration email with a link, which takes them straight into the catalogue skipping any registration formalities. However, users are reminded to complete registration …
and are asked for a password upon placing the first order …
A user may click on Register link at the top-right of the page regardless if there are public catalogues or not. The user’s email would be checked, details taken and a registration email dispatched to confirm the email address.
At the same time, the printer gets an email with all the user details.
The user gets either a generic message or is taken back to public catalogues, if any.
Adding a registered email to the list will trigger another registration email, but with a delay of 3 seconds per email.
An attempt to self-register with a registered email address takes the user to a lost password form.
One email – one role
An email registered as a designer or printer cannot be registered as a user. The system will reject the address without giving any more detail. This feature will be improved to make it more informative.
A large and important upgrade is coming up at approximately 17:00 – 19:00 GMT (London, UK) time on 28 Nov. A short disruption for up to 15 minutes is possible to upgrade and restart all machines in the cluster as they all have to be upgraded simultaneously.
We apologise for the disruption, but this update has important bug fixes and a new automated billing system.
It was possible for customers to download output files without actually paying for them. We believe the number of orders being cheated this way is tiny, it is still unacceptable.
Multiple user interface improvements and fixes.
ZetaPrints fundamental rule is “No order – no charge. The printer pays when they get business”.
This is a bit hard to determine if an order resulted in a “business” or not from our end, but after extensive consultations with customers we arrived at a clear formula what is billable , what’s not:
– any orders for password-protected templates are billable when the order is placed
– any orders for public templates are billable when any of the output files is downloaded
There is a new interface to see a list of billable orders for the current month and past 6 months.
Read more in a new post on Billing rules in the help section.
We had an unexpected service outage today caused by a human error.
There was some misunderstanding between Zetaprints and our hosting company. As a result our computers were pulled off the racks, packed up and left for a courier company to pick up for shipping to the new data center. Another local outage disconnected the office from the Internet.
It took about an hour to figure out what happened. reverse the situation and plug everything back in.
I personally apologise for the downtime, which was pretty much caused by my confusing instructions to the hosting company.
Unfortunately, there will be another outage later today when we do switch the IP address to the new data center. It’s hard to predict how long the outage will last. The timing will depend on propagation of DNS information, which is beyond anyone’s control. There will be a notification screen to inform the users of the situation.
The worst case scenario can be several hours and will probably affect European and U.S. customers from around the East Coast.
Sometimes it is required to indent second and other lines to make a hanging effect like this:
On the other hand, you don’t want to have 3 fields for phone, fax and email – just one “contacts” field will do.
There is a simple solution to this little challenge now: insert tabs before fax and email to align them right under phone like in the example below. User input will be adjusted to align under phone as well.
Read more in web-to-print help post.
Click on a column header to sort the rows by that column. Click again to sort the other way.
You need to have java-script enabled for sorting to work.
Tables with more than 100 orders may take a second or 2 to sort, depending on how fast your computer is. It is done using java-script on your PC.
Sorting by Date column is the slowest.
Your feedback on this feature is very important. Tell us if the sorting is too slow on your PC.
Some template settings are common across all templates in a catalogue. There will be an option to set default template settings per catalogue, but they can be overridden in any template, if needed. Fields like Payment Required, Terms of Printing and “Hide” are the most likely candidates.
Templates get more and more settings that take space on the screen in Template Details and Edit Template Details forms. The forms need to be more compact, but will not be split into multiple forms at this stage.
It appears that the next logical step after re-uploading a template is to test it. The following page at the moment is EDIT TEMPLATE DETAILS. This will be changed to TEST ORDER page.
This feature is not complete yet. Templates will have keywords that can be listed or searched. Keyword popularity will be highlighted through its font size. All keywords for templates with unconstraint access will be submitted to Technorati and other similar sites.
Please, go to your details page and choose a time zone for your web-to-print portal.
All orders used to be in UTC +12. Now they are in UTC time, unless you set your time zone.
Navigate to DETAILS page. The drop down list of zones is in the second group of controls. Check if you need daytime saving. Press SAVE button. Check if the time was set corectly when it displays your details summary. Go back and adjust, if needed.
We set time zones for some web to print portals where we knew the time zone for sure. Please, double-check anyway.
Some fields are too small to take a particularly lengthy user input, but users do not always notice this. One option is to set a maximum field length.
We plan to make the graphic processor return information about any truncated fields back to the user. It will only work with paragraph text frames because artistic texts do no have bounding limits.
Prior to 21 Jan 07 release a user trying to register could get a message that the system cannot register the user because neither the email address nor its domain are known to the system. It changed in 21/01/07 release to a message that the request will be followed up. At the same time the system dispatches an email to the printer with details of the user that tried to register.
The change may result in a slightly increased volume of email traffic for the printer, but the positive side is that the traffic should result in acquiring and signing up new customers.
We will be adding more interactive features with client side Java Script. The first lot will contain:
New interactive features will be enabled for printer accounts only as a trial. Your customers will not see it until we are 100% sure it is error-free.
Please, report any issues you may have with the new features no matter how weird or small they are. Well, not that we expect many, but it is possible and we may not know unless you tell us.
The downtime was about 2 minutes.
Templates with 3 pages or more go through the new per-page preview process.
Your feedback is very much appreciated. We’ll be keeping an eye on how users get on with the new interface in the coming days.
User friendly URLs are not permanent links. They change as you change the name of the template or the catalog.
We have full logging enabled for 404 errors (not found) now, but if you come across any, please, report them immediately.
*** Old saved orders with more than 2 pages may look a bit confusing when someone tries to complete them.
*** External images via URLs do not work on templates with 3 pages or more. This will be fixed within 24 hours.
An update has just been uploaded to all machines in the cluster with the following fixes:
– user friendly URLs were updated
– change in catalog name updates the URL correctly (should be no more 404s on existing templates)
– billing calculated and invoices are showing correctly
Please, do not pay the current invoices, but do check if they are correct.
Font uploading was limited to TTF fonts (.ttf) or OpenType fonts with True Type outlines only (.oft). This led to some OTF files being rejected by the server. This has been changed to allow use of Open Type Fonts with Post Script outlines.
More font type options are coming soon.
You might have noticed by now that the User List page has changed with an addition of a new text area for your personal message to the user.
The message comes at the top of the email followed by the link they need to click on.
The screen capture below shows an email without a message.
The personal message would appear immediately before the text you see in this example.
Order List and Order Details now link to the User Profile page via user email or the ID for unregistered users.
You can use it to manage user details, including entering their email addresses. It can be done only if there is no password set for the user. Once the password is set it is up to the user to make changes.
Orders are titled by user reference, if such exists and the product name appearing in brackets. Otherwise the product name shows as before.
it may be a good idea to send an email to your active users and tell them about this feature. Make sure you have “Hide Reference” checked off in template details. Reference text box shows by default, unless you checked it off.
The only way to apply watermarks to previews to stop freeloaders nicking your designs was to have preview and printing templates. Not the easiest way of doing it, admit it.
The Desktop Layer of Master Page in your web-to-print template is now showing on preview images, but is excluded from the final output (PDF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, CDR). It allows you to place watermarks on every preview image and forget about using printing templates.
Pity we didn’t come up with this idea earlier.
Desktop Layer of Master page:
Having preview and printing files for a product slows down the processing 2 times or more. The user may have to wait many long seconds for the order to process. Removing the printing template will fix the problem. It may be just too much work to re-upload your all your templates, so we have a deal for you …
If all your watermarks are in the same font not used anywhere else in the template we can easily re-process your templates, move the watermark text to Desktop Layer and kill your printing templates. You can download the file afterwards, if you need it.
Let us know.
We’ve been stuck with some new features for the last 2 weeks. Things piled up and the update got much bigger than we expected. Usually, the updates are small to minimize the impact. This time it’s going to be noticeable.
The roll-out will start on Tue evening, Australia EST time zone or GMT +10. Some downtime is possible if we need to restart the cluster.
Additional field properties to allow a combination of user images, stock photos, color picker, etc.
An interactive calendar to pick dates instead of entering in the search form.
Users cannot complete registration if they register for your web-to-print, do not confirm their email address, you add them to a web-to-print catalog, they click on the registration email and get the 404 page.
Workaround: email email@example.com every time you get an email about a new customer and add the customer to a password protected catalog.
Expected resolution time: 24hrs.
The weekend night is only some hours away. Have you made your plans?
For those heading to the pub on Fri night we have something special in store – a set of customisable beer labels.
Special welcome to our new customer www.beerlabelbuilder.com. They will print your own personal beer labels. Stick them on your own produce or over that Heineken label.
In fact we have no idea who those guys are apart from their email address, but their templates rock. We like when people come up with all these great new ideas and even so when the ideas are fun. Well done, Beer Guys! We are placing a few orders now …
An update to some of the ZetaPrints web-to-print workflow is coming in a few hours. A small disruption to the ordering process is possible, but is not expected to be more than a few minutes. We will try keep it to the minimum. Please, email firstname.lastname@example.org with any issues that may arise after the update.
Holders of printer accounts can upsell customers using featured products.
Go to Edit template details screen and scroll to the bottom of the screen. Check Featured option on.
A thumbnail linked to the featured product will show on order details immediately after placing an order for some other product.
Featured products are picked at random out of a pool with templates you marked as featured, but only for those not ordered before by the user. Users are not prompted with featured products they ordered before.
You can try to upload X4 files, but gently-gently. We are still testing and may roll-back any time.
Looks like we are having problems with some fonts. They disappear at random. It’s being looked into right now.
Tell us if you spot any other problems.
Zetaprints templates could be produced in any language from day one, but the user interface was limited to English language. So, what’s the problem some may say?
Unfortunately, a lot of popular websites take an arrogant stance regarding language. They think that any Internet user is savvy enough to read and understand a few simple phrases in English. It may well be so, but, hey, there is a whole world outside of the English speaking zone.
So, we are getting translated. The goal is to get translated into as many languages as possible.
Can you help?
Please, contact us and we’ll email you an Excel spreadsheet with pieces of texts as they are used by the site. There are approximately 1800 phrases. Some of them as long as a sentence, some are just one or 2 words. The total is about 8000 words. Allow approximately 12 hrs to get it all translated with 2 more hours for review and fixes. Sure thing, there will be 2 or 3 cycles to get everything right.
Line number and P
Used to match the content of the file back to the internal structure of the website.
Text – appears as normal text on the site
Title – appears as tool-tip
Button – appears on a button
Text to translate
This is the main column you are interested in – translate it as you see it. Place your translation in a new column.
This is the text with all the special characters and punctuation. Use it as a reference and do not put any punctuation into translation if it is not in Text to translate column.
DE, RU, etc.
There can be other translations in the file. You can delete or use them as an additional reference.
It is an internal name that hints are what section of the site you are translating. Some files are shared across multiple pages, some files are shared across the entire site.
What to translate
Translate everything that makes sense to you. Any gaps you leave will be easily identifiable on the site after applying the translation.
There is about 10% duplication in phrases. It may be easier if you sort the rows by Text to translate field and first translate any duplicated phrases. Then sort it by Line number and translate the rest.
The phrases come in more or less logical order. Look the adjacent phrases and the file name to understand the context. Try to do your best, but don’t worry if it doesn’t come out right the first time around.
Try to match the case. Some phrases start lower case, some go UPPER CASE all the way.
Take it easy and don’t be shy to ask us if you have any troubles. Translations only looks easy.
My personal thanx goes to Thomas Kutscher from Ingelheim, Germany for paving the way and getting a German translation done. Awesome work, Thomas!