In this CommuniBee product update for June 2020, we introduce some updated features, bug fixes, and a brand new user interface for the app.Continue reading
In this CommuniBee release notes blog post, we explain new features, such as product bundles and making products redeemable, bug fixes, and more.Continue reading
Managing Community Forums & Surveys
CommuniBee Forums allow members and administrators to communicate in discussion threads. Forum categories provide a grouping mechanism for topics created by your members.
Surveys can be used to gather feedback from your members about anything community-related. They’re similar to questionnaires used for events, but are not specifically tied to events.
This CommuniBee training video covers:
- Setting up forums in the CommuniBee admin dashboard
- Managing and moderating forums in the CommuniBee app
- Creating and sending out surveys to your community members
- Exporting survey responses
CommuniBee Stripe Setup Guide
CommuniBee users can purchase products, such as memberships and event tickets, through the app. We use Stripe as our payment processing platform. It’s fully PCI-compliant and is used to handle payment processing for companies like Kickstarter, Shopify and OpenTable.
We don’t charge any fees for transactions, but Stripe, like any payment provider, does charge processing fees.
To enable your community’s marketplace and sell products to your residents, you’ll have to set up a Stripe account and connect it to CommuniBee. Here’s a brief guide on how to do that!
We’ve also created a training video, explaining this process. You can view it here.
Setting Up Stripe
Step 1: Create A Stripe Account by clicking here. If you already have a Stripe account, skip to Step 2.
Step 2: Click on “Developers” > “API Keys”. This section contains two pieces of information that necessary for connecting Stripe to CommuniBee: your publishable key and secret key.
Step 3: Copy the test publishable and secret key tokens from Stripe. The secret key token is hidden, so you’ll have to click to reveal it. The two tokens are circled below:
Step 4: Log into the CommuniBee admin dashboard. Under your community, click on “Configure Layout” and scroll down to “Marketplace Settings”.
Paste the test publishable and secret key tokens from Stripe into the dashboard (see image below). The click “Update”.
As you can see, the keys you pasted as test keys. These allow you to test whether the marketplace, specifically product purchasing, is working in CommuniBee. Once that’s confirmed to be working, you’ll have to switch the test keys to live keys in order to officially enable the marketplace.
Step 5: In Stripe, click on “Developers” > “API Keys”. Now, toggle “Viewing Test Data” at the top right to off (see image below). This changes the test keys to live keys. You’ll see their tokens change so that they now say pk_live and sk_live.
Copy the live publishable and secret key tokens from Stripe. Once again, the secret key token is hidden, so you’ll have to click to reveal it.
Step 6: Log into the CommuniBee admin dashboard. Under your community, click on “Configure Layout” and scroll down to “Marketplace Settings”.
Paste the live publishable and secret key tokens from Stripe into the dashboard (see image below). Then click “Update”.
Your marketplace should now be enabled, and your members should now be able to purchase products, including memberships, through the CommuniBee app!
- The CommuniBee Team
A Best Practices Guide for Adding Images to CommuniBee
As a CommuniBee administrator, you’ll likely be uploading images through our dashboard at some point. Whether they’re your community logo or related to a specific event, we’ve compiled a best practices guide so you can ensure they’re optimized for display.
Community logos display on the home screen at the top of the CommuniBee app, and act as the focal point of branding for your community. Based on existing communities, they render best and use up the maximum amount space when their dimensions are approximately 1000 pixels wide x 250 pixels tall (or a size with an aspect ratio of 4:1).
Below is a community logo placeholder with the recommended dimensions:
Sponsors, Amenities, and Events
In terms of sponsors, amenities, and events, a more ‘landscape’ format tends to render better. The cover image for these features is restricted to a maximum height of 400 pixels on these pages.
Say the typical screen renders as 600 pixels wide. If you have a square image with dimensions 400 x 400 pixels, then you’ll end up with 100 pixels of white space on each side (600 minus 400 = 200, divided by 2 = 100 pixels) .
So, the ideal size for cover images on sponsors, amenities, and events is 600 pixels wide x 400 pixels tall (or a size with an aspect ratio of 3:2).
Below is a cover image placeholder with the recommended dimensions:
CommuniBee’s built-in resizing code will automatically downsize any image with a width or height of 1024 pixels, and try to optimize it so the image file size isn’t too huge. Huge files will cause slow rendering, and make the app feel more like a website than an app. That’s why we recommend you edit and optimize your images for display.
One last tip: for images that have just a handful of solid colours (like in logos), saving them as 8-bit PNGs leads to the best quality and smallest file size. For photographs with many colours, saving them as JPEGs is the way to go, with a quality setting around 65%.
These specific image settings can be set in any image editing software, such as Photoshop. An easy-to-use free image editing tool we sometimes use on Windows is Paint.NET, which you can download here.
Ensuring that your images are optimized for CommuniBee will improve your residents’ experience and make your community look that much better!
- The CommuniBee Team
We understand that you may be cautious about signing up for a service like CommuniBee. Ensuring your online security and privacy are more important than ever. That’s why we’ve made the following security blog post available for viewing. You can also download it here as a document.
CommuniBee Security And Privacy
This post outlines the security and privacy considerations in the CommuniBee app.
- API and database server are running Ubuntu 18.04, a Long Term Support version supported out until 2023.
- Server runs UFW firewall locked down with IP whitelisting as needed for developers to access.
- All communications are done over HTTPS with RSA 2048-bit encrypted SSL.
- Database can only be accessed by API, blocked by firewall rules from anything but API.
- Database is running the latest version of Microsoft SQL Server, and API is running the latest .NET Core runtime for Linux.
- All database access uses Entity Framework to mitigate SQL injection attacks.
- All passwords used for accessing the server are strong, randomly generated strings.
- Database is backed up daily.
- User passwords are properly hashed so they cannot be extracted and reverse engineered.
Communities within CommuniBee can be flagged as discoverable or not. If discoverable, like Edmonton Community Leagues are, users are presented a drop down of available communities to join. If not discoverable, guests need to either be given an invite code that they enter to join a community, or they can be invited directly by an admin through the dashboard.
Additionally, the ability to join can be configured in the app with three levels:
- No Approval Required – anyone with invite code can join and has immediate access.
- Approval Always Required – people join with an invite code and enter a pending state until approved by an admin.
- Email Domains Auto-Approved – admins can add approved email domains. When users register with such a domain they are automatically approved, otherwise they enter a pending state as in #2.
User access can be controlled by admins from the dashboard at any time, revoking or granting access to members of the community.
Access privileges are calculated on the app side for speed, but also on the API to prevent circumvention. We use signed JWT tokens for authentication with anti-forgery checks.
For payment processing we use Stripe, which is an industry standard for online credit card processing. It is used by many recognized names like SalesForce, Expedia, OpenTable, Spotify, etc.
When a payment is made in CommuniBee, a dialog is presented to collect payment information (credit card #, expiry date, CVV), and that information is passed directly to Stripe along with the email address of the account. It is important to note that the credit card information is never passed to or stored on our servers.
When Stripe approves the payment, a token and client ID is returned and then passed to our server. Our server then contacts Stripe with that token to validate the payment, and this finalizes the transaction. If auto-renew is toggled on, the CommuniBee system can use the client ID to process a renewal payment without requiring the card information again.
We use Digital Ocean for hosting the server and database. Digital Ocean is one of the leading providers of hosting services. The servers we use are hosted on Canadian soil in Toronto.
For details on Digital Ocean’s data security practices, visit: https://www.digitalocean.com/legal/data-security/
An excerpt from that page:
Security controls provided by our datacenter facilities includes but is not limited to:
- 24/7 Physical security guard services
- Physical entry restrictions to the property and the facility
- Physical entry restrictions to our co-located datacenter within the facility
- Full CCTV coverage externally and internally for the facility
- Biometric readers with two-factor authentication
- Facilities are unmarked as to not draw attention from the outside
- Battery and generator backup
- Generator fuel carrier redundancy
- Secure loading zones for delivery of equipment
If you have any questions regarding your security and privacy, don’t hesitate to contact us!
- The CommuniBee Team
Join us on June 27th for a 30-minute webinar on how your community league can integrate CommuniBee into your communication strategy for no cost.
In this Webinar:
- Learn how the CommuniBee App can simplify community-wide communications with push notifications, news posts, and public documents
- Learn how to increase revenue: pay for memberships and community events via the app, highlight community sponsors
- Learn how to you can manage community amenities, memberships, and news from one location
- Learn how you can roll this app out into your community and how we can help with promoting sign-ups
- Learn why we’re able to give away this amazing app at no cost to you