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Development Update, October 17, 2010

Recent functionality and interface updates include:

• Implemented a new “multimenu_text” data format in the Inform module that facilitates gathering multiple data elements in response to a single question, using a format similar to the following:

Multimenu_text data input format

• Upgraded the Statistics menu available to Admin users to optionally display tables providing a listing of total daily registrations, submissions, and review completions.  This enables a more precise indication of relevant trends.

• Added the ability to configure a “maximum” and/or “minimim” value for numeric and currency fields.  Users that provide a number that lies outside the range will be notified of that fact via a popup alert.

• Further enhanced the existing capability of the system to support “conditionality” based on segmentation criteria.  This features enables various questions / data inputs to be flagged as “conditional”, to be displayed only to proposals matching a specified segmentation criterion.  This functionality is useful in situations where it is desireable to customize the data inputs, or the wording of questions, based on whether a proposal fits into a specific category.

• Continued the process of migrating online instructions to a WordPress platform, which enables Admin users to directly edit and maintain online instructions provided to users and reviewers. To support this required configuring the WordPress platform to support both http and https protocols, since some browsers display security warnings when a web page contains both encrypted content, whereas other browsers will not support iframes where the source is https on a different domain

• Fixed issue on registration which under certain circumstances caused an exception for browser locales other than English or French

• Fixed an issue where the Proposal Status page was generating an exception in cases where a Part had not yet been created

• Upgraded the Benchmark Support platform to make automated email responses bilingual

Categories: Development.

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Development Update, October 3, 2010

Added the ability to display a customized “Login Alert”  on the Introduction page that appears immediately after login.

Login alert

The content of the login alerts is under the direct control of admins.  This functionality could be useful, for instance, to notify users to a change in a submission deadline or other general conditions of a competition.

Categories: Development.

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Development Update, September 25, 2010

Implemented various interface and functionality improvements, including:

• Added proactive warning if proposal registration not completed

• Added Status page to enable applicants to check the status of all parts in a multi-part proposal, as well as confirm final submission status

• Added timeout warnings on all popups to reduce “unexpected events” notices being generating when loading pages that throw an error on timeout

• Added automating numbering for all questions / data inputs in a proposal

• Fixed issue on modifying Inform data inputs caused by adding a question in the underlying content file that was not previously there

Categories: Development.

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Development Update, September 14, 2010

Discovered that some versions of Internet Explorer were prone to generating login exceptions, apparently due to cached cookies.  Introduced new code to invalidate session cookies on logout, which forces the browser to generate a new one on login.

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Development Update, September 5, 2010

Implemented additional interface and functionality improvements, including:

• updates to the filter mechanisms to support new question types:  the filters enable admins to selectively view proposals or reviewer matching specific criteria

• added a swtich in service properties to enable displaying all proposals or only eligible proposals in the review management menu

• various improvements made in dashboards that are made available to various categories of specialized users, such as procurement officials who need limited “read” access to monitor progress of a competition

• updated the statistics menu

• major update to email functionality in Admin Utilities to provide admins with more options for emailing all or selected applicants, reviewers, or program stakeholders

Categories: Development.

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Development Update, September 3, 2010

Implemented additional interface and functionality improvements, including:

• Full implemetation of category-specific matrix files, which enables a different customized matrix file to be used both to collect data and for reviews.  This is important in situations where proposals fit into different categories and where different review questions should be asked based on the category

• Reviewers who are members of a Program Selection Committee are flagged in a different colour on the Review Management Dashboard and various other lists of reviewers

• Mandatory Criteria processing was updated to enable designated individuals to review mandatory criteria for a proposal.  Relevant data from the proposal is displayed related to each criterion based on settings configured in a correlation properties file.  At the conclusion of the Mandatory Criteria review, a timestamp is set and status is updated for display on the Decision Management Dashboard

• Correlation properties were expanded to include entity Properties in addition to responses to Inform questions

• Updated the filter mechanisms to support the new multimenu entityProperty types, which expands the range of data types that can be used to filter lists of proposals

Categories: Development.

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Development Update, August 30, 2010

Implemented a variety of minor interface improvements including:

• The ability to specify a default value for a numeric or text field

• For multi-part proposals, have added progress indicators at the bottom of each page that indicate how many pages remain to be viewed in a Part

• Added the ability to configure Entity properties and Inform questions so that they appear conditionally based on a user’s response to a prior entityProperty.  This provides significant additional flexibility in designing inputs based on proposal segmentation categories

Categories: Development.

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Development Update, August 20, 2010

Completed a significant renovation of the Inform module, moving it to Version 5.0.  Inform is used to gather primarily text-based information.  This renovation focused on simplifying the interface for users, and completing a number of reliability enhancements based on user feedback over the past 12 months.

To accommodate these changes we also moved the main Benchmark module to Version 10.0.

Categories: Development.

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Development Update, August 17, 2010

Upgraded the “reviewer matching” capability, which faciliates matching reviewers to proposals based on the correspondence between proposal characteristics and reviewer expertise categories.  The upgrade enhances the ability to selectively display information about the proposal and the reviewer, and provides more flexibility in specifying expertise categories using a matchingProperties.xml file.

Categories: Development, Innovation.

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Development Update, August 11, 2010

Recent updates include:

Benchmark Module: Added support for specifying the colours associated with recommendation / decision outcomes that will be displayed on the Decision Management menu and various other ProgramAdmin Dashboard menus and charts.  This provides more flexibility in customizing the wording of initial screening / recommendation and decision categories and the associated colours which provide the ability to assess status at a glance.  Decision categories, related wording and colours are configured in a decisionProperties.xml file.

Register Module: If authorized by a Service sponsor, the system can now enable users whose subscription to a Service has expired to self-renew their subscription for an additional year. Subscribers wishing to renew a subscription will no longer need to contact and wait for a manual renewal.  Activation of this function is specified through a Service Property.

Categories: Development.

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Development Blog, August 1, 2010

Welcome to the first post of the ERDP™+ / BenchmarkAction Development Blog!  Our intention is to update this page periodically with news about significant platform enhancements.

One of the most important enhancements is, of course, this site and its companion sites: and, all of which were launched on August 1, 2010.

Development efforts made in the last year include the following:

  • Making the platform fully bilingual
  • Support for document uploads
  • Ability to specify a submission deadline by time of day as well as date
  • Ability to serve up assessment criteria selectively based on segmentation categories.  (This is important in situations where proper evaluation of proposals depends on using different criteria subsets)
  • The ability to display applicant segmentation categories in decision support visualizations
  • Generation of standard pdf reports and archives that may include various combinations of applicant data, review data, and decision outcomes, including uploaded documents
  • Introduction of sophisticated protocols that facilitate matching reviewers and applications based on applicant segmentation and reviewer expertise categories
  • Ability to upload applicant and review data via spreadsheet templates to accommodate situations where online access is not available
  • Support for a “grouped entity” part that displays entity properties in groups (this is useful to split up a large number of questions relating to entity properties across multiple pages, such as may be required when gathering a large set of environmental impact data, for example)
  • Integration of a simplified version of value stream modelling functionality (this is used, for example, to provide a simply model of environmental and economic impacts based on applicant claims)
  • Introducing an optional “metaEntity” Menu on the ProgramAdmin Dashboard that enables tracking related proposals or projects along different stages of a decision continuum
  • A function that enables defining a set of Mandatory Criteria and positively checking applications against those criteria in order to ensure that only qualified applications are assigned reviewers
  • A new multimenu_radio question type that enables an applicant to choose only one item per column (useful for specifying priorities)
  • Improvements to multimenu_quant questions that provide a mini-spreadsheet capability (useful for collecting budget analysis)
  • Addition of a broader range of read-only Dashboards supporting new types of admin users, including procurement officers that require the ability to monitor application and review status
  • Streamlining the data architecture supporting reviewer expertise categories, and other enhancements to reviewer registration including loading pre-existing data
  • Moving self-assessment, registration, and application activity statistics to a separate Statistics Menu in the ProgramAdmin Dashboard, which speeds page loading for the other ProgramAdmin menus
  • Reliability enhancements to the register module
  • Various additions to customized reporting

We’re pleased with this progress: but there are plenty of additional enhancements on our short, medium, and long-term Roadmaps.  Stay tuned!

Categories: Development.

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