About John

I am the Chief Technology Officer and have been with the company since its beginnings in 1999. In the last ten years, I have enjoyed working with the team scaling the application and adding new features to the technology used by over 947,560 users and 29,190 companies. I think that is cool, and incredible to imagine, especially considering I can remember the first time a non test user ever signed onto the application.

Green Means Secure

Web site visitors are learning to look for the green address bar in their Web browsers while shopping online. You can also find it in online personal financial management tools like mint.com. Four51 has enabled Extended Validation SSL Certificates to trigger high security browsers such as Internet Explorer 7.0 to prominently display the trusted green address and security bars. Continue reading

Selling to Uncle Sam: Federal Information Processing Standard

Most of the Four51 product development requests are customer driven, focused on operating better or selling more. I was asked recently if it was possible to use the application for purchasing by US government employees. I replied with a definitive “I don’t know.” After understanding the specifics of the question, the answer is “Yes,” and this is why: Continue reading

Four51 Application: Good Fishing (application environment series part 1)

We have the opportunity to do a lot of fishing here in Minnesota. Over the years I have established a favorite lure, a jointed blue Rapala. I love casting it towards shore, watching it land on the water and leaving it a few seconds to float. As I begin to retrieve the lure and let it rise again to the surface, BAM, big fish, big fun! I call the blue Rap my production lure, but that doesn’t mean my tackle box isn’t full of other lures for many different purposes.

Continue reading

Four51 Application: Pageflex 6x

Pageflex version 6 is coming to Four51! In fact, it is partially here already. 

The previous versions of Pageflex have allowed us to submit over 5.5 million jobs. Yesterday, we began running preview jobs against the new Pageflex 6.1 server in our production environment and discovered the new architecture rendered the 10,000 some jobs that were submitted quicker than the version it is replacing.

However, as with any new release of software, this hasn’t been without issues. The new Pageflex architecture required Four51 (and you) to make several changes to the nearly 90,000 variable data project files we host. Some of these changes were scripted, and others we have asked and are asking you to perform.

Luckily, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  In the next few weeks we will continue to work with you to ensure your existing products work with preview, proof and production jobs. When we are confident that the transition has been made for existing products, the plan is to support project files created in the newest version of Pageflex. Among other features, these newer projects will support text on a path, document actions and simple impositions. Though transition is sometimes painful, we do like what we see at the other end of the tunnel!


Four51 Application: What’s in a Number?

The Four51 Product Development Team spends a significant amount of time logging, sorting, classifying and processing application issues. We classify an issue into one of several buckets to assist us in meeting the goal of delivering you the best product possible.

We discuss whether the completion of an issue will help deliver:

  • a secure and scaleable application to meet market standards and acceptable performance metrics
  • the most requested marketplace features to the application
  • support for the operational requirements of our customers
  • support for the operational requirements of Four51

Since 2006, the numbers break down like this:

  • 5 major releases (R4-R8)
  • 28 minor releases logged
  • 3,675 product development issueslogged
  • 2,275 issues have been resolved
  • 333 of the issues were new features
  • 263 new feature issues on the roadmap

If history helps predict the future, we can all expect the application to continue to deliver capabilities to allow you to sell more and service your customers more efficiently.


Four51 Application: One Last Thing

Cap'n CrunchI am sure you have played the game One Last Thing.  Like, if you could only eat one last thing, what would it be? (Bacon.) Or, if you could only have one breakfast cereal, what would you choose? (Captain Crunch.)  This is the very discussion we have when trying to figure out the most important feature of our next major application release:   If we could build only one more thing, what would it be? 

The “one” feature we focused on for Release 8 was the ability for buyers to pay for orders with a spending account and an additional payment method.  Release 7 was about security and PCI compliance. And Release 9 will be about,  well…..hmmmm……we are thinking that if we could only build “one last thing”  it would be allowing a coupon to be used on an order.  What would you say if you were on the Four51 product development team?

You can click here to create a product suggestion on Access Four51, the Four51 Customer Resource Center.