It's back-to-school time in the United States, and we want to lessen the pain of the transition with a deal you simply cannot refuse. Here's how it works. Every fall we solicit contributions to Nerd Vittles so that we can keep the lights on for another year. We try to reward our readers with great deals whenever we find them but especially during donation season. So this one is especially for you, our loyal readers! You'll find a PayPal Donate button just to the right. It works with every major credit card whether you have a PayPal account or not. For everyone that makes a contribution to Nerd Vittles this month, we'll forward a portion of your contribution to Ward Mundy & Associates, an organization we know and love, to purchase on your behalf a fully licensed copy of hitAppoint to run on a server of your choice. Ward Mundy & Associates already has purchased an unlimited distribution license to hitAppoint. We hope you'll consider running hitAppoint with PBX in a Flash or the Incredible PBX because, over the next few months, we'll be writing a new module for hitAppoint that lets you add Telephone Reminders and Client/Patient Confirmations when the software is run on PBX in a Flash systems. Who knows? We may even get energetic and write a module to let folks schedule appointments using their Plain Old Telephone.
What's the Catch? Sorry. There isn't one other than our assumption that you're a loyal Nerd Vittles reader. We obviously have no way to check. Just make a donation to Nerd Vittles this month and patiently await an email from us telling you how to download your software. If you're a long time reader of Nerd Vittles, you already know about our previous contributions to the open source and shareware communities. And today is no different even though this is commercial software. Yes, the Little Mrs. is not going to be happy. So there goes the new house... again.
Can I Pass the Software On? No. Your copy of hitAppoint will be licensed just to you or the entity making a donation to Nerd Vittles. And it's for use on a single server. This is the identical commercial software product that can be purchased from the hitAppoint web site for $299.
What Are Typical Uses for hitAppoint? The hitAppoint web site lists a number of real-world examples of how hitAppoint is being used. These include scheduling of medical appointments, fitness and wellness appointment scheduling, piano or guitar lessons, tutoring appointments, photographic services scheduling, workout class appointments, hair salon scheduling, carpet cleaning services, and almost any other trade or profession that involves scheduling of people's time or facilities.
Is it Full-Featured? You bet. It's one of the best in the business. That's why we chose it! Here's an overview of hitAppoint functionality in the latest release:
- Appointment packs
- Multiple seats at a time if needed
- Customer can request/cancel appointment
- Provider can create/accept/reject appointment
- Manage past appointments
- View appointments during any time period
- Color for appointment status
- Customizable automatic confirmation emails
- Export to Outlook, iCal apps, Google Calendar
- Export to Excel or any CSV-capable software
- View apptmt by customer, provider, location
- Day appointments visual view
- One screen print view
- Review appointments before scheduling
- Configure service, location, provider, time
- Move appointment to another location
- Reassign appointment to another provider
- Reschedule appointment to different time
- Custom additional fields for appointments
- Recurring Appointments
- Paypal integration
- Authorize.Net integration
- SagePage integration
- Accept offline payments at your office
- Configure to allow registered users only
- Require customer email validation
- Require admin approval for new customer
- Additional information fields for customer data
- Search for customers by any field
- View customer appointment history
- Use of customer database from other apps
- Temporarily suspend users
- Assign provider to any service and location
- Flexible availability schedule for providers
- Specify individual time off
- Variable duration and pricing for sessions
- Lead-in and lead-out times
- Flexible availability for every service
- Configure providers and locations for service
- Define when advance booking is possible
- Define when appointment cancellation is possible
- Flexible availability scheduling by location
- Configure services and providers by location
- Tailor look and feel with themes
- Integrate with WordPress
- Integrate with Joomla
- Multi-language support
Prerequisites. Here's what you'll need on your host machine which could be either Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X:
* Apache web server
* PHP (version 4.1 or greater or PHP 5)
* MySQL 3.23 or greater
* phpMyAdmin (strongly recommended)
In the Windows world, the easiest way to get everything you need is to install WampServer 2. With Mac OS X, we'd recommend XAMPP. For Linux, all you need is PBX in a Flash. If you plan to run hitAppoint in a hosted environment (e.g. WestNIC, LunarPages, BlueHost), we'd recommend you choose a provider that includes cPanel. This makes it easy to set up your MySQL database and credentials. The three providers we've listed all provide the necessary software to run hitAppoint, and we've used all three of them with good results. The three are ranked in our order of preference.
Downloading & Installing hitAppoint. If you're installing this on a PBX in a Flash server, it's incredibly simple and takes less than a minute. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands. Then skip down to the Running Setup section below:
tar zxvf hitappoint.tgz
For those not installing hitAppoint on a PBX in a Flash server, download the hitAppoint software from the link that was provided in the email from us. The link changes regularly so download it as soon as you receive your email confirmation. Unzip the file in the root directory of your web server so that hitAppoint can be accessed using a web browser pointed to:
Step #2 is to create a MySQL database and user with permissions to manage hitAppoint.
On cPanel hosted systems, there will be a MySQL Databases option. Choose it and create a new database called hitappoint. This will actually create a database called nerd_hitappoint where nerd is your cPanel account name. Now add a new username and call it hitappoint as well. Then choose a very secure password for this username. Then click the Create User button. Finally, move to the Add User to Database option and specify nerd_hitappoint as the database and nerd_hitappoint as the user (using your own cPanel account name obviously). Then click the Add button.
On systems with phpMyAdmin, use a browser to open the application. Click on the Privileges option in the center column. Then click Add a New User. For Username, choose Use Text Field and enter hitappoint. For Host, choose Local and it will default to Localhost. For Password, choose Use Text Field and enter a very secure password twice. In the Database for User section of the form, choose the radio button marked "Create database with same name and grant all privileges." Now move to the bottom of the form and click the Go button.
Now you're ready to configure hitAppoint to use your newly created MySQL database. Use your favorite editor to open db.rename_it.php in the new hitappoint directory on your web server. Change the default entries so that they look like the following but use your actual password instead of yourpassword for the MySQL user account you created:
define( 'NTS_DB_HOST', 'localhost');
define( 'NTS_DB_USER', 'hitappoint');
define( 'NTS_DB_PASS', 'yourpassword');
define( 'NTS_DB_NAME', 'hitappoint');
If you're on a hosted platform, don't forget to add your prefix (e.g. nerd_) to both the DB_USER and DB_NAME entries. Then save your changes and rename db.rename_it.php to db.php.
Running Setup. You're almost finished with the installation. Using your favorite browser, call up the following page and follow the prompts:
When you finish running the setup procedure, delete setup.php in the /hitappoint directory.
Language Support. hitAppoint has been designed to support multiple languages. Unfortunately, it has not yet been translated into
German, French, and Spanish. The entire translation process takes only an hour or so. If you are fluent in both Spanish and English, please drop us a note, and we'll walk you through the translation procedure. In addition, we'll share your handiwork with the rest of the hitAppoint community.
Getting Started. After you've downloaded and installed the software, review the hitAppoint Getting Started Guide for instructions on configuring the software to meet your needs. Here's an example of what you can create in less than 10 minutes. And, as you can see, integrating the live application into existing web sites, forums, or blogs takes only a couple minutes. Feel free to make some sample entries. We won't bill you. 😉 Enjoy!
Need help with Asterisk?® Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.
Or Try the New, Free PBX in a Flash Conference Bridge.
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