Rental Beam – Busting at the Seams

February 18, 2016 by
Filed under: DGP4SL Info 

Rental Beam at SLM

Rental Beam has become one of our most popular products. As a result, we’ve had to make some important changes. We’ve also got a number of updates and improvements planned. Today I’ll discuss what happened, what has changed, and what you can expect to see coming in the near future.

Rental Beam is Growing Up

Back in 2011 when we first released Rental Beam, we had no idea how popular it would become. In those early days only the hippoRENT Rental Management System was supported. During 2015 we added support for the CasperLet Land Rental System as well. Ever since then the popularity of Rental Beam has been growing at a phenomenal rate. As with most things in life, growth also has consequences.

Rental Beam’s New Digs

The most important change we’ve made recently is to move the Rental Beam web site to a new server. In the beginning, Rental Beam ran on a fairly typical Internet Hosting service. It ran well and served all of the product’s demands. But not any more! Just recently we had the delightful experience of completely overwhelming the bandwidth and capabilities of the old web server. As a result we had to move Rental Beam to a completely new web server. We’re glad to say, the move is complete and everything is running a whole lot better since.

Along with the improved response time of the new server, we’ve also got a lot more room to expand. The new hosting service can handle a lot more traffic without problem. In the future, as we add more to the features and services provided, Rental Beam’s new home can be upgraded easily and without interruption. All in all we’re very happy with the new digs.

Real-Time Stats

One of the most popular features added last year is a single-page display of the most important real-time statistics for your land rentals. It was originally designed to be viewed from within Second Life. Included in the basic package is a simple one-prim device called the “Rental Beam Owner Statistics Panel”. Using the Shared Media feature of SL, it shows live information that includes:

  • Most Recent Rental Transactions
  • Rentals Expiring Soon
  • Most Clicked Rental Listings – Last 30 Days
  • Rental Status Counts by Region

Real-time Stats on the Rental Beam menuWe had a lot of very positive feedback on the feature, and more than a few people asked if it could be viewed while not logged into Second Life. We heard those requests and as a result added a link to the Rental Beam menu that allows you to view the Real-Time Stats directly in your web browser. You can now easily add the link to your Favorites or Shortcuts just as you do for any other web page. But remember, the URL to the Stats page is private to each Rental Beam owner and should not ever be shared.

Current Product Versions

During 2015 we released a lot of very important and necessary updates to the basic Rental Beam products. At times it may have felt like there was something new coming out every day. We know it was painful at times, and we apologize for the extra work it may have created. Thankfully those rapid-fire updates have slowed way down. In fact, the basic products have been stable for the past few months.

With everything flying out at break-neck speed, some of you may have missed an update or two. The list below shows all of the current Rental Beam products and their current released version. As always, updates are free and can be obtained in a number of ways.

  • Plug-in Scripts for hippoRENT Systems : v2.2.05
  • Plug-in Scripts for CasperLet Systems : v2.2.05
  • Rental Beam Kiosk – v2.2.05
  • CasperLet Region Listener – v2.2.11
  • Rental Vendor – v2.2.21
  • Rental Status Mirror – v2.2.07
  • Tenant Taxi – v2.2.01

Updating Rental Beam

Obtaining the most recent version depends on where you purchased your Rental Beam system and add-ons. If you bought from an In-World vendor (either in our Rental Beam Headquarters or one of the other vendor locations), you can use any CasperVend Vendor to request the most recent version. If you purchased using the SL Marketplace then you can use the iGlom RDS Redelivery Kiosk located in the DGP4SL Main Store or the iGlom RDS web site to request the latest version. (Note that you will need information from your SLM Purchase to use the RDS web site; the RDS Kiosk will look up your purchase for you.)

If all else fails and you cannot find your original purchase information then you can always send an IM to Darrius Gothly and ask that the most recent version be delivered. We’ll do our best to get you the latest version as quickly as possible, but if at all possible please use an automated method.

Styling Your Rental Listings

Rental Beam currently offers a few different methods of displaying your available Rentals on the Web. From the beginning you could easily generate custom HTML code (called an “IFRAME”) and then include that on a page on your own web site. But shortly after the initial release in 2011 we got a lot of requests from people that didn’t have their own web sites. Our solution was a feature we call “Hosted Pages”. You can create as many Hosted Pages as you wish, use either Text or Graphical formatting, and even include custom heading text and a page banner image. Once you’ve configured it the way you like, you can share its URL in Social Media or anywhere you like. We even provide the ability to create a ‘Short URL’ that makes it easier to include a link to your Hosted Pages in more places.

But time marches on and technology changes. Since the old-style Hosted Pages were a bit … ummm … ugly, we added a way to use the same format but generate prettier pages uses JavaScript. All you need to do to use the new format is to change the URL you give out slightly. Full instructions are available on the Wiki at Prettier Hosted Pages using JavaScript.

If you are a web-head and can understand HTML and some basic JavaScript, you can achieve even better looking results. As an example, one of our customers has used some basic JavaScript code and a bit of style to create pages that look ultra-modern and very attractive. You can see the results at Land Available in Rural Hampshire. As with all Rental Beam listings, they are Live and always reflect your currently available Rentals.

Looking Down the Road

Rental Beam is always growing and improving. Among the changes planned for the near future are:

  • Multi-Panel Vendors that show more than one Rental at a time
  • Improved Global Listings with optional Graphical listings in addition to the current Textual listings
  • Ability to select a different TP destination from the Rental Device (for both CasperLet and hippoRENT)
  • … much more to come

We are always listening to our customers ideas and suggestions. The absolute BEST way to submit an idea is to file a Support Ticket. Make sure you select “Feedback” as the Topic.

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