Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sub-Accounts Have Arrived!

I think I got the first request for a "sub-account" about two days after Atlas Quest went live. Okay, maybe it was three. It seemed like so long ago now. =) The main motivation, in particular, was the desire for a 'family' account--a way to identify oneself individually and as part of a family.

And I've never really been sure how to implement something like that. There's a lot of stuff to think about, and the logistics just thinking about it would give me a headache, so I put it off. And put it off. And put it off.

And while hiking the PCT, I thought about it some more and decided that if this feature would ever happen, I needed to actually DO something and play around with it. So shortly after I finished the trail, I followed through with the first step: Adding a column to the database that would do nothing more than point to a "parent" account. The master account. The family account. The primary account. Whatever you call it. It didn't actually DO anything, but it gave Atlas Quest a way to identify a simple relationship between to accounts.

And over the last couple of months, I've added a piece here and there--real functionality. First the ability to log into a sub-account using the password from the primary account. Then the ability for the master account to edit boxes and trackers if it was owned by the sub-account. Then the ability to read mail from sub-accounts through the primary account. And so on. A lot of little incremental improvements that, today, is quite a substantial feature in it's own right.

So now, you'll see a new link under the 'My Page' menubar option called 'My Accounts.' This is where you can control all of your accounts from one convenient location. =)

There are three distinctly different types of sub-accounts:

  • Aliases: Your alter egos, if you have any. Something like the Mystery Mailer would be an alias for a real person. Registering an alias with your primary account will allow you to post messages and send AQ mail from your aliases without having to log into your alias accounts.
  • Child: Child accounts are for the children in your family--typically those who aren't old enough to have their own accounts. Child accounts have additional restrictions that will not permit them to post to the message boards, send AQ mail, or drop into the chat rooms. Child accounts are generally only meant to record finds that your children have found--they don't really need all those other features. When recording finds, you'll be able to record finds on child accounts at the same time.
  • Adult: These are like the child accounts, but without the restrictions.
Each of the categories do have slightly different characteristics, so it does make a difference which you choose for each sub-account. The list above focuses on what makes the types different, but they also have a lot in common.

While logged into the sub-account, everything works like it always has. You won't see any changes. The real power lies in the primary account. The password for the primary account can log you into any of the sub-accounts. You can also reset the passwords for the sub-accounts from the primary account. And like I said before, you can edit the boxes, trackers, events, etc. of sub-accounts directly from the primary account. The primary account is also capable of reading the AQ mail of any attached sub-accounts.

There's also a new widget for My Page for sub-accounts. If you plan to make use of this feature, you'll probably want to add the Sub-Accounts widget.

Happy trails!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

If someone is black listed or on the ignore list, on the primary account, will that carry over to any of the sub accounts too?

Anonymous said...

1st- THANK YOU!!!!
Next- When I first added the widget, and clicked on my sub accounts, I was (obviously) told I had none, and was given several options. One was to add that account as the parent account, but the "irreversible" warning made me nervous. So I went ahead and just added the sub accounts instead to get a feel for it. Now I'm no longer seeing the option to make the current account a "parent" account. I assume that happened automagically when I added the sub accounts under it? If not, is there another step I need to take?
-Monkeys! (no, I'm not really anonymous :-)

Ryan said...

No. There's not even any way to know if someone has any sub-accounts. Which makes a lot of sense for alias accounts. Probably not as important for child and adult accounts, but this feature is more to help people keep track of their own accounts. From an outsider point of view, absolutely nothing has changed.

-- Ryan

Ryan said...

Monkeys: When you add a sub-account, it automatically turns the account it was added to into a primary account. (On a related note, there is no support for "sub-sub-accounts." A primary account cannot also be a sub-account.)

-- Ryan

Anonymous said...

Awesome! One more thing (for now!)...is there any trick I should know about for going back to my old finds and adding finds for sub-accounts? Will doing that change anything in the original find (like the date, rating, or comments?)
Either way, it will make logging finds going forward a breeze!
-Monkeys!

Ryan said...

There's not really any trick in adding finds to sub-accounts. You'll still have to add the finds if you haven't already, and by doing it from the primary account, you can list the finds for any (or all) child and adult sub-accounts. (Aliases aren't included in this feature.) You can selected the alias accounts to apply the find to, and you can also UNselect the primary account for the find if it already has the find listed. If you don't, it'll overwrite the existing find. (Overwriting an old find doesn't change the previous comments.)

-- Ryan

Anonymous said...

What a very cool thing you have done Ryan!!! Another giant leap for mankind! Thanks for all you do for us!

Fluffy Cow said...

Mystery Mailer is a REAL person??????

Anonymous said...

Awesome new feature! Thanks Ryan!

Happy SAHD said...

THIS ROCKS!!! (well, at least for me...) No more logging in 2,3 or 4 times when we goes 'boxing! Everyone wants their own account, with their own record/logbook, but ultimately it seems that I am the one who keeps them up. Thanks again, Ryan!

Happy SAHD said...

As a small aside, I don't seem to have the 'logging into the sub account' part figured out - it just kep asking for my password and then rotating back to 'My Accounts"...

Happy SAHD said...

ooooh! I LOVE the way reading the sub-accounts mail rotates you through the deleted and archived mail as well. A nice feature for a parent...

Happy SAHD said...

hmmm. I wasn't able to "approve" a comment to one of my sub-account's 'boxes from the master account. That would be a nice ability...

Happy SAHD said...

ummm - another small glitch (sorry): When posting finds, I would select both me and Cheshire Cat (we went 'boxing together yesterday - Lucia & Moulton falls - LOVELY!), but only mine was recorded. I even tried one only picking her, and it still just recorded me...

Travel'n Turtle said...

Ryan, this is awesome. But I did a stupid thing. I added a sub-account to a sub-account. In other words, I was logged into one of my kids' accounts and didn't realize it and I added another kid to him. Now I can't find a way to remove the sub-account from that account so I can make it a sub-acount to me. Make sense? :o)

Sorry, this is probably the exact reason you don't like giving us new options. :o)

- Travel'n Turtle

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Brilliant idea!

My kidlets and I have been boxing for over 3 years, but two are already teenagers and in a few years they will be off on their own and will want their own letterboxing profiles to continue letterboxing into adulthood.
Of course, the biggest issue I was trying to figure out was how to give them each 'credit' for all the years and boxes they have helped find and plant. Voila! You've solved that problem!

Thank you!
Twinville Trekkers of New Mexico

Trish said...

Thanks Ryan:) This looks like it will be a very helpful tool:) You Rock:)

Anonymous said...

Can an adult sub account plant boxes and list them?
Thanks