For a long time now, Roll Call has been accustomed to running on both Mac and Windows machines. That’s part of what makes it a great fit for so many churches and non-profits. It’s flexible and allows you to pick the operating system that you’re comfortable with while retaining all the great features of the Roll Call software.

With the new release of Mac OS X, dubbed “El Capitan,” Mac users are probably pretty excited for a few new features of their own. I’ll go over a few highlights of the update and throw my take on them here, along with if you should take the plunge.

Split View

Being a Mac user myself, I’ll admit, I’ve never wanted to be able to do this, but Apple is touting this as a major improvement. Basically it’s similar to the “snap” features of Windows. This is El Capitan bringing some viewing improvements to your app windows allowing you to easily organize multiple open windows side by side. When it comes to full screen vs multiple windows, Apple claims it’s “The best of both worlds.”

apple's new split view

Mission Control Improvements

Mission Control is another feature that I’ve hardly utilized because I’m more of an CMD + Tab guy (Alt + Tab, for all my windows friends). Mission Control does see a little more use when I’m at home on my laptop with it’s gesture capabilities, but even then, I’m pretty focused on only a few apps at once. This new feature improvement allows you to view, arrange and organize your desktop spaces more easily. It also lets you see all the windows without them being overlapped like they have in the past. Yay?

Spotlight Searching meets “Siri speak”

Now we’re talking some more functionality that I can get behind —that is, being able to find stuff quickly and more easily. The new spotlight features allow you to search using terms similar to everyday language like you may already do with Siri. Note: Siri (for iPhone) got some nice new enhancements similarly in the latest iOS 9 update. You can search things like “Email I got from Jimmy in July” and it will yield results right before your eyes. I love intuitive user interfaces and features. This kind of feature may seem trivial, but it’s the kind of feature that you may end up using without even realizing how much goes into making it work properly. Being able to type in your own words when looking for files, folders, emails or documents is pretty nifty.

Improvements to Notes

I do use notes. I have tried third-party apps like Evernote and found them pretty awesome. But the truth is, I’m app-lazy. If I have to log in every time or hunt for some app, I am more likely to want to do something that the operating system offers natively — along with all the native blessings and integrations. All of this to say that Notes has gotten a major overhaul. You can create todo lists (complete with checkboxes), insert images, and other file attachments. Like before, it all syncs with iCloud, so your iPhone notes show up here (and vice versa) and it’s just easy to use. Not too many frills here.

Other “major” changes…

There are a handful of other major apps that got some improvements like:

  • Photos: (New editing abilities thanks to third-party extensions)
  • Safari: New Pinning of Favorite Sites, Mute audio on hidden tabs, more…
  • Maps: Public transit visibility (honestly, who is using maps on your mac to view transit options? That’s what your phone is for, right?)
  • New Fonts included: A sans-serif font called San Francisco
  • Performance and Graphics improvements (Apple claims this with every update so take this with a grain of salt, but they say apps start up to 40% faster)
  • Here’s a link to all the features in a simple list

So, will Roll Call and Mac OS X El Capitan play nice together?

The short answer is probably. We have users who have already jumped on board with El Cap without issues, but don’t stop reading to hit that update button just yet. The current version of Roll Call (Version 13) is not officially certified for use with El Capitan. This means there may be unforeseen consequences to updating your operating system that we will not be able to address until our fully-certified version arrives in late November. Roll Call Version 13.5 of will be a Free Update to current v13 users. Along with full certification for El Capitan, this version will include numerous user-requested enhancements to the Check-in system and more. Stay tuned to the blog here for a post in the coming weeks about new features that v13.5 will contain and when you might be able to get it installed.

So are these new OS X features worth the potential risk of encountering issues with your Roll Call Church Database Software? It might be wise to wait a couple months. Especially for features that I would argue aren’t really that exciting to begin with.


Outside of By the Book, Josh's superpowers include being a husband/dad, playing guitar, writing songs, and other geekery involving computers and code. He has a hard time passing up a board game of Settlers of Catan.

7 Comments » for Roll Call and Mac OS X El Capitan
  1. Gene McGlasson says:

    Nice job Josh. I tried to upgrade to Elcap but got a server error. I’ll try later.

  2. Eric Dye says:

    I am happy to see a ChMS that keeps updated so well!

  3. Cindy says:

    I have a Mac with El Cap, I do not have Roll Call….. yet. My question is if we get Roll Call will I be able to install it on my Mac and on a PC and use together. Possibly backing up on a flash drive to sync the computers. (I’m not real techy, so I hope I am asking this correctly!)

    • Josh says:

      Hi Cindy,
      You should be able to run Roll Call simultaneously on both windows and mac computers on the same network. You will likely want to use the Client/Server format of the software (which can be done still with a single user license). One computer will act as the host server machine (handling the database) and then both computers will use the client software to access the same data. No syncing is necessary between if they’re on the same wifi/network.

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