Asteroids Development Highlights

The information in this article is the intellectual property of xMatters and is intended only for use with xMatters products by xMatters customers and their employees. Further, this intellectual property is proprietary and must not be reused or resold.

Asteroids Quarterly Release Details

Asteroids was released on June 5th, 2018. The Asteroids release includes new features and enhancements for messaging, integrations & development, mobility, and more.

For all the details, see the Asteroids (Apr/May) 2018 Release Overview.

Next Release: Breakout (Oct/Nov 2018)

We've already started working on our next quarterly release, which we've named Breakout. Follow the Breakout Development Highlights page so that you receive updates throughout the quarter on all of the fun and functionality we're working on.


We're hard at work on our next quarterly release, Asteroids, which will be rolling out in the May/June 2018 timeframe. Those of you who've been following along know that for some time now we've riffed on upcoming movies to name our releases (Bond, Galaxity, Knight, and so on).

If you're puzzled about which upcoming blockbuster the name "Asteroids" is inspired by, then it's probably time for us to announce that this release marks a changeover in our release naming theme from movies to classic arcade games. And, to make it easier to know where a given release falls in relation to others, we're adopting an alphabetic naming sequence... so feel free to start guessing what the "B" release name is!

Please follow this article and its comments to receive updates throughout the quarter about new features and functionality that we're working on for the Asteroids release.

Customers interested in previewing new features before they're released can opt into our Early Access Program (EAP), which delivers new features into non-production environments as they're rolled off the assembly line.

We'll also use this document to capture highlights of additions/updates to our mobile platforms and the xMatters REST API.

Deployment Details

For more information on how a feature in this article works, click the online help links which are embedded in each topic. As with any of our Community articles, you can click any image or animated GIF to see a larger version.

Support Notes

For a list of additional changes made in each deployment that are not covered in the Development Highlights, see the On-Demand support notes. While most features will be added to production environments as part of our quarterly releases, the support notes typically describe fixes, which can sometimes affect product behavior.


Next Release: Breakout (Oct/Nov 2018)

This release marks the start of our work on our next quarterly release, which we've code-named Breakout. Follow the Breakout Development Highlights page to receive updates throughout the quarter on all the fun and functionality we're working on.

Note: The features and functionality of the Asteroids release of xMatters On-Demand (version 5.5.210) will be toggled 'on' in non-production environments on Tuesday, May 22 at 10:00 am Pacific. Our non-feature updates and fixes will continue to be released according to our normal delivery process, meaning that they will be deployed before the Asteroids release is available in production environments on Tuesday, June 5 at 10:00 am Pacific.


On-Demand: Event ID & Web Login message properties

Availability: Now in On-Demand

We've just added two more properties to the message editor that you can use to customize your communications: 

  • Event ID - Add this property to your messages so that users can easily find out more information about the event by searching for it in the Events Report.
  • Web Login - Instead of using the default onboarding message included in the user upload process, some customers prefer to create their own personalized onboarding messages to send out after they've organized their users into groups and on-call schedules. With this new property, they can now include a user's login name in their messages.


Note: For SAML users, the web login property displays a user's name identifier, which they can use to log in to their Single Sign On application.

xMatters REST API: GET /on-call returns shift name

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

As of this release, in addition to the shift id, the GET /on-call endpoint also returns a shift's name as part of the ShiftReference object. Returning a human-readable shift name should now make it a lot easier to identify your shifts at-a-glance.

On-Demand: More Devices updates

Availability: Asteroids Quarterly Release & Early Access Program

We've just finished up another round of usability updates to the Devices tab of the user profile. This time, we've reorganized and fine-tuned several settings from the Options drop-down menu.

Device validation
The biggest thing you'll notice is that we've removed device validation from the Options menu completely - you can now send your device a test message directly from the main Devices screen:


Moving this feature to the top level highlights it for new users and speeds up the process of ensuring their devices are configured correctly and ready to receive notifications.

Other updates
While we were in the Options menu, we had a chance to look at the remaining items and make a couple of small but useful distinctions that should also help users configure their devices:

  • Dynamic toggle text - Previously, the label for the toggle to activate (or deactivate) a device just said "Active"... which could be ambiguous if you weren't sure which state was on or off. With new dynamic text, it's now very clear whether your device is "Active" or "Inactive".
  • "Add Timeframe" label - We've added a label in the Timeframes section to make it more obvious that clicking the "+" symbol allows you to add additional timeframes for your device.

Here's what these updates to the Options menu will look like when they're released in Asteroids:



Mobile: iOS starred groups

Availability: Now from the App Store 

The starred groups feature that we recently rolled out on Android is now available for iOS devices. This feature makes it easier and faster to look up who's on call, view the roster, or contact a member of a group directly. You can also conveniently select starred groups as recipients from your starred contacts when you're sending a message.



Integration Builder: 'Escalations' outbound integration trigger

Availability: Now in On-Demand

A new "Escalations" trigger is now available for outbound integrations. When you select this option for your integration, it'll be triggered whenever there's an escalation for an event associated with the selected form:


This is useful if you'd like to track escalations that occur in your system, either for reporting purposes or to trigger workflows outside of xMatters. The payload for the escalations webhook includes the following information:

  • The group in which the escalation occurred
  • The reason for the escalation - whether it was actively escalated by a user's response, or if it passively moved to the next escalation level after a wait time expired
  • The user that escalated the event (if applicable)
  • The type of escalation - peer, management, or none
  • The recipients the event escalated from
  • The recipients the event escalated to

We've updated the Run a script outbound integration default script to demonstrate how you can access information from this new 'Escalations' integration type:


Integration Directory: New built-in integration

Availability: Now in On-Demand

In this release we add the SignalFx logo to our Integration Directory, with a shiny new built-in integration:


SignalFx is a real-time operational intelligence platform that discovers and collects metrics across cloud components. When an alert detector is triggered, this integration relays critical SignalFx data to the correct people and systems to help coordinate and resolve incidents faster.

Integration Builder: Shortcut to run an inbound integration as another user

Availability: Asteroids Quarterly Release & Early Access Program

We've just made an update to inbound integrations that we think integration developers are going to find very handy! We've added an "Authenticating User" field to the How to trigger the integration section for integrations that use URL and API authentication.

Here's what this looks like for URL authentication:


You can use this field to select any user you supervise as long as they have a role with the REST Web Service User function. This will update the unique URL or API Key (as well as the instructions) to trigger the integration as that user.

This is great, because now when you want to run an integration as another user you'll no longer need to take extra steps to sign in as that user to get their API or URL authentication credentials. It also means improved security, as you can now create API-style users that have permission to run integrations, but who don't require access to the web user interface.


xMatters REST API: Response comments for events

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

We've just enhanced the xMatters REST API with the ability to enable commenting for responses. This means you can now do this programmatically from your Integration Builder scripts, instead of only via the web user interface.

The ResponseOptions object for an event now includes a 'promptForComments' field that you can configure to prompt a recipient to add a comment for that response. We've also updated the GET /events endpoint to return response options when the ?embed=responseOptions query parameter is included - and to indicate whether comments were enabled for a response.

Mobile: Android v2.9

Availability: Now from Google Play Store

If you've been using our mobile app for a while, then you're probably familiar with the ability to 'star' your favorite or most frequently used contacts, forms, and scenarios for faster access. That super handy feature just got even better on the Android app, as you can now star groups to quickly access them from the Groups contact screen.

This makes it easier and faster to look up who's on call, view the roster, or contact a member of a group directly. You can also conveniently select starred groups as recipients from your starred contacts when you're sending a message. Click on the image below to get a better look at what starred groups looked like in the Android mobile app:


If you haven't updated to this version of the Android app (v2.9), head over to the Google Play Store now to get started starring groups! 


On-Demand: Devices screen usability enhancements

Availability: Now in On-Demand

We've just added a couple of subtle - yet quite useful! - usability improvements to the Devices page in the xMatters web user interface...

  • Two-letter country codes. To help you more easily identify the country your device number is associated with, we've updated the country code field to include a unique two-letter identifier in addition to the numeric country code (for example, "+1 US" or "+1 CA"). This means you'll be able to tell at-a-glance whether you've configured your device numbers correctly.
  • Permanent device delay icons. We'd received feedback that adding delays between devices wasn't very intuitive... and that's a fair comment considering that the controls to do this were invisible until you moved your pointer over the timeline! Yeah, not ideal. To make this functionality more obvious, we've updated the timeline to permanently display the clock icons that you can click to add wait times between devices. (P.S. While we were at that, we also made this update to the timeline on the Shifts tab so that it's clear how to add escalation delays to your groups' on-call schedules.)

Here's a preview of what you can expect to see the next time you're on the Devices page to add or edit your device information:



Integration Platform: SCOM Integration Updates

Availability: Now available for xMatters On-Demand

An updated version of our Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2016 (AKA SCOM 2016) integration is now available. In addition to some changes to the integration's injection and response behaviors, this latest version includes the following notable updates:

  • Ability to inject events into xMatters using inbound integrations
  • Support for the new Event Comments trigger for outbound integrations
  • The most recent version of the embedded Integration Agent utilities

For more information about these updates, or to download and install the integration, click here.


xMatters REST API: More GET/ events updates

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

In this release, we've made additional updates to GET /events endpoint: 

GET /events/{eventID}/annotations

GET /events/{eventID}/annotations/{annotationID}

Get event comments (annotations): You can use these API calls to retrieve comments added either directly on the Tracking report or when a recipient responds to a notification. (To retrieve a specific comment, include its annotationID.)

While it's still possible to use the existing GET/events{eventID}?embed=annotations to return comments along with detailed event information, these new calls return comment and author details with only basic information about the event itself, if that's what you prefer.

xMatters On-Demand: Minimized subscription deliveries

Availability: Asteroids Quarterly Release & Early Access Program

It's currently possible to receive duplicate notifications for an event when you're targeted by the event directly, and also by one or more subscriptions - for our customers that use subscriptions extensively, these notifications can really add up.

In our last quarterly release, we gave you a sneak peek of an enhancement that updates the way xMatters handles subscription notifications. The new feature dynamically identifies the best content to send based on your role in the communication process, and automatically suppresses any unnecessary duplicate notifications.

Here's how it works...

Once enabled for your company, the new process ensures that primary responders and decision makers receive only a directly-targeted notification, while interested parties and subscribers get a single copy of the content appropriate for their needs (either just an FYI notification, or an actionable notification with response options).

Here's the suppression logic in a nutshell:

  • If you're targeted directly as a recipient for an event, you'll only receive one targeted message; any duplicate notifications that you would have received via subscriptions are suppressed.
  • If the primary way you're notified about an event is by two-way subscription, you'll only receive a single notification with response options; any duplicate notifications that you would have received via other subscriptions (one- or two-way) are suppressed.
  • If you only receive FYI notifications about certain events (via one-way subscription), you'll only receive one notification for an event; any duplicate notifications that you may have received from other one-way subscriptions are suppressed.

Here's an example of how suppressed subscription notifications appear in the Event Log:


In this example, Mark is notified directly about an event, and the notifications he would have received from his two-way and one-way subscriptions are suppressed.

A few things to note:

  • If you have more than one subscription notification of the same type (one- or two-way) and xMatters needs to choose which one to use to notify you, it will select the first one based on alphabetically-sorted subscription names.
  • This suppression behavior does not apply to delayed subscriptions or escalated notifications. If you're part of a group with an escalation delay and the primary on-call users don't respond, all of your notifications will be delivered once it escalates to you. 
  • If you're using subscriptions as a reporting mechanism (i.e., collecting notification emails as a record), you can add a short notification delay to your subscription to ensure these emails are still delivered.

This feature is now enabled in non-production environments enrolled in the Early Access Program; it'll be officially released into the wild as part of the Asteroids Quarterly Release.


xMatters REST API: GET/ events updates

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

In this deployment we've made the following enhancements to the GET /events endpoint:

  • Find events by priority. It's now possible to search for events based on their priority - LOW, MEDIUM, or HIGH. For example, if you were interested only in high-priority events your request would look like: GET/ events?priority=HIGH
  • Conference bridge numbers. The conferences object now includes the conference bridge number associated with an event (bridgeNumber). For external conference bridges, this field contains the static or dynamic number assigned to the bridge.


On-Demand: Event start date & time message properties

Availability: Now in On-Demand

Have you ever received an incident notification and wondered exactly when the incident occurred? Sometimes it's difficult to tell if you weren't a recipient on the initial notification for an event, either because there was a notification delay, or you weren't on-call at the time. That can be annoying or - much worse - worrying.

To help you address this potential context gap, we've added new Date & Time Event Properties to the message editor:


When you include these properties in your message content, xMatters will replace them with values that match the event's starting date and time - they'll even be in the message recipient's local time zone! And, remember that you can add these properties to both the content and the subject of your messages for at-a-glance chronological clarity.


Integration Directory: New & updated integrations

This deployment sees updates to several of our existing integrations and adds a new packaged integration to our ever-growing collection:

  • Atlassian Stride packaged integration. This integration uses an xMatters "glance" in Stride to check who's on call and invite additional resources to a targeted room or live meeting. You can then write activity in Stride back into a service management ticket, such as in Jira, ServiceNow, or Cherwell. Start Striding here.
  • Jira Cloud updates. We've updated the Jira Cloud built-in integration to allow our Jira add-on to find xMatters integration configurations that have been converted to communication plans.
  • Integration certification. We're just waiting on final approval for the following integrations from their respective certification programs: SNOW Kingston, Splunk ITSI 2.6.1, Splunk ITSI 3.0.1, core Splunk 6.6 and, core Splunk 7.0.


Integration Platform: Jira Server plugin integration

Our Jira Server plugin packaged integration now officially supports the latest versions of Jira Software and Jira Service Desk. We've also updated the online integration guide with two new webhook trigger examples that you may find useful for your issue assignment workflow:

  • Terminate events if issue priority moved to low - generates a webhook to terminate the event if the issue priority moves to low.
  • Terminate events if issue deleted - creates a webhook to terminate the event if the issue is deleted in Jira.

For more information about these triggers, and for other examples, see the Jira Server plugin integration guide.

About the early access delivery process

As of December 10, 2015, we no longer support delivery of new features into production environments using continuous delivery; instead, new features are delivered on a quarterly basis.

Our customers can choose to opt their non-production environments into an Early Access Program (EAP) to see new functionality before it's released. If you're considering signing up for the early access program, there are a couple of important things to know:

  • Enrollment in EAP can be turned on any time through xMatters Client Assistance.
  • Exiting EAP can only be done on quarterly boundaries (you cannot opt in and out between quarterly releases).

For full details, refer to the official Continuous Delivery Changes / Early Access Program article.

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  • The Asteroids Quarterly Release is now available in all production environments.