We’re excited to announce our lastest patch release for 5.0, and it is chock full of new stuff. The patch provides the usual collection of bug fixes (for details, see xMatters 5.0 patch 008 Release Notes) as well as a treasure trove of new features including reporting enhancements and more usability changes.
5.0 Installer and Platform
5.0.8 brings back an oldie but goodie feature from 4.1 due to popular demand: the ability to have a DBA run a prep script so the user running the xMatters installer doesn't have to have DBA credentials.
We also added another feature by popular request: the ability to run xMatters nodes on Windows machines using Windows Authentication to a SQL Server 2008 database. We have a KBA out there for both 4.1 and 5.0 Clients: Using Windows Authentication with xMatters and SQL Server.
And one final platform level change: in the last release we upgraded the embedded JVM that we run for 5.0 to Java 7 as the older Java 6 JVM goes out of support this month; in this release we also add support for the x64 JVM on Windows. We haven't seen any issues with Java 6 (none of the recent security issues you might have seen relate to server JVM's - they are all browser vulnerabilities) and 4.1 will continue to run on Java 6.
If you are looking to upgrade to 5.0 from 4.1 the best way to get up to speed on the migration process is to read our KBA: Migrating from 4.1 to 5.x
Our patches have delivered some great new reporting capabilities and for this release we are continuing the theme by revisiting some old friends: the Events Activity report and its siblings Events for User and Events for Group. Our goal was to increase usability, scalability and just plain old beauty, while maintaining all of the previous functionality. We think we have nailed the first three (and we hope you agree), but we have a little more work to do before we provide all of the previous functionality.
While we could just sit on the feature for another release, we think there is so much power here that it would be a shame not to place it into your hands now. So, we are releasing the new Events report and retaining the older reports while we finish up.
We're making all this fuss because the new Events report:
- Uses screen real estate much more efficiently: where previously a typical monitor could only show three events before scrolling, we can now show eight or more (I saw a Thunderbolt monitor scaling to show me 42 events!)
- Uses our scroll-and-load technology rather than pagination: this automatically optimizes the report for your screen's resolution so that you can quickly see the first eight events or scroll to the 8,000th event.
- Provides new filters to hide "System Events" (device validations, temporary replacement communications, and so on) and completed events so you can focus on the currently critical events.
- Redefines existing filters against Event and Incident IDs, Event Domain, Relevance Engine and Form Names, Sender and date so that they work fast and stay in place - and so that you can drill down into events and then return to your result set.
The following animated GIF (yes, they're back!) shows how easily you can filter down to currently critical events, and then trim down to just the P1S1 relevance engine events:
In the next patches we will provide some additional filtering capabilities, a feature to replace the "Important" flag for predicates and an export button. At that point the Events report will be able to completely replace all three of the old Event Activity reports.
Users I Supervise
Our work on the Find Users page was a good start (see 5.0.7 (5.0 patch 7) New Feature Overview), but we have a few more tricks up our sleeve to help manage users (and to complete my personal mission to destroy all forced pagination in our UI). In this release we set our sites on the Users I Supervise page where we have implemented our scroll and load technology to smash another instance of pagination. The page will now allow you to see all of the users you supervise in the window with the count showing in the lower left (in this case I am "Showing 18 to 30 of 42" users I supervise) and the view will dynamically load users as you scroll:
We aren't done with this mission to improve user management. In the coming patches we think we can collapse the Find Users, Users I Supervise and View Users by Role into one super smooth scrolling view with search and filtering to provide an outstanding user experience (very similar to what we are doing with the previously mention Events report). In fact, we will open this page up to simply become the "Users" page where you can see any user you supervise or have View permissions. And hey, if we can do it here, why not be consistent and do it for Groups too? AND last but not least, we'll put an export button on the Users view to kick out the data in CSV!!! Stay tuned for more.
Group Deletion WARNING!
Some of our Clients have reported a Bermuda Triangle situation with their Groups are disappearing. We have tracked this down to a misunderstanding for Group Supervisors who viewed their Groups I Supervise screen, decided they don't supervise a Group any more, so they used the "Remove Selected" button and poof, the Group is actually deleted from the system. To help prevent this case we have renamed the button to "Delete Selected Groups" and we changed the chicken exit to absolutely scream the implications to the user:
Filter Notifications Based on Validation State
Another "by popular demand" feature is the ability to provide filtering of devices that have not been through our validation process. To support this feature we bring in not one, but two shiny new scripting methods:
See the Online Developer Guide for more details.
These are the main new features in this release, but please check out the full release notes for all of the details on these features as well as a few others. We hope you enjoy the new release!
Until the next update,
The xMatters Team