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 009 Release Notes) as well as a treasure trove of new features including a ton of cool usability enhancements and more reporting updates.
Users and Groups Get A Killer New Face
Our Events report received some great usability enhancements over the last several months as we worked with users to zero in on a user interface that easily allows users to see the sometimes large number of events in their system, and to include filtering tools to easily focus down to just what they want. That user interface has been so successful that we are applying it to both User and Group management.
With this release we are consolidating the "Users" screen and the "Find Users" screen down into a single screen (still called "Users") that allows you to see the Users you supervise or, by simply clearing a check box, all of the Users in the system that you are allowed to view. You additionally have a search bar that you can use to apply filters that will quick narrow down matches based on User ID, First Name, Last Name, and Site Name. The screens easily handle very large numbers of Users in your system, allowing you to quickly manage User settings.
We didn't want to leave anyone out, so we brought the same magic to our Group screens. The "Groups I Supervise" and "Find Groups" screens are now consolidated into a single "Groups" screen and provides all of the abilities of both, and more. The Groups screen, like the Users Screen, defaults to showing Groups I Supervise, but can be quickly switched to show any Group in the system you are allowed to observe, and leverages our scroll and load display to show them all. You can also find Groups by simply searching on Name and Description. And best of all, Users, Groups and Reports now all have the same management functions so when a user masters one screen, they have mastered all three.
User and Group Performance Report
Our User and Group Performance reports are a key tool for improving your communication processes. However, their utility has been limited by an inability to render large amounts of data. Now, with the above features added to our Users and Groups pages, we clearly have that problem licked. With one more wave of the wand (okay, maybe it isn't that easy, but Product Managers don't know any better) we applied our scroll-and-load magic along with a search bar to support filtering to specific Users or Groups. The end result is reports that can immediately identify which communication process should be evaluated for improvement.
Users Export and Import
In the 5.0.8 (5.0 Patch 8) New Feature Overview we forecast a future of killer User and Group management, but we also hinted at a CSV export of User data. Not to leave well enough alone, we not only created an export format that you can use for quality assurance or offline access, we also updated our User Upload import to accept the format so you can quickly and easily make large numbers of edits to user data.
Events Report Filtering
Our initial text-filtering capabilities were limited to a single constraint on Event Domain name, Event ID, Incident ID or sender. Our new filter allows you to enter multiple constraints based on any of the previously mentioned items, as well as any of the predicates that were part of your event. Additionally, any predicate that you search for can include a Show All filter that returns all values for the predicate - and makes them available for export so that you can get more detail about individual events. You now have very fine-grained search capabilities and custom export views from the Events report.
That's a lot of new functionality, but it's pretty simple to grasp when you see it in action. The following animated GIF shows how easily you can filter down to a specific event type (here, device validations) and then show all values for an important predicate (in this case, the device that was validated):
Events Report Timestamp Toggle
Our new data formats are end-user friendly, but sometimes you'll want more detail to support your debugging efforts. We've added a new Always Show Timestamps toggle so that you can view the times just the way you want.
While we are on the subject of exporting... all of the events in your Events report are available for export.
Dynamic Team Previews
It's a relatively small story, but a few of our clients have commented that the Dynamic Team preview screen is confusing. That's because the previous version always displayed a warning message that the preview "may not display all of the Users" due to the current User's permissions. To remove any ambiguity, we updated the warning message to be - what else? - dynamically generated to show the current User exactly what they're viewing, and what will happen. Here's a sample showing the dynamic message that displays when a filter is limiting the view:
Build Your Own Data Warehouse
Clients on both our hosted and premises deployments have voiced a common request to have their notification data available to them for incorporating into their internal data warehouses. We've responded by adding a REST API operation (GET notifications) that allows your developers to programmatically extract notification data from xMatters. We're also releasing a sample Integration Service to the xMatters Community that you can run using our integration agent. The end result is that you can call a simple command line to extract notification data from xMatters into a common CSV file that your DBAs can easily import.
The endpoint for the new REST call is:
and accepts the following parameters:
Performance Reporting to Handle Annotations Properly
Some integrations allow for annotations to be included in a response. (Example: "RESPONSE ACKNOWLEDGE I am already looking into it".) The integration script presumably recognizes the beginning of the response as one of the accepted responses, and does something else with the annotation. However, for the purposes of determining a Positive / Negative / N/A contribution for performance reporting we did not match the response to a valid response contribution due to the additional annotation text. With this release, if a response contribution is defined for a given response within an event domain, we will do a left prefix match as well as an exact match of the response string. For example "ACKNOWLEDGE" and "ACKNOWLEDGE with annotation" would both match "ACKNOWLEDGE". For the left prefix match, there must be at least one space after the matching response, so "ACKNOWLEDGE-with-annotation" and the poorly-spelled "ACKNOWLEDGEING" would not match "ACKNOWLEDGE".
These are the main new features in this release, but please check out the documentation 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