Breakout 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.

Breakout Quarterly Release Details

Breakout was released on September 4th, 2018. The Breakout release includes new features and enhancements for on-call scheduling, integrations & development, mobility, and more.

For all the details, see the Breakout (Aug/Sept) 2018 Release Overview.

Next Release: Centipede (Oct/Nov 2018)

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

Introduction

We're hard at work on our next quarterly release, Breakout, which will be rolling out in the Aug/Sept 2018 timeframe. 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 Breakout 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.

5.5.223

Next Release: Centipede (Nov 2018)

This release marks the start of our work on our next quarterly release, which we've code-named Centipede. Follow the Centipede 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 Breakout release of xMatters On-Demand (version 5.5.222) were toggled 'on' in non-production environments on Tuesday, August 21 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 Breakout release is available in production environments on Tuesday, September 4 at 10:00 am Pacific.

5.5.222

On-Demand: Temporary Absence emails

Availability: Breakout Quarterly Release & Early Access Program

In this release, we updated the notifications that xMatters sends out when a Temporary Absence is added to a user's schedule. Since it's now optional to select a user to replace you while you're away, we've created a version of the notification to reflect when you don't set a replacement.

This lets your supervisor know when you'll be gone and - more importantly - informs them that you haven't set a replacement (because other group members will cover for you while you're away):

temporary-absence-no-replacement.png

Let's get specific

While we're on this, when you select your absence to apply to All Groups, does this mean 7, 17, or 77 groups? And, exactly which groups are we talking about?

To address those (very fine) questions, Temporary Absence notifications now list all affected groups. This gives your designated replacement (if you've set one) and your supervisor greater clarity about the transfer of responsibilities that will occur while you're away:

temporary-absence-emails-groups.png

5.5.221

Breakout Quarterly Release

Players, get your paddles ready... it's almost time for the Breakout release! This quarterly release includes some great new feature enhancements to help improve your on-call and integration processes.

Here's what you need to know about the timing of the Breakout quarterly release:

  • Non-production environment access: Tuesday, August 21
  • Production environment access: Tuesday, September 4 (triggered between 10-10:30am Pacific)

Integration Platform: Google Stackdriver integration

Availability: Now in On-Demand

Have you tried our new Google Stackdriver integration yet?

Google Stackdriver provides monitoring, logging, and diagnostics for both the Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services. Combined, Stackdriver’s monitoring capabilities and xMatters’ collaboration platform can detect critical errors and resolve them before they can affect customers.

To see this integration in action, watch our Stackdriver integration demo video:

 

For more information about this integration, be sure to check out our latest blog: Monitor, Collaborate, and Fix Issues with Google Stackdriver and xMatters.

5.5.220

xMatters REST API: Filter events by event type

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

In this deployment, we've enhanced the GET /events endpoint to let you search for events based on event type (USER or SYSTEM) using the eventType query parameter. Here are a couple of examples to give you the flavor:

  • GET /events?eventType=USER includes events initiated by integrations, and events from the Messaging tab in the web user interface, triggered manually or using a POST /triggers request.
  • GET /events?eventType=SYSTEM returns events initiated by xMatters such as device validations, SMS confirmations and deactivations, Temporary Replacement notifications, or issues with integrations.

xMatters On-Demand: Permissions to rename and delete groups

Availability: Now in On-Demand

In xMatters, the default Group Supervisor role has permissions to edit and maintain groups, which also includes the power to rename and delete them. Of course, with all great power comes the power to make not-so-great mistakes - it's possible for a Group Supervisor to unintentionally break an integration or data sync process by deleting or changing the name of a group. Oops.

Yeah, let's fix that

To address these types of situations, we've made the permissions for managing groups more granular, with two new permissions specifically for renaming and deleting groups:

  • ability.act.EditGroupName - allows a user to modify the names of groups
  • ability.act.DeleteGroup - allows a user to delete groups

This means that if an xMatters administrator wants to restrict the ability of Group Supervisors - or any other role with the ability to edit or delete a group - they can remove one or both of these permissions from that role. (Likewise, it's also possible to add these permissions to a role.)

xMatters On-Demand: 'First time to respond' metric

Availability: Now in On-Demand

Our User and Group Performance reports allow supervisors and administrators to view stats about how recipients have responded to their notifications, such as the number and contribution of responses, how long it takes to respond, and if there are escalations. These metrics are useful for assessing if users and groups are performing as expected.

"That's great, but what about..."

We've had feedback that in addition to average and maximum 'Time to Respond' (TTR) metrics, you'd also like FTTR - that is, first time to respond - stats so that you can see how quickly notifications are responded to.

Now when you export your User and Group Performance reports you'll see the following new columns:

FTTR.png

  • Average FTTR: The average time across the counted events from the first time a recipient was scheduled to be notified and the time of their first response (in other words, the average time for a user or group's first response).
  • Maximum FTTR: The maximum first time to respond, calculated as the time between when the recipient was scheduled to respond and the time the first response was received by xMatters (or, the longest time taken for a user or group to first respond).

Note: Average and maximum FTTR statistics are generated based on events occurring after the release of this feature; events existing before version 5.5.220 of xMatters are not included.

Integration Directory: The integration formerly known as "Spark"

Availability: Now in On-Demand

Just a heads up that if you're looking for the "Cisco Spark" integration, it's now listed as Cisco Webex Teams in the Integration Directory:

cisco-webex.png

5.5.219

xMatters REST API: Get communication plans

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

Communication plans are the foundation of integrations in xMatters. The ability to search for and access information from communication plans can be used to enrich existing integrations, and improve reporting and data chaining between integrations. To support this functionality, we've just added two new endpoints to the xMatters REST API:

  • Get communication plans. You can use the GET /plans endpoint to return a list of communication plans in your xMatters instance. This includes built-in, custom, and packaged integrations, as well as any built-in integrations that have been converted to communication plans.
    • You can use query parameters to:
      • Limit your search by plan type ("PLAN" or "BUILT_IN")
      • Search for a keyword in the name or description of a plan
      • Request more detailed information on the user that created the plan (for built-in integrations)
  • Get a communication plan. If it's not a list of plans you're after, but a specific communication plan or built-in integration, you can provide its unique identifier to retrieve information just for that plan using GET /plans/{planId}.

xMatters REST API: GET /sites, POST /sites, and GET /people by sites

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

Also in this release, we've made it easier to manage sites using the xMatters REST API, with the addition of two new endpoints and updates to GET /people.

Shiny 'new' endpoints:

  • Get a list of sites. We've added a new GET /sites endpoint to the xMatters REST API that returns a paginated list of all sites in the system. The ability to get a list of all sites can enrich integrations and improve the data syncing process.
  • Create or update a site. On the flip side, we've also added a new POST /sites endpoint that supports creating and updating sites. This is useful if you have a large number of sites to manage and would like to do tasks - like geo-locating them - programmatically rather than individually through the web user interface.

These endpoints replace the existing legacy GET sites and POST sites endpoints from the previous version of our API.

Updates to GET /people:

  • Find people by site. Interested in looking up which users are associated with a specific site? The GET /people endpoint now includes a ?site query parameter that you can use to retrieve a list of the users that are at a specified site. For example: GET /people?site={siteId}

5.5.218

Integration Directory: Stackdriver built-in integration

Availability: Now in On-Demand

In this release, we add Google Stackdriver to the Integration Directory's list of built-in integrations:

Pasted_image_at_2018_07_11_09_17_AM.png

Stackdriver delivers software for monitoring and managing networks and systems. When events meet predetermined criteria, this xMatters integration relays critical Stackdriver insight data to the correct people and systems to help them coordinate and resolve incidents faster.

On-Demand: Temporary Absences

Availability: Breakout Quarterly Release & Early Access Program

In our Asteroids Quarterly Release Overview, we gave you a sneak peek at our designs to update the functionality of Temporary Replacements. We're now ready to roll out the initial round of updates to this feature, and customers enrolled in the Early Access Program are first in line to try them out!

Temporary Replacements Absences
The most notable update is that we've changed this feature's name to Temporary Absences to reflect that selecting someone to replace you while you're away is now optional. This is useful for those times when it's not actually necessary to name a replacement because your team or the next person in the on-call schedule will cover for you.

You can add a Temporary Absence the same way that you would have previously added a Temporary Replacement from the Schedule tab of the user profile (click to embigify):

upcoming-absences.png

As you can see in the animated screenshot below, there's a new configuration screen for adding a Temporary Absence. This is where you'll specify when you're going be away and select the groups that are affected - and then you'll have the option to add a replacement... or not! To add a replacement, begin typing in the search bar, or use the new drop-down to scroll through a list of the users you have permission to select:

temporary-absences.gif

A few of things to note:

  • Notifications that target you based on your membership in the specified groups will be sent to your replacement during your absence - this includes any subscription notifications that target you as part of those groups.
  • If you didn't set a replacement, these messages will be discarded.
  • You will still receive any notifications that directly target you (that is, not as part of a group) or your devices during your absence.

Viewing your absences
When you view the list of your Temporary Absences, you'll be able to see if the absence affects all groups, specific groups (each group is listed as its own entry in the table), and whether there's a replacement. If a replacement was not selected the table will indicate No Replacement:

temporary-absences.png

And, there's more on the way...

As we've said, this is the first roll-out, as we're in the process of adding functionality such as the ability to:

  • Modify Temporary Absences. Just like the existing Temporary Replacement feature, it'll soon be possible to adjust the timing, groups, and replacement user for an absence. In the meantime, if you need to make an adjustment, just delete the absence and create a new one.
  • Include Direct Notifications. An additional setting will allow you to send notifications that target you directly (not as part of a group) to your replacement during an absence, or discard them if you don't set a replacement. This is handy if you don't need to review the messages you would have received while away, and don't want them cluttering up your Inbox when you get back. 

5.5.217

Integration Builder: Improved transition to authenticated inbound integrations

Availability: Now in On-Demand

In our Galaxity Quarterly Release, we introduced improved methods for authenticating inbound integrations. After that feature release, we received feedback from some of you that the process of transitioning existing integrations to use these new authentication methods could result in a temporary outage in your toolchain between the time the integration was saved with its new authentication settings, and when the calling system was updated with the integration's new trigger and credentials.

That's great feedback - and to prevent any unnecessary downtime in your systems during the transition, we've now introduced a 72-hour grace period during which xMatters will accept both the previous trigger for your integration and new authenticated requests. This means that after you select one of the four available authentication methods for your integration, you'll have up to three days to update your other systems without worrying about a break in your toolchains.

72 hours and counting...
When you select a new authentication type for your integration, you'll receive a new trigger and a countdown reminding you to update your calling systems:

how-to-trigger-timer.png

You can keep on top of the authentication status of all the inbound integrations in your communication plan from the main Integration Builder screen:

expiry-warnings2.png

As shown above, this screen displays how long the previously unauthenticated versions of your integrations will continue to be accepted by the Integration Builder, as well as which of your integrations you still need to update with a supported authentication method. Once you've updated your calling system scripts you can ignore these warnings - they'll disappear once the 72-hour period has passed.

For more information about recent security enhancements to the Integration Builder and detailed instructions on how to update your integrations, see our knowledge base article Integration Builder security enhancements.

Integration Builder: Allow ALL inbound authentication methods

Availability: Breakout Quarterly Release & Early Access Program

Previously, when you'd select an authentication method for your inbound integration, only that specific method could be used to authenticate requests - all other methods would receive a 401 Unauthorized error. That's about to change...

As of this release, customers enrolled in the Early Access Program will see a new Allow all methods option when they select which authentication method to use for their inbound integrations:

select-all-methods.png

This option gives integrators greater flexibility as it allows any of the four authentication methods to trigger integrations. For example, integrators can configure their automated system to use API Key Authentication, while also allowing someone to manually initiate the integration using their Basic Authentication credentials.

Select one, or select them ALL
The authentication method for new inbound integrations now defaults to 'Allow all methods'. Integrators can leave this option selected, or choose a single mode of authentication for their integration (we recommend choosing the most secure option your calling system allows).

As shown in the screenshot below, if 'Allow all methods' is selected, the How to trigger the integration section of the configuration screen displays a selector that you can use to view instructions on how to trigger the integration using any of the available authentication methods:

inbound_authentication.gif

5.5.216

xMatters REST API: Get events by submitter

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

Have you ever wanted to look up which events were initiated by a particular user? If so, you're in luck! It's now possible to search for events initiated by a user with the GET /events endpoint using the ?submitterId query parameter and the user's unique identifier: GET /events?submitterId=<personId> 

Integration Directory: New integrations

Availability: Now in On-Demand

This deployment sees the addition of two new built-in integrations to the Integration Directory:

  • Slack bot - Slack is a popular team communication tool that helps enable real-time collaboration. This integration adds an xMatters Slack bot to your Slack workspace that lets you look up xMatters groups, see who's on call, and instantly invite on-call members to a Slack channel using an xMatters notification sent to their preferred devices. 
  • Dynatrace - Dynatrace is a leading performance and application monitoring application. This integration lets you incorporate Dynatrace Problem alerts into your toolchain by sending alerts using xMatters and updating the Dynatrace Problem with event status, device delivery, and response information.

On-Demand: Unique 'From' email addresses

Availability: Now in On-Demand

We received feedback from some of our customers that they'd like to be able to easily distinguish between emails from their different xMatters companies (like their BCM & IT instances, or their production & non-production environments). The ability to identify an email's source at-a-glance from their inbox lets users more efficiently prioritize which of their emails need attention.

Instead of a single 'from' address for your companies, you now have the option to configure the 'address' prefix (the part before the '@' symbol) so you can tell them apart. Here's what this looks like for the Happy Cats company:

Production: notifications@happycats.xmatters.com
Non-Production: testing@happycats.xmatters.com

Wanna get this?
If you'd like to customize the from email addresses for your companies, contact xMatters Client Assistance.

5.5.215

xMatters REST API: GET /events and GET /groups updates

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

In this release, we've made the following updates to the xMatters REST API:

Get events by communication plan or form. You can now retrieve events initiated by a particular communication plan or form. This is useful if you'd like to be able to monitor events associated with a specific integration. To retrieve these events, use the GET /events endpoint and include the ?plan query parameter with the id or name of the plan or form, as shown in the following examples:

  • GET /events?plan=<planId>
  • GET /events?plan=<plan Name>
  • GET /events?plan=<planId>&form=<formId>
  • GET /events?plan=<plan Name>&form=<form Name>

Get a communication plan's name in the response. When you use GET /events to retrieve a list of events (or GET /event for a single event), the xMatters REST API now returns the 'human readable' name for a communication plan in addition to its ID. This is great for adding context to your monitoring dashboards, since it's a lot more meaningful to view events and statistics by comm plan names rather than by IDs!

Get shift members. Group supervisors and group observers can now use the GET /groups endpoint to query the members of specific shifts, or all shifts within a group, as shown in the following examples:

  • GET /groups/{groupId}/shifts/{shiftId}/members
  • GET /groups/{groupId}/shifts?embed=members

5.5.214

On-Demand: More 'Invite Users' usability updates

Availability: Now in On-Demand

We recently told you about some usability updates we've made to the 'Invite Users' workflow that's in the trial and free versions of xMatters. In this release, we've continued our work on this feature with updates to the 'Add to Group' component of the workflow: 

  • Prettification - We've modified the styling to match the latest look and feel of our web user interface.
  • Search list - While you can type two spaces into the search bar to get an alphabetical list of your company's groups, not everyone is aware of that nifty shortcut. So, we've made a tweak so that you can click the side of the search bar to display the same list, as shown in action here:

add-to-group.gif

5.5.213

Integration Builder: Script editor and Activity Stream usability improvements

Availability: Now in On-Demand

In the Asteroids Release Overview, we gave you a sneak peek at some usability improvements we're making to the Integration Builder's script editor and the Activity Stream. The great news is that these updates are now available! Here's a quick summary:

Cleaning up the clutter in the Script Editor
Even if you're an integration superhero, it's still possible to configure only one type of outbound integration at a time... soooo, why clutter up the script editor with properties and code samples that don't apply to your current configuration?

We think that's a great point, and we've streamlined the information displayed in the Transformation Script Editor to show only the script components and properties that are relevant to the type of integration you're currently working on. Here's what this looks like for an 'Event Comments' integration (click to embigify):

script-editor-updates.png

Need to know more?
Since our de-cluttering of the script editor freed up some screen real estate, we figured there was room to add a couple of links to resources you'll appreciate while building your scripts:

  • Help - Access to online documentation about building transformation scripts and using the script editor
  • Supported JavaScript Version - Details about the JavaScript version the Integration Builder currently supports

Look for these new links at the top and bottom of the script editor's sidebar:

script-editor-sidebar.png

Whodunit?
We've updated the Activity Stream to identify the authenticating user whose credentials were used to run an inbound integration using URL authentication:

sneak-peek-api-user.png

Now instead of pulling out your hair to debug a "NON AUTHORIZED" integration error, you can just check the logs to see who the authenticating user was, then assign them the permissions they need to run the integration.

5.5.212

On-Demand: Groups usability improvements

Availability: Now in On-Demand

In this release, we've added and updated labels on the Groups tab to make shift scheduling more intuitive:

  • New labels for Recurrence and Member Rotation provide greater clarity about what these two links at the top of the Shifts tab summarize - and what you're able to configure when you click on them:

group-labels.gif

  • An Edit Escalations link (previously "Edit Members") more accurately describes the on-call scheduling capabilities of the Shifts tab (that is, beyond just adding and removing shift members). We've updated this text on the "On Call Right Now" section of the Overview tab and when you click on a shift on the calendar:

edit-escalations-new.gif

Note: If a user doesn't have permission to edit escalations, the language of these labels reads "Show Escalations" instead.

5.5.211

xMatters REST API: Add a comment to an event

Availability: Now in the xMatters REST API

A new POST /events/{eventId}/annotations endpoint allows you to programmatically add a comment (AKA annotation) to an event.

Your comment will appear in the event's Tracking report and be returned when you request comments using the GET /audits, GET /event/annotation, and GET /event/annotations endpoints.

A couple of things to note:

  • xMatters considers the authenticating user who posts the request as the author of the comment
  • Comments added using this endpoint will not initiate outbound integrations configured with the Event Comments trigger

Integration Directory: ServiceNow 5.0

Availability: Now available for xMatters On-Demand

The new version 5.0 of the xMatters application for ServiceNow - certified for Helsinki, Istanbul, Jakarta, and Kingston - is now available from the ServiceNow Store.

Notable updates in this latest version of the xMatters for ServiceNow integration include the following:

  • Updated data sync components to avoid hitting progress worker quota limits introduced in ServiceNow Jakarta
  • Added initiator to the “Engage with xMatters” form
  • Added targeted recipient and ServiceNow initiator information to the event notification (requires the 5.0 communication plan)

For upgrade or installation instructions, feature and update descriptions, and a list of issues addressed in recent releases, see the integration guide here.

About the early access delivery process

As of December 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 a support request.
  • 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 On-Demand Deployment Process & Early Access article.

Have more questions? Submit a request

13 Comments

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.223 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.215 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.212 highlight added

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    Don Clark

    5.5.220 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    The Breakout Quarterly Release is now available in all production environments.

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.219 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.222 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.214 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.213 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.216 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.218 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

    5.5.217 highlight added

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    Karla Poplawski

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