Updates roundup

It’s been a while since the last product update on the 1st April, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been hard at work developing the agileBase platform further. It just means we’ve been too busy working with new customers to do much blogging (plus taking the odd summer holiday to be fair).

However, there are some great new features recently released to tell you about, so let’s summarise them quickly:

WYSIWYG editing

This one had been on the roadmap for a while and some specific use cases from new customers pushed it onto the active pile. In short, when editing text in a large text box in the user interface, people can now easily format their content, adding bold, underline and italics for example.

To format a word, just double click it, or use keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+B / Cmd+B to make text bold, as in any common wordprocessor. Here’s what it looks like in use:

Image extractor

This is one for the ‘experimental’ list – we’re releasing it as a beta feature and hopefully it’s really useful for some people, but bear in mind that beta label.

If you have an image field with type ‘identifier image’ in a table, when you type a web address into a text field into the same table, agileBase will visit that website to extract and store what it thinks is the main image on it – most often a banner image near the top, or possibly a logo. That can add a bit of interest if you have company information in a CRM for example. Of course, the system may not always be able to get the best image, or any image so you can always manually upload.

If you’d like to try this out, please let us know.

API scalability

We keep a keen eye on the performance and scalability of our services, starting with efficiency at the lowest level of algorithms and programming – after all if a single thread or server is efficient, that also makes adding more hardware (scaling ‘horizontally’ or ‘vertically’) much more effective.

However, most of this work to date has focussed at the level of the database or our own code. Many newer customers are heavily using agileBase not just to build business apps in their own right, but more of a data engine to power a whole host of inter-related infrastructure, for example transactional websites, mobile apps and feeding into enterprise-wide reporting.

All of this relies on the API – the mechanism by which agileBase communicates with other software. The long and the short of it is we’ve made some major improvements to increase the volume of data that can flow in and out without impacting other operations, such as making changes to the system at the same time, like adding a table or field for example.

We sat down with an expert (thanks Rich) to work out how we could increase scalability in this area. Some ideas have been actioned and some are in the bag to pull out in future as and when needed.

We hope these updates are useful to current and indeed future customers. Please feel free to contact us to get involved with the continuing process of improving the agileBase platform!

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