Charting and reporting improvements

Continuing on full steam ahead with agileBase platform development, we have another couple of features to announce this month, to make the system more useful when generating and distributing reports.

Weekly charting

Firstly, when creating a chart, you have the facility to total (or perform other maths such as averaging) data by year, quarter, month or day. We’re now adding a fifth option, by week of the year.

That’s particularly useful if you configure the system to send out weekly reports to people. The charts can then show the past week’s figures, compared to the week before, or the same week last year.

Subscribing to spreadsheets

We all know that spreadsheets are the lingua franca of data. People with the necessary privileges can export to spreadsheet at any time in order to send the data to others who may not have an agileBase login, or to import into other systems like accounts packages for example.

We’ve now made it easier to automate this process. Just as you can subscribe yourself, or a group of people, to receive charts daily, weekly or monthly, you can now include a spreadsheet of raw data with those charts. Recipients will receive two attachments, one PDF containing the charts subscribed to and a second Excel spreadsheet containing the data.

This takes effect automatically when you opt to include data with your charts, if more than the top 20 rows are requested. The data included can optionally be filtered by date, to show just those records added or updated since the last time the data was sent.

Although sharing spreadsheets will work for many, sometimes a more automated solution is beneficial. For example in cases where data is destined to be imported from one system to another, removing the spreadsheet in the middle can reduce manual work and drastically speed things up.

In those situations, we do encourage customers to make use of the comprehensive API capabilities, which will allow you to fully automate integrations with third party systems, such as websites, enterprise-wide reporting, or accounting packages.

Merging duplicate records in a CRM system

In the latter part of 2020 we published a post explaining one way of finding duplicate company names (or any duplicate information) in your database.

Once they’re found, of course, the next step is likely to de-duplicate the information, combining the data from two records, leaving only one.

Doing this manually can be a time consuming process if the data structure is complex. For example, when merging two organisation records into one, you may have to not only check all the fields (company name, website, various categorizations etc.) but also ensure that all related ‘child’ data such as contacts, sales opportunities, addresses etc. are attached to only one record.

For example, say we have two companies in a suppliers database, one called ‘ABC Goods’ and another called ‘A.B.C. Goods’. ABC has two contacts, Alice and Bethany, whilst A.B.C. Goods has one contact, Carl. We would want to end up in a state where there was only one company, say ABC Goods, with all three contacts linked to it.

This month, we’re launching a facility which does all the work automatically for you.

Using it is a simple process:

  1. load up one of the records that you want to merge with another – we will call this record 1.
  2. Click the clone/merge icon at the top of the screen and select ‘merge with another record’.
  3. Click the record you wish to merge in (you may need to filter to find for it). We will call this record 2.

agileBase will then merge data from 2 into 1, then delete 2. Wherever 2 contains data in a field which is blank in 1, 2’s data will be copied in. If 1 and 2 both contain different data for a field, a prompt will be shown asking you to choose which one to keep. Note for tags fields, it’s also possible to keep both.

Any ‘children’ of 2, e.g. contacts of an organisation, will be moved to 1.

At the end, you will be left with only record 1. Record 2 contains no data that hasn’t been copied to 1 (or that you’ve chosen not to copy), so will be deleted.

Note you can cancel the process at any point.

It’s possible of course that 1 now contains duplicate child data. For example, if ABC Goods actually had three contacts, Alice, Bethany and Carl, whereas A.B.C. Goods had just Carl, then after merging, you’d have one company ABC Goods containing, Alice, Bethany, Carl and Carl, i.e. two versions of Carl.

To sort that out, just repeat the process for the two Carls, i.e. use the record merge facility to combine them.

Administrator control

As an administrator, you can enable or disable the merge facility on a per-table basis.

Edit the table options and tick or un-tick ‘allow record clone and merge’. The clone and merge facilities are grouped together currently. If you wish to separate them for your users, please let us know.

Other improvements in this release

It’s been just over a month since the last release and as well as the new record merging facility, there are a handful of other new features and bug fixes, notably:

  • Any hyperlinks (e.g. links to Zoom or Teams meetings) in a calendar event will now appear in the calendar ‘quick edit’ popup that appears when you click on an event
  • A bug to do with importing emails has been fixed. Forwarding or sending an email to the system should now correctly attach that email to the relevant CRM contact in all cases

agileBase release – user experience improvements

Today there’s one major change to make you aware of and in total 68 issues and ideas have been acted on since the last release. We’ll just pick out the highlights here.

Tab lists

This affects tabs which have multiple rows under them (e.g. in an organisation record, the ‘contacts’ tab may have many contacts).

In that case, when you click on a row (e.g. a contact), that record (the contact details) will now replace the list of contacts. New navigation buttons allow you to quickly return to the list, or navigate to and fro between each contact. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like:

This simplification makes the screen a lot more easy to consume and understand. If there are any questions please get in touch.

Other user interface updates

No more field level comments

NB it’s no longer possible to add comments next to any field. This was a little-used feature which was causing issues in cleaning up screen layouts.

Of course, comments can still be added to any record with a dedicated comments field. If there is no comments field in a particular table, you may need to add one to allow comments to be added.

This doesn’t affect comments added when unlocking a record, which will still work.

Auto-generated sequences in titles

If a table contains an auto-generated sequence number field, that number will be used as part of the record title. In fact it will be moved from the form up to the title.

So an invoice with an auto-generated number might be titled ‘Invoice 12345’ for example.

Rich text editing

Bullets and numbered lists can now be used when entering text into large boxes.

Page component improvements

On-screen controls like buttons and the ‘record locked’ notification have had a makeover to make their intention clearer and so that they fit in better with the rest of the system.

It’s now also possible for workflow buttons to be set to a ‘disabled’ state. You may want to disable a particular button until certain fields have been completed for example.

To control a button’s disabled/enabled state, use the ‘lock when record in view’ option for the referenced field representing the button. In this case the ‘locked’ state represents a disabled button, unlocked is enabled.

The print/export button has now been changed from a ‘print’ icon to an ‘export’ one, as exporting to spreadsheet is a more common action than printing

Password reset process

The clarity of graphics and wording throughout the password reset process has been improved

Security improvements

Notably, system administrators will now be emailed whenever a user is granted access to a table which is marked as containing commercially sensitive or personal data.

Bugfixes

Notable fixes:

  • PDF previews now work correctly in a document library tile
  • Date pickers appear properly in the Firefox browser
  • Chart subscriptions i.e. the regular sending of charts by email sometimes failed – that feature now works reliably

Miscellaneous

  • The API now accepts dates including milliseconds, e.g. “2020-08-20 08:14:52.014”

An agileBase example: de-duplicating company records

This week we have been asked by a customer to do a bit of work that’s interesting enough to write a blog post about – always nice!

Preventing or removing duplicates is a common requirement in CRM systems and other database apps. With a multi-user system, it’s not uncommon for two different people to try to add the same company details twice for example, without checking whether they’re already in the database.

On the prevention side, there are a couple of features of agileBase which help. The first and most obvious is the unique option for fields. With this enabled on a company name field for example, people will be prevented from entering the exact same name twice. If appropriate this can be slightly improved by also turning on the text case option to force all entries to the same case as they’re entered.

However, even this isn’t going to catch all duplicates. Company names can often be entered slightly differently, e.g. with ‘Ltd’ or ‘Limited’ following the name, the word ‘The’ at the start or with different punctuation.

To catch these, the build in duplicate detection can be used, activated for all record title fields. When someone enters a name, the system automatically searches all existing records for any similar names.

Reporting existing duplicates

Even with all these features we will often still want to find duplicates that in one way or another have made their way into the system. Maybe the data hasn’t been manually entered by staff, but imported, e.g. from spreadsheets, or via an API from other software or a website. However, in our case, the cause was the merger of two different business units and their data.

Finding ‘close match’ duplicates is an interesting problem that can be solved in a number of ways. Here’s a short introduction and there are many articles and papers which go into the mathematical details of various methods.

We chose to use trigram matching, an approach which is supported natively by the database agileBase uses, PostgreSQL and which is fast and effective. As they say, “this simple idea turns out to be very effective for measuring the similarity of words in many natural languages”.

A trigram is a set of three consecutive characters, for example ‘agileBase’ would contain ‘agi’, ‘gil, ‘ile’, ‘eBa’, ‘Bas’ and ‘ase’. There are some further considerations, for example how to treat the starts and ends of words, which are explained well in the PostgreSQL documentation page.

In brief, we simply count the number of trigrams two words or phrases share as a proportion of the total number.

Our goal

So as a concept, what we want to do is compare every company name in our database with every other company name, get a similarity score from the pair and sort the results in order of descending similarity, with a cutoff to stop showing results once they fall below a certain similarity threshold.

An immediate thought is ‘how many comparisons is that’? Well, the database we’re looking at currently has 13,000 companies in it. That would mean 13,000 ^ 2 = 169 million comparisons. Ideally, we’d like the system to continue working well as the number of records significantly grows. At 100,000 records, the number of comparisons would be ten billion.

As this ‘naive’ number of comparisons is the square of the number of records, we’d like to get that down as much as possible in order for performance not to suffer.

We can immediately cut the number in half – if we’re comparing Company A to Company B, we don’t then also need to compare Company B to Company A.

We can also use the fact that duplicate names are very likely to start with the same letter. There are some exceptions, for example Bristol University and University of Bristol (only the latter is correct!) however that will be uncommon and the tradeoff is likely to be worth it. To take advantage of this fact we will also need to strip any common prefixes from the names to compare, for example ‘The’ as in ‘The University of Bristol’.

Assuming an even distribution of first letters, the number of comparisons would be 

(((n/26)^2) x 26) / 2.

(also taking into account cutting the number of comparisons in half as above).

For 13,000 names, that would result in 3.25 million comparisons, down from 169 million. For 100,000 it would be 192 million, down from 10 billion. Still quite a lot, but we can give that a go and see how it works out.

Actually, thinking about it, if we import more sets of data from other sources in future, we will only need to compare the newly imported companies with all others, not do a full comparison of everything with everything. So I don’t think we’ll ever get anywhere near the top end of those numbers.

There are other reduction methods you’ll be able to think of – for example, comparing only those where postcodes are the same (assuming each company has only one address, or HQ details are all filled in). However the above is what we went with.

Implementation

Ok. Let’s move on to making this work.

Our first step is to create two views, which we can then compare with each other. Each view will have the ‘cleaned’ version of a company name and the first letter of that name. Let’s add two calculations

simple name = 
regexp_replace(
    lower({a) companies.company name}),
    ‘^the\\s’,
    ”
)

first letter =
substring(
    {simple name}
    from
      1 for 1
)

These calculations use SQL to 

  1. convert the name to lowercase and strip any leading ‘the’
  2. extract the first letter of the resulting ‘simple name’

Once we have these two views, which we’ll call ‘similarity check 1’ and similarity check 2’  we can join them together and do the similarity calculation.

From similarity check 2, we add a complex join on the ‘first letter’ calculation to the first letter calculation from similarity check 1.

Then also in similarity check 2, we can add a boolean (true or false) calculation to allow us to cut the number of comparisons in half:

first comparison = {similarity check1.id:companies} < {companies.id:companies}

(here, the name of the table containing the company names is, well, ‘companies’). This calculation outputs true if the company on the left hand side has a lower internal ID than the one on the right, or false if not.

We now just add a filter on that calculation:

first comparison = true

Now to the similarity check itself, which is simply

similarity =
similarity(
    {similarity check 1.simple name},
    {similarity check 2.simple name 2}
)

All of this has been in the ‘similarity check 2’ view. We now have all the information we want to look at in one place. Well, almost – for people to actually use the system, they’ll probably want to look at the actual company names, not our simplified versions. They may also want to see other information, like perhaps the account manager for each company.

So we’ll create a third view, just called ‘company duplicates’, which pulls in the calculation from ‘similarity check 2’ but displays things in a more user friendly manner.

‘company duplicates’ joins to similarity check 2 on the internal company ID. We then sort and filter on similarity, using a filter ‘similarity > 0.7’ in our system.

I’ll leave the details of adding additional fields such as account manager etc. It is worth noting that to speed things up for users, we set ‘similarity check 2’ to cache its results. On our dataset it takes a few seconds to load – with the results cached, users can view and search the data with better responsiveness. The load on the system is also reduced.

Here’s what the results look like (details have been changed or pixellated, but you can see the first couple of example names compared.

Hopefully this can act as a useful pattern for people to follow if they want to do similar de-duplication work.

The next step could be to tackle the process of actually merging and deleting records once duplicates have been identified. For example, workflows could allow details of two company records to be automatically merged together. However that is a task for another day!

Calendar and other updates

It’s been slightly longer than normal since our last release of the agileBase platform, but to balance that there’s tons of stuff packed into this one.

We’ve been working closely with partners to make this a significant update with lots of usability improvements. There aren’t that many new features and users shouldn’t be impacted by any of the changes, but many should find the system easier to use and more capable.

Improvements for users

Calendar updates

First up is the built in calendar. 

  1. Drag and drop is now supported for events, so it’s much easier to reschedule things. If an event is dragged from one day to another, the time of day remains the same. Similarly, if an event is moved from one month to another, the day of the month remains the same. Events can of course be edited by clicking on them to fine-tune any details.
  2. Event editing popup: clicking an event will pop up a small window to edit the main details of an event. You can then click through to the full record if you like, but making simple changes to e.g. an event title or time is a lot quicker.
  3. Weekends are now always shown, but smaller. Previously you could toggle them on and off by clicking the ‘month’ selector at the top of the screen, but this wasn’t particularly obvious to new users. Events can now easily be scheduled on weekends if necessary, but the space assigned is half the normal day width to allow more content to be visible in week days.
  4. A new year planner view is now available. This shows an entire year on one screen in a ‘timeline’ format, letting you schedule projects, milestones or other events easily. It works really well with the new drag and drop capability too.
  5. Calendar drill-down: individual day numbers and week numbers are now clickable, navigating you to a day or week view as appropriate, for the period selected.

Simple form layouts

There’s a new layout option for simple forms, which hides the first tab if it has no contents. This is easier to show with an example. Here’s what a simple form may have looked like before. It has just a handful of fields, no blocks and a tab.

Here’s what it looks like following the update. The unnecessary first tab is removed and the remaining tab is selected by default (if there is more than one tab, the first one will be selected by default).

To hide the tab, just ensure that there is only one separator field in the table and that it’s the last field (or at least that there are no visible fields after it).

Customising chart subscription times

Users can select to receive certain charts by email – https://docs.agilebase.co.uk/docs/charting/#subscribing-users-or-roles-to-charts

It’s now possible for people to select what time of day they’d like their charts to arrive, which may be useful for e.g. shift workers who need to see particular sets of data when they start work.

A user can edit their profile from the homepage to do this, or an administrator can set the time for them by editing their user details

Improvements for administrators

Simpler multi-stage workflow setup

Often, workflows are made up of a ‘chain’ of individual actions, For example, if a new enquiry comes in from a website form (via an API), you may want to 

  1. create a new organisation
  2. add a contact to that organisation
  3. add a sales lead, related to that contact and organisation

Previously, to link these three records together, you would have to add hidden fields to record the fact they all came from the same web enquiry along with lookup calculations to link them to each other.

Now, you can just tick ‘auto-set relations’ in the workflow settings of steps b and c. When a workflow creates a new record, it remembers which one it was. Later workflow steps in a chain will automatically link to it, where a relation exists.

Renaming fields

Previously, if a field was used in an email notification, chaser or ‘create record’ workflow, renaming that field could break parts of those things, requiring you to manually find and fix each.

Now, the system will automatically update references to the field in the background, whenever a field is renamed.

Assigning users

Currently, using the ‘list of users’ option (https://docs.agilebase.co.uk/docs/fields/field-options/text-field-options/#lists-of-users) you can assign a user to a record e.g. as an account manager or responsible person. 

Now, you can narrow down the list of users to only those with a particular role e.g. managers. This can work with multiple roles too – please see the documentation link for more details.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

Some users have been finding text-message based 2FA problematic, in that text messages take a while to arrive, or never arrive at all. This can be for many reasons, for example lack of reception, problems with the phone network or the fact that a valid mobile phone number hasn’t been entered (e.g. if a landline is entered, that won’t work).

For those reasons, 2FA by text message has been deprecated. It will continue to work for users who already have it set up, but new people, or those who don’t have a phone number entered, will only be able to use app-based 2FA, which is far more reliable.

We will continue to monitor 2FA usage and in the longer run are keeping a close eye on the progress of upcoming technologies such as webauthn, which allow biometric or hardware key authentication mechanisms.

User interface updates from partners

It’s always good to have new eyes on the platform, and this month we’ve been working on projects with a couple of new partners – or at least supporting them while they do most of the work! 

During this period they have noticed a couple of improvement opportunities in the user interface, so this release is a minor one to implement those. Thanks to Argenta and Techni-K for their input.

Read-only mode

Certain people e.g. contractors or external parties may only need read-only access to some data in the system. The read-only version of the record screen has now been improved to remove some glitches, such as duplication of the field names of checkboxes and make everything look better.

Embedded data fields

An option has also been added for referenced data fields to allow you more control over how they’re displayed on screen. 

Below is how each of the four options will look like on screen to a user.

Panel fieldname and content fieldnames:
Panel fieldname, no content fieldnames
Content fieldnames
no fieldnames

To use this new functionality, go to the fields tab for the table the field is in and click ‘edit options’. Then choose a value for the ‘display of fields’ option.

Optional colouring for date fields

The system automatically highlights out of the ordinary values with colour, based on how many standard deviations from the mean they are. This works with both numbers and date fields.

For numeric fields, you have always been able to enable/disable this behaviour in the field options. That has now been extended to date fields too. Previously it was always enabled, now it can be disabled if necessary.

More intuitive navigation of sub-records

Navigation arrows have been added to the headings of sub-records (records in a tab of the main record – ‘black pepper’ in the below example), to make looking through many records quicker and more obvious.

We hope these small tweaks make a difference. We look forward to hearing more of your feedback in future.

Detailed API logging

For those customers who make heavy use of the API, we’ve just released some updates to the enhanced audit trail feature which will make keeping track of API usage a lot easier. 

These can help with things like

  • Seeing trends in the volume of usage over time
  • Identifying any performance bottlenecks
  • Checking that any caching layer you have is operating correctly

In short, to keep things running smoothly, troubleshoot easily and control costs when there are complex sets of interacting software systems, many API requests per second and/or large volumes of data being transferred.

First, here’s a quick recap on the existing benefits of enabling Enhanced Audit Logging (£15/month).

  • Extended retention periods (upgradable to any length of time required)
  • The ability to create views and charts from the log data, so you can report on it in the same way as any other data in agileBase

For API calls, the data logged includes

  • Date and time of the request
  • IP address of the external client making the request
  • The API view the request was made against
  • Any data filters and row limit applied to the request

What’s new?

Additionally, the following new data fields will now be logged:

  • Count – if a number of similar requests are made in quick succession to the same API view, they will be merged into one log line. The count field will then show the number of requests this line refers to
  • Processing time – the total time in ms (thousandths of a second) taken to serve the request. If count is greater than one, this will be the total time for all the requests the log line pertains to
  • Of which Q time – to achieve a fair level of load balancing, agileBase operates a separate API request queue for each customer. If a request arrives and the system is still busy processing a previous request, the new one gets held in a queue. This field shows how much of the total processing time (ms) was spent waiting for previous requests to complete
  • Rows – the total number of database rows returned by the request(s)
  • Bytes – the total size of the response(s) for each request i.e. the amount of data returned

These can all be used in charts and reporting. Please note if you want to find average processing time, queuing time, rows or bytes per request for a log line, you need to divide by count.

Hopefully this data will prove useful to customers, particularly those interacting with many third party systems or sending large volumes of data to external systems via the API, perhaps for transaction processing.

Please let us know if you’d like to see any further metrics.

Global editing privileges

It’s a little bit surprising to see but at halfway through the year, development of the agileBase platform is going roughly according to plan, as set out in the 2020 roadmap last December.

We’ve been concentrating on building in capabilities to let businesses “scale up without screwing up” – in practical terms, things like administrator controls, efficiency, data privacy and security. Some of these things have been going on behind the scenes but many we can showcase and introduce as platform features.

One of those we can introduce today – granular global editing privileges.

Global editing is a powerful feature that allows users to quickly update many records at once – it works a bit like “find and replace” in a text editor.

This is obviously a feature that benefits from restricting the number of people who can use it. If you’re a food manufacturer for example, you may want to be able to bulk replace one ingredient with another in all recipes, but you may not want everyone to be able to use this capability!

Until now, global edit rights could be assigned by giving someone MANAGE privileges on a table. This privilege level comes with many additional capabilities though – anyone with those privileges can manage the structure of the table, adding and removing fields.

Global editing rights can now be assigned on their own. There is a new checkbox in the role properties page, ‘allow global editing’. Adding a user to this role will allow them to perform global edits on any table they have EDIT privileges on.

This should be useful to many people, particularly those using multi-tenanted products built with agileBase, who can’t be assigned manage privileges. 

People with manage privileges on table can still globally edit the data, whether or not they’re in a role with ‘allow global edit’ ticked.

June 2020 agileBase updates

This month’s updates cover a range of areas, including documentation, API improvements and user interface improvements. 

In the background we’re also working on some major developments to help administrators. All of these improvements aligning with our vision of supporting ambitious organisations across all the phases of their growth. A sneak peek of some of that work is at the end of the page.

New Documentation

With the help of our partners at Little House Consulting, the agileBase documentation has had a comprehensive overhaul. We’ve updated the technology behind it (we now use the Hugo framework with Algolia search), structured and greatly expanded the content to cover every aspect of setting up and developing with ‘no-code’ in agileBase.

There’s still work to do – the introductory sections are in progress and links to relevant documentation pages are being added to the administration user interface for example, but it’s now in a state where it should be useful, so please take a look by going to

https://docs.agilebase.co.uk and clicking the ‘Docs’ link in the top navigation.

Please let us know any early feedback or areas to improve on.

Product Help

As an application builder, you can also add your own custom help for users at many levels throughout an application – field, block of fields, table, tile and view for example.

That help is being displayed in more places. For example, help is displayed as a tooltip when hovering over a form tab. Tooltips also appear for tiles when on the homepage. More updates are planned, so watch this space.

Receiving files via the API

Interactions amongst the many software applications and platforms a business may have, is increasingly important in today’s world. No app is an island!

One of agileBase’s main strengths is it’s comprehensive API which can be used to transfer data in and out of agileBase. Third party integration tools like www.zapier.com help make the process really easy to set up.

Now, as well as accepting data from third parties, agileBase can accept document files. (For example, contract documents generated by a third party system can now be sent to agileBase for storage).

Until now, that has required posting data as multi-part/form data (see documentation). 

Now however, an additional option is available – simply supply the URL of a file as the value of a file field parameter when sending data and agileBase will download that file, saving it into the system.

This method is Zapier-compatible, 

Thanks to Britannia Windows for requesting this.

Please let us know if you’d like a hand trying this out and we can walk you through the setup.

Inline uploading of documents in a tab

Until now when there was a document field included in an inline editing view under a tab, you could only download documents. Now you can upload them there too. An example could be attaching evidence to a milestone in a project.

Thanks to Foodcase for suggesting this.

Personal Charts

The ability to create charts of data is a popular feature, allowing users to interrogate data and share reports.

Until now, only people with manage privileges (a “manager”) have been able to create charts, but everyone who has permission to view the underlying data has been able to see those charts.

We’re now changing it so that any user can create a chart, but it will be only visible to them. However a manager will be able to view all charts, whoever created them, and can “promote” them so that they are visible to all others. To promote a chart, they need only edit it and remove [username] from the end of the chart title.

Coming up…

If you’d like to be an early beta tester of this functionality, please let me know.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to introducing some more exciting updates in the near future.

agileBase release

Calendar searching

The highlight feature of this May 2020 release of agileBase is calendar/timeline searching. 

Typing into the new search box at the top of the calendar will reduce the entries on screen down to those that match. This has a couple of specific uses –

1 – you can now view data by two different facets. For example, imagine you have a number of calendar views set up for each type of event – one view for board meetings, another for general meetings (zoom calls), one for customer calls, another for pre-arranged demos etc. These will be displayed in different colours on screen.

You may want to see just events which you (or another specific person) are attending – typing a name into the search box will narrow down the results.

2 – when showing a grid (timeline view) with swim lanes for event classes (perhaps a set of milestones with a lane for each task, like a GANTT view). In this case the search can be used to reduce results down to which task/milestone you’re interested in.

Thanks goes to Beacon Foods for initially requesting this.

As the first ‘minimal’ release of a new feature, we’re keen for everyone to try it out and give us feedback. Later releases may introduce new capabilities.

Other user interface improvements

Another calendar update is that you can now toggle the display of Saturday and Sunday in the calendar, to allow more space for the rest of the week. To hide weekends, click on the active calendar button at the top of the screen (e.g. ‘year’, ‘month’, ‘week’) and to toggle them back on, just click again.

Searching standard views has also been tweaked – previously, double clicking in a filter box to select the current text was difficult due to scrolling issues. These have now been resolved. Thanks to the West of England Combined Authority for reporting this.

Calculations

Calculations are now no longer converted into lowercase – that means you can enter text in any case into a calculation definition and it will be retained as typed. So there’s no need to sprinkle so many ‘initicap(text)’ and ‘upper(text)’ functions throughout them.

Data security corner – extra login information

Finally, continuing the focus on improving security for users and companies, there’s a tweak to the way login information is logged this month that administrators should be aware of.

In addition to logging the IP address, internet provider and country of each login, the nearest city will also be included. This extra information may be useful to administrators e.g. when investigating any suspicious logins.

Please bear in mind that for many reasons, ‘the accuracy of IP geolocation information can vary wildly across service providers’. Particularly when organisations are increasingly using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to improve their employees’ data security, the results may not represent their real locations. However, even then the functionality can be useful to look at how many people are using recommended VPNs and proxy services.

As the format of location data is changing, the system’s new location detection may be triggered the first time someone logs in after this release, resulting in them getting a Two Factor Authentication prompt. People who don’t have 2FA enabled will get an email notifying them of a login from a new location.