The client side – version 1.9 released

Over the past few months, many minor changes have been released to address particular requirements, but this major release draws together a number of features. With the database and server components solid and high performance, this release focusses on the user interface. We’ve had UI specialists working on specific areas and the results are described below.

 

  Image:Pane_1.png  

Sections

Pane 1 can now be arranged into sections. For example, you may like to arrange modules into Marketing/Sales/R&D/Accounts, Plan/Do/Check/Act or whatever suits your organisation. 

Speed

We’ve targeted slower internet connections in this release. In particular, pane 3 requires much less bandwidth to download, as only the current tab is loaded when selecting a new record. Large reports now see a 4x speed improvement when loading into pane 2 due to the use of data compression during data transfer from the server to the browser. 

Foundations for the Future

Behind the scenes, the whole of the portalBase interface has also been rewritten to be more browser compatible. This work isn’t fully complete but it does mean that our next release will be compatible with, amongst other browsers, Internet Explorer as well as Firefox.

 

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version 1.8.5 brings iPhone platform and intelligent report creation

New features

  • Simple joins – life is now simpler for report creators: the system guides you when collating data from multiple sources into one report. Simple, context sensitive options are given e.g. when editing a contacts report, ‘join contacts to addresses’ may be offered. A knowledge of SQL principles is no longer necessary to create most joins, however it’s still possible to create complex joins, e.g. joining on calculations, by people who do have the necessary technical skills
  • Improved logging: audit trails now include details such as filters applied to a report and the actual data entered while editing a record

Bugfixes

  • Minor bugfixes, including fixing one case in which importing data from a spreadsheet would fail
Image:PortalBase-on-iPod.png One more thing 

We’re working on a mobile of version of portalBase, specifically tailored for devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch or newer Symbian based mobile phones. It’s currently early in the development process and has facilities such as

 

  • module viewing
  • report viewing and filtering as-you-type
  • summary report viewing
  • data editing

Data security and auditing focus for version 1.8.4

Summary

Over the past year, customers have been using portalBase on an increasing scale in their businesses creating functionality which cuts across multiple departments. New uses have been found ranging from stock/sales analysis and accounting to document management and the creation of knowledge bases.

As the scale of applications is increasing, we’ve been doing work to ensure that users can cope with the information they’re presented with.

Our most recent releases have therefore focussed on improving the user interface to ensure things stay user friendly – each app such as CRM or billing is now a module with all its reports and functionality enclosed.

Now we’re focussing on complimentary features that are equally as important when more core company data is stored and manipulated, for example to let admins see who uses each application/report the most and additional features to avoid accidental (or intentional) overwriting of critical data.

The theme of this release is data security and auditability. Software as a Service (SaaS) can often be more reliable than internal IT and our service in particular has had 100% uptime. This release addresses some of the other internal sources of risk inherent in any data system, to provide maximum assurance of data integrity.

Details

Hourly backups

In addition to the off-site daily and monthly backups, the database is now backed up every hour on site, with data kept to cover the past 24 hours

Record locking

Particularly useful when storing financial data, records can now be locked to stop further edits or deletion. For example, all records used to generate an accounting report can be locked when it’s printed. Admins can unlock temporarily.

image:Locked_record.png

Usage logs

The usage logs that portalBase keeps are now available for administrators to download in spreadsheet format. Admins can now see all logged information in real time, including the audit trails of logins, data edits / deletions and schema changes. Logged information is kept for at least one month (older logs are available in backups).

In addition, statistics are summarised in graph format on screen.

Other changes

Other significant changes in this release are

  • Mitigate the effects of a browser bug causing the cursor to vanish in text input fields
  • Monthly hosting & licensing costs (based on the number of tables used) are calculated on screen for decision makers to see giving greater transparency

Some more goodies for version 1.8.2

Following on from last week’s release, there’s just time for one more update before Christmas. A couple of user interface improvements that didn’t quite make it into the previous version:

  • An “are you sure?” prompt for global editing – a small change with a big benefit. Before altering many records at the same time, the system tells you
    • How many records will be affected
    • What the change will be
  • Improvements to the count of records displayed – you can see the total no. records in a report even when they’re not all on screen. The count updates as you filter.

Version 1.8.1 released

Apart from some minor performance improvements and bugfixes, the major work for this release has been in improving the Graphical User Interface of portalBase

  • New interface for editing application modules, under ‘Administration’
  • Modules can have user-set icons and colours
  • The selected record in the report view is easier to read