Up to 10 TIMES Faster! If there's one word that could summarize OnTime V7.1 enhancements, it's Performance. As OnTime users continue to put more and more data into the OnTime system, the ability to retrieve that data in a timely fashion has become an increasing priority. For larger database systems and slower connectivity, OnTime V7.1 makes huge gains. Oh and there's a ton of other improvements, new features and bug fixes, too!
If you want to download it right away, use this link: OnTime V7.1 Beta Details and Download
Here's a summary of the cool stuff in V7.1...
OnTime V7.1 has a bunch of performance improvements. The following is a summary of the internal details of how we improved performance:
Minimized Data Retrieval - In previous versions of OnTime, when retrieving a set of defects, features, tasks or incidents to display, the call to SQL Server would grab all the data for the items that meet the filter criteria, regardless of whether or not that information was being displayed in the grid. In V7.1, the data that is retrieved is limited to just the columns being displayed. This has the effect of reducing data between the client and SQL by as much as 80%! This is huge. Not only can SQL Server process the data much faster, but the bandwidth usage on the network is reduced substantially.
Windows UI Enhancements - Filling up the main list view and grouping the list of items in the OnTime Windows client could take a substantial amount of time for large sets of data (> 500 items). We've optimized this process to improve performance by an order of magnitude. What could have taken as long as 20 seconds in OnTime V7.03 (for example to load and group the grid with 17,000 items) now takes less than 2 seconds!
Enhanced Caching Techniques - In V7.1, we've also spent a great deal of time eliminating data access to the SQL Server when the data was recently retrieved. Smarter caching techniques have reduced round-trips to the database server, in some cases by as much as 60%.
Web Compression Improvements - The OnTime Web Server now uses Dynamic Page Compression (a feature of .NET 2.0) to conditionally compress the data that goes between a browser and web server. The slower your connection is to your web server, the more this enhancement will help! The web compression can shaves off an average of 80% from the payload of the data being transferred. If bandwidth is a bottleneck for your connectivity to OnTime, this feature alone could improve performance by as much as 5 times! A 5-second transfer of data could be trimmed to as little as just 1 second. The compression/decompression overhead is minimal and negligible.
Remote Server Improvements - The OnTime Remote Server is a set of web services that allows OnTime Windows and VS.NET clients to access the OnTime database through HTTPS. Since Remote Server is basically a set of web services that sends XML text back and forth, applying compression to Remote Server data packets has allowed us to reduce the traffic by as much as 90%. But it gets even better! Combine the fact that Remote Server users also benefit from the Minimized Data Retrieval method described above and the enhanced caching techniques and the performance gains are absolutely incredible! In fact, it's insane! The OnTime Windows client hitting the OnTime Remote Server is now my favorite way to access our own OnTime Hosted solution and I can personally tell you that performance is at least 10 times to as much as 20 times faster than ever before. If you've checked out the OnTime Remote Server in the past and thought it was slow, check it out again. You'll be pleasantly surprised!
User Dashboard: A Combined View of Everything!
With all the performance improvements in V7.1, it's hard to remember all the other goodies we've added. We wanted to address some of the most commonly requested features:
- A combined view of everything that's assigned to me
- Quick, on the fly filtering based on status, priority, assignee, etc.
- A quick way to see how many hours of work I have to do this week
- Auto-refresh the list of items so I know about new items
These are 4 of the most requested features by OnTime Users. Until now, we hadn't figured out a good way of integrating these things into the OnTime client, but I believe V7.1 nails it. We created a new "User Dashboard" that provides the familiar grid list, but it combines all the different item types into a single, group-capable list.
By default, it shows your assigned items, grouped by item type and summarized below by the number of items in each type and number of hours they represent. But re-group the list by another item type and watch the dashboard re-calculate everything based on the new groupings. You can also set this view to auto-refresh every 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes and you can easily do quick-filters to eliminate a certain item type, status, priority or project. You can even apply your default filters from the main OnTime view with just a single toolbar button click. This is a very slick view that should address the needs of not only individual users who want to see all their items, but also project managers who want to see collective data by project, assignee, etc.
One of my favorite things about the new User Dashboard is that it's a non-modal window, which means you can have it running side-by-side with the main OnTime Window. In fact, I could see users keeping the User Dashboard maximized on one monitor with an auto-refresh interval while the main OnTime window is minimized. Here are some screenshots to give you an idea of how great the new User Dashboard is:
Click on the new "User Dashboard" toolbar Menu to open the new, Powerful Dashboard View
The new User Dashboard shows all item types and can be Grouped by many fields. Here, it's grouped by user.
Quickly filter by User, Project, Status, Priority & Start/Due/Completion Dates
Keep the User Dashboard open as you work, setup appropriate filters and set auto-refresh to show you what's new
Another great feature of the user dashboard is that you can view items that are just assigned to you, another team member or everyone on the team, making the User Dashboard a great tool for individual users as well as the project managers and directors. I think you're going to love this new view!
But Wait, There's Even More!
And if you order in the next 15 minutes, we'll also throw in this Ginsu Knife set! Ahhh, wait a second, we don't do infomercials, we do rapomercials ;-) If you haven't already listened to the new Axosoft rap song, go take a second to do that now. You'll see another side of Axosoft :-)
Back to features...OnTime V7.1 also adds:
- Email attachments for outbound emails
- Multi-Edit can now edit date, short text and number fields
- Improved security privileges
- Improvements to OnTime Customer Portal
- Non-modal add/edit windows in OnTime Windows Edition (open multiple add/edit windows)
- Improved AJAX in OnTime Web
- Dependent custom picklists no longer cause a page refresh
- Hold down Shift-key to multi-select items
Oh and there are also over 50 bug fixes! Yeh, more than 50. Although we don't want to brag about 50 bug fixes. We shouldn't have had these bugs to begin with. But at least we're on the ball and getting them nailed. I'm almost as excited about V7.1 as I was about V7! This is a great release. For full details of what's new, check out this announcement:
Full Release Notes for OnTime V7.1 Beta
How to Get V7.1 Beta
If your company already has maintenance for OnTime, your upgrade to V7.1 is free. Go download it here:
OnTime V7.1 Beta Details and Download
If you're not sure if you have maintenance or if you want to add maintenance, login to your Axosoft account here:
Axosoft My Account Page
(Use this to check or add maintenance)
You can add maintenance by clicking on your product key and then clicking the Upgrade link.