We’ve got a lot of exciting things cooking at CxAlloy right now. First, we will be releasing a major update to CxAlloy TQ with a new look and new features in the next few weeks. Second, as part of that release we will be rolling out a beta to select customers of our new “Meetings” and “Tasks” sections. Finally, we will be updating our CxAlloy TQ iOS app to dramatically reduce the time it takes to download large projects.
A New Look
The first update that’s coming is a new look for the site that gives you more space. As we started work on meeting minutes we realized our current design can feel cramped in some places. This was particularly noticeable when typing a lot of text, such as in our progress reports or the upcoming meeting minutes.
We decided to fix the problem. Our new design is a “full width” design that will always fill your browser window. We’ve also created more vertical space by consolidating the navigation bar at the top of the site and removing the footer.
Dropping Internet Explorer 8 Support
As part of these changes we will be dropping support for Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8). We’ve always prided ourselves on our broad browser support and that isn’t changing, but the need to support IE 8 has greatly diminished over the past three years. In this case less than 1% of visits to CxAlloy TQ come from IE 8 or below. In fact, in the last month we had more visits from IE 7 (which we have never supported) than IE 8. Because of this low usage and because IE 8 would prevent us from building meeting minutes the best way possible, we are dropping support for Internet Explorer 8 with this release.
This update will also be adding the concept of “Contacts”. A contact is a person that you add to a project for informational purposes only – even though they will show up in the project directory, they will have no access to the project and receive no emails pertaining to the project. A contact is set by selecting the new “Contact” permission preset.
Issues, checklists, and tests can still be assigned to contacts. As a contact will not have any awareness that they are listed in the project and will have no access to the project, they will not be notified of assignments. Because of this important difference contacts will be labeled as such in the assignment dropdown.
Contacts can be granted access to the project at any time, at which point they will be emailed an invite just like any other person added to a project. Because of this contacts will still require an email address along with a first and last name.
We are adding contacts because we needed them for our new meetings section (more on that below), but they open up some new possibilities. For example, you could have a project that only a few people have access to but that tracks the assignments for a much wider group of people.
As part of adding contacts we will change what happens when you add someone directly to an account rather than to a specific project. Currently you can add a person to an account and they will receive an invitation regardless of whether they are made an account administrator or not.
Unfortunately if you add someone to the account and they aren’t an administrator, they won’t be able to do anything when they log in. Their Home page will not show any projects and they won’t be able to access the account area.
To address this we will only send an invitation when adding a user at the account level if they are also made an account administrator. Otherwise we will wait until they are added to a specific project to send them the invitation.
Meetings and Tasks Beta
This is a big one. We’ve been working over the past year to bring a Meeting Minutes section to you. In fact, it’s so big that we are calling it just “Meetings” instead of Meeting Minutes because it encompasses more than just the minutes. Meetings will cover the agenda, distribution list, and attendance in addition to the minutes themselves.
Meetings has also prompted the addition of Tasks as its own section. Tasks are just what you’d expect: simple items with a description, a due date, and an assignment. Tasks have a status of either Done or Not Done, and tasks can have comments.
We will be launching Meetings and Tasks initially as a beta with a few select customers. We think we have a solid foundation but we know there is more functionality to add and, of course, bugs to address. We plan to slowly add more customers to the beta as we work on it until we are confident in a full release.
Importing will get a nice update as well. We’ve made two improvements to reduce the time it takes to step through an import. First, we’ve fixed how it guesses the field each column maps to. After the update the import will look at the first row of your spreadsheet and check it for common headers. This means that if you label your columns (i.e. “Name”, “Discipline”, “Type”, etc.) in the first row of your spreadsheet the correct field will get preselected. Multiple common headers are checked. For example, “Name”, “Tag”, “Equipment”, and “Equipment Tag” headers will all match to the “Name” field. It ignores capitalization as well so “name” and “Name” will work equally well.
The second change is a follow-on benefit of this new approach. The import will now preselect attribute fields as well. This means that if you have a column labeled “Manufacturer” in your equipment import, the import will detect that and preselect the “Attribute” field and “Manufacturer” as the specific attribute. As you can imagine, this can save a lot of tedious clicking when importing a spreadsheet with many attributes.
Faster Project Downloads on iOS
On iOS we have been working on dramatically improving the time it takes to download projects. The time savings will be most evident with large projects that are downloaded to older devices (iPad 2′s, for example). In our testing we have seen projects that previously took 20 minutes to download reduced to only two minutes.
As part of this work we made some other small improvements to the downloading experience. For example, you’ll now see status messages for each project you are downloading to let you know what is happening.
This update will be out in a few weeks. We love feedback so if you have any questions or suggestions please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.