February 2016 was (and is currently at the time of this writing) a very exciting month with the Cireson with the announcement of the Portal v5.0 release.
As always, our very own Cireson Support Portal uses our vNext applications, and v5.0 was no different. Over the past several months we have been developing the features, functionality and ensuring the overall stability and scalability of our Portal platform with much success. For those of you not yet educated on our release process, Cireson uses a combination of programs to ensure our products are well developed, and tested before we release our major versions. In short, it goes a little something like this…
We do this for a multitude of reasons, although, the primary reason is to ensure our customers who want a stable version with updates and hotfixes can rest assured that each major release will be the most stable “cutting-edge” software that Cireson produces but not necessarily “bleeding-edge”. We’ve had a few blogs and webinars on this so I won’t drone on.
With this new v5.0 release we have rolled up all the previously developed enhancements and features from the Preview Release cycle into our most recently release major version, along with all previously released updates and hotfixes – speaking of this, we call them hotfixes for simplicity purposes but I think it is better to think of them as updates rather than hotfixes. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll change this nomenclature in the near future, but alas, I digress. Let’s dig into what we have released this go-around…
- Advanced Request Offerings built in the console and available in the Cireson Portal. Read about installing and setting up Advanced Request Offerings.
- Completely Redesigned & New Service Catalog / Home Page option.
- Completely Redesigned Knowledge Base and View Knowledge Article UIs.
- Added the ability to rate and add comments to knowledge articles. Read about how to hide these feature via custom css here.
- A knowledge article table of contents is auto created for each article. Read about how this works here.
- Scoping of the “Create Request on behalf of” user picker. Read about ‘Create Request on behalf of’ scoping.
- New Forever Software Licensing model added. Note: for users in air-gapped environments manually licensing the product, the V2 license key is used. Read more.
- New Dashboards added. Read more.
- Tons of improvements to bring the Portal Asset Management implementation to parity with Cireson Asset Management Console App.
New features only available with the 5.0 release:
- Ability to point at an off box management server via the portal installer (Windows Authentication (WinAuth) is not supported in this setup scenario)
- New EULA
- Current Installed Portal version can now be found from the Admin Settings screen. You no longer need to look up binary or js version numbers.
There is a load of new features and functionality here, which I haven’t ever heard anyone complain about, but there’s more! As always, we have provided enhancements to features as well as bug fixes and other general improvements. You can read more about this release here: https://support.cireson.wpengine.com/KnowledgeBase/View/1284#/
If you are like me and only deploy major version of software to your production environment and this will be your first time grabbing a release since our previous major version v4.0, then you will notice a few things distinctly different in our process now.
- A product key will be required for installation
- The software download page has moved
The new product key is our approach at simplifying the old license key process which required our customers to download / install dozens of keys into their environments. It was truly a process to keep all of those straight for our customers. There’s also added benefits; anti-piracy technology to keep those outsiders from abusing software and allowing customers to use keys in multiple environments. Again, much easier in the long run for everyone involved. To learn more about the Cireson Licensing Experience you can check out this knowledgebase article with great links to all the relevant information. Additionally, if you haven’t received a product key yet, you can be proactive and stuff and request one here. That was easy.
Coming back to the software download page, we have completely revamped this in our site to make things easier to access, and moved the page completely from the old http://kb.cireson.wpengine.com/app-store-download to a much nicer http://support.cireson.wpengine.com/software. Of course you can still go the old route and we’ll provide you to a link to the new hotness, but looking at that old site just isn’t quite as fun as the new one!
Let’s take a quick step back to… Release Candidates
Okay, what exactly is a Release Candidate? Well, like many other software vendors you may be aware of, a Cireson Release Candidate isn’t just a piece of software, it’s a way of life… rather, it is a benefit our customers and partners get wherein, you can download our vNext software to run in your environment. This doesn’t mean running out and installing into production and going on vacation. Rather, you get the opportunity to download our software which has been very well baked and trying it in our demo, lab, test, staging (not production environments). There are two distinct benefits here;
- You get to try our software in your environment to prepare for the release of the GA version
- You can report bugs or other issues you encounter directly back to the product team – this allows us to update the vNext code or prepare an update much more quickly
As with all things in life, it is a two-way street. We want your feedback and we want you to do proper testing before going live with new (major releases) [of our] software. This process should accommodate for both. With that said, we will be expanding our Release Candidate program to more and more customers and partners to begin fielding a wider testing audience. I will post further about this when the time is right… think pr5.2ish.
Speaking of pr5.x.x – we’ve got a lot of exciting stuff planned and will be revealing some exciting things in our upcoming product webinars. Stay tuned, and as always, make sure you are following the following sites and social media outlets for our latest news and releases!
- Twitter (General Awesomeness): http://www.twitter.com/teamcireson
- Twitter (Product Release Updates): http://www.twitter.com/CiresonRelease
- Vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/teamcireson
- Support: http://support.cireson.wpengine.com
- Software (just checking if you are still reading): http://support.cireson.wpengine.com/software