In this update of Dime.Scheduler, we have added a bunch of new features and improvements, chief among which are the recurring appointments. We are also happy to announce the general availability of the Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premises extension connector and our brand new documentation platform.
Dynamics 365 Business Central Connector
During the summer, we've been hard at work at converting the Microsoft Dynamics NAV connector to a Dynamics 365 Business Central Extension. Extensions are fundamentally different from the programming model of earlier editions of Microsoft Dynamics. As the name suggests, this model is about extending the standard solution rather than customizing it. This has many advantages, of which there is one that stands out: it allows you or your customer to create your own composite solutions.
Besides this technical pivot, we made a range of functional improvements to the connector. The modules for field service management and production are easier to use and are more powerful than ever. We will make an official statement later, but we can already let you in on a little secret that we will also make massive improvements on the installation and data provisioning procedure.
The extension connector is now available for dedicated instances of Dynamics 365 Business Central (on-premises). Once we have obtained approval from Microsoft, we will also publish the connector on AppSource, enabling any kind of hybrid scenario between Dime.Scheduler and Dynamics 365 Business Central.
For the better part of the year, we've been silently working on the creation of a documentation system that can provide value for our partners, customers and the people who write the documentation. We stepped away from the traditional approach of including text documents in the release package and instead went for a website that hosts static content. It is maintained by us and will therefore be always up to date.
There are six chapters in the manual:
- User manual
- Administrator manual
- Installation manual
- Plugin manuals
- Developer manuals
An addition to these manuals is the blog in which this post appears.
Each chapter has its own focus. Sometimes there may be an overlap with other chapters, which is inevitable in an application like Dime.Scheduler. However this is still preferable to long and unstructured documents. To link these documents, we paid extra attention to provide a search bar, easy navigation and heaps of cross-references.
It is our mission to make the documentation as complete as possible. Every support request should at least have a partial answer readily available in the docs. Also, we are open for suggestions so we would like to encourage you to participate and help us write new content and improve the existing manuals.
The website is publicly available at docs.dimescheduler.com.
Recurring appointments need little introduction as many - if not most - calendar applications have this feature. We are happy to announce that the recurring appointments are back in Dime.Scheduler. As you can reasonably expect, it is available out of the box and can be used without any configuration or setup. A special field in the appointment editor enables the user to create a recurrence pattern, which is used by Dime.Scheduler to generate a series of appointments. Accordingly to Dime.Scheduler's design philosophy, all of this is done instantaneously: other users and connected back office systems will receive updates within seconds. It is fully integrated with features such as the resource calendars, which should provide ample coverage to tackle most business cases.
Revamped appointment editor
We've given the appointment editor a new look to improve the overall experience. The editor is now wrapped in a window, which enables you to move and resize it as you please. It is also considerably faster than before. Also, assigning and removing resources to and from appointments have been greatly improved in this editor.
An experience similar to the map has been added to the planning board: the bulk select. Using the CTRL + drag combination, multiple appointments can be selected and manipulated. Appointments can be removed or updated in a single transaction, reducing the need to select items one by one.
Dime.Scheduler now fully supports the Unicode standard. This is mostly a technical topic but it is sufficient to know that compliance with this standard enables the installation and storage of the data on most systems around the world.
Pivot layout types
By default, the pivot grid shows the row labels as a tree, where each level appears indented below its parent. This release includes a second layout option (the 'outline' option) which adds a column to the grid for each dimension, enabling the users to sort on all levels of the row labels.
Improved user experience
Besides the highlighted features above, here are a number of smaller improvements that are worth mentioning.
- Conditionally load the error monitor when this configuration is enabled
- Improved validation of the setup form such as required fields and URI validation
- Installing multiple instances of the Dime.Scheduler web application now requires less configuration
- Provide keyboard equivalent for all delete buttons
- Fly-in success notifications are hidden in the administration and setting views
- Projects without project tasks are hidden in the Gantt chart's project selection list
- Assigning resources on task groups in the Gantt chart is now disabled
- Usability and user experience of the zoom to fit feature on the Gantt chart
- A new button was added to show the project in the timeline
- Improved reliability when resetting linked appointments after synchronizing projects
- Improved appointment editor date input
- Enable ESC keyboard key on locked editors
- Improved performance by reconciling database calls for resource types in the appointment editor
- A visual aid was added to separate the days in the planning board's day view
- The snap interval is now also visualized when dragging and dropping records on the planning board
- The appointment editor is closed when the same appointment is removed by another user.
- Copy and paste transactions are throttled to support bursts of transactions.
Improvements and bug fixes
Besides the traditional performance and stability improvements, the following bugs have been fixed.
- Loading a different project when the progress line is shown for the previous project
- Localize Gantt editor form and resolution windows
- Column order state
- Alignment after scrolling and/or maximizing
- Restore task assignment when changing appointment assignment
- Group empty fields in all grids
- Fix keyboard shortcut keys in Microsoft Edge
- Add non-default items in top bar to hamburger menu
- Reset paging when date picker is set
- Bulk update indicator of locked planned tasks
- Bulk update indicator with empty value
- Bulk update indicators without planning board
- Tooltip flashes when texts are too large to fit
- Copy + paste items must recalculate non working time
- Navigate to 'Today' when current moment is outside of the time range
- Single assignment per resource type validation
- Duplicate scroll bars in resource settings view on touch enabled devices
- Clock tooltip on hover on touch devices
- Saving invalid resource filters
- Assigning claims to user with filter values from user group
- Escape special characters of the user's name
- Bulk select resource pins with sticky popups
- Route sequence reordering with appointments
- Remove calendars or resources with resource calendars
Saying goodbye to an old friend
Today is an emotional day as we will no longer support Internet Explorer. The sun has set for this browser (end-of-life is scheduled by January 2020) so it is time to say goodbye and move on with our lives. As hard as it may be, there are replacements for a browser that has given us so much joy throughout the years. Internet Explorer's bigger brother, Edge, is Microsoft's recommended browser. But even this browser's engine will be replaced by a Chromium-based Edge, which is the technology that is also used by other popular browsers such as Google Chrome and Opera.
Please note that versions of Dime.Scheduler prior to Dime.Scheduler 2017 can only be run on Internet Explorer, given its reliance on Microsoft Silverlight, which is also deprecated. It will come as no surprise that we too will soon announce the end of live of Dime.Scheduler's first generation iterations. We therefore strongly encourage partners and customers to update to the latest version.
By popular demand, we will introduce advanced query builders that the users can apply to filter tasks, resources and other entities. It is an addition to the suite of filters available in the resource filters component and the grids. We will also make some initial efforts to move Dime.Scheduler in the cloud. We will provide an update to our roadmap soon in a future webinar or newsletter.