ElectricCommander 4.1 – Expanding Usability and VisibilityJune 29, 2012 — Jim McMahon
Last month, we introduced our latest release of ElectricCommander; version 4.1. This release includes exciting enhancements to workflow, continuous integration management, and the plug-in library. Our primary goal with this release was to significantly improve the user experience in these key areas of the product. Many of the enhancements originated from feedback within our active user base.
Since its introduction a couple of years ago, the workflow capability in ElectricCommander has experienced rapid adoption amongst our users as they attempt to manage the end-to-end orchestration of the production processes.
Shortly after adding graphical visualization capabilities to the workflow, our users asked for visual editing. Visual editing of workflows are now available.
Illustration 1 shows graphical editing in action. While the workflow author can continue to use the familiar table based workflow editing mechanism, we think most users will prefer the new visual style of editing. The visual method offers new levels of productivity and immediate feedback as the author dynamically creates the workflow.
Adding to ElectricCommander’s built-in continuous integration (CI) engine, this release includes a cool new CI dashboard. The CI dashboard supports existing schedules as well as offering a new simplified mechanism for creating new CI schedules. Once a schedule is established, the dashboard makes it easy to monitor the health of the CI builds. Illustration 2 is a screenshot of the CI dashboard with an example project and example configurations (aka, schedules).
The ElectricCommander plug-in library has long been a source of integration productivity for our user community. This release adds additional plug-ins along with extensions to existing plug-ins. As the number of plug-ins has grown tremendously over the last year, we found it necessary to provide a more productive technique for using plug-ins within procedure steps. We’ve added a new step selector that allows for easy selection of plug-in functionality to be integrated into the user’s procedure steps.
The screenshot in illustration 3 demonstrates selection of a plug-in step from the Resource Management category. The user is able to quickly move between categories while looking for the appropriate plug-in step. Optionally, the user can enter a search term in order to find the preferred plug-in.
With our 4.1 release, we’ve made a concerted effort to improve the ElectricCommander user experience and increase productivity in key areas of the product. Thanks to our user community for helping shape this release by providing great input on usability.