It has been a while since I last provided a product version update even though we have seen 16.1, 16.1.1 and now 16.2 so it is about time.
Minor releases are generally about incrementally building on the last major release, but that does not mean that the new features are minor in capability or scope and there are some big ones since my last update.
As seems to be the trend in the last many versions, workflow is the big story with a number of new features to expand the capability and simplify the use of this powerful tool. We try hard to keep our workflow simple to configure while expanding the use cases it can handle. We do not want you to have to go to a week long course, just to take advantage of the power.
The ad hoc one-time activities were a big story in 16.0 and now they have been improved to allow them to be assigned to a one of X group in addition to a single user. Participants trying to complete a task now have the choice to create a one-time task or choose any other activity to send the workflow back to according to what the template designer wants to allow.
More color has been added to the workflow email notifications to provide extra information about the status of the workflow and the whether or not it is late. In fact, the entire notification engine has been enhanced to allow many new options for the emails. You can even add the complete workflow history so users can review progress offline wherever it is convenient.
Possibly the biggest change and biggest time-saver in workflow is the new task user interface. We have unified the look and feel across all platforms: desktop, web and mobile. In addition to a modern experience with a task flow complete in a single view, we have added alerts and history. Users are not forced into this view; they can choose to use it or the classic view. Or, administrators can choose the view they want users to see.
Alerts help workflow participants to know about special topics consider when they are completing a task like if its late, if a downstream participant has returned it for rework or if upstream participants made document changes.
The optional history view consolidates workflow progress along its entire lifecycle regardless of how many times activities have been returned for rework. You can optionally interleave changes in there to see the full flow of delegations, overrides, document version updates, etc. You also get a relative time of completion for all the activities so you can see exactly how you fit into the overall completion of the workflow.
Our new web and desktop viewer was first introduced in version 15.2 and has seen enhancements with every new version. Now you can add annotations as a layer that does not modify the document version. You can return to edit the layer later and burn the annotations into the document if and when you want.
There is also an option to create preset annotations for frequently used stamps or notes. Once you place the preset annotation you will be able to manipulate it as you could if you created it custom. The annotations can include merge tags to automatically expand to metadata and system fields.
We love to find performance improvments for the viewer and a number are in there as are several new file formats including XLSX, ODT, CUR, WSQ and DXF files.
FileHold has always included the powerful dtSearch full text search engine with every license. We have always tried to make it possible for this power to be used with minimal user training and we have improved that by creating better alignment with the advanced search syntax used in popular internet search engines.
At the same time as we made things easier, we opened up much more advanced options. Power users can disable the simple search interface and have the full power of boolean expressions and most otherwise hidden dtSearch operators. This enables extraordinary powerful search expressions. You can also limit your searches to file contents in addition to metadata or everything. For the most adventurous the raw query expression power of dtSearch is available. Now you can try variable term weighting, directed proximity, segment searches and other fun stuff.
Watermarks have come to assemble. As a reminder, the assemble feature is available to all users with a FileHold level 2 viewer license. Now you can use merge tags to insert metadata and system field values and other cool stuff on top of any files that can be processed by assemble. You control the size, color, transparency, etc. The administrator can even create watermark templates that can be reused over and over.
Speaking of merge tags, we added more. Some of the most powerful include link, embed and expand. These tags let you add content to files that point back to content in FileHold, embed content from FileHold inside other documents and expand the content of a file in FileHold into another document. Do you need to put together meeting agendas, contracts, proposals, etc.? Then, these merge tags are for you.
And so much more
Did you ever want to tie the documents in a cabinet to a specific drive location? How about putting your library archive onto a less expensive low performance drive? Well, the new enhanced repository option can do all that and more. This used to be the multi-repository option and that functionality is retained along with the new tools and a completely re-engineered user interface.
Auto-filing has been around in FileHold for over 10 years making it easy for customers to put documents where they want in the library simply based on the metadata values assigned to the document. While it has always been easy to use, setting it up has not been for the faint of heart. You could do just about anything, but if all you wanted to do was something simple you still had to dig deep. Now an administrator can define an auto-filing template directly in the administrative interface in minutes. This includes a nice new user interface with a built-in test utility and we gave it even more power then our most powerful included script. Auto-filing scripts are still fully supported for when you still need to dig deep.
Outside of metadata fields, configuration options for date and time formats have been limited. And, for those with multiple offices in different times zones everyone had to live with documents in one time zone. Well, those days are over. Users can now choose from various time and date formats to better suit the region they are from and any user can set their local time zone. The upgrade process will automatically handle converting from the old to the new time approach.
Of course, there are always changes to make our lives easier. Things like performance improvements, bug fixes, more control over access to files, detailed errors messages only a click away, an FDA title bar with bigger icons and showing the server name, an easy way to filter your workflow tasks, way more options for cleaning up working files, new types of administrative log messages, etc.
Check out the release notes for the full details of changes and contact [email protected] to plan your upgrade. As always, the upgraded software and assistance from our technicians to install it is included in your FileCare subscription.
|Russ Beinder is the Chief Technology Officer at FileHold. He is an entrepreneur, a seasoned business analyst, computer technologist and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). For over 30 years he has used computer technology to help organizations solve business problems.|