Category 27 February 2020

#9 Life in Low-code// 2020.1 release with Richard Billington and Paul Frossell

Latest news on our 2020.1 release

What’s new with Liberty Create 2020.1?

Louise welcomes back Netcall CTO Richard Billington and Product Manager Paul Frossell. Richard and Paul share the latest and greatest news about Liberty Create, which is Netcall’s low-code solution.

Fresh from launching a new release – Create 2020.1 – Richard and Paul talk us through a number of key headline features including Google AI integration, page builder improvements and theme packs for code studio users.

They also chat about how Create low-code is continuing to help customers to pick up the pace of change and the reasons behind the naming convention change. Plus a sneak preview of what’s in the next release.

Head to our Community for full details of the 2020.1 release.

Louise: In today’s episode we have some exciting news – the latest version of Liberty Create has been released, and there’s been a slight change to the naming convention for this release hasn’t there Richard?

Richard: Yes there has this release was going to be referred to as version 10.5, but we’ve actually launched it as version 2020.1. We basically decided that we need to take a more modern approach to versioning – there was no real need to consider major/minor and obviously patch versions anymore with our continuous integration and continuous deployment methodology.

We are releasing more frequently, and as a result, there isn’t a notion of a sort of major release anymore, and, as is common with the wider market, we’ve decided to go with the year-dot-release versioning methodology, and the plan will be, and this will certainly take place a little later this year, and into the start of next, rather than releasing every two to three months, as we have traditionally had, we’ll be releasing more frequently, smaller, incremental updates, and that’s supported by an element of this release that will allow customers to upgrade to future versions of the platform themselves moving forward.

So previously we allowed our customers to upgrade to the latest patch through our ‘About’ page, that was deployed automatically, and we’re going to be doing the same thing but for our major/minor releases as well. So as and when the team here have completed any individual feature, we can commit it into the relevant branch, release it, and customers will be able to go in their controller, and upgrade in, so it’s going to be hugely beneficial for everyone and takes us down a more modern path in the way in which vendors like us deploy clouds/software.

Louise: Seems to make sense. Paul can you tell us more about the headlines for 2020.1?

Paul: Yes certainly. Probably the biggest headline is Artificial Intelligence (AI). We now have quite a tight integration with Google AI, and some of its APIs performing OCR on a TIF-5 scanned in, one of your, maybe customer’s documents is going to be very very quick and easy to send off to Google to have that converted into text. That’s now just configuring a few settings in a rule action, you don’t need to configure complex APIs, just configure a few rules and you could convert that text.

Other examples are translations, nice and simple, got a piece of text, don’t know what language it is, you can- again with a simple rule action you can send it off to Google, and ensure you get back in English for your staff to be able to read, for example. You could then analyse the sentiment of that text, and have rules that have them for the back of that again, take that text, send it off to Google, ask- ‘is this positive is this negative, what’s this- how’s this customer feeling?’ – and rules could trigger off the back of that. So that’s just a handful of examples of how we anticipate some of our clients will use that typed AI integration with Google.

Richard: So if you think, as an example of how powerful AI could be, if you had customers sending in documents or emails in response to them progressing through a process within a business, you can automatically take that email in, OCR will read the text from it, in the case of an email, send an office sentiment analysis, determine that maybe the customer’s angry, annoyed, upset, and as a result prioritise that piece of work within your organisation.

Paul: Next up, less dramatic, but page builder improvements. So many of our users as builders spend a large portion of time in the page builder, so we want to invest some time in that to make sure it was quick and slick to do repetitive things they might do in the page builder, so for those of you that are listening that are familiar with it, that means being able to quickly add multiple fragments into a widget at once, being able to configure the settings against multiple fragments all at once, all these little, tiny things that we’ve improved could add up to days of saving- time savings, and building application.

So, perhaps less exciting, but I think our current users when they see them, they will be excited about those improvements we’ve made in there. Perhaps another one worth mentioning is open ID Connect, so this is the new way that users can sign into the application. You’re probably familiar with using Facebook or Google to log into consumer services rather than having to input your details, you say, sign in with Google, and you’ll be able to do the same in our applications now, so that might be relevant to our clients’ consumers because increasingly our platform is being used for consumers, they’ll have a convenient way for registering and signing in subsequently for our clients’ services.

Richard: I think that’s really important, so we’re all now familiar with logging into an organisation’s website, like Paul said, using our Facebook or our Gmail account, and while we’ve always allowed organisations to build portals, for third-party customers, citizens, patients, to log in, they’ve had to do it using a username and password, and that’s just another set of credentials for us, as a customer, to have to remember. By allowing organisations to admit their customers, staff, patients using those third-party identity services, it really opens up what you can expose to those parties within the Create software.

Paul: I think one more to mention is our theme packs, so this is something for our code studio users, they now have the ability to author exactly what their header’s going to look like in their interface, and their footer, as well as error pages and maintenance pages. So, as you know, we’ve already got really good flexibility in terms of creating custom widgets within the page, this is really just ticking another box, we’re then enabling them to have more control over the kind of peripheral elements around the edges, you know, they are very close now to being able to define every little pixel as it going to appear on their page, as it’s going to be presented to their users.

Richard: Which again, with more and more customers creating portals, the one thing you want that portal to do when customers log in is to look like the rest of your brand, look like your website, again, we’ve delivered a set of changes here that will allow an organisation to do that.

Louise: Okay, thanks so much for that overview, what would you say the overall driver for this release has been?

Richard: As with most of our releases, input comes from a variety of sources, our own staff, our solution architect team that are out on the road, our sales and account management, and more frequently now, via the community. Anything that gets submitted and suggested there definitely gets put in front of us, we’ll review it, prioritise it, and you’ll find that it’ll be included in a future version. I mean this release more than any, has taken input from existing customers.

Louise: Is there any sneak preview information that you can provide about what’s coming later in the year?

Richard: Yes, we’ve obviously got a defined roadmap that we share with our customers, and the big, big new feature we’ll be moving onto is Monitor Studio. So for those that are established customers you’ll know that we started out with the Build Studio, we then introduced Code Studio, allowing organisations to extend the platform’s capabilities.

The last release was the introduction of Test Studio, allowing you to test the applications that you create on the platform, Monitor Studio, which allows you to monitor those applications, so as you build APIs, the generation of PDFs, reports and so on, the platform will know and understand you’re adding that functionality, and can then build out a range of reports around that, giving your support teams the ability to view and understand what’s happening within the application that’s been built.

Paul: The Monitor Studio’s probably the headline for me as well. I think that’ll really lift the lid for people on what’s going on under the bonnet, it’ll give them visibility of what’s happening in their application at that point in time, how many users are logging in, what are they doing, what pages are they using, how’s the server performing, what’s the server statistics, how’s that- how’s that trending over time, what scripts are in the background, how much resources are they consuming, what data is flowing in and out of an application, what messages are flowing in and out, having visibility of everything that’s happening under the hood, I think it’ll be really, really valuable.

Louise: Okay thanks, well it’s been really interesting to hear all about the new release, from both of you, so thank you so much for joining me today.

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