2015 - Release Notes
Over the past two months, we've been focused on adding some important platform features that allow Zengine to integrate with other services in real-time, as well as to greatly increase the power of the plugin system to solve more complex problems.
As usual, we also made some customer requested improvements, which are detailed below.
Plugin services allow you to run backend code on our servers to communicate with the Zengine REST API and other systems. Plugin services are specialized Node.js apps that receive data from our app and have built-in methods for communicating back with our API.
Plugin services are meant to act as a go-between from our app and other services. They receive data from the Zengine app or can fetch additional data from the REST API. Our API library allows you to make API requests as the user running your plugin. For instance, a user could click a button in your frontend plugin that makes a request to your plugin service. Your plugin service can then fetch tasks assigned to that user, send the user an email reminder, then return a successful result back to the user’s browser.
Learn more or try a tutorial.
Note that Backend Services are in beta, and are currently subject to limitations.
Webhooks allow you to build or set up integrations which subscribe to certain data-based or scheduled events in Zengine. When one of those events is triggered, we’ll send a HTTP POST payload to the webhook’s configured URL. Each time we attempt to POST to the URL, we will log the request, along with information about the response. These logged requests can be accessed through the webhook_events endpoint.
Learn more or try a tutorial.
Additional Developer Updates
- Subscriptions API has been updated to match the capabilities of the webhooks system. You can now subscribe to all records from a form (or a filtered list), along with determining whether to include related data.
- You can now also subscribe to notifications for tasks, events, and comments.
- Plugin modals can now have custom styles.
- You can now query just a few fields from a record, rather than always retrieving the full record. Developers should do this when possible to improve performance.
- Links to developer documentation in the developer tools should now open properly.
Along with that big project, we also released a number of items that were reported by customers as improvements that would make them and their teams more efficient:
- Zapier: We released an update to Zapier so that all triggers are real-time. This means that instead of waiting 5 to 15 minutes for your actions to trigger, they will happen within seconds of taking action within Zengine. We also added a new trigger called ""Record Updated"" that triggers whenever a record is updated in a form of your choice. Integrate Zengine with hundreds of apps with Zapier.
- Linked Field Lookups: Previously, when searching for a linked field using autocomplete, only 10 matches showed at one time. Now, there is a Load more button which allows you to load longer lists of matches.
- Linked Panel Record Names: Previously, record names on the linked panel were cutoff after a certain number of characters. They have been improved to fill the panel, based on screen size, so that you can read the full name of the related record.
We also made the following bug fixes:
- Fixed issues with deleting workspaces that contained many forms or large sets of data
- Fixed an issue where the importer was not showing an error message when the import failed.
- Fixed an issue where navigating directly to a full page plugin would not load the other workspace plugins in the navigation bar.
This release focused on many delights and bug fixes:
- Files listed in the record overlay can now be viewed in the integrated file viewer
- Fixed a bug with importing blank values
- Increased the number of forms limit in a workspace from 20 to 30
- Linked record panel now properly updates after adding or updating a related record
- Fixed bugs in the form builder with adding form fields and reordering fields
- When working with long forms in the form builder, the field toolbox now moves with you.
- Record identifier fields can no longer be deleted.
- Events record panel now properly indicates that it is only showing upcoming events.
- We introduced API rate limiting.
- Provided access to a WYSIWYG library for use in plugin code
Zengine now integrates with Zapier, allowing you to send and receive data from hundreds of other web apps. Read more about it on our blog.
Developer update: Plugins now have a ""settings"" type
Plugins can be of type “settings”, which means it will show up as a card in the workspace settings instead of cluttering the navigation bar for all users. (Read more about settings in our developer docs).
Developer update: Plugins can now have multiple types
Plugins can also now have multiple types. This means you can create a record overlay plugin, that also has a card in the workspace settings. You no longer need to clutter up your plugins with settings. This feature also supports more advanced plugins that require multiple locations, such as a full page plugin that also adds some notes to a record overlay panel. (Read more about plugin registration options in our developer docs)
Miscellaneous fixes and updates:
- Fixed a bug where adding a new linked field was deleting a previously uploaded file.
- Dollar signs are now allowed in values for dropdowns, checkboxes, and radio buttons.
Tired of downloading files just to view them? Today we released a file viewer - read more about it here on our blog.
We also addressed a couple of bugs:
- Fixed a bug where multiple grid rows were getting highlighted.
- Fixed an issue where a member couldn’t be deleted from a workspace if they were subscribed to one or more records in the workspace.
This release mostly consisted of security and backend fixes. However, we did add address a few user feature requests and bugs:
- The tasks grid now shows the record column by default
- You can now filter records by an empty or null field value
- Previously cancelled accounts can now re-sign up with the same email address.
- Save and new no longer shows validation errors before anything has been input
- API: The form records endpoint can make use of the ?filter or ignore query params
- Fixed a bug causing issues with field reordering in the form builder
One of Zengine’s most unique features is its plugin architecture. We realize that sometimes your team just needs a way to view and interact with data in a manner that is custom to your workflow. Plugins allow you to modify the Zengine experience to do exactly this - add full screens, or add ons to existing screens, like the Data tab or the record overlay.
In addition to private plugins that are custom just for your team, Zengine has a marketplace where anyone can add plugins that are useful to the entire Zengine community. This is also where we share some of our Zengine Labs projects - mini features that we want some more feedback on before integrating into the core platform.
Our focus over the past month has been to build a plugin marketplace that makes it easy to browse and learn about the available plugins, as well as to more easily manage the plugins that are part of your workspaces.
Now, whenever you are in a workspace, you’ll see the Marketplace icon in the nav bar, that takes you to the marketplace to install and manage plugins in that workspace.
Adding Plugins to your Workspace
Browsing available public plugins has been made easier. You may choose to filter by plugin type and sort by featured, release date, or name.
You will also see enhanced profiles for the plugins, if the developer has chosen to add them: screenshots, links to support articles, and more information about the developer.
Plugins can now also be installed in one click.
Plugins within a workspace can also be managed from the marketplace. Workspace admins can see both public and private plugins that are installed via the manage tab. Disable or Remove in two clicks (we require the second click for confirmation).
Plugin Developer Updates
Our goal is to make the plugin ecosystem beneficial both for end users, who gain additional functionality, as well as for developers, who can gain new customers as Zengine partners.
Developers can now add descriptions and screenshots of the plugins, making it easier for users to determine whether the plugin can help their team. They can also add a support URL to each plugin. Developers can now also update their public developer name and public URL, which is displayed on the public marketplace.
Users will also now see the option to view more plugins by that developer when browsing the marketplace.
Kanban Card Board
Zengine Labs released a new plugin that lets you drag and drop data between folders in a KanBan board, similar to Trello or Jira’s Agile Work Board. Learn more about it on our blog.
Miscellaneous fixes and updates
- Plugin developers can now format a date based on the user’s preference.
- Fixed an issue with the importer.
- Fixed an issue where the counter field for linked records was occasionally out of sync.
- Workspace invitations were previously failing if you re-invited an email address that was previously invited.
- Importing “0” was importing as empty; this was fixed.
- Fixed an issue where the user couldn’t accept a workspace invitation if they had been logged in over an hour.
Easier than ever to get started
When you begin a workspace from a template, you'll notice improved descriptions and screenshots describing the template's benefits. Over the coming weeks, we'll be releasing getting started guides for each template, to make it easier to understand how Zengine can help you achieve your goals.
We also improved the flow for custom workspaces, to make it more intuitive to get started.
If you signed up with a Google account, you'll now notice your avatar automatically updated for a more personalized Zengine experience.
- Fixed an issue that caused errors when changing checkbox and multi-select dropdown options.
- Fixed an issue where inline plugins occasionally loaded twice.
- Ongoing logging and stability work.
International Date Formats
We've been pleased to find that many of our customers are outside of the United States. This is the first step for us to better support those customers. You will now be able to set your preferred date format for viewing dates across the platform. At the moment, you can choose from the following 3 formats:
Security and Stability Upgrades
As we've shared previously, making sure the system is secure, stable and free of bugs is one of our top priorities. We continued to work heavily on this goal during this sprint.
- Importing checkbox values have been improved so that values simply need to be separated by line breaks instead of in a special JSON format.
- Improved error handling
We've spent much of the last 2 weeks working on logging and improving the stability of the platform, which will continue to be a major focus for us over the next couple of months.
We still managed to release a couple of improvements to the system:
- Small improvements to the importer to support certain encoding options
- Workspace copies that include filters should now work properly.
Charts Added to Reporting Dashboard
Zengine Labs also released new updates to the Dashboard that supports bar charts, pie charts, and line charts. Read more about the dashboard here.
This release also included a number of miscellaneous improvements:
- The "OR" option on filters should now work properly in all browsers
- Manually entering a date instead of using the calendar datepicker is now supported
- Filtering on a linked field should now show the linked field name instead of the id as the filter criteria
- Fixed an issue where the notifications screen was not showing all of the user's previously read notifications
- Existing users joining a workspace are now prompted to sign in again, to prevent accidentally accepting invitations to the wrong account
- Fixed an issue that occasionally caused errors when saving a form
- Saved data views that include columns from related forms will now consistently present those columns in the correct order.
- Fixed an issue where the navigation bar tab was not highlighted properly for certain browsers.
The following improvements were specific to plugin developers:
- New icons are now available for developers to use in their plugins
- znData saved events are no longer emitted every 10 seconds while a user has a record overlay open
Workspace Invitation Improvements
We made improvements for both workspace admins and for invited members to make the process for collaborating with others in the workspace easier for all involved.
For admins, we added messaging on the workspace invite page to better explain roles.
For invitees, we changed the email invitation and the account signup and sign in pages so that they clearly understand the next steps to start collaborating inside of the workspace.
Zengine Labs released new updates to the reporting dashboard:
- Tables: the ability to view summaries grouped by a certain field. For example: sum of all opportunities, grouped by status.
- Filtering: the ability to view summaries based on a filtered set of data, instead of all records in a form. For example: sum of all opportunities where status is “closed.”
- Data List: Show a mini version of the data tab with up to 2 columns on your reporting dashboard.
Plugin developers can now take advantage of plugin events on every resource. More information here: https://zenginehq.github.io/developers/plugins/api/services/#znpluginevents
New Developer Community and updated developer documentation
We created a google group for Zengine developers, and updated the documentation based on feedback from our development community. We also released an update to our calculations endpoint which allows calculations to be shared with non-admins, based on their role. View the docs here: https://zenginehq.github.io/developers/
We tackled several bugs, including:
- Fixed an issue where adding a new record on a data tab where the default view includes grouping caused issues.
- Fixed an issue where trying to save a record with a required linked field without selecting an option was generating a server error message
- Fixed an issue where adding a linked field to a form would sometimes fail
One pain point we hear frequently is that it is a lot of work to prep import files so that the data can be imported into Zengine. We took one step towards simplifying this process by removing a restriction that previously required import files to have the same number of columns as there are fields on the form.
We plan to give the importer more love in the first half of 2015.
Dates were previously being sorted as text. They should now sort as expected on the data tab.
New email templates
You may notice that our emails have been given a makeover. New users will also begin receiving educational materials via email.
We squashed several bugs, including:
- Fixed an issue where you could not change the form name on Safari
- Fixed an issue where exports were sometimes expiring immediately
- Fixed an issue where calculations could not be grouped by linked fields or member fields
Sign up, Sign in, and Create workspace wizard makeover
Based on feedback, we gave the sign up, sign in, and create workspace wizard a mini-makeover. You may notice some changes to the wording, layout and slideshows that explain how Zengine will improve your productivity.
Plugin developer improvements
Plugins can now be made public without posting on the marketplace, making it easier to share your plugin with others. Some Firebase auth issues were fixed.
Although we released the new billing portal as part of the last release, we spent most of this release refining the experience for users once their trial expires.
- If you accidentally bookmark our sign in or sign up page, the link should now properly redirect you without an error message
- Fixed an issue where you might receive an error when changing your username on the account management page
- Fixed an issue where the calendar was loading double events Fixed an issue where the tasks filter was not working properly on the calendar
- Fixed an issue where you had to click save twice to use the record overlay side panel.
Zengine Labs has been hard at work on the most requested plugin - the ability to view sums, averages, and other summary data. Learn more about it here: http://support.zenginehq.com/knowledgebase/articles/487844
We launched a new billing portal for customers to manage their accounts. From here you can manage your plan and credit card on file, view how many days are left in your trial, and review your account history including invoices and payments.
This release includes the following bug fixes:
- Multiple plugins in the data subheader would not properly align. This has been fixed
- In certain cases, saved views with grouping would not load properly. This was fixed.
- Long text boxes will now properly auto-expand as you type.
- You can now open records from linked fields of linked fields.
- The created by username is now listed correctly in the action panel even after an update.