AppTree Software Announces Release 4

In March 2015, we will deliver AppTree Revolution Release 4. R4 has new features, general improvements and bug fixes. Upgrading to Release 4 is not required, but we do recommend it. Release 4 has security improvements that make an already secure application platform even better.

To help you plan for R4, I’ve described the new features. Many of these will immediately start working for you once you upgrade. Some may require additional configuration. I’ve marked the new features with an asterisk if they have some additional steps before you can take advantage of the new feature.

What’s New in R4

Security Enhancements

In R4, users will not be able to run AppTree apps on ‘jail broken’ or ‘rooted’ devices. The reason for this is that these devices may have hacked software that can be used to inspect the communication between the app and the back-end application server. While this alone is not enough to compromise your app, it’s still not something we want potential hackers to be able to do . We’ve obfuscated the Android source code to prevent reverse engineering or to expose global variable data. We’ve implemented a sophisticated morphing API key system so the token needed to access the app server changes continually. This will prevent, even hacked devices, from intercepting API keys that could be used to compromise your app server. We’ve improved the session level security and we’ve added configuration application timeouts.

Slow Network / No Network Improvements

We’ve improved the app behavior when accessing it on a slow network or where network coverage is bad or non-existent. Prior to R4, the app would check for configuration updates and try to re-initialize every time it detected a change in the network state. This caused problems for users and disrupted the flow of the app. We changed our approach to this for a better user experience.

Built-in Problem Reporting

Any user can ‘shake’ their device to take an instant screen shot of whatever is happening in the app, annotate the image, and push a button to submit a problem report. No more taking screen shots manually and figuring out how to get them off the device.

Improved Barcode Scanning

We’ve removed the in-line scanner form the inspections widget in favor of a full screen scanner. This makes the app less sensitive to distance form the barcode. We’ve improved the integration with external handheld scanners. For instance, if you have a part request or maintenance issue feature, you can now add parts to an order by pulling the trigger on the scanner. No need to tap ‘Add Parts’ and then tap the parts field to initiate a search. You can now increment the part quantity by scanning multiple times.

Labor Approval and Timecard Improvements

We’ve added a new indicator on the calendar view of the timecard to show both regular and overtime hours right on the calendar. For each time entry, we are clearly showing the status of the approval routing. We identify which entries are new, which are pending approval, which are approved and which have been rejected.

Support for AutoCAD XREF Documents

If you have our CAD viewer enabled, you can now view XREF documents where you have a set of drawings related to each other and want to view them as one layered drawing.

Future Dates for Labor Entry

You can now configure the time card to allow future charges against some work orders. For instance, you can configure certain Stanford Work Orders, used for leave, to be charged in advance.

Inspection, Inventory and Audit Tools

We’ve completed re-designed the inspection widget that is commonly used for conducing physical inventory, audits and inspections. You can now assign areas to inspect/inventory to specific individuals so that only they can view those locations. This will help with Utility Reading features where you want to pre-assign the meter reading route or Inventory Control features where you want to assign specific shelving unites to specific employees for counting parts. You can also more easily see what has been counted, inspected or read, what you still need to do, and whether you’ve had any exceptions. You can also stop working a route, save it, and it can easily be re-assigned to someone else.

Scheduler and Dispatcher

The new daily scheduling and dispatching tool will be included in R4. This will allow you to quickly assign work to your employees, specify the day you want it done and the order you’d like it completed in. You can bulk schedule groups of work orders to individuals and even assign multiple work orders to multiple technicians at the same time. For each employee, you can browse their daily schedule and quickly make adjustments. You can also view your work orders and other resources on an interactive map.

NOTE: Scheduler available on iOS iPad Only

Other R4 Stuff:

A user can now tap on a notification to open that record directly in the mobile app.

You can display QR Codes on forms for mobile to mobile scanning.

You can now tap on a map to add a pin. Previously, you could only mark your current location.

We’ve added a new form field type for mutually exclusive responses like ‘Accept’ and ‘Reject’.

We’ve made performance improvements to the apps in general. Forms load faster, buttons are more responsive, app initializes faster.

And finally we’ve made many bug fixes.

How to Get R4

Just ask! Once we release R4, I’ll send out another announcement. You can submit a request to our help desk to schedule an upgrade. There are new features described above that may require additional services to implement.