Feb 13, 2012

Linx version 4.0.70.1807

Today marks the first release of Linx 4 (4.0.70.1807). Note that this is a beta release, so there are still some outstanding changes and issues that need to be resolved. We are however releasing it at this stage, so that you can have a look at what is coming in the final version, as well as provide feedback and suggestions that can help to shape the final release.

Overview:

The biggest changes in Linx 4 are related to the way in which a process is executed. When you upload a process to the server (or debug a process in the designer), it will create natively compiled code that can be executed by the .Net Framework. This allow us a lot more freedom in the execution engine, in that we can now hook into existing .Net features (logging, memory management, etc.), as well as future-proof our solutions by compiling them with newer versions of the framework (as they are released).

All new solutions in Linx 4 will now be saved with a .lsoz extension. Files of this type are a lot smaller than older .lso files, which helps to speed up the upload process, as well as save disk space. It is also possible to save older files in the new file structure (Save As.. option in the designer).

Note that Linx 4 solutions are backward compatible with Linx 2 solutions, so all of your old solutions will work in Linx 4. It is also possible to run Linx 2 and Linx 4 on the same machine. The only requirement is that they make use of different communication ports on the server. When you do a new installation of Linx 4, you have the option to test the desired ports for availability.

Designer:

At first glance, the designer might look the same, but several improvements have been made to enhance and simplify the building and debugging of solutions.

Some of these include:
  • Indicator lines on the process designer. When you drag components (new or existing) onto the process designer, an indicator line will show the destination location of the dragged component.

  • Improved feedback on the property grid. Required and invalid properties will now be highlighted, while the description should give adequate information regarding the property type and function. (Note that this is an ongoing feature that we’re still implementing for all components.)

On the debugging side, some highlights include:
  • The ability to add breakpoints to existing processes.


  • The ability to step into a process when making use of the RunProcess component.

  • The ability to assign values to input parameters before you start debugging the process.

  • Improved debugger feedback on component output values, location in process, etc.
Server:
  • In Linx 4, solutions are now uploaded to the server. As part of the upload process, you are able to specify comments to describe the uploaded solution. This makes it easier for administrators to track solution changes and can help to highlight execution problems. If you want to change an existing solution on the server, you have the option to download the solution, make the required changes and then update the solution on the server by uploading it again.

  • Service state (started or stopped) is now managed by the server and cannot be changed in the designer.
  • Each solution now runs in its own Windows process, which will help with stability and memory management.
The easiest way to experience all of this new functionality (and provide valuable feedback) is to install Linx 4 on your machine and try it out for yourself. As mentioned, this is a beta release, so we are still making changes where necessary. We do however want your feedback, so that we can focus and prioritise our attention on the areas that are the most important. You can log any bugs, feature requests, questions, etc. on HotHouse in the Linx 4 project. You can also have a look at the Linx 4 backlog in StoryTracker if you want to get an idea of what features are still outstanding.

1 comment:

  1. A comprehensive set of features, exciting!

    ReplyDelete