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Loupe 3.6 Released!

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve released a new significant update to Loupe, version 3.6.  What’s new and great?

  • New Issue Management Dashboard: A quick way to find the key issues and events for each phase of your development project.  Read Manage Events in Development, QA, and Production with Ease to dive deeper.
  • New way to View Massive Logs: When you have a multi-million message log file you still need to be able to view it, now made a lot easier.  Check out View Massive Logs for the full scoop.
  • Enterprise Edition: You can now supersize your Loupe server installation with clustering and other scale-up features with our new Enterprise edition.  For a comparison of features, see Editions Comparison.
  • Server Scalability Upgrades: To support our largest customers we’ve made performance enhancements throughout Server including making the web UI snappier and handling massive volumes on a single server.

There are a number of smaller enhancements too all aimed at improving the usability of the system.  You can switch between applications within the same product quickly, there are more cross-links for in-place editing of metadata, we’ve revised labels based on user feedback and added HTML optimizations for extra-short displays on modern ultrabooks.  Check out the release notes for a comprehensive rundown.

The Story Behind the Release

At the start of this year we did a significant amount of planning for Loupe 4.0 – wireframes, user stories, walkthroughs of key features, etc. We then presented this to our key beta customers and other advisers to get feedback.  Meanwhile, we were delivering Loupe 3.5.7 – Enterprise edition to the first external customers.  As development was getting underway, we dug deep into metrics for how customers were using Loupe Server – from our SaaS platform and from a random sampling of customers.   The data raised a lot of questions from the team – we weren’t seeing some usage patterns we expected, and that meant our customers weren’t getting as much value from Loupe as they should.  For example, we think every team should be using the web user interface that came out in Loupe 3.5 and then a subset of their team would use Loupe Desktop to drill in deep but instead we saw relatively light use of the web interface.

We reached out to pretty much every Loupe Server and Service customer and asked if they could spare 30 minutes to talk with us about how they used Loupe.  We got a lot of takers and after interviewing them we identified several common reasons why users were sticking just with Loupe Desktop:

  1. Users assume the Web interface is a subset of Loupe Desktop and don’t ever try it (since that’s nearly always true when you have both a dedicated app and a web interface.
  2. Users couldn’t identify errors for key recent versions (like just production errors or just development errors) so they were sifting through data by hand in Loupe Desktop
  3. Users perceived it takes too much effort to manage the review list, particularly once it has thousands of events on it.
  4. The extra work to create issues in Loupe felt like it duplicated their defect tracking system.

The good news was that we had already identified user stories for Loupe 4.0 that would address some of these items, but we didn’t want to wait until a major release to address these if at all possible.

Instead, we turned what had been a maintenance release (3.5.7) into a major enhancement (3.6) so we could get some improvements out the door as soon as possible to help address this.  In particular, we’ve field tested the new Issue Overview page to make sure it squarely addresses #2 and #3 above.  We’ve added documentation and some training materials to help address #4 and you’ll see some new communication from us to address #1.

What’s the Upgrade Like?

Loupe 3.6 maintains all of the compatibility characteristics of Loupe 3.x so you can continue to freely mix agent, server, and desktop versions.  The Desktop enhancements don’t depend on the updated Server version.  The Server upgrade takes a few minutes due to a major index change, somewhat longer for large databases (10GB and up).  Thanks to an upgrade to the Lucene search engine on the server full text search isn’t available right away after upgrading until the index is rebuilt (which happens automatically).

So that’s it – all the fresh bits are ready for download, published on NuGet, updated on GitHub and ready to use!

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