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New in EASA 5.3

EASA is continually being improved to allow organizations to build and deploy custom web-enabled applications which leverage existing software faster and more easily. This document outlines the new features being introduced in Version 5.3.

New Technologies Behind the Scenes

This release saw a complete overhaul under the hood for better performance, stability, reliability and robustness.

EASA 5.3 now uses JACOB, which acts as a new and modern bridge between EASA and Excel.

The result is greatly improved data exchange with Excel. JACOB gives more control and freedom over how communication is accomplished, making the process more reliable, secure and lighter on computing resources, while simultaneously making improving speed and therefore response times.

Also debuting in EASA 5.3 is another new technology named METRO, replacing the component responsible for ensuring smooth data flow between the main EASA Server and its companion servers such as Compute Servers, EASA Web Service servers and Excel Servers.

The bundled version of Java is also updated to a newer version (1.7.0_79).

New EASA Help Pages

Giving up the top-down structure for a more topic-focused, article-based page structure, any information you need is just a click away. A powerful search box is always there to help you find what is not on the screen while the sidebar helps you navigate the various sections.

Being an online website itself, updating the EASA Help Pages no longer requires new versions of EASA to be released.

Multiple Sheets Exported to a Single PDF

Now you can include more in reports by exporting the parts you need into a single PDF file.

The EXPORT TO PDF object has seen the addition of a new parameter called Type: which allows the inclusion of multiple ranges, even coming from multiple sheets. The exported PDF file will have all the selected ranges presented in a tidy linear fashion.

Enhancements to Administrating Database Connections

Setting up and maintaining database connections on the Administrator Web Pages is now supported by the optimal test query generator. With the click of a button, EASA will connect to the database and if successful, will set up a short and fast query it can use to validate the setup.

Another new option enables the configuration of direct connections between EASA Applications and Databases, leaving the EASA Server out of the process, making the load lighter on the server and in turn improving performance.

Additionally, if the EASAP doesn’t use the new direct connections, it has the option to use a proxy instead. This use case will lighten the load on the EASA server, while the option of using a different port to connect is also available.

More Improvements

Below is a list of additional changes in this release.

  1. A new, optional Auto-delete feature for Results folders prevents the unnecessary buildup of user generated data.

  2. The folder structure used by the EASA server has been rearranged and improved for easier management. Migration from prior installations is possible through the Import Tool designed for this version.

  3. New Object: DATE FUNCTION increases EASA’s capabilities in capturing native Excel functionality. The following data manipulation methods are now available: EOMonth, YearFrac, WeekDay, WorkDay, DateDiff, DateAdd.

  4. New Object: EMAIL ACTION sends out an e-mail as configured by the author of the EASAP with the desired attachments.

  5. New Object: SET STYLE ACTION applies a USER INTERFACE STYLE or a CSS code segment to the target object. This can also be combined with new Event Source: parameter of VALUE CHANGED, creating an ACTION that applies a custom style to an object once it is manually touched by the user.

  6. New Object: SET PROTOTYPE ACTION takes pre-defined DORs in the EASAP and produces new ones by executing a script provided by the author. The scripting language supported by the object is Groovy, and it can also fire actions already authored into the EASAP.

  7. New Object: CLOSE FORM ACTION acts as the opposite of OPEN FORM ACTION by closing a FORM

  8. New Object: UNIQUE LIST DOR takes one or more input list and returns a list of unique values, removing any duplicates found.

  9. New Object: LOG ACTION prints a log entry into the EASAP log accessed on the testing page in Author mode. This helps the authoring and debugging process.

  10. LOGICBOX: two new parameters, the Checked Value: and Unchecked Value: now allow replacement of the default 'TRUE' and 'FALSE' values that the object contained whenever it was checked or unchecked, respectively.

  11. READ EXCEL ACTION and WRITE EXCEL ACTION: now the Sheet: and the Type: parameter fields can only contain one selection, to imply that all of them must be the same.

  12. SPLIT: two new parameters are present now to handle 'Null' values. The Skip Nulls: parameter, when set to 'TRUE', will remove any 'Null' value found in the lists. When set to 'FALSE', a new parameter becomes available: Replace Nulls:. This second parameter will replace 'Null' values with a desired value.

  13. LABEL: now allows inclusion of HTML code through the new Allow HTML: parameter. When set to 'TRUE', HTML code will be evaluated and rendered as such, offering limitless ability to customize your applications.

  14. IMAGE: now allows DORs and URLs in the Image: parameter.

  15. REPEATED GET VALUE: a new parameter called Default Value: is introduced. If there are no values found, this will be used instead.

  16. MODIFY SCALAR ACTION and MODIFY LIST ACTION: these now work on explicit DOR values, e.g. ones created by a database read or an Excel read in runtime.

  17. IMAGE EXCEL ACTION: now has a new method to generate images of the workbook, overcoming behavioral limitations of the previous implementation. It is enabled by default but can be switched back to the solution found in previous versions.

  18. BUTTON: Confirmation Text: parameter now allows DORs.

  19. STRING and REPEATED STRING: the Function: parameter now includes choices called 'Capitalize Each Word' and 'Capitalize Sentence'.

  20. DATA TABLE: columns can connect to explicit LIST DORs now. The LISTs can be manipulated directly if desired, no further objects are necessary. Two new parameters help in using this new feature, Connected Explicit Lists: will specify a list DOR for each column; and Connection Type: regulates whether it’s 'Read Only' or 'Read and Write'.

  21. There is a 'Default' category for new User Accounts.

  22. Analyse Mode can now be accessed directly from the EASAP Builder Tool.

  23. Results page now checks whether the Excel Workbook (when applicable) is available and removes the link to reopen the EASAP session if the file is not present anymore, avoiding cases where a reopened EASAP would display incorrect data or errors.

  24. A 'Warning' is shown when publishing an EASAP without dependencies calculated.

  25. SSH Server Processing can now use Kerberos for authentication with its new parameter called Use Kerberos:.

  26. A shared folder called 'easa-share' was created to share e-mail and database configurations across all machines running EASA components. Configuration of this folder is necessary for remote machines and is detailed on the new EASA Help Pages.

  27. EASAPs can now be configured to use specific Excel or Application server instead of letting the automatic load balancer make the choice. A new parameter serves this purpose under Excel Server objects (in the Compute Server Configuration Tool) that can be matched up with the same parameter under SPREADSHEET objects inside an EASAP.

  28. A default printer will now be configured by the EASA Installer in cases where necessary, to avoid the manual registry edits historically required for EXPORT TO PDF to work as expected.

  29. Different naming convention for run folders on Remote Compute Servers.

  30. Excel Server configuration now simplified by removing unnecessary options.

  31. A great number of various performance and stability enhancements and fixes related to:
    • EASA Server
    • EASAP Builder Tool
    • Publishing EASAPs
    • Dependency Calculations for Formula references.
    • Excel Range Wizard

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