Release 6.2.0

Release 6.2.0 is our second major release of 2020 and includes the launch of several new features that extend Search, Reporting and System Administration in exciting new ways. You can look forward to over 30 enhancements and dozens or minor improvements.

Under-the-hood architectural changes include replacing MariaDB 5.6 with MySQL 8. We've also introduced the Patcher, a utility designed to apply patches to multi-node, container orchestrated environments (a la ECS and Kubernetes).

Major features include:

  1. Intelligent Global Search is now out of beta and ready for production
  2. KPI Visualization provides a chart for highly dimensional data
  3. Tableau Content Autosync allows selected Folders in Tableau to automatically be synced with Metric Insights
  4. Numerous Dataset Report Enhancements continue to round out our Reporting functionality
    1. Charting enhancements to line, bar, area, pie and bubble charts
    2. Other enhancements to tables, pivots and more
  5. Design improvements to our user interface enhance the look and feel
  6. User Maps can now include wildcards, to support new ways of configuring mappings and providing access to all values within a certain column/field
  7. Enhancements to Data Collection Triggers and Notification Schedules
  8. System Backups can now be setup and maintained directly in the application UI, without the need for a CLI tool
  9. The new Patcher utility for applying hot fixes
  10. Several other improvements
  11. Finally, there are some noteworthy changes to our Security Model

 

6.2.0 marks the launch of Intelligent Global Search—it has been designed from the ground-up to function like the leading search engines with core architectural similarities like crawling, indexing and scoring. You can search across both content within Metric Insights, external references to objects in BI tools, and Datasets that include links to any external system—you choose. 

The engine includes its own query language that provides a robust set of inline filters on metadata. In the example above, Tibco Spotfire Data Sources are being excluded via "datasource:-spotfire"

For all content in Metric Insights, we apply security/access rules so that users are only able to view to which they have permission. For content from external systems, users are governed by that system's security.

Note for System Admins: Intelligent Global Search is made possible via the data-analyzer, an independent service that runs in its own lightweight Docker container.

KPI Visualization

The KPI Visualization provides an entirely new way to analyze dimensional data with a Dataset Report. You can now expand use-cases beyond the current two Dimension limit within Metrics since the KPI Visualization is able to handle several of each. In the example above, you see five Dimensions and four Measures (KPIs)

Tableau Content Autosync

Rejoice! Content can now be automatically synced between Tableau and Metric Insights. The sync is omnidirectional: content that exists within a Tableau Folder can be set to sync to a Metric Insights Category. As new Workbooks are added, Metric Insights will automatically create External Reports (based on Templates) of the same name. Learn more about Autosync with Tableau.

Dataset Report Charting Enhancements

Line, bar, area, pie and bubble charts have been improved to be more usable and and address a new set of use-cases. Enhancements include:

  1. Change segment colors for multi-series line, bar, and area charts as well as pie charts
  2. Set the "top N" highest or lowest values for multiline or pie charts
  3. Sorting options for Bar Charts
  4. Conditional coloring for bubble charts
  5. For a Dataset Report that has a multiline datapoint on its chart, on hover, show the corresponding single value

Other Dataset Report Enhancements

  1. A "% of Total" option is now available for numeric columns in tables
  2. Pivot Tables will now validate numeric data in Conditional Formatting rules
  3. An embedded External Report can now be associated directly with Filters in a Dataset Report
  4. Conditional logic has been added when downloading CSV on the Report Viewer. If possible, Report Filters are ignored—this can make downloads significantly faster.
  5. "Show on Tiles" setting defaults have changed—on the Dataset Report Editor > Content tab > Edit (a component) > "Show on Tile" setting, the default was changed to "table" instead of "row count". Beneath it, the "When Report has..."  text default changed from "exceptions" to "rows"

Design Enhancements

  1. The action bar at the top of each page has been completely redesigned to be more space efficient, elegant, and to accomodate searches.
  2. The "alert" icon has been updated to a bell, following the interface design pattern established in myriad other tools. Look out for the change in Element Viewers and Tile Previews specifically.
  3. All buttons, drop-downs, radios, and checkboxes have been updated to be resolution independent and follow the color scheme of a particular theme (if you see custom branded colors in Metric Insights, you are using a theme). Button sizes and font sizes have been made more consistent. This is the first batch in a series of UI updates that will continue in 6.3.0

User Maps With Wildcards

It is now possible to define wildcard values in User Maps, enabling some powerful new options for how mappings are setup.

Data Collection Triggers and Notification Schedules

  1. Data Collection Triggers have been enhanced to:
    1. Include a new [Trigger Now] option for Dimensions that were not successfully collected...
    2. Allow special characters in Trigger descriptions
    3. Include Datasets in list of 'enabled elements'
    4. List Datasets among other associated objects
    5. Be directly associated with a Data Source if the Trigger is being used to refresh an object list (for example, a daily Trigger is be used to refresh objects from Tableau)
  2. Notification Schedules now keep run history (logs) by default

System Backup

Our ongoing efforts to move CLI-based utilities into the core application continue. Navigate to Admin > System > System Backups and try setting up a backup. All capabilities previously available in the mi-app-backup utility are now available in the UI—the utility remains, but there is no longer any need to run from a terminal. Everything can be configured in the UI.

The Patcher

Metric Insights 6.2.0 introduces the Patcher, a utility designed specifically for Container Orchestrated environments that require code changes (often referred to as hotfixes). Orchestrated Docker environments present unique challenges in terms of hot fixing that do not exist in traditional deployments (whether virtual machine, bare metal, or simple Docker setups). While traditional environments allow for direct filesystem changes that will persist if the machine/image is restarted, Docker images in orchestrated environments pull a fresh image from the Docker Registry on restart—any code changes to the container are lost.

To solve this, we created a utility that will automatically check for required patches any time the container is started, move the files to the correct location, and proceed with normal operation. Any time the container is restarted, the patches are re-applied.

When a new Docker image is built for a future release (for example, 6.2.1), these patches are baked into the production Docker images and this process is no longer necessary until the next set of new patches need to be applied, which will later be baked into the next release (6.2.2)

Learn more about how the Patcher works.

Other Improvements

  1. A column reset button now exists on all grids, clicking will reset each column to its default width
  2. Datasets can new be modified en masse via a new Bulk Change capability (as has existed on Elements for years). The following can be changed:
    1. Enable/Disable
    2. Change Category
    3. Change Data Collection Trigger
  3. Subfolders can now be copied
  4. When saving changes that make updates to the security model, the system will inform user that it could take a while
  5. Elements:
    1. Add filter for Trigger; display Trigger for Elements with Dataset as source
    2. On the Associations tab, list the Bursts that contain the element
  6. The Simple SAML library used for Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication has been updated to version 1.18.5
  7. The home icon will now return to the Default homepage/Portal Page configured via a user's preferences or defined via Portal Page settings
  8. Custom Scripts allow :
    1. More detail to be on their List page
    2. Inclusion in regular garbage collection schedules

Security

  1. Admins are warned when creating a new Group or Regular/Power User that has not been granted any Privileges or Permissions. While the Group or user account can be saved, the new user or members of the Group will not be able to do any meaningful work in the system or view any content until some Privileges and Permissions have been granted.
  2. The "Manage Favorites Folder" and "Rename Favorites" Privileges have been merged into the new "Create Favorites" Privilege. A user with this Privilege can create Favorites, manage content and update related settings using the edit icon, and rename the default My Favorites folder. Favorites are now for the exclusive use of its creator and not for sharing content with others.
  3. A new "Create Burst" Privilege has been added to allow Regular and Power users to define a Burst and subscribe members of Groups to which the user belongs and to individuals within those Groups to the Burst. A new associated Extended Security Privilege allows Power Users to subscribe or grant Burst Access to any User or Group.
  4. On the User Access Request tab, a Power User requires Edit Access to the requested element in order to accept/deny the request. The grid's legend indicates "No Edit Access" in red.

Issues Fixed

  1. Dataset Reports: Corrected placement of Section when scrolling Table with a huge amount of columns
  2. In the new Element creation process, if a new Category is required, the application presents the New Category popup. When the new Category is saved, it will keep you in the Element creation workflow (previously it would take you to the Category Editor, removing you from the Element creation process)
  3. Portal Page Assets no longer have view access restrictions—this was causing problems when a user had view access to a Portal Page, but not view access to the Portal Page Asset Folder. Because Assets are intended to be viewed, we no longer restrict them. Only managing/editing a Folder can be restricted.