4 January, 2018

December 2017 change log

Major flespi improvements in December 2017

Dear friends!

A new year is always a milestone and time for presents. We’ve prepared some impressive gifts for you to make 2018 more productive and hassle-free.

  • In the last month of 2017, we finally released the biggest present for our users and one of the most important features of the flespi platform; the thing that will change the world of telematics and provide new, previously impossible or extremely difficult, capabilities to GPS platforms — the unified devices configurator. Just imagine, now you easily configure devices over the air and do not depend on the manufacturer’s web services for configuration. Device manufacturers are great developers of hardware and firmware, but it may be difficult for them to keep up with the latest technologies in web development. Not for us! We provide everybody — from a telematic system provider to a GPS tracking platform developer with a full set of embeddable tools for remote software diagnostics and configuration.
  • And it is only the beginning. We started with three protocols that allow remote configuration of devices — atrack, gosafe and teltonika. We will be adding more configuration options for them and integrate other protocols from our list. We plan to add templates for easy configuration of hundreds and thousands of devices in one click and zero-effort connectivity management with SMS. You just enter device identifier and phone number, click one button labeled “Connect” and you get it online inside flespi where you can configure it or stream its data to other platforms. And, of course, we are going to integrate FOTA feature for all supported protocols. So it’s a long way to go with the configurator in 2018.
  • Wialon integrated flespi HTTP stream as a flespi gateway device type. So now advanced Wialon users can seamlessly try flespi putting it between the device and Wialon. They can receive all flespi benefits like forking traffic to other platforms, up to 10-years messages storage, advanced diagnostics, and devices configuration and still have the same device directly in Wialon with all its features of the world’s leading GPS fleet management platform.
  • In December we had the second longest downtime lasting more than 20 minutes which lead us to 99.939% total monthly uptime. It’s within our range of guaranteed 99.9%, but it is still our fault. We could have easily dropped this occurrence since the reason of the downtime was an extremely high load on the database system due to the installation of the MQTT broker. We had more than 20GB of data in internal buffers; we knew about that and had options to remove it, but we decided to try this load. And the load, due to some recent optimizations of reading operations, totally overloaded the modification queue of the database system and we had no choice but to wait until it proceeds. Well, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger — we had four new tickets on our todo list to prevent a similar situation in the future, and it should never repeat.
  • We released the MQTT broker and provided additional API to flespi subsystems via MQTT. This is a full-featured MQTT broker lacking only retained and QoS level 2 messages providing each flespi user with a secure, isolated namespace. The broker is a good one, especially for interconnecting telematics services with the guaranteed endurance of thousands and even millions of messages per second. 
  • Currently, no free MQTT broker service on the Internet with comparable features is available, so we are proudly the first in this sector providing our users with innovations and cutting-edge technologies. In January we are going to implement the connection to MQTT broker via WebSockets and start using it in our tools like TrackIt, panel and Toolbox so that our end-users with little knowledge of software development could receive new unique features possible with the MQTT technology.
  • In December we released the toolbox — a diagnostic tool that shows everything about everything. We are an extremely talented, but a rather small team and to keep providing the highest level support to our users we need to concentrate on things most difficult to cover by bots — like new protocols integration, advice on how-to embed flespi into their projects, etc. Toolbox helps us a lot in such situation because it shows all sort of data about the flespi system components. There is no more black-box in the world of telematics because toolbox will show every connection attempt to the channel, how many messages were registered by a device, what errors occurred to connections or outgoing streams, and so much more. We use this tool a lot along with our users. Each week we add more useful features and improve its usability. By the way, it is an open-source project, so you can easily fork it on GitHub and adapt to your needs.
  • As we end up the year 2017 with a few commercial customers, in December we started integration of a fully automated billing system via PayPal (we will work on supporting other e-payment gateways a little later). We are interconnecting it with the Gurtam accounting system, but what is interesting - we are trying to make the accounting process fully automated and managed by the user without any manual actions from the flespi team.
  • The pricing page now features the history of flespi platform monthly uptime (updated in real time for the current month). We also updated the about us page — you can learn more about each member of the flespi team by clicking on the plus sign in the top right corner of the member card and even shoot us a message.

In January 2018 we plan to:

  • provide 1-click device connectivity and configuration via SMS for most protocols;
  • integrate more settings into our unified configurator to ensure native look for devices manufacturers;
  • implement WebSockets connection to MQTT broker;
  • connect panel and toolbox to flespi events via MQTT;
  • start implementation of own documentation viewer instead of swagger-ui to simplify the life of developers trying flespi.

With the holiday season behind, we are ready for a new productive year. We wish our cooperation with you, our customers, became closer and more trustworthy. We want you to feel the festive anticipation of exciting presents throughout the year!

Best wishes from the flespi team.