2 January, 2019

December 2018 change log

Major flespi improvements in December 2018

Despite the fact that December was (finally!) extremely snowy, we installed some cool features to the platform with minimal service interruptions and finished the month with 99.997% uptime. The uptime figure for the entire 2018 is stunning 99.995%, which is only 26 minutes of platform unavailability throughout the year. This number is something we are really proud of because we achieved it despite 700+ service upgrades and deployment of major new features and modules. Such great achievement is possible only due to our all-automatic systems we develop in-house, especially our administration system.

  • On December 4 we have reached 1000 platform users for the first time. Due to the automatic deletion of inactive users and exclusion of subaccounts (i.e. child accounts) the counter was fluctuating around this value for a few weeks. Now we’ve firmly overcome this frontier and are growing further. BTW, we started this year with 160 platform users total.
  • One of the biggest features we finished in December is subaccounts management. Now subaccounts and limits management are fully available in the flespi panel UI. This is a special feature available to flespi commercial users only. It allows managing limits and creating separate flespi accounts with extra possibilities for MQTT and Telematics Hub users, like access to subaccount’s MQTT namespace from parent account or access to a shared channel from devices in child accounts. We will publish a separate blog article explaining these features and its use cases a little later.
  • For Galileosky devices, we have added remote configuration possibilities. Comparing to the original device configurator by Galileosky, flespi configurator provides one extremely important feature — possibility to manage devices configuration via API, thus simplifying devices provisioning. This option should be greatly appreciated by large telematics service providers. The same API is available for all other protocols supported in flespi.
  • For those who prefer old-school presentations with slides, we tailored one about flespi. It gives a high-level overview of what flespi is, who it is suitable for, and what key benefits it delivers. Show it to your colleagues and prospects.
  • We also published an in-depth article on Medium on how our production, sales and support processes are organized and why we do them in a certain way. This is a great chance to learn more about flespi as a team, as a business, and as a potential partner.
  • We have improved our integrated support chat with file upload feature. And so far more and more communication has been shifting there. Personally, I believe that e-mail communication will soon be replaced by messengers such as this chat or Telegram just because time becomes more valuable and shorter delays bring you to faster resolutions. With our integrated chat, we get in touch with our users in seconds and provide efficient replies to complex questions or guidance on the best ways to approach the pressing issues. 
  • At the very end of the previous year, we moved all our internal communications to MQTT. Now we are going even further — we are moving the data there — directly inside MQTT retain messages. We started from duplicating state in MQTT and now we are consuming part of the information directly from there without access to a relational database. This is a long way, but in the end, we should have an absolutely new state management database transparently providing state data and update events to internal and external (your) systems. You may partially read about it here and we will cover this later with special blog articles and may even present it on international IT conferences. What you need to know is that no-one's ever tried to implement this technology so far as it is not viable without a special high-performance MQTT broker. According to our internal projects by using this technology the engineering process in software development is a few times faster, more flexible, and reliable in the production stage. Except for flespi itself, Gurtam Space project will pioneer in using this technology instead of a relational database.
  • According to MQTT specification, it is possible to pass multiple topic subscriptions to one subscribe or unsubscribe request. Now flespi MQTT broker supports up to 16 topics in one such call. This feature may also be used to speed up MQTT subscriptions processing, especially during application/service initialization phase to minimize the number of callbacks in the code.
  • Our MQTT broker received upgrade to its REST API and now it is possible to perform management of temporary (i.e. clean) MQTT sessions and their subscriptions via HTTP.
  • And finally, messages from our Telegram NOC channel are now automatically copied into the panel and as long as our MQTT broker is online during downtimes, you will have an instant notification about it. For those users who prefer to receive NOC messages directly in their software — you may subscribe MQTT session directly to ‘flespi/message/platform/customer/announce’ topic to handle them and perform any kind of custom processing.

In January we’ll keep focusing on the internal components of the platform. More and more flespi users are transitioning their flespi-based projects into production stage and we are constantly adapting the platform to their needs with small but important features. 

We also have a good chance to deliver the next generation of the telematics hub after nine months of development, but I won’t promise this since it will take a lot of testing to upgrade this core component seamlessly.

Wishing you a fruitful 2019 and for those who rely on flespi as a backend — we will do our best to deliver you the best quality product powered by the freshest technologies that exist on the market. I believe that we may even bring you some technologies that do not exist yet and will push you a bit to start using them to be more competitive and effective. 

Happy New Year!