1 November, 2018

October 2018 change log

Major flespi improvements in October 2018

Oops! We did it again. October 2018 is our second month with 100% uptime despite the number of upgrades we installed on the platform. Comparing to April 2018 when we had 100% uptime for the first time, I found one coincidence — part of the flespi team traveled to a very successful exhibition, so maybe we need to travel more? Anyway, this is a great achievement and we are going to celebrate this one of November evenings in on of the Minsk beer pubs.

  • Except for the outstanding monthly uptime, we reached more than 900 platform users showing 14% monthly growth. With so large user database we could run statistics queries on it. Which we did. So we split our users by whether they have traffic on the channels (active users of our telematic hub) or have active MQTT sessions (MQTT broker users plus everybody logged into flespi.io). The results were extremely interesting — we found out that more than 50% of our users are actively using MQTT broker with multiple online sessions. Most of these users might have little interest in telematics hub or device management systems we initially started flespi from. So we decided to implement different modes for the flespi.io panel so that users can select what they want to work with — MQTT (with MQTT tools only) or Telematics (full-featured view as it is now). Just to make the life of MQTT-only users easier.
  • For the MQTT guys, we have released an open source MQTT client tool named MQTT Board. The tool is unique as it is the first easy-to-use open-source MQTT 5.0 client application. It uses the mqtt.js library under the hood — the one to which the flespi team contributed MQTT 5.0 protocol support. It works with any broker, not only flespi one, and does not require any kind of registration - all clients and subscriptions configuration are saved in the local cache of a web browser.
  • At the same time, we investigated the current situation on the Internet and it looks like flespi MQTT broker is a unique service by its nature. First, there are not so many cloud MQTT brokers with free terms of use and 100% private and protected namespaces. Second, all other brokers are implemented for the IoT staff — targeted at many connections with small traffic. Whereas flespi MQTT broker was designed as an extremely fast and durable message bus easily handling millions of packets per second. This is a totally different approach in MQTT broker design and that’s what makes us unique. By the way, in October we introduced a couple of special MQTT 5.0 protocol features in the broker, like “modified_since” user property in the subscription to fetch retained messages only modified after the specified timestamp. All our additional broker features a listed here.
  • We finally implemented and installed the subaccounts feature. The feature is available for our Commercial Plan users only. It allows the user to manage dedicated flespi platform accounts and set up the limits for them (like we do in the Restrictions section of Terms of use page). Subaccounts enable the easy and logical creation of complex user structures for large projects. The subaccounts feature will remain mostly in the API format — e.g. we do not plan to insert it into flespi.io panel soon.
  • As we introduced subaccounts, we created a new yet nonexistent entity in our Commercial Plan and we decided to modify our terms of use and this included not only subaccounts but also all other platform elements. We extended the limits in the Commercial Plan and introduced billing for extra quantities. This is a classic Pay-as-You-Use model — instead of strictly limiting the quantities we provide possibilities for extra use for those who need it. Please review our modified terms of use.
  • For telematics hub users we integrated two new protocolswondeproud and sierrawireless. And added the possibility for remote configuration for WiaTag software tracker.
  • After more than a month of actively working on our integrated support chat, the average response time from the flespi side is 20-40 seconds and average problem resolution time is less than 20 minutes. In chat, we usually ask quite a lot of questions to understand the final goal and propose the correct solution. Same communication via e-mail will take days. Most of all we like challenging tasks and interesting questions. So please chat with us whenever you have any flespi-related questions.
  • Both currently active major projects in flespi — devices analytics subsystem and refactoring of the communication part of telematics gateway — are, in aviation terms, on the long final approach. I’m not sure any of them will be finalized in November, but we are really focused on these two.
  • What we actually plan to finish in November is our new knowledge base. This is a  comprehensive guide on how to use flespi to the maximum, what entities to expect and how to solve troubles working with these often unstable telematics devices. It will contain everything about flespi, directly written by developers and addressed to developers. Before diving into upcoming knowledge base I recommend you to read flespi from user’s perspective article born as a result of our conversions with people on GITEX and MWCA exhibitions, explaining them flespi architecture, layer by layer.

November in the Belarusian language has the name “falling leaves”. It can be cold and dizzy most of the time, but there are very rare sunny, warm, and colorful days with billions of leaves covering the ground. We wish you a sunny and fruitful final autumn month and be ready for the super-cold winter.