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No one likes when something breaks, least of all our users. So it’s pretty common that when one of these unexpected behaviors is found, developers want to be quick to address and correct. While a fix for some unexpected flaw is greatly appreciated, it’s not something that is traditionally celebrated, because it wasn’t supposed to break in the first place. Here’s the thing, though - when we don’t celebrate the fixes, it becomes harder to share all the hard work a development team is doing. We love our developers, so we’re going to break the mold for a moment, and peel back the cover on what happens on the less than savory side of version releases.
That’s right! In this blog we’re going to be talking about bugs! And not the adorable insect creatures that make up most of the life on the planet. We’re going to talk about the software variety that makes up the unexpected behavior, frustrations and even sometimes limitations in your day to day.
With the release of version 2020.1 today, our product team has been kind enough to let us lift the hood and bring to light some of our biggest and most interesting fixes for this release.
Lets Break This Down
In this release, our product team confirmed the correction of 56 unique bugs across three different products, Alteryx Designer, Server and Connect. These were all bugs that could be found in at least one release of the product; however, this doesn’t mean users have run into these bugs directly. In some cases, these bugs were small, obscure or cosmetic issues.
Of these 56 bugs:
71% were addressed by the Designer team, 20% the Server team and 9% the Connect Team. 5 were older than 2 years, totaling 14% of the defect fixes for this release. 24 unique developers and quality assurance associates handled and resolved them. 47 were submitted and monitored by our Support team as a case. 6 were localization (language-based) fixes, with the majority being based in Japanese.
Our Designer team completed a hardening release this quarter, but what does that even mean?
It’s a good thing, promise. A hardening quarter means that a large portion of our development team’s focus was placed on correcting and addressing backlogged bugs. While new and existing features were still being worked on by their respective teams, any developer not assigned to one of those features was set loose on these bugs, which resulted in a high count of fixed or corrected behaviors.
For our Designer team, this resulted in a total of 40 bugs being resolved in this release.
These ranged from localization issues, to minor cosmetic updates to specific tool-driven issues, so let’s deep dive into a few.
Shapefiles (.shp) Within a Japanese Named Folder Have Issues Loading Encoding Information One of the aforementioned localization driven issues, this issue was brought to the attention of our APAC Support team, who provide support to the Asia and Pacific region with all things Alteryx. Our team was able to quickly locate a workaround with the user and get them up and running again. However, we recognized that as international program with a wide and fantastically vast group of users language issues can be show stoppers for some users. So we quickly prioritized and addressed this issue so as to make sure our Japanese users can keep running at top speed!
Alteryx Takes over the Screen when Workflow Completes This might be a familiar one to the multitasking users out there, and is a great example of something small, but that can impact customer’s experience across the board. A few users had noticed that if they run a workflow then move to do something else on another window, Alteryx will pop up in front of whatever window the user is in when it finishes running the workflow. While not devastating or program crashing, this wasn’t expected behavior and thus a bug, and something our team took to addressing. We understand how some small behaviors can greatly impact the experience, so we take the testing and correcting of bugs of this variety just as seriously as other bugs.
Converting a Browse to Macro Output creates a Macro Input question type Consumers of our Knowledge articles might recognize this error as well, as it’s a prime example of one of our other major Support processes, writing Knowledge articles about common issues. When faced with a bug or issue, our Support team will often write step by step cause and solution posts for users to reference and review. This helps any user who hits this issue to be empowered on how to fix or work around the problem while our development team works in tandem to correct it.
If you’re interested in checking out the other fixes made this release, be sure to check out the Designer release notes!
Our Server team had a fantastic quarter as well! While less bug oriented, they completed a lot of large back-end code changes and still addressed several high ticket bugs that will make our all our Server Admins extra happy. Rounding out a total of 11 bug fixes in this release, let’s look into the variety of issues the Server team took on.
Generic Error in Gallery when Cloud can't communicate with Mongo To many this might seem less like a bug and more like an enhancement, but for our development teams some error messages can be considered as bugs. More importantly though, our developers wanted to make sure that any issues occurring in our Server product were as clear as possible. So we made sure to address any sticking points for admins to make sure they had the best starting point to understanding what is occurring in their Server and how they could get back to solving as soon as possible.
Email Events Broken in Workflows on Gallery in 19.4 Many of you may be confused by this, as the fix for this issue is actually already available. This issue occurred when an update was made to Alteryx’s emailing setup, which caused issues with email events. We considered this bug to be a major issue and, so we moved to quickly addressed it in a stable release for 2019.4, which was made available shortly after the 2019.4 initial release. However, since this was technically during our 2020.1 development period it was grouped into the 2020.1 bug fixes. Most importantly however, this bug demonstrates how seriously we take these issues, that we worked to not only fix this in the current release being developed, but also make sure it’s available in a stable release as soon as we were physically able.
Extra (blank) pages inserted on Allocate Reports when saved as PDFs from PCXML/Gallery Imagine this, your Alteryx Server is happily running your scheduled workflow that builds out an Allocate report for you. Except for some reason, there are a few blank pages in the report. Random right? We thought so too, so our developers wanted to make sure we looked into it to further amplify the customer experience. A small thing like an extra sheet or two can make a big difference to a user, so we made sure it was a big deal to us. No more random pages in your reports!
We know that bugs aren’t fun, and they definitely aren’t glamorous, but with each release we continue to strive to make sure as many stay out of your way and out of your Alteryx. Our developer and quality assurance teams work tirelessly each release to snag as many bugs as they can, and for the few that do escape we work just as diligently to snag them in the next release.