Easify News - 27th January 2016

It has been over a year since we last released a major version of Easify, in fact September 2014 to be precise. And although it may appear that not much has been happening with regards to Easify updates, nothing could be further from the truth...

Read on to find out what's new in the upcoming new version of Easify...

Where did that time go?

After we released Easify Feature Pack 8 back in the latter part of 2014, we came to realise that the core code of Easify - the main "engine" of Easify if you like, was getting a bit long in the tooth and was becoming ever more difficult to maintain and modify. Although the code functions perfectly well and reliably, parts of this core code were approaching 10 years old and technology had moved on a long way since those early days. Given that our philosophy at Easify is to continually develop our software based on your feedback, we found it ever more frustrating that we couldn't simply code a new feature that you had requested without it taking weeks (or months) of work, and equally weeks (or months) of testing.

Not only that, but with the ever evolving cloud and the need for people to work remotely over the internet our existing software architecture made it tricky to work remotely with Easify. It could be done using VPNs or Remote Desktop Services, but those are not the most efficient ways of working remotely and they don't work straight out of the box.

Our final bug-bear with the old code was the size and complexity of the Easify installer. Because we insist on using a proven industry standard database engine (Microsoft SQL Server) to hold your data, we found that our installer had bloated to over 700Mb in size. Almost 600Mb of the installer consists of Microsoft SQL Server installation files, and another 50Mb is taken up by Crystal Reports (the reporting engine that Easify uses to create reports). So another aim was to get the installer down to a more manageable size, and make it slicker, quicker and more reliable (fewer moving parts as they say).

With the above requirements in mind we set about completely re-writing the core code of Easify and 15 months later Easify Version 4 is nearing release.

What's new in Easify Version 4?

  • Easify installer reduced in size from 720Mb to 100Mb.
  • Easify installer much quicker - go from zero to fully installed in less than 5 minutes.
  • Auto discovery for Easify Clients - install a new client on your network, it will automatically discover it's Easify server (database).
  • Easify clients can auto-discover their Easify server (database) via the cloud when working remotely.
  • Remote connectivity built in - access your Easify database from anywhere without VPNs or Remote Desktop.
  • Monthly subscription option for Easify licenses.
  • Complete RESTful API for Easify allowing rich integration with websites / 3rd party applications.
  • Automated backup facility now comes as standard.
  • Scheduled repeat orders and purchases capability now come as standard.
  • Completely re-written reporting engine meaning reports open FAST!
  • Designed and developed on Windows 10 ensuring future compatibility.
  • Highly network optimised - client can run over 3G mobile network and remain performant.
  • Much faster development times, we will code more of your feature requests.
  • Manage your own Easify license activations/de-activations.
  • Built in loyalty points system.
  • Multi-channel ecommerce system - publish your products to multiple ecommerce destinations (websites, 3rd party applications)
  • Will support upgrade path from Easify V3.x
  • All new Easify website that will provide facilities to manage your licenses and subscriptions.

You will find in Easify V4 that the user interface (UI) has been largely unchanged, this is partly due to the fact that most of the changes have taken place "under the bonnet". But also we feel from a design perspective that when you get a software upgrade, you don't want to have to re-learn how to use the software. There is nothing more annoying than every time you update your software that the developers have re-shuffled the locations of things and re-named them. We try to keep the UI as unchanged as possible and only make changes to it when the changes will either fix or enhance something.

When can I get it?

Easify Version 4 is currently in the beta test stage, 99% of the code is complete and tested with just a few areas of infrastructure to finish off. It's been running live with a few test businesses (we are currently running our own business on it) and it's looking good so far - a few more weeks and we can call the code 100% finished.

We haven't set a firm date yet, but are anticipating March 2016 for a release date.

The initial release will be for new installations only, with the upgrade version following a few weeks after that.

How much will it cost?

Given the amount of time it has taken us to develop version 4, upgrades will be paid upgrades to version 4. We haven't finalised upgrade pricing but it will be at a discounted rate for existing Easify customers.

The future...

Once we have released Easify V4 we will be able to really hit into the feature request list and we expect to be releasing free updates to Version 4 approximately once per month.

As well as including feature requests, we also expect to be able to offer a fully hosted option for Easify, whereby we host and manage your Easify database in the cloud (Microsoft's Azure Servers) and you pay us a monthly subscription. All you need to do is install the Easify client and we take care of all the server/database IT for you.

Finally, you tell us... As always we are totally driven by your feedback and feature requests. With the release of Easify Version 4 we will be in an even better position to listen to and implement your requests, so please keep your feedback and suggestions coming.

PS. Keep an eye on our progress via our facebook page developer blog...

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