Terian ID Creator v1.35 in Testing

Following on from the point release 1.31 of Terian ID Creator we have been working closely with one of our clients and have been testing the next version of Terian ID Creator (v1.35).

Terian ID Creator About Box

Additional Image Support:

The major change of the upcoming version is support for an additional image linked to a card, with the new system allowing for 3 images to be linked. This allows a card to potentially support a photo image, a signature image and a QR Code image (or other image). This change has required a significant alteration to the forms and sizes of images displayed on the data input forms.

UI Changes:

In addition to the changes required to support an additional image we have also made some tweaks to the UI and increased the size of many form elements. We have increased the default size of form fonts from size 10 to size 12, and also changed from ‘Tahoma’ to ‘Segoe UI’ as the primary font set. The font size increase has required many forms to be enlarged to ensure everything fits correctly. The good news is that these changes translate well to high DPI screens allowing for a more comfortable UI experience.

Logon Dialog with ‘Tahoma’ size 10 font:

Terian ID Creator logon dialog previous font

Logon Dialog with ‘Segoe UI’ size 12 font:

Terian ID Creator logon dialog with larger fonts

Mifare Encoding:

We now support Mifare Encoding by integrating with specialised SDKs provided by security vendors. This will require a customized SDK from your security vendor that is compatible with Terian ID Creator. This feature is client specific and may not be available to all users, however if you wish to get in touch we can talk with your security vendor to see if they can provide a compatible SDK.

Release Date:

The UI changes are quite significant, and coupled with the introduction of support for an additional image there is quite a bit of work to do before release. At this stage a rough estimate is that we are looking early in the new year before the official release.

Terian ID Creator Support for Indesign CC 2018 in Testing

With the release of Adobe Indesign CC 2018 this week, we are testing an update to provide support for this version which we hope to roll out soon.

Adobe Indesign CC 2018 Title Screen

Currently the latest version of Adobe CC supported by Terian ID Creator is 2017.1 (or v12.1) that was released on 14/April/2017. The default installation process for CC 2018 will remove previous versions of Adobe CC. If the previous version is removed, you will receive an alert similar to the following when logging into Terian ID Creator.

Alert Dialog for missing Indesign CC 2017.1

You can avoid this alert and retain functionality by unchecking the remove previous versions option in the advanced options of the installation. If you have already updated and removed the previous version you will need to re-install an older version until the CC 2018 Compatibility update we are testing is released.

Terian ID Creator v1.20 Testing Continues…

Just a quick note to say that the testing for Terian ID Creator v1.20 is taking a little longer than anticipated.

This is primarily due to some changes we are making to the default installation folder structure and the testing related to the installation process.

Also, one more slight change to look forward to…

Database Configuration Form

It may not seem like much, but we’ve made a user interface change to make it easier to configure Windows Authentication for connecting to the Database Server.

While this facility was supported previously it was not an intuitive configuration option. This interface change will make selecting either “Windows Authentication” or “SQL Server Authentication” as the authentication mode used to connect to the Database Server considerably easier.

In addition to Terian ID Creator, testing for Terian Image Capture Pro v3.20 has also been extended and the release of both products will hopefully be in the not too distant future.

Terian Image Capture Pro v3.20 in Testing

Following on the heels of Terian ID Creator v1.20 entering Beta testing a couple weeks ago, I’m pleased to announce that v3.20 of Terian Image Capture Pro has also entered Beta testing. Similarly to the Terian IDC Beta test the plan is to continue testing for the next couple of weeks, and hopefully the public release will follow shortly afterwards.

Terian ICP v3.20b Changelog

This update provides the same Camera Control functionality that was previously announced for Terian ID Creator v1.20.

Terian ID Creator v1.12 Testing Continues….

Just a quick note…

I had previously hoped to be completed testing of Terian ID Creator v1.12, unfortunately a premises move and delay in getting broadband connected has in turn put a spanner in the works for testing.

However good news, new premises now has broadband connected, so testing can continue, and I hope to publicly release v1.12 in the next couple of weeks.

Terian ID System – Live Testing / Migration Complete

Well I’ve done it. Yet another special milestone has been achieved with live testing finished at the end of last week, and I successfully migrated the remaining card types to the new system over the weekend.

Testing Timeline:

23/Jul/2013 – Initial live testing begins with two card types.
24/Jul/2013 – Major Issue uncovered, requiring fundamental change to system.
25/Jul/2013 – Updated System rolled out including fundamental changes.
14/Aug/2013 – Migrate 50% of Card Types to the new system, and continue testing.
04/Oct/2013 – Complete testing and sign off to migrate remaining card types.
06/Oct/2013 – Migration Complete.

Minor Issues and Batch Printing:

Only a few minor issues were discovered during testing since the second rollout, and these were quickly rectified. Along with fixes, additional functionality was also added to the system. The main hurdle for completing the migration was be inclusion of the Batch Printing Functionality.

Batch Printing Functionality is required to handle larger client card types where manually producing each card would be extremely time consuming. In order to successfully deploy the batch printing functionality I had to ensure there were no remaining issues relating to the card printing process, as batch printing would use the same printing process. After migrating half of the card types (Aug 14th) I paid close attention to any issues relating to printing, as any issues with the printing process would be magnified with batch printing.

Confident with the stability of the printing system, I began development of the Batch Printing Functionality at the beginning of September and rolled it out to production last week.

It’s Alive… It’s Alive…

While the ‘Live testing’ is complete, the system is Live in the production environment, and there is still quite a bit of functionality that will need to be added to the system. However, the exciting point is that the old system is no longer in use, and everything is being produced from the new Terian ID System. Having used the new system for almost two months, the operators are impressed by the improvements it brings over the old system.

Terian ID Production and Management System Additional Features/Options Screen

The Next Step:

Along with additional functionality being added to the system, I now need to consider website and marketing aspects as the product continues to evolve towards being a sellable product.

Terian ID System – Live Testing Continues…

Since our second rollout for live testing, the system has performed very well with only a few minor issues needing to be fixed.  The system has performed better than expected, and I have been able to bring forward the next step in testing by two weeks.

The Next Step:

Initially the plan was to run the system in live testing for a full month with the two test card types previously migrated, then at the end of the month increase the migration of card types to 50%.   However, with the success of the testing so far, I am confident I can move to the next step early.

The plan is to now migrate 50% of all card types (completed this evening), and continue to monitor and update the system as required for two months before taking the migration process to 100%.

Side Note:

In relation to the issue regarding storing images in the file system rather than the database, at 50% migration the database backup is only 75mb, which is well within the allowable storage limits enforced by the clients virtual server configuration.  So when it comes time to migrate 100% of the card types storage will not be an issue.

Terian ID System – Live Testing Take 1 – Major Issue Uncovered

Within 24 hours of rolling out the system for live testing a major issue was uncovered.

The Good News:

The good news was that due to only rolling out the live test for a couple of Card Types and continuing to run side by side with the old system there was zero down time.

The Bad News:

The bad news, Unfortunately the problem affected a fundamental design principle of the new System.  In a departure from previous ID systems the new system was designed from the ground up to store all images within the database itself (previous systems stored the image files within the file system).

During testing database storage worked great and everything ran smoothly without any hiccups.  During local testing the size of the images stored within the system ranged from 50k to 100k  (these sizes were chosen as an average from images used for previous card types). The number of issued cards tested was moderate ranging from 5 to 500 for a particular test card type.

The problem found in live testing, was the images used for the test card types ranged from 200k to 5mb.  The system itself had no difficulty in dealing with these images, however the problem arose when it came to the scheduled backup processes.

After a single day with only 2 card types migrated the database file had grown to 2.5gb.  By comparison the previous system’s backup was a mere 350mb (with image files being handled separately). Whilst 2.5gb isn’t a huge amount of space, the resource allocation for the clients virtual servers meant that they would struggle with backups that were already 7x larger. Considering the initial rollout was only for 2 card types, 100% rollout would have meant a substantially larger backup file in comparison (Estimates would put it at 25gb, 70x larger than their existing backups ).

Action Plan:

After careful consideration it was decided the system would be changed to store image files within the file system. This decision was not taken lightly, and by no means was it an easy one to make, considering database storage for the images was such a fundamental concept of the new system. However it was ultimately the continued increase in the average image size that was the key behind the decision. As capture equipment becomes more advanced and allows higher quality images to be captured, image size was only going to continue an upward trend.

Stress Free Changeover:

Fortunately the structure behind the scenes of the new system allowed for the image storage to be changed relatively easily. Even being such a fundamental piece of the system the change over was relatively painless, and for the most part was completed in less than a day.

Live Testing – Take 2:

Two days after the initial live testing rollout, the second live testing rollout took place.  Once again just 2 card types were migrated for testing purposes. So far we have had 6 days of live testing with the updated system, and no other major issues have been uncovered. Multiple (mostly minor) bugs have been found and quickly fixed.   I am confident that the system will continue to test well, and within the next week we shall migrate additional card types over.

Testing Success:

While a major issue was found, I feel the considered and planned approach to the testing has enabled it to be relatively successful.  The scaled rollout allowed me to more easily resolve any issues, and ensure the client had no down time (even with a test system).

A good thing to take out of this scenario, is it doesn’t matter how much unit testing and bug hunting you do, there is often issues that can affect an application outside the realm of the application itself, and these are often not picked up until it is too late and the system is out in the wild. However considered planning and vigilance should help reduce any problems these issues may cause.