Release Notes

Upgrade considerations

Updated in 2022.1

We strive to maintain backward compatibility between versions so that you can upgrade seamlessly. However, sometimes we are forced to break compatibility, although we try to keep backward-incompatible changes to a minimum.

This page covers all the backward-incompatible changes that might affect you, as well as other considerations you need to be aware of when upgrading to the most recent version. Please review the respective sections as part of your upgrade planning depending on which version you are upgrading from.

TIP: If you have questions or need help, please contact Alloy Professional Services team at support@alloysoftware.com.

Version 8.0 or earlier

Pager field removed from Person records

Backward-incompatible change

The Pager field has been removed from Person records as obsolete. The contents of that field are imported into the user-defined field UDF_Pager, and the business logic involving this field is updated correspondingly.

If you have any reports or views based on the Pager field, you will need to review them and update as necessary.

Version 8.2 or earlier

Sharing properties removed from KB Articles and Library Items

Backward-incompatible change

The upgrade removes the Shared_with_Everyone column from the KB_Articles and Library tables, and deletes the Library_Item_Organizations and KB_Article_Organizations tables.

If you have any reports or views based on these items, you will need to review them and update as necessary.

Version 8.2.6 or earlier

Welcome to Mobile App

Backward-incompatible change

All technicians who used to work with the Mobile Portal should be instructed to install our new Mobile App on their mobile devices. Alloy Navigator mobile app is available for iOS and Android mobile devices on Google Play and App Store.

Requests from mobile web browsers to the Web App will not be redirected to the Mobile App anymore.

Project Time Spent replaced with Project Time

Backward-incompatible change

The Time Spent field for Projects will be replaced with the Project Time field, which initial value is null.

If you have any reports or views based on the Project Time Spent field, you will need to review them and update as necessary.

Shared views for Projects replaced with new ones

Starting with version 8.4, Projects cannot have subordinate Projects, and the Projects data grid is a flat list now.

All shared views for Projects will be replaced with the new ones from the latest workflow pack. If your users have local views for the Projects data grid, they will no longer be available after the upgrade.

Version 8.4 or earlier

Discontinued support for Internet Explorer and older browsers

We maintain and develop the Alloy Navigator platform to support the latest, most stable, and most secure web browser versions. We highly recommend updating your browser to the latest version to have the best and most secure user experience across our services.

Starting with version 8.5, we dropped support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) and older versions. Product updates and new features are no longer being tested on Internet Explorer, and we no longer provide fixes to bugs that occur exclusively on Internet Explorer.

For the list of supported web browsers, see Installation Guide: Web Client Requirements.

Version 8.6 or earlier

PowerShell instead of CMD in external commands and integrations

Backward-incompatible change

Starting with version 8.7, the Alloy Navigatorworkflow engine uses PowerShell instead of CMD in External Command operations. Alloy Discovery also gives up CMD in favor of PowerShell in integrations with external tools and utilities.

PowerShell is much more than just a shell. It is a powerful scripting environment that can run complex scripts and automate system administration tasks. Now you can leverage advanced PowerShell capabilities for more efficient solutions.

Among other things, PowerShell can be used to launch external programs, like CMD was used in previous versions. In most cases, native CMD commands are available in PowerShell through aliases. However, there are times when names or syntax of native CMD commands might be misinterpreted. That's why we strongly recommend that you review all your custom External Command operations and integrations after the upgrade to make sure that they work as expected.

The first thing to consider is the location of your external programs. The best practice is to add paths to directories where programs reside to the PATH environment variable. This will help PowerShell find the programs by the name of their executable files. Some standard programs, such as Ping or Remote Desktop, can be run just by typing the filename because their directory path (C:\Windows\System32) exists in the Windows search path by default. An alternative method is specifying full paths to programs. However, this method requires that the path is the same on all computers from which the workflow action is initiated.

See the table below for some issues with your custom external commands and Alloy Discovery integrations that you may experience after the upgrade and how to resolve them.

Issue Description Solution

PowerShell cannot understand the path enclosed with quotes and sends that path it to the output.

When the command contains parameters after the path, this error occurs:

Unexpected token 'Parameter' in expression or statement.

If you specify a path for an external program in CMD, and the path contains spaces, you must enclose the path with double quotation marks (").

PowerShell considers commands enclosed with quotation marks as PowerShell strings, or objects of the type "String."

PowerShell cannot execute strings. When passed a string, it simply attempts to send it to the output.

Add an ampersand character (&) before the first quotation mark in the path.

The ampersand is the Call operator that tells PowerShell to treat the string expression as a command to be executed.

For example:

INCORRECT:
"C:\Program Files\RealVNC\VNC4\vncviewer.exe" LT00054

CORRECT:
& "C:\Program Files\RealVNC\VNC4\vncviewer.exe" LT00054

NOTE: Make sure that the executable file exists on all computers from which the workflow action is initiated, and the path is the same.

Alternatively, add the path to the program to the PATH environment variable, and then delete the path with the quotes from your external command or integration.

PowerShell cannot find the external program that you are trying to launch. This error occurs:

program.exe : The term 'program.exe' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program.

Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.

PowerShell cannot find programs when their paths are not specified, either explicitly or in the PATH environment variable.

For example, if your program is in the Bin directory of Alloy Navigator or Alloy Discovery, it could be previously executed by just typing its name, because the product could find that program without the need to specify the path to it.

Now, when launching external programs is delegated to PowerShell, PowerShell knows nothing about where the executable file is located, and cannot find it.

Add the path to the program to the PATH environment variable.

Alternatively, specify the full path to the program, enclose it in double quotation marks if it contains spaces, and add an ampersand (&) before the first quotation mark.

TIP: Our native programs from the Bin directory, such as Alloy Screenshot or WakeOnLan, are not an exception. Now you should specify the full path to the Bin folder, or add it to PATH.

NOTE: Make sure that the executable file exists on all computers from which the workflow action is initiated, and the path is the same.

INFO: For additional information, see Alloy Navigator Administration Guide: External Command and Alloy Discovery Administration Guide: Adding Integrations.

INFO: You can find the official product documentation for PowerShell at https://docs.microsoft.com/powershell/.

External commands in the Web App

Starting with version 8.7, External Command workflow operations are available not only in the Desktop App, but also in the Web App and the Self Service Portal. Although previous versions offered the option to execute external commands in web applications, it was too complicated to set up and only enabled you to run background tasks on the web server.

When Web App users run a workflow action with an External Command operation for the first time, the Web App prompts them to instal the Alloy Integration Launcher. As soon as they have the launcher installed, Web App users can launch all external commands. Desktop users get the launcher installed automatically, along with their desktop applications.

External commands themselves are the same, no matter from which app users launch them, and use PowerShell to execute scripts, cmdlets, or external programs. All your custom External Command operations that work in the Desktop App will be available in the Web App now.

TIP: If you don't want an External Command operation to be available in the Web App, add a conditional statement to the workflow action's programming section, and allow the operation only if the workflow action is initiated from the Desktop App.

Native API integration for the Mobile App

Starting with version 2.0, Alloy Navigator Mobile App no longer needs the Mobile App Service (formerly, "the Mobile Portal") as a backend. Instead, it uses the native API integration, which significantly improves the application performance.

Starting with version 8.7, we are retiring the Mobile App Service and replacing it with the API module. As soon as you upgrade the Mobile App Service from version 8.6 or earlier and your technicians update their Mobile App to version 2.0, the app will prompt them to update the application URL, warning that the existing address is being deprecated. However, technicians will still be able to use the "deprecated" URL until you are ready to install the API module of the latest version.

TIP: When you are ready, switch the Mobile App to the native API integration. For instructions, see Installation Guide: Switch the Mobile App to the Native API Integration.

Version 8.7 or earlier

The transition from 32-bit to 64-bit architecture

Backward-incompatible change

The world had shifted from 32-bit to 64-bit architecture over a decade ago, and the time to shift our products to x64 has come. The transition improves the overall performance and provides much more capabilities for integration with external apps and tools.

If you run a 32-bit environment, you will need to switch to a more modern 64-bit architecture before starting the upgrade process.

Discontinued SAP Crystal Reports support

Backward-incompatible change

Alloy Navigator has renounced Crystal Reports and moved to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports (or "Microsoft Report Builder reports") years ago. Starting with version 2021, we officially announce the end of support for the SAP Crystal Reports integration.

If you still have any Crystal Reports (.rpt) reports in Alloy Navigator, they will no longer be working after the upgrade. The new version comes with a rich set of premade Microsoft Report Builder reports and includes all the necessary software for running them.

INFO: For more details about our reporting services, see Installation Guide: Reporting.

Retirement of the Mobile App Service (former Mobile Portal)

Backward-incompatible change

Since August 2020, our Alloy Navigator mobile app does not need the Mobile App Service (formerly, "the Mobile Portal") as a backend but uses the native API integration instead. As your technicians update their mobile app to version 2.0, it prompts them to update the application URL, warning that the existing address is being deprecated.

Starting with version 2021, we are permanently removing the Mobile App Service. If you still use the Mobile Portal as the backend, you need to switch over your Alloy Navigator mobile app to the native API before or during the upgrade of your Alloy Navigator API module.

INFO: For instructions, see Installation Guide: Switch the Mobile App to the Native API Integration.

Reset of all customizations for the Self Service Portal homepage

Backward-incompatible change

The Self Service Portal 2021 comes with a dramatically changed homepage. A set of colorful templates allows you to quickly customize the homepage layout and the color theme of the whole portal

If you have made any customizations to the Self Service Portal by editing the WelcomePage.config, config.less, or ssp.less files, the upgrade will overwrite all your changes with the new, default configuration. If you want to keep your changes, back them up before starting with the upgrade. If needed, you can redo them in the new version by editing the template files.

See the table below to understand the location of configuration files for the old and new versions of the Self Service Portal.

Self Service Portal 8 (old) Self Service Portal 2021 (new)
  • The homepage configuration file:

    [PhysicalPathToSSP]\config\WelcomePage.config

  • Style definition LESS files:

    [PhysicalPathToSSP]\Content\config.less

    [PhysicalPathToSSP]\Content\ssp.less (not recommended to change)

The HomePage directory with homepage templates:

[PhysicalPathToSSP]\HomePage\[TemplateName]\

Every template stores its styles and other configuration settings in an individual folder; each file in that folder controls a different aspect of the template.

For example, the file template.html controls the homepage layout.

IMPORTANT: Before making any changes to homepage templates, create a copy of a template folder with its contents and use only that copy for customization. We recommend that you base your customizations on the Ocean Depth (3 columns) - Default template.

Discontinued support for outdated approval logic from Alloy Navigator 6

Backward-incompatible change

In 2014, Alloy Navigator extended the approval logic for Change Requests to all business objects—Purchase Orders, Service Requests, Knowledge Base Articles, etc., and introduced digital workflows for approval processes of any complexity. However, you could opt out of the new approval workflows and continue using the old, Change Requests-only, approval logic until you were ready to switch to the new approach.

Starting with version 2021, we are permanently removing support for the outdated logic to approvals. If you still use the legacy logic for Change Request approvals from Alloy Navigator 6, you may want to switch to the new approval logic and try it on before the upgrade.

INFO: For instructions, see Installation Guide: Upgrade to the new approval workflow. The upgrade will deliver the new approval logic without asking.

Version 2021.1 or earlier

Removal of the legacy authentication option

Backward-incompatible change

To streamline the authentication process, version 2021.2 removes the legacy, undocumented authentication option that some customers could still use to access the Web App and Mobile App and urges leveraging LDAP authentication instead.

Users of a domain where the IIS server is a domain member can no longer sign in to the Web App or the Mobile App with their Windows domain credentials unless you enable LDAP authentication and set up the corresponding Domain Credentials record using the Settings App.

INFO: For instructions, see Administration Guide: Enabling LDAP authentication.

Version 2021.2 or earlier

Update PowerShell on earlier Windows versions

Backward-incompatible change

Starting with version 2021, you can use PowerShell scripts in External Command workflow operations. Since 2022, you can use PowerShell scripts in any place where Alloy workflow engine supports using SQL scripts. However, this feature requires Windows PowerShell 3.0 or later, up to 5.1. That's why your people may need to update their PowerShell on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 computers for a complete workflow experience.

INFO: For details, see Installation Guide: Windows PowerShell.

Removal of the legacy API authentication method that uses SQL Server accounts

Backward-incompatible change

To continue to drive improvements in security of your system, we remove the deprecated and undocumented authentication option that some customers could still use to make API calls by supplying the credentials of SQL Server accounts. Instead, we urge leveraging secure token-based authentication method that requires applications to provide their Application ID and Secret and make API calls after receiving an access token.

INFO: For details, see API User's Guide: Authenticating applications.