HelpMaster v21 release

Latest version - May 2021

2021 Release

This is an exciting release! A new web portal for HelpMaster, plus many more features! We have also fixed a lot of reported issues, and improved the database structure and performance.

We’ve also migrated the entire help file to this new format (you’re reading it now!). Check out the search feature at the top-right.

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Here’s some highlights of the v21 release:

Web Portal

The new web portal has been totally re-developed from an ASP.Net MVC model to the the latest Microsoft Blazor technology for fast, cross-platform web functionality. It is written in .NET Core for the best performance, stability and future development compatibility.

  • More options when logging a job for staff. Job templates can now be configured to provide more options for staff logging via the web portal. This includes the ability to set basic job options like priority, job type, issue, assignment, to be completed by dates etc. More options will continue to be added in future updates.

  • Workflow for web portal. Staff members can now use workflow in the web portal. Note! The administration of workflow is limited to the desktop edition.

  • Job Template Action Configuration. Job Templates can now be configured to display (or hide) the default actions that can be applied against a job.

  • New status labels for job state. New visual indicators on the web give a quick-glance indication of the job state - who logged it, who last actioned it, and who it’s currently assigned to.

  • Client screen for web portal The web portal now allows client administration and use. This includes searching and viewing clients, creation of new clients, and the ability to log a new job from the client screen. Includes client control sets. This feature will continue to improve in future releases.

  • Site screen for web portal. The web portal now allows site administration and use. This feature will continue to improve in future releases.

  • Explorer screen improvements. The explorer screen for staff has been improved to include a better grid, filtering, searching, attachment indication and more.

  • Better support for custom CSS Create unique a unique style for your portal. Custom CSS and corporate branding/colours can now be stored in a user-only CSS file. This CSS file is never over-written during upgrades, so all of your custom work can remain.

  • New Public Job Templates. Public job templates allow jobs to be logged by anyone, without requiring them to log in to the web portal.

  • New Logged Job Message. Job Templates can now include a customized message that will be displayed to the user after the job is successfully logged. This is useful for confirmation, as well as providing other information that may be relevant to the type of job that was just logged. It also works well with the new “Public Job Template” feature.

  • Custom HTML and/or scripts can now be injected into the Head section of the HTML page. This configuration is useful for integration with 3rd party platforms and solutions.

  • “Audit history” Tab now appears on the web portal for staff members to display any changes that have occured since the job was logged. This is similar to the desktop functionality.

  • Dynamic display of knowledge base articles based on job classification when logging a new job. When using the web portal to log a job, the list of suggested knowledge base articles will change depending on how the job is being classified via the classification drop-down boxes.

  • File attachment extension and size administration options System administrators can control the type and size of files that can be uploaded as attachments.

  • Improved attachment carousel for the web portal. Makes working with attachments easier and more intuitive.

  • Improved web deployment utility for installing and updating the web portal. Includes better error checking, ease of use and improved SSL certificate support.

Web API

A new web API is now available that allows developers and system integrators to interface with HelpMaster. The API ships with a Swagger interface for documentation and testing. The API is a work-in-progress and future releases will continue to provide more functionality.

Microsoft 365 and Google Integration for email

Integration with Microsoft 365 and Google are now available for email integration. In addition to the regular account types, system administrators can now configure global HelpMaster email accounts to use Microsoft 365 and Google/Gmail accounts. Accounts can be configured as “global” accounts, or “personal” accounts.

Desktop Edition

  • Restyled System Administration screen. The administration screen in the desktop has been restyled to have a cleaner and more intuitive user interface. Vertical tabs are now used instead of horizontal. Some of the admin settings have been re-arranged, or re-grouped for a better user experience. All changes in configuration are now logged to the new System Event Logs.

  • System-wide defaults for Action Templates. A HelpMaster administrator can now set default action templates for the different action types (Add action, Reassign, Close job etc). This is similar to the way individual staff members can set default templates - the difference being that a global default can now be set. This is useful for web-based workflows.

  • Ability to lock the ClientID field on a new client, and use auto-generation only. When creating a new client, the client ID field can now be set to read-only mode, which will prevent users from specifying a client ID. When this setting is used, HelpMaster will automatically generate a client ID based on the algorithm you choose. This setting is useful if you always want a procedurally generated client ID.

  • Client vs Staff style job logging templates. It is now possible to configure job templates to display different information on the web portal, depending on whether a client or a staff member is using the template. A common configuration is to display simplified information when clients/customers log jobs/tickets, but display full job logging information/fields (Priority, Contact Type, Job type etc.) when a staff member logs a job/ticket.

  • Alerts now have a “Type” category. All alerts for entities (Clients, Sites, Assets, Jobs) now have a new “Alert Type” drop-down field that can be selected. This field is useful for grouping/classifying alerts into discrete categories that can then be targeted by reports, triggered events, and other automation. This field can be administered via the “System Codes” administration screen.

  • New Entity Items. A new feature called “Entity Items” provides the ability to update entities (Clients, Sites, Assets, etc) with an “Entity Item”. An Entity Item is similar to a Control Set, however these can be added multiple times to an entity, similar to the way you can update a job many times with an action. Entity items are a great way to record repeating information, with all the form-building benefits of a Control Set. Very useful!

  • Workflow designer improvements. The workflow designer has received many improvements. There are new and updated Workflow Common Features and Decision, better line/connector management, the ability to merge connecting lines into a single connector, the ability to set all user-interactive dialogs as a cancellable item (this allows workflow items to have a Passed/Failed output option).

  • Update Action Text on a closed job. A new option exists that allows staff members with sufficient privilege to be able to edit the action text of a closed job. This is similar to the “quick edit” feature a job already has. This is useful to update text (spelling mistakes, minor issues, or more) without having to re-open the whole job, edit, then re-close it. All original date/time information is preserved.

Client Administration

  • Client Gender is now a drop-down box. Options can be configured via system codes.

  • General client fields can now be made mandatory via the system administration options.

  • Address clients fields can now be made mandatory via the system administration options.

  • Better support for client password complexity System administrators can now set more options for client password complexity requirements.

  • Improved Address data entry. The address screen now includes country, state and other information pre-filled. This allows for better accuracy of addresses rather than relying on free-text. Google address resolution is also available.

Control Sets

Control sets have had a major overhaul for both the desktop and web portal. Versioning of control sets has been removed and replaced. All changes and updates to the definition of a Control Set is now applied immediately to all entities linked to it.

  • Control Set ordering for entities. Controls Sets can now be ordered so that they appear in a particular position on an entity.

  • Automatically add Control Sets to new entities. When new entities (Clients, Sites, Assets etc) are created, they will automatically include any Controls Sets that have been configured to be added to that entity type.

  • New password fields for control sets. Control Sets now have a new “Password” field type. Options include full encryption, or just masking. This field type is a text box that masks-out the text in it like a password field does. This is useful for storing secure text. Staff can view the password field by clicking the “View” button. Each click of the view button writes to an event log that can be used for security audit purposes.

  • Control Set field archiving. When Control Set fields are removed, or changed, the system administrator performing the change has the option to delete the data from all entities using that field, or archiving the data. Archived data will be displayed underneath the control set for each entity.

  • Control Set label visibility options. Control Set labels can now be configured to display at certain times only. For example, you could have a label display when logging a new job only which is great for instructions/guidance, but then not display from then on.

HelpMaster Licensing

HelpMaster licensing has been updated to include the new subscription model.

  • New licensing system for staff for the web portal. Staff need to be explicitly allocated a web license for interacting with the web portal as a staff member (queue holder). This is performed via the new web licensing section in the System Administration screen.

  • New “Development” license. A new development license is availabe to all registered users of HelpMaster. This allows a company to perform testing, development and staging without having to worry about license expiry, environmental changes and other issues. Contact PRD Software to obtain a development license.

Security Features

This is the most secure version of HelpMaster ever. The development team, in conjuction with cyber-security and Australian government personnel, have worked on virtually every aspect of the product to improve security, harden code, update security algorithms and more.

  • Updated encryption and password hashing. All encryption and hashing algorithms have been updated to use stronger algorithms and achieve FIPS compliance. All legacy hashing (MD5) and other non-FIPS compliant algorithms have been replaced with the latest algorithms and security approaches.

  • Encrypted Active Directory traffic. All communication between HelpMaster and Active Directory is now encrypted.

  • Updated file protection. All HelpMaster binaries use improved obfuscation, anti-tampering, digital signing and strong-name keying.

  • Better granularity for “delete” permissions. There are new “delete” permissions now configurable via the Application Role settings. Previously, delete permission was rolled into the read/write permissions. Now these are separate options within the Application Roles. This gives system administrators finer control over who can delete entities, jobs and actions.

  • Full system logging. Many operations and configuration changes are now logged (see below)

System logging

A major new feature is full system event logging. HelpMaster will now track and log almost all system configuration changes, viewing logs, access logs (logon/logoff/failed logons), and more. This information can give system and security administrators information about general system use, as well as security and diagnostic information. System logging is turned on by default.

Database

  • Updated database queries for better performance (much better in some cases!)

  • Updated database column types

Components and technology

  • Updated 3rd party controls

  • Updated Crystal Reports Runtime Engine

  • Updated .NET core technology

Fixes, bugs and tweaks

  • Many fixes, tweaks, wording updates and general improvements.

Documentation

The entire HelpMaster helpfile (you’re reading it now) has been updated and converted into a more modern format. New tutorials, guides and other documentation will be added, so check back regularly and please send through any requests for documentation that you feel would be useful for your use case.