Technical blog

ARender: Roadmap for 2015

ARender Roadmap for 2015 is now settled.

We will keep the same pace for releases as we did the years before, which is :

  • A major version in Q2 : This year, a strong major version ‘3.0’ code-name ‘Xenon’ is planned, with heavy changes in internal API and structure
  • A minor version each month : No API change, no impact on integration, only bugfixes and additional features

 

1. Acutal version – 2.3.x : from January to April

ARender 2.3.5

Version 2.3.5 has been releaes on the 28th of January.

Primary focus : mobile devices and Microsoft Office documents.

More details in Release note 2.3.5 Krypton

 

ARender 2.3.6+

Branch 2.3.x has the following features planned :

Version Date Fonctionnalities
2.3.6 End of February - New XFDF Connector
- Autocad format support (Beta)
2.3.7 End of March - Document Comparison, Phase 1 : Multiple content opening
2.3.8 End of April - Document Comparison : Phase 2 : View differences between document contents

 

2. ARender 3.0.0 Xenon (May)

Keeping the Noble Gases naming tradition, ARender 3.0 takes as code-name Xenon.

The name « Xenon » comes from ancient greek (ξένος ‘xenos’, stranger). This fits quite well for this release, because its main purpose will be to facilitate ARender’s integration to the foreign world.

The two main subjects that motivate this big version jump are :

  • New features introduced in 2.3.x require, to express their full potentiel, large API changes. New annotation formats, better performance for document opening, multiple layers documents, a better way to integrate custom development at client side…

  • ARender has always been deeply integrated into customer applications, much more than a simple document viewer would. Multiple document opening, interaction with business applications are part of the reasons why.

    This integration is based on ARender APIs (Client, Server and GUI), and our experience on past and present projects offered us valuable feedback on how to make theses APIs clearer, more easy to use, more efficient.

Although 3.0 will be a major reshape, it will have zero impact on the following :

  • Native, standard integration (IBM Workplace, Workplace XT, ICN, CM, CMOD, Documentum D2, xCP2, WebTop, eZ Publish, WordPress, Alfresco, …)
  • Custom, profile-based settings at client-side
  • Custom developments based on the client-side API (JS-API)

However, for specific connectors, changes will be (at least) :

Category Changes Impacts
Annotations: Internal data model Data model must be improved to support :
- A wider variety of annotations : freehand, shapes, …
- Business-oriented metadata: per-annotation lifecycle, specific roles
Actual format converters (FileNet, XFDF, others) will be realigned.
AnnotationAccessor: API to access and save annotations - Multiple objects operations: be able to save/delete multiple annotations in a single call & transaction
- Per-user operations: much of the annotation work requires end-user identity. A better, cross-solution identification of the user will be appreciated.
Specific annotation connectors will need to be realigned with new APIs. As a transition, ARender 3.x will still support legacy APIs by means of an adapter.
API DocumentService: The API between the GUI and Rendition server Two major evolutions are planed:
- Streamed DocumentPageLayout
- Multilayered DocumentLayout
Mixing 2.x and 3.x Rendition and GUI servers will not be possible, contrary to 1.x/2.x version upgrades.

More details:

  • Streamed DocumentPageLayout, the ability to stream even the document layout

The actual streaming feature is a key mechanism for ARender.

The whole document is not downloaded at the client at loading time: instead, page contents are fetched on-demand, while the user is viewing the document.

However, ARender still has to know the exact number of pages and page dimensions before loading.

This is not an issue for pre-formatted documents such as PDFs and images, and actual streaming is really efficient for such formats.

Office documents, however, are not stored with the exact pagination. As a result, the exact number and size of pages has to be computed at document loading, which can be a burden for large documents.

In order to reduce document loading time, the idea is to allow ARender to open non-paginated documents quickly, and convey the list and size of pages in a streamed manner.

For the user, this will be presented rather simply : the first pages appear instantaneously, and the number of pages are increased gradually, with a marker showing the fact that ARender is still opening the document, until the total number of pages is known.

Summary : This Streamed document page layout will considerably reduce loading time for non-paginated documents. To some extend, large paginated documents (PDFs with more than 500p) will also benefit from this change, although loading time is already very small.

  • Multilayered DocumentLayout

CAD documents (AutoCAD, ..) are often (if not always) built with multiple layers, each layer showing specific content.

Users must be able to select the set of layers they want to see.

 

3. ARender 3.0.x : from July to… 3.1.0

Next releases after 3.0.0 will consolidate what 3.0 brought.

You should expect :

  • Greatly reduced loading time for non-paginated documents
  • A wider panel of annotations to play with, and a much more business-oriented annotation feature set