ARender 4 in 2020
ARender 4 this year will follow up a set of key new features and continue to stabilise and improve the core product.
In this set of new features, we have a couple of categories :
Work on videos
Around the video conversion plans and ideas we have, a couple of features are needed as quality of life changes :
- We will offer a quality selection feature
This, as a manual action as a starter, might get automatic in a further evolution of the feature. Using different quality levels, both the rendition of the video in the browser supported format might get faster, but as well the transfer speed required by the end user will decrease if a lower quality setting is chosen.
- We will load the video while it is being still converted
The second improvement done to accelerate loading times will be to stream the first chunks of the video as soon as they are already converted. Alongside the other evolution, this will render video conversion in ARender a much smoother experience for the end user; without relying on offline rendition (using ARender) of the videos beforehand.
- Builder support for Videos?
The last planned change is a cross over with another set of evolutions we want to bring to ARender. We want to produce a « document builder » experience as well for videos. This will require a revamp of the video panel (to be able to cut videos at precise timestamps) and allow some merging of the videos (or cut videos, this implies then a drag and drop experience of the video footage).
Document builder preview
We announced the plan to create a preview button for the document builder, were the document will be refreshed based on the changes your are currently building, and the feature is still in ARender’s roadmap!
ARender, full asynchronous operations from the user browser to the backend
This is more of an internal rework of ARender’s own rendition engine than a visual change for the end users, but here the goal is to improve and scale up even more our application.
Each call to ARender 4 servers will not require an active connection on the user browser and, if available, the websocket will notify back the user when the actual method is ready for retrieval on the server. This opens up many new approaches :
- Opening a huge document
The end user is warned of the potentially long treatment, he can load another document and get notified when the first one is ready for opening.
- Mutualisation of « long » requests
If many users request the exact same request, while it is being handled, they will receive the same request ID and the calls will be mutualised.
- Cancelling operations ?
When the shared knowledge across the web servers that a request is no longer awaited by any browser (all websocket corresponding to the request are now closed), the treatment of the request may be cancelled, and we will save CPU time on the rendition backend.
- Increased responsiveness of the application
With fewer connections used to receive back data from the web server, the web browser of the end user will have additionnal time to process requests for images, and will benefit from having more idle time overall.
Overall, this feature improvement will reduce the load on ARender servers and will transparently either allow you to handle more users from your existing infrastructure, or allowing you to decide to scale down the platform if you want to reduce your hardware costs.
Office documents, and a new (internal) API to document conversion streaming in ARender 4
Office documents will be the first ones to receive the mechanism to stream convert document in ARender 4 (optionnal feature).
From a behavior and look and feel standpoint, this mecanism is unchanged from ARender 3, but the internal logic is being revamped to support a wider range of document formats.
As a first major change from the version 3 of ARender streaming of documents, we are working on a way to stream convert documents using both Microsoft Office and Libreoffice backends, so you will no longer be limited to Windows environnements to benefit from this feature.
Widen the support of the Couchbase backend for temporary file storage
As a change for version 4, we want to bring the backend storage for temporary files using Couchbase to be as performent and as recommendable as the default filesystem one.
Currently, the backend is nearly as fast as the local filesytem one, but we need still need to go through intensive testing before we can quallify it as production ready by our QA team. We will keep you up to date on this topic through the regular release notes !
Support of some 3D file formats
We will attempt to include a subset of 3D file format to import and show in ARender as a proof of concept in ARender 4 2020 roadmap (like the video support was at first). It might not be as feature rich as you may expect it to be at first, but it will allow us to create a path towards a wider support of the format if the demand increases with this small change.
And as a last word, it’s the season, and the ARender team wishes you happy holidays and a happy new year !