October 8, 2014 | Written by: Tony Erwin
Categorized: Community | What's New
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We’re pleased to announce another round of Bluemix UI updates. This refresh is especially exciting as we welcome IBM® Watson™ services to the Bluemix Catalog. With this addition, you can now rapidly prototype and build cognitive apps in the cloud!
Along with Watson, we’ve made a number of other major improvements since our August release. These include:
Watson Services for Bluemix
With the announcement today, there are now seven Watson services listed in the Bluemix Catalog. These cognitive services (in beta) allow your apps to leverage the power of Watson through RESTful APIs. In addition to these services, there are three new Watson starter applications to help jumpstart your efforts.
You can find out a lot more in What will you build with Watson? (a companion post by Nathan Vega). Also, check out the new Watson Solutions Page in the Bluemix UI, and be sure to watch the cool YouTube video below!
Watch the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPgqZh6uBMo)
General Availability of Three Services
We’re also pleased to announce three IBM services have moved from beta to general availability:
Enables developers to spend less time recoding and testing when business policies change. The Business Rules service minimizes your code changes by keeping business logic separate from application logic.
Find more information in Getting started with Business Rules.
Automate builds and deployments, test execution, configure build scripts, and execution of unit tests. Automatically build and deploy your application to Bluemix.
Find more information in Getting started with IBM Continuous Delivery Pipeline.
Develop responsive, scalable applications with a fully-managed messaging provider in the cloud. Quickly integrate with application frameworks through easy-to-use APIs.
NOTE: There is a separate post giving more details on the MQ Light GA release, including required actions for users of the beta service.
Cloud Integration and Private Services
The Cloud Integration add-on enables users to access backend systems of record via REST APIs to be used by applications. These APIs can be exposed using four different mechanisms:
- Generating from an enterprise endpoint
- Creating from Cast Iron Live integrations
- Creating from other Bluemix apps
- Creating from an on-premises API
And, you can now turn your REST APIs into private services that appear in the Catalog. This allows other developers in your organization to create and bind your service to their apps and use your APIs. In the screenshot below, I’ve created a new private service called
Tony_API. The service shows up with an orange border as a member of the new Private Services category. Private services also allow users to downloads SDKs and view API reference information.
Finally, Cloud Integration offers data sync capabilities. Right now, this is limited to replication of on-premise DB2 tables to Bluemix SQLDB.
If you want to learn more about Cloud Integration, see Getting started with Cloud Integration service. NOTE: Docs are in the process of being updated.
Better Integration of Organizations and Spaces
Bluemix organizations and spaces help you organize your work and enable collaboration with other developers. In this release, we enabled tighter integration with the Dashboard, Catalog, and Pricing Sheet by moving the Org Selector from the top banner down closer to where you do the bulk of your work.
In addition, the Dashboard navigation pane now shows all spaces in the currently selected organization. This allows you to quickly switch between spaces to see all of your apps and services. We’ve also added an Add a Space link to allow you to create a new space without leaving the Dashboard.
Blog and Twitter Feeds
There’s a lot of useful information on the Bluemix Developer Blog and the @IBMBluemix Twitter feed that can help you in your day-to-day development activities. So, we’ve now added posts from those feeds to the landing page of the Bluemix UI:
To make the code snippets in the Bluemix Documentation site more personally tailored, we’ve added a login feature that syncs with the Bluemix UI. This allows us to present customized code snippets (if the starter or service is enabled) that contain your user ID, organization name, and space name. And, when you are logged into the documentation site, you can jump into the Bluemix UI (and vice versa) without logging in again.
We’re also trying to make it as easy as possible for you to keep coding, so we’ve also enabled a new copy button for all code snippets.
Miscellaneous Usability and Styling Updates
Every release we try to address the little annoyances and squash the bugs that detract from the optimal experience. I usually don’t go into much detail on these smaller tweaks in my blog posts, but this time around I thought I’d highlight one in particular.
The App Details page has a View Guide button that provides getting started information for the app. The information includes instructions on how to download the starter code and use the command line to push code updates. However, during usability testing, we found that there was a problem. When the user would try to switch to the command line app, the guide would disappear. Of course, it’s really frustrating to not be able to see the very commands you wanted to type in!
So, based on this user feedback, we’ve made an adjustment so the guide will remain open when switching to another app. This is a small thing, but makes a big difference for someone trying to get started with Bluemix. And, it’s an example of how we take this kind of feedback seriously.
There’s a lot of exciting stuff going on outside of the Bluemix UI as well, and there’s just too much to cover in one blog post. So, here are some links to related announcements:
We hope you’ll try out the new Watson services and all of the other awesome updates this month. We’re continually working to improve the Bluemix experience, and your feedback is very important. So, if you have questions or other comments, please let us know on the Bluemix Dev-to-Dev Community or tweet us at @IBMBluemix. And, if you want to talk to Bluemix developers in person, check out one of the local Bluemix meetups in your area or look for us at a conference.
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Finally, remember if you don’t already have an account, you can simply go to www.bluemix.net and get free instant access to a 30-day trial without a credit card!