August 1, 2014 | Written by: Tony Erwin
Categorized: What's New
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It’s been just one month since we reached general availability, but we already have another round of Bluemix UI updates! The new features include enhancements to collaboration, catalog, solutions pages, and responsiveness. You’ll also notice updates to Bluemix Documentation with improved search, filtering, and mobile rendering. And, finally, there was a healthy dose of general bug squashing and usability tweaks. Keep reading for all the details.
Improved Collaboration w/ Orgs and Spaces
One less publicized feature of the Bluemix UI (until now!) is the ability to manage organizations and spaces. Organizations are made up of spaces, and spaces act as a collection of related apps, services, and users. The combination of orgs and spaces allow collaboration between people working on common apps and services.
As part of the July release, we’ve made a bunch of improvements for orgs and spaces. But, most notably we’ve:
- Added the capability to invite other users to participate in your orgs and spaces.
- Enabled the ability to create new organizations (for subscription and pay-as-you-go users).
Getting Started With Org Management
The easiest way to start working with orgs and spaces in the Bluemix UI is to click the Org Selector in the banner at the top of the page. The Org Selector shows the list of orgs that you are a member of. By default, you are in one org (and that org’s name is equal your user id). At the bottom of the Org Selector, you can click the Manage Organizations option to launch the org management panel.
Invite Your Friends & Co-workers
When you select an organization in the Manage Organizations section of the Bluemix UI, the first thing you’ll see is the list of users in that org. For example, in the screenshot below, you can see my personal organization. You’ll note I’m the only member, and I’m also the “account owner” (which means if there are charges they’d come to me).
It’s no fun to work alone, so now you can invite your friends and co-workers to collaborate. If you click the Invite New Users link (shown in screenshot above), then you will be presented with a dialog like the one below. In the top portion, enter the name and e-mail address of the person you want to invite. In the bottom section, you can set what roles the user will have initially (both in the org and within the org’s spaces). In this case, I want email@example.com to be a developer in my demo space, but not have any other access. When I hit the Invite button, an e-mail will be sent to the person I invited, and he (or she) will now be part of my org. In this case, as a developer in my demo space, firstname.lastname@example.org will be able to do anything with the apps and services (create, start, stop, bind, etc.) that I can.
Create New Organizations
The other big improvement to org and space management, is the ability to create new orgs. Previously, you could create new spaces within an organization. But, starting with today’s updates, subscription and pay-as-you-go users can also create brand new organizations. This means you can construct orgs dedicated to specific purposes and have entirely different sets of users in each.
We’ve also made several usability updates to the Bluemix Catalog. The Catalog is the place to go to browse and create instances of Bluemix starter apps and service offerings. We’ve made a number of improvements in this area, but two of the the most noticeable are the ability to specify a custom domain when creating apps and the addition of a more powerful country selector.
Select Custom Domain on App Creation
Previously, we provided the ability to create custom domains for your apps instead of the default mybluemix.net domain. With today’s update, we’ve made it easier to use those custom domains at app creation time. After you’ve named your app and given it a hostname, you can then choose from a list of custom domains.
Typeahead Country Selector
We’ve also made it easier to view the prices for different countries when exploring a particular starter app or service offering. If you click the link for the currently selected country, a typeahead country selector will be presented. Simply start typing the name of the country of interest, and you will be presented with possible matches. Once you find the country you’re interested in, select it to view an updated set of prices.
Dynamic Solutions Pages
At GA, we introduced Solutions Pages to inform you about available services that can help you compose solutions to problems in categories such as Web and Application, Big Data, Mobile, Internet of Things, etc. As of today, these pages are dynamic so that as new services come on board, they will automatically appear. In addition, you can click on any of the services listed on the Solutions Pages to find out more details and/or create new instances.
We’ve heard feedback from many of you that you want a better Bluemix experience on mobile devices. We’re not yet where we want to be, but we did make a number of changes to improve the responsiveness of the Bluemix UI. The most noticeable improvements are in the banner at the top of the page, action bars for Dashboard and App Details, details pages for specific catalog items, and the top portion of the pricing sheet. Look for more improvements over time.
We want to make it as easy as possible for you to find what you need. With that in mind, our Bluemix Documentation site now has improved search functionality that includes typeahead and filtering features by service and runtime. You can selectively find content in topic titles, code snippets, and in full text.
We also made some improvements for docs on the go, so that you can more easily view the Bluemix docs on your mobile device.
Misc Defects and Usability Updates
A major focus area for July was reduction of our defect backlog. We fixed dozens of defects that, along with some functional glitches, included styling updates and usability improvements. There are too many to list here, but we hope you notice a cleaner and more pleasant experience overall.
We’re continually trying to improve the Bluemix experience, and we’d love to hear from you. So, if you have questions or other feedback, 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.
Finally, remember if you don’t already have an account, you can just go to www.bluemix.net and get free instant access to a 30-day trial without a credit card!
Thanks to Jenifer Schlotfeldt for providing the information on documentation updates!