Right on time, like summer vacation, here we are to update you on the latest release of Instant Developer Cloud 20.5. Like we do in every version, we had two main objectives.

First, we felt it was crucial to implement our customers' requests. The Instant Developer users who ask us to implement new components and functionalities are incredibly valuable to us, because they give us better insight into their needs when they're working in the field.

Second, we wanted to give them the chance to work without worrying about the constant system updates that could drain precious time from design and development. What do we mean by that? We'll give you a very practical example. iOS14 will be released in a few months. Does this mean completely reviewing the work you've done so far? Clearly not. The developers who use our platforms will continue to compile applications for iOS without worry. In fact, all the new versions of Instant Developer, both Cloud and Foundation, contain updates that “align” the tool to the versions available at that time in browsers, operating systems, and databases.

Naturally, this version contains a great deal more. The goal is always the same: try to anticipate updates and adapt tools to future potentialities, to reduce to a minimum the work developers have to do, and minimize the impact on our customers' apps. 

The big updates in Instant Developer Cloud 20.5

The updates in this release let you use new components and new library functions. These are functionalities that were not present in previous versions, and which offer new pathways and development options for customers. Let's look at the big ones.

NODE: docker update  

The docker used by the IDE and PROD servers has been updated. The new docker now uses version 12.18 of Node.js, which is the latest version with long-term support currently released and supported through April 2022. PostgreSQL was also updated to version 10.12, the version that will be supported through the end of 2022. 

Thanks to this important update, Instant Developer Cloud users always have an updated server available to them. In practice, it's as if we had updated the operating systems of the machines that our customers use (in particular the servers on which our customers install their applications). Having the most recent stable version of environments guarantees that they will be more stable and more secure.

IDE: changes available for text type resources

It's now possible to change the content of text type resources (CSS, JS, TEXT) directly from the IDE. In previous versions, the developer had to download the resource, edit its content, and then load it back into the project. 

This way it is simpler to update the text type resources that programmers use to develop their applications: it cuts down on development time and greatly simplifies maintenance of resources used by the applications (CSS, JavaScript files, text files, XML, etc.).

IDE: Automatic creation of indexes for foreign keys

With this new version, it's possible to automatically create indexes for foreign keys. To activate the functionality, simply activate the “create Index” checkbox in the properties view for the foreign key. New foreign keys have the flag active automatically.

This functionality is especially useful when you're working with tables that contain a lot of data, since it makes running queries faster, especially the more complex ones, without requiring the programmer to manually create indexes to accelerate the process. In the new version the system does it automatically.

The old foreign keys will not be changed. We implemented the new functionality without substantially changing existing behavior to avoid causing problems when changing version of Instant Developer Cloud. 

DO: saving collections

Collections are now saved in a single transaction. This makes saving numerous collections more secure (and faster on SQLite). If you want, it is also possible to save all the documents in individual transactions, setting the autoCommit parameter to true.

IONIC: navigating forms with the keyboard in a desktop environment

The IonicUI graphic framework has been improved to allow keyboard navigation of forms in the desktop environment. This makes it even easier to achieve multichannel applications that adapt automatically to the device that is being used. What's more, application users can use the keyboard instead of the mouse to move among the fields on the screen and complete data entry forms.

App creation time monitoring

The IDE keeps track of time spent editing a project, given that it is also consolidated in the commits and is then transferred to the console. This makes it easier to check how much time was spent creating a given application.

WkWebView system and new signinWithApple plugin

Migration of the plugins supported by the WKWebView system has been completed. The signInWithApple plugin has also been added. It works in iOS, Android, and browser environments. 

Regarding WKWebView, Apple requires all programmers to update their apps to the new view engine by June (for updates) and by the end of the year for new applications, or they will be unable to publish them on the App Store. This new version of Instant Developer Cloud satisfies these requirements and allows users to update and release applications on the App Store.

Regarding the signInWithApple plugin however, the new App Store contract from Apple requires the use of that plugin if the app allows access from other identity providers, such as Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn. In fact, Apple requires programmers to implement the sign in through Apple if their application already offers a sign in through Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn. Our system now makes it possible to activate these authentication modes, as requested by Apple.

The new user Segments

Finally, user Segments have been introduced: a new live update system for applications makes it possible to send a distinct version of the application to each group of users. 

It's a very useful new feature because it allows developers who use Instant Developer Cloud to activate beta test sessions in their applications without changing the applications already in production.

Beyond these main updates we've just listed, this latest release of Instant Developer Cloud also includes more than 150 improvements and fixes over version 20.0. On the one hand, these improvements make the environment more stable, more secure, and faster, while on the other they make a developer's work simpler and more effective.

What do you think of Instant Developer Cloud 20.5? We'll be waiting on our forum to hear what you think!