As we do each summer, we again bring you some hot updates to the Polarion platform. Packaged as Polarion 2013 Service Release 1 (SR1), this is an update for all Polarion products, free to all customers with a current maintenance subscription. You can download the update distribution at http://www.polarion.com/downloads/update.php.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
Every service release delivers bug-fixes, as well as usability, and performance. This release is no exception, and it also includes a number of new features and useful enhancements that will later add up to comprise the Polarion 2014 major release, thanks to our incremental Agile development process.
Perhaps the most exciting functionality is the brand new Approval Center feature. A formal approval phase has typically been a slow, error-prone, costly bottleneck right at the earliest stage of a project, and keeping everything transparent and traceable has typically been complex, and even painful. Our new Approval Center automates and streamlines any formal approval process, while ensuring an easy-to-follow audit trail. More details below.
Another exciting bit of news: along with Polarion 2013 SR1 we have released a new integration extension: Polarion Connector for MATLAB Simulink. More on that below as well.
In the rest of this article I’ll provide a brief “log” of the new and noteworthy changes/features in Polarion 2013 SR1. A list of issues addressed in this release is provided in the Resolved Work Items file, bundled with the distributions.
Although this is a brand new feature, it meshes well with existing concepts from past versions. You can decide to start using it with this service release, or wait for the next major version release.
You access the Approval Center by opening the Approvals sidebar panel, available in both Polarion LiveDocs and the Table View of the tracker. From there you can do several things depending on your role.
If you are the specification owner, you need to make sure it is approved by stakeholders. You can:
- quickly review the current state of approvals for your work items
- process the comments and any disapprovals your approver stakeholders might have
- invite others to review and approve the spec
If you are a stakeholder who needs to approve items in a specification, you can:
- approve or disapprove items (singly, or in groups)
- ask questions or initiate discussions by creating new comments replying to a comment thread
- quickly review where you are with your approvals (and see what’s waiting for others)
Add Approvers and Check Approvals in workflow
We now bundle new workflow function that adds a default list of approving users (“Approvers”) to Work Items when their status transitions from “draft” to “approved”. The specific users are selected according to a configurable user role project_approver.
There’s also a new workflow condition that checks the approval state and makes workflow transition possible only if the approval state is “approved”.
Approval Comments and Comment Resolution
Discussion is an essential part of the review and approval process. Work Item comments that pertain to approvals are tagged with a special label identifying them as such.
All Work Item comments (and comment threads) can now be marked as resolved. This hides them so you can better focus on active discussions only. Resolved comments can be easily viewed, and resolved threads reopened for further discussion if necessary.
User-definable Field Display in LiveDocs
It has always been possible to display some set of Work Item data fields in Polarion LiveDoc documents. However, not every user needs or wants to see the same fields. So we changed the Document presentation configuration (i.e. which fields are rendered together with Title and Description) so that every user can have their own view of Work Item data in the same Document.
Users can even configure different views when opening a document from a baseline and/or historical revision.
Polarion Connector for MATLAB® Simulink
This new Polarion Connector lets you link simulink and state flow models in MATLAB with requirements and design items managed in Polarion.
You can navigate from the MATLAB model element to its associated requirement in Polarion, and back from that requirement to the model element. Such linking is useful for design and requirements reviews. It can also help to track the impact of changed requirements on a design.
The Connector also enables you to publish the simulink subsystem to Polarion as a new design requirement Work Item, which includes the model preview.
To learn more about the features, how to configure the connector, or to download it for free visit:
Document and Rich Text Editing
Adjust Column and Row width and height
We know you export specification documents and share them with your clients. We also know how important it is for you to have the documents look nice and be easily readable. And that you want to have full control of all the standard formatting properties, including those of tables. So you’ll be glad to know that width and height of table rows and columns can now be easily adjusted by dragging the table cell borders.
Numbered list action in Rich Text Editor toolbar
As with tables, you can now select both ordered (numbered) and unordered (bullet) lists in the Rich Text Editor.
Referenced Work Items
Work Items can be referenced from different Documents. The typical way you reference a Work Item is that you create a branch. This approach makes it easier to manage variants. Polarion has had this capability for some time now. But users told us they needed to be able to easily see when a Work Item is referenced from a different Document, and from which Document.
We’ve improved this so that you can now easily see in which Document(s) is any Work Item is referenced. The Work Item Properties panel of the Document Sidebar shows what branches or variants contain the currently selected Work Item.
Open Links in new window/tab
Sometimes, you do not want to execute test cases one after another, but rather execute one test case in different environments. So we made it possible to switch off the automatic advance to the next test case in a Test Run.
Easy Access to Work Item Types Configuration
Administration now features a top-level link to the configuration for Work Item types: Administration > Work Items > Types.
(You can still access the configuration via the Enumerations topic of Administration as well.)
Support project level Views in UI
Polarion Views help our customers by providing a role-based user interface, which renders only the information that is relevant to a logged-in user. You can now create project-specific Views and link them with your users.
Baseline Report Parameters
We fixed an issue that prevented you from providing different parameters to live reports opened from a baseline. So finally now, you can also generate parametrized reports when a project is opened from baseline.
Querying for Any/None values
We are constantly reviewing the features that have been in Polarion for many years to try to make them simpler (but still backward compatible).
We refined querying for Any/None value so that it now uses a new index field HAS_VALUE. (Querying by ######NULL is deprecated – but still works).
The powerful Lucene-based indexing engine was enhanced in Polarion 2013 in a way that all the work item, wiki and document attachments are searchable. We fixed an issue that resulted in Test Run attachments not being indexed.
Baselines webservice api
The webservices API (TrackerWebService.createBaseline) now provides an interface to create Polarion baselines. So you can easily create a baseline before and after an import procedure if you write an integration for some 3rd party tool.
Webservices Test Run attachments
The webservices API (TestManagementWebService) now provides an interface to manage Test Run attachments. So you can easily import and edit attachments if you write an integration for some 3rd party testing tool.
Hours Per Day
The system property polarion.durationHoursPerDay can be used to define hours per day used when days need to be converted to working hours in places like Time Sheet view, or work records calculations.
Import from Excel®
The Excel importer has been improved to support import of structured and complex fields: ”assignee”, “category”, “hyperlinks”, “linked items” …
In every service release we include significant performance improvements. During the last months we focused on the LiveDoc editor:
- Saving changes is up to 40% faster in Firefox and IE
- Less lagging when typing into a big document in Firefox and IE
- Undo/Redo performance improved significantly (90% faster in Firefox, 80% faster in IE)
Note: the performance increase was measured on a sample document with 5000 work items that contains parts of real production documents we collected from actual users. The numbers can vary significantly depending on the structure of your document.
New Report Templates
We recommend you check the new Polarion project templates as they contain many new reports, including:
- Estimation Quality
- Frequent Test Case Failures
- Items by Category
- Items By Status
- Requirements Approval Statistics
- Requirements Test Coverage
- Test Runs Statistics
- Traceability Report
New Browsers and Platforms
The following new browsers and platforms are supported in this service release.
- Firefox 20 and 21
- IE10 on Windows 7
- Debian 7.0 Wheezy
Note: we also support the latest version of Chrome, even though the rapid release cycle makes it difficult to ensure extensive testing of all the features.