The latest Utelogy software release is now available and includes the following:
- UVF—Utelogy Visual Framework
- U-Schedule—U-Schedule Viewer
- General bug fixes and enhancements.
Read below for details about the new features.
Utelogy Visual Framework (UVF)
U-Control is built on the Utelogy Visual Framework (UVF). UVF is a set of pre-built components that can be configured into a UI configuration. The appearance of the components provides a smart way to develop, manage, and re-use code that a programmer will appreciate. The UVF provides the following advantages:
- Provides for rapid creation of user interfaces with standard components and themes.
- Developers can extend the components and themes to create custom and reusable user interface solutions.
Documentation for this feature includes:
- Component Reference
- Component API
- Theme Reference
What are Components?
Using the definition from Wikipedia, “a component is a software object, intended to interact with other components, encapsulating certain functionality or a set of functionalities. It has an obvious defined interface and conforms to a recommended behavior common to all components within an architecture”.
The benefits of incorporating components into the UVF include:
- Creating reusable software that 1) reduces deployment time, 2) increases maintainability and upgradability, 3) provides UX consistency.
- Encapsulates best-practices solutions for Common Needs and Scenarios.
- Built on a Framework that allows new components to be created and inter-operated as a system.
- Smart Developers will build their own Libraries of Reusable Components. The UVF allows organizations to create their own libraries of reusable components. This enables the ability to build user-interfaces to reflect the culture and nuances of each organization.
- Savvy Customers don’t want custom and proprietary solutions that cost them in the short and long run. Standard components and themes deliver a more agile and scalable way to build a user-interface that doesn’t cause issues as the systems are maintained and upgraded.
Everyone wants a user-interface that looks nice, but that is very subjective and what looks nice differs from person to person. Furthermore, organizations often have branding that specifies some design style that they’d like to apply to the U-Control interface and that’s where the notion to provide the ability to select a theme evolved from.
Utelogy has 3 themes that come as part of the product. U-Server allows you to select the theme you want to use for all the U-Control systems that run off that server.
Building Custom Themes and Components
With the Component Development Kit, users have all the information necessary to build custom components which can be added to the U-Server. Because components use standard web technologies, users can build components do deliver whatever functionality is desired.
The Theming Guide provided with Utelogy, shows users how to can create custom themes using standard web CSS skills.
U-Schedule can be configured to connect to Google Calendars, Exchange Calendars and Office 365 Calendar to pull scheduled events for individual rooms.
U-Schedule supports viewing the current schedule status (Available/Busy) of a room, as well as the day’s schedule of events on a “door marquee”.
The U-Schedule door marquee is built on the UVF and is very similar in nature to U-Control. It can be themed and is built using components. In the 2.03 release, the door marquee UI can be built into the theme, it is not yet configurable. That functionality will be available in a future release.
The Utelogy architecture allows additional calendar plugins to be built using the ICalendar Plugin SDK.
This image of the door marquee shows the room is available and the time of the next meeting on that day. The right side shows the schedule for the room.
When the room is booked, the door marquee will display the following image with a red background to indicate the room is currently booked.
U-Access allows you to use your Active Directory to authenticate users and to evaluate access rules to determine which users can use which rooms.
The setup is simple, but powerful, allowing you to set up enterprise-wide access rules. U-Manage allows you to configure U-Access by setting up:
- Directories - this allows you to define multiple active directory accounts that are used by the access service to authenticate users and map them to “groups” within Utelogy.
- Groups - You can define groups in Utelogy that are the assigned access authorities. Utelogy groups are implemented as Directory Query. The query is defined when setting up groups and one can select users by organization, locations, and active directory groups.
- Access Rules - Access rules combine a Room with a Group and specify whether that group can control that room or all rooms within a location. Rules can also be specified for any location within the organization.
User Authentication and access rule evaluation is performed by the U-Access service which is running on the U-Server. Because the U-Server is located on the customer network, it can connect to the customers Active Directory.
When a U-Control session for a room is initiated, the access rules for that specific room are evaluated to determine if a login is required. If a login is required, the user is prompted for their username and password. Once authenticated, they are presented with the U-Control interface.
The Utelogy architecture allows additional directory plugins to be built using the IDirectory Plugin SDK.