Tech note from Paul Mickelsen
Many users of the InteliSea system might have noticed a message on their computer displays warning of the “end of life” for Adobe Flash. This is the technology upon which the original InteliSea UI was built. During the last year I have been working on a replacement for the InteliSea UI and am happy to report the project is complete.
The work has been challenging in that the new UI, which I call UIX2, needed to be compatible with the existing InteliSea clients which include the original Flash UI, the iPhone and the iPad. Many of you might know that since 2017, I have rewritten the iPhone and iPad apps, the InteliSea Tunnel service, and much of the InteliSea Server Core. All this has been done to improve speed and reliability.
The new InteliSea UIX2 client is based on a native Windows technology called WPF. WPF is an acronym for Windows Presentation Foundation. I chose this technology for its reliability, speed and ubiquitous use.
The InteliSea UIX2 client is about twice as fast as the old Flash UI. There are a number of other features you might want to know about, so I’ll list them here.
- UIX2 allows remote connections to your vessel, just like the iPhone and iPad do now.
- UIX2 is touch enabled. If you are using a PC or tablet with a touch enabled screen, like the Microsoft Surface, there is no need for a mouse or keypad.
- UIX2 is designed with large font sizes. In most cases, the words on the pages are almost twice as big as those on the original UI. This makes the app much easier to read.
- UIX2 does not use a web server to gather charts, images, sounds and documents from the server. Instead, these types of data are encoded in the common Base64 string format. Requests for such data now take a fraction of the time they took in the past.
- User definitions no longer depend upon the ivc configuration file. Users can be added and deleted directly using UIX2. The definitions you maintain will not disappear if the server happens to be restarted.
- User properties now include an SMS number. This means that the number of SMS numbers to which alarm alerts can be sent is not limited to four. If you need more numbers, just add another user.
- User and global preferences are now maintained on the server. If a user changes a preference, it will be synced with any other client to which he is logged on.
- In keeping with the security improvements made for mobile devices, security has been changed in UIX2 so logon passwords are never sent, received or stored unless encrypted.
- The situation page has been added to the new UI. It is similar to the same page shown on mobile devices. You will note that sea state is now presented on the situation page in the same way one would see it on an aircraft artificial horizon. Local weather now appears on this page.
- New features such as geo watch, depth watch, and spin watch have been added. You can see the controls to manage those watches on the alarms page. Notification icons also appear at the bottom of every page.
- The tanks page has been redesigned to look more like the iPad tanks page. The controls to set tank transfer valves and operate transfer pumps are now incorporated on the page.
- The little yellow bugs set on gauges are now maintained by user on the server. This means if a user is logged on to multiple clients, changes to their gauge bugs appear on all those clients.
- Library documents are now maintained directly on presentation clients using UIX2. Their creation and properties no longer depend on the Configuration Manager ‘ivc’ file. The library page now allows management of pdf documents other than those defined for alarm manuals and procedures. The library now has shelves for manuals, procedures, galley documents, destination resources and reference material. Documents defined on the app are automatically updated on the server so they are immediately available to all other UIX2 clients.
- There is now a new tides page. The selection and filtering of tide stations is more robust than on the original Flash UI. The tide graph is rendered in vector graphics instead of a flat image file.
The new UI requires systems with InteliSea V2. In addition to installing the app, updated versions of Configuration Manager, InteliSea Core and the IPD program are also required. There are many more features of the app, too many to cover in this short note. Please contact me if you have any questions about the suitability of this new technology for your vessel. firstname.lastname@example.org