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This post is from the XebiaLabs blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Jan 11, 2016 — DevOps Expert

Welcome XL Release 4.8!


Dynamic Release Data Gives You Better Control and More Flexibility

XL Release has been giving companies the most advanced release pipeline orchestration for their Continuous Delivery initiatives for several years now. And today we’re delighted to show off our next step in our ongoing march to help DevOps teams achieve continuous delivery at enterprise scale through automation, visibility and control. XL Release 4.8 has just hit the shelves, offering the most advanced integration between people, processes and tools yet. Responding to requests from some of our biggest enterprise users, this version is all about making release data dynamic, so information can be easily supplied and updated at any point during the release. New features provide better flexibility to collect and use data from people, other releases and other tools, as well as improve usability and process flow. Check out the 4.8 video to see for yourself.  

Dynamic Release Data

New Dynamic Release Data capabilities foster advanced interaction between people, releases and third party tools. Data can be dynamically entered and changed data during releases in a very user-friendly way by users and by other tools. For example, now while a release is running, you can query JIRA for a list of tickets, present those tickets to a user and have them work with the information (perhaps complete work from some open tickets), and then have XL Release update the issue back in JIRA (add a comment, resolve the ticket, etc.)Query JIRA task cropRelease variables are now much more flexible; you can give them labels and descriptions, set them to be required or optional, and choose whether they must be filled in before a release starts.



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New User Input Window, New Input Task Type, and New Data Types for Input Fields

We now have a new User Input task type that lets release designers configure a well-labeled pop-up Text Entry window in which users can enter information at any time while the release is running. This task type allows you to place input windows anywhere in the release process… with no programming or HTML skills required. We’ve also added new data types to our input fields (new variable types). Our input fields now not only support text fields, but also lists, checkboxes, XL Deploy data, sets, and key-value maps.For example, with the new data types, you can now select from a list of open JIRA tickets and specify which ones to include in the current release, and leave the rest for next time.Here’s a picture of the new input window plus some of the new supported form field types:User Input task - showing all variable typesThese new features give you more advanced and user-friendly interactions and you don’t have to be a designer to create a custom input screen! Release managers can now be simply template owners, not people with deep technical skills: Creating custom input screens is “so simple, I can even do that!”  

Global Variables

XL Release now supports Global Variables; in other words, you can now define and update information that can be used across releases and across templates. Let’s say your company has three locations, North1, North2 and South. If you create one central list with the details of your locations, everyone can re-use this global list for their templates and releases. When you update the global list, all releases will use the updated data.Global Variables screen crop 

New Variable Overview Screen

Our new Variable Overview screen makes it easy to define data that comes from users and other tools on a release-by-release basis.  

New Task Action Menu

Now you can make changes directly to tasks in the release flow using our new Task Action side menu. Working with XL Release is much more efficient: without ever opening a task, you can assign it to yourself, change its type, and also complete, skip, fail, duplicate, or delete the task.Assign to me menu 

Change Task Type Feature

Now you can change a task type without deleting and rebuilding it as the new type. You can first model your releases using only manual tasks. As your release process evolves and automated tasks replace manual ones, it’s easy to convert your manual tasks into automated ones in just a few clicks.  

Sharper UI

We’ve also added a fresher look and feel for the UI – buttons are easier to find; the form fields are spiffier and have lost their grey background; and the new release screen is better organized (with the release details on the right side). This new view ensures that you immediately see what kind of interaction is required from you, saves you a lot of scrolling, and overall gives you a much better look and feel.GUI before and after 02  [ Before ]                                                                                                                          [After] 

Tighter Coupling with JIRA

By allowing more types of data to be stored, we have now added a great opportunity for better integration with third party tools. To give you an idea of what you can do, we’ve enhanced our JIRA plugin and included it with XL Release; it allows you to get a list of tickets, update tickets and change the status of tickets simply using the JIRA Query Language. This feature opens op a world of possibilities for integration with JIRA and other tools like ServicenNow, Jenkins, etc.  

Data Visualization Tools

As part of our 4.8 release, we have a new out of the box SQL export hook available that uses the export mechanism introduced in 4.7.0. This export hook opens up all the data from your archived releases so you can get even more visibility into your release process. Using a combination of XLR and your own BI tool, you can analyze your release data, create custom reports and dashboards, and use the new insights to better manage and improve your release process. Below you see can some cool samples of custom reports created in Tableau using the new XL Release export hook, which you’ll find here.Tableau 

Enhanced Jenkins Plugin

Now Jenkins can take advantage of our new variable management features and kick off XL Release pipelines using dynamic information. You'll find the plugin here.   With all of these new features delivering better release control, more flexibility, and streamlined usability, it’s even easier to orchestrate and automate your software release pipeline! So if you haven’t already tried XL Release, there’s never been a better time – get your free trial now. If you already have XL Release, you’ll find version 4.8 in the usual spot, our Customer Download area, and you’ll find the documentation here. We hope you enjoy our latest innovation! Cheers,The XL Release Team Learn more about XL Release…. 

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