Category: Development


Work is nearly completion on the next update to our MIDAS web based room booking and resource scheduling software, which is anticipated to be released next month.

In our previous blog post, we introduced the new setup/breakdown time features in v4.23. In this post, we’d like to highlight one of the improvements we’ve made in this next update in relation to bulk modifying/deleting “similar” bookings.

The “modify similar bookings” feature allows you to select an existing booking, and then quickly locate other similar bookings to it for bulk modification. The “delete similar bookings” feature allows you to select an existing booking and then quickly locate other similar bookings for bulk deletion.

These features allow you to narrow down the search for “similar” bookings to those which fall within a certain date range, and/or which take place in a particular room/venue, and/or which are of a certain type.

Following customer feedback, we’re improving these options in v4.23 to now also include the ability to restrict booking results to those bookings which take place on particular days of the week.

Limit similar booking search results to specific days of the week

So now, if you want to modify all similar bookings over a date range, but only include those bookings which fall on say a Tuesday, you can!

Previously, you could still do this, but you’d have to list all relevant bookings in the date range, and then painstakingly mark for bulk modification/deletion only those which fell on the specific day(s) you were interested in. In MIDAS v4.23 we’re making this process far less laborious!

We’re excited about these new features and we’re sure they’ll be of great benefit to our customers! Remember, we love feedback and feature requests from our customers, so do vote and let us know what you’d like to see in future updates to our software.

MIDAS v4.23 is coming soon! To be notified when it becomes publicly available, please join our mailing list, or to be among the very first to try the v4.23 “Beta”, why not join in the Beta Test? (We reward our Beta testers too!)

Work is nearly completion on the next update to our MIDAS web based room booking and resource scheduling software, which is anticipated to be released next month.

In advance of this, we wanted to share with you some of the exciting new and improved features in this forthcoming release…

A commonly requested feature we’re asked for is the ability to add setup and breakdown times to bookings.

As MIDAS allows users to add custom booking fields, some customers add their own bespoke setup/breakdown fields to their MIDAS system to record how long is needed to setup/changeover. This can work well, however, using custom booking fields in this way didn’t alter the actual start/finish times of the bookings themselves, and so could only be used to denote periods within the confines of the actual start/finish times of bookings.

We’ve listened to customer usage cases, and as a result, we are delighted to announce that MIDAS v4.23 will now include full support for specifying setup/breakdown times for bookings!

If these features are enabled, then the standard Add/Modify Bookings screen will include two additional fields, by default named “Setup” and “Breakdown” (but the good news is that these names are customizable!). These fields allow specifying a setup period before the start time of each booking, and a breakdown period at the end of each booking:

New Setup/Breakdown Fields in MIDAS v4.23

In the above screenshot, a booking is to be added from 8am – 10am, with a 30 minute setup period before hand, and 15 minute breakdown period afterwards. The resulting booking would render in the booking grid as follows:

A booking in the Booking Grid indicating a 30 minute setup time before the start of the booking, and a 15 minute breakdown period at the end

As you’ve come to expect from our software, we give you loads of control over settings and the new setup/breakdown time options are no different!

Firstly, the names “Setup” and “Breakdown” may not be the most applicable to your business or operational needs, so we allow you to choose from a list of alternatives, for “Setup” these include; “Arrival”, “Build”, “Fit up”, “Get in” “Load in”, and “Rig”. For “Breakdown” these include; “Departure”, “Derig”, “Get out”, “Load out”, “Reset”, and “Strike”… and if none of those are suitable, you can enter your own bespoke labels for these pre/post booking fields. Furthermore, you can also set a default value for each, and like other booking fields, choose whether the appear on printouts, and precisely control which users these fields are presented to:

Customize the pre/booking time fields with bespoke names and default values

If addition to be able to control the appearance/visibility of these new fields, we’re also giving you control over their functionality, with a host of new settings:

Control how the new setup/breakdown fields function

You can choose whether the times shown on the Booking Availability screen should include setup/breakdown times, you can choose whether setup and/or breakdown times for bookings are allowed to overlap with other bookings, and also whether setup/breakdown times are allowed to overlap for resources.

What’s more, you can also control how setup/breakdown times are handled with respect to invoicing:

Invoicing options for setup/breakdown periods

You can include/exclude setup/breakdown times from being invoices, or indeed appearing on your invoices.

We’re excited about these new features and we’re sure they’ll be of great benefit to our customers! Remember, we love feedback and feature requests from our customers, so do vote and let us know what you’d like to see in future updates to our software.

MIDAS v4.23 is coming soon! To be notified when it becomes publicly available, please join our mailing list, or to be among the very first to try the v4.23 “Beta”, why not join in the Beta Test? (We reward our Beta testers too!)

Things are hotting up here in Europe – and we don’t mean Brexit! A heatwave is currently engulfing parts of the continent with temperatures hitting a whopping 40°C in Paris. Across the Channel here in the UK the temperature is far more bearable, and so we’ve been busy working away on development on the next release of our leading web based room and resource scheduling system, MIDAS.

We’re excited to announce that the forthcoming v4.22 update will include the often requested feature of “custom client fields”, including the ability for self-hosted MIDAS customers to attach documents (i.e. insurance certificates, contracts, etc) to client records.

Similar to the “custom booking fields” feature first introduced way back in 2010, which allows administrators to add additional booking fields to their MIDAS system on top of the standard booking fields, the new custom client fields feature will provide similar functionality to client records in your MIDAS database.

Prior to v4.22, the standard client fields in MIDAS were fixed and allowed you to capture the following items of data for each of your clients/customers:

  • Client name
  • Organization
  • E-mail address (or addresses)
  • Postal address
  • Telephone number
  • Fax number
  • Mobile/Cell number
  • Notes

The introduction of custom client fields gives you even more flexibility! Now you’ll be able to add additional fields to capture other client information that you wish to collect, for example you could add a “Salutation” list field (Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Rev, Dr, etc), or a file upload field to capture an insurance document from your clients..

A custom "Salutation" client field in MIDAS v4.22
A custom “Salutation” client field in MIDAS v4.22
A custom "Insurance Document" upload client field in MIDAS v4.22
A custom “Insurance Document” upload client field in MIDAS v4.22

The types of custom client fields that may be added are the same as those available for custom booking fields, namely:

  • Checkbox – A “tick box” field
  • File – (self-hosted editions only) Allows uploading/attaching of files and documents to client records
  • List – A drop-down list of pre-defined items
  • Number – A field that will only accept numerical input
  • Range – A “slider” control allowing selection of a numeric value within a defined range
  • Text – A single-line text field
  • Text Area – A multi-line text field
  • URL – A navigable web link to an external resource

Both custom booking and custom client fields may be managed via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Fields

Custom client fields in MIDAS v4.22
Custom Client Fields in MIDAS v4.22

From this screen you’ll also be able to control which client fields (both standard and custom) should be included on printouts, in search results, and on public booking/request screens. You’ll also be able to re-order client fields as well as selectively hide them from individual users too!

MIDAS v4.22 is coming soon! To be notified when it becomes available, please consider joining our Mailing List

In addition to our commitment to regularly bringing exciting new and improved features to our easy-to-use room booking system, MIDAS, we also work hard behind the scenes to constantly improve the overall speed and performance of both our software and infrastructure.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the performance improvements we’ve introduced over the past year, and some of the performance improvements you can look forward to in the very near future!

Caching and CDN

CDN stands for “Content Delivery Network”, and is a means whereby web content – such as an image – is stored on multiple servers around the world. When the image is requested by a visitor’s web browser, rather than the image being served from a single origin server (which may reside in another country), it is instead served by the nearest/fastest server in the CDN network. The result is significantly improved loading times for content served via a CDN.

Back in May last year (2018) we introduced CDN support for static content for all our cloud-hosted MIDAS customers.

As a result, we quickly saw performance improvements and reduction in load times of customer’s hosted MIDAS systems by up to 67%! You can read more about this in this blog post.

Improved DNS

DNS stands for “Domain Name System”, and can be considered as a “phone book” for the internet. When you enter a website in your browser’s address bar, a DNS system is used to look up the corresponding server on the internet that the URL you’ve entered resolves to, allowing you to then access the site.

This week, we’ve migrated our DNS to a distributed/cloud-based system. Previously, our DNS was provided by our own web servers, so for example, if you wanted to access our blog (blog.mid.as) the DNS system would first have to make contact with mid.as to find out the location of blog.mid.as.

With our new distributed/cloud-based DNS system, DNS is now handled in a similar way to the CDN system outlined above – that is to say that when you enter a URL/sub-domain for any part of our site, the DNS is resolved on a server geographically close to you.

As a result, we’re seeing DNS lookup times for our site up to 5 times faster than previously!

The above images (from dnsperf.com) show how quickly the mid.as domain would resolve from various locations around the world previously (left image) and again now (right image)

XML vs JSON

What and what?! XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. Both are methods for storing and transporting data, with JSON being the newer of these two methods.

As we’ve been developing MIDAS for well over a decade now, XML has been the format we’ve used for the main settings file within our software for the majority of that time (as JSON wasn’t really around a decade ago!). The downside of using the XML format particularly when used in conjunction with Perl (the language which MIDAS is written in) is that it tends to be a little slow and clunky.

That’s why starting with our next software update, v4.22, we’ll dropping the main XML settings file in favor of a JSON settings file instead. In our own benchmark testing, this simple change has resulted in improved load times of ~10ms per request, which may not sound a lot, but is actually quite noticeable.

As a result of this upcoming improvement, self-hosted customers will need to ensure that the JSON Perl module is installed and available on their MIDAS system in order to be able to update to v4.22 when it becomes available. Instructions of how to do this may be found in our How to install Perl modules KB article. Cloud-hosted customers don’t need to worry about this, as we’ve taken care of it!

In the very early days of MIDAS, each “venue” (room/bookable space) you added to the system could have a name and a maximum occupancy level (capacity) setting.

Over the years as MIDAS has developed and improved, the number of venue options has greatly increased; today you can set hours of operation, simple and complex hire rates, venue managers, venue blocking rules, alternatives, and rich HTML descriptions.

These additional options have given our software even more flexibility for a wider range of applications, however, when you increase the number of individual venue settings/options available, this in turn can increase the time it takes to setup or make changes to a venue.

That’s why last March, in response to customer feedback, we introduced a way to allow you to “bulk modify” venues, so that users no longer had to modify settings for each venue one at a time.

Manage Venues Screen

The “bulk modify” venue feature allowed more than one venue to be selected at a time from the Manage Venues screen, and when the “Save Changes” button was clicked, the current venue settings/options would be saved for all selected venues.

However, some users didn’t appreciate that all venue settings/options (with the exception of the venue name) would be applied to all selected venues, including capacity, rates, hours, managers, etc.

Therefore, to provide even grater flexibility for users, for v4.21, we’re making it even simpler!

Now, when you have multiple venues selected on the Manage Venues screen and you click ‘Save Changes”, MIDAS will prompt you to select which current settings you wish to apply to your selected venues:

Bulk Modify Venues Options

This new additional dialog will give users full control in making it easier and straight forward to make specific bulk changes to venues, and we’re sure you’re going to love it!

Check out some of the other new and improved features coming in v4.21 here.

MIDAS v4.21 is coming soon! To be notified when it becomes available, please consider joining our Mailing List