Category: Development


Following on from our previous post, you’ll know about some of the difficulties and challenges we’ve faced over the years in ensuring a consistent user experience can be delivered for our users, regardless of which web browser they’re using.

In response to customer feedback, updating and improving some of the visual elements of MIDAS has been the main focus for our next update, v4.20.

This blog post outlines some of the key visual changes we’re making in order to improve the user interface (UI).


Deprecating some old, less popular themes

The standard (non-HiRes) version of the “Default” theme is being retired, along with the “Pastel” and “Classic” themes.

Pastel Theme for MIDAS
The “Pastel” theme (shown above) was the least used optional theme by our customers. We may re-introduce a similar theme in the future, but for the time being the “Pastel” theme will no longer be available in v4.20

Classic v3 Theme for MIDAS
The “Classic” theme (shown above) was originally introduced with the release MIDAS v4.00 and was based on the icons in the previous pre-v4.00 interface for MIDAS. As there were significant changes made to various icons between MIDAS v3 and v4, the “Classic” theme’s primary purpose was to ease the transition to v4 for long standing customers familiar with icons from v3. MIDAS v3 was superseded by v4 over six years ago now, and so this interface is now very dated. As such, the “Classic” theme will no longer be available inn MIDAS v4.20.

Standard Resolution Default Theme for MIDAS
The non-HiRes version of the “Default” theme (shown above) was primarily aimed at self-hosted customers who were installing MIDAS onto a server which didn’t support serving SVG images. The non-HiRes default theme version was identical to the “Default-HiRes” theme, but with high resolution SVG icons substituted for lower resolution PNG images.

Nowadays, all modern servers can be configured to correctly serve SVG images, with the majority of them being able to serve such content natively. (All our cloud-hosted customers are defaulted to the high resolution, rather than the standard resolution, “Default” theme)

The purpose of the non-HiRes “Default” theme is therefore now for all intents and purposes redundant, and so it has been removed from v4.20.


Updating Existing Themes

High Resolution SVG graphics in MIDAS
The previous “Default-HiRes” theme has been updated and renamed to “Default” for v4.20. The “BrushedSteel”, “HiContrast” and “Slate” themes have all had a face lift too. All of these themes now boast high resolution SVG icons, and improved layouts.

Brushed Steel Theme for MIDAS

High Contrast Theme for MIDAS

Dark Slate Theme for MIDAS

We’ve also increased the size of some visual elements to better aid those with sight difficulties or those accessing MIDAS on very small screen devices. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the login screen under the hi resolution “Default” themes in both v4.19 (left) and v4.20 (right):

MIDAS v4.19 login screen MIDAS v4.20 login screen
v4.19 Login Screen v4.20 Login Screen

Introducing New Themes!

We’re also adding THREE exciting new, high resolution themes to v4.20!

Honeycomb

New Honeycomb theme for MIDAS

Squares

New lilac Squares theme for MIDAS

Wood

New Wood effect theme for MIDAS

Additional new themes may also be added down the line, but for v4.20 a total 7 distinctly different themes will be included as standard. No longer will there be a need to download and install (in the case of self-hosted customers) or request (in the case of cloud-hosted customers) additional optional themes for your MIDAS system. All 7 of these themes are included as standard.


Custom themes

Self-hosted customers will also still be able to “tweak” and customize their own visual themes for MIDAS, however the process for doing so will be slightly different then before. We’ll shortly be updating our Knowledgebase with instructions in this regard.


Future development

The new way in which themes are handled starting with v4.20 will make it easier for us to introduce further themes in the future, as well as lay future foundations for an often requested “white label” edition of MIDAS.


MIDAS v4.20 is coming soon, however we would love you comments and feedback on these theme updates! Please consider joining our Beta Test so that you can explore these new and improved themes for yourself (Oh, and we reward our Beta testers too!)

MIDAS and Internet Explorer 11

Here are MIDAS HQ we love getting feedback from our customers! Whether positive or critical, all feedback is important to us as it helps us to continually develop and improve our MIDAS room booking & resource scheduling software and service to make it the best it can be!

Our customer feedback is overwhelmingly positive, and you can read some of these comments on our website and also on independent review sites such as TrustPilot.

However, in recent times a handful of customers have commented specifically in relation to the user interface (UI) of MIDAS, which a few perceive as now a little “dated”.

We wanted to begin addressing this for our next MIDAS update, v4.20, and so we’ve introduced a number of changes and improvements in this area which you can read about in the following blog post.

However, we also thought it would be useful to explain some of the challenges we’ve faced with regards to the UI over the years.

As you may or may not know, MIDAS has been in continuous active development for well over a decade, and our philosophy has always been to support ALL popular web browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Apple Safari, and more recently Microsoft Edge).

Room Booking System for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Edge This has been an enormous task over the years, but we feel strongly that our users should have a choice of which web browser they use, with a consistent MIDAS experience between browsers, and not be forced to use one particular browser in order to be able to access and use our MIDAS software.

It’s fair to say that the most difficult web browser to maintain support for over the years continues to be Microsoft’s Internet Explorer series, primarily because it has always lagged way behind all other vendor’s browser offerings in terms of its development, updates, and support for the latest standards (the web has developed and evolved significantly over the years we’ve been developing MIDAS, and Internet Explorer doesn’t keep up!).

To some extent we’ve been “held back” over the years by our decision to continue to support customers who force their uses to use Internet Explorer, however, as of today the only version of Internet Explorer we officially support is 11, having deprecated support for IE10 & 9, IE8, IE7, and IE6 over the past decade.

MIDAS and Internet Explorer 11 Continuing to support MIDAS in IE11 for the very small (and ever decreasing) percentage of our users who continue to use this old browser limits how we can develop MIDAS, particularly in terms of the user interface.

Whilst we would have loved to have dropped IE11 support long ago, Microsoft have committed to providing mainstream support for IE11 until the end of life of the operating systems upon which it is installed – namely, Windows 7, 8 and 10. Windows 7 & 8 have both now reached their EOL (End Of Life) for mainstream support, however Windows 10 is still actively supported by Microsoft and will continue to be for the foreseeable future (for a minimum of at least two years).

That’s why we’ve taken the difficult – but necessary – decision that at some point during 2019 we’ll officially be dropping IE11 support in MIDAS.

This won’t necessarily mean that MIDAS will suddenly cease to function for IE11 users next year, but it does mean that over time new features and new user interface elements and enhancements may not display or even function correctly if you continue to access MIDAS using Internet Explorer 11.

If you’re currently an IE11 user, there is however, plenty of time to switch to a different web browser and there’s plenty of choice when it comes to modern alternative web browsers.

MIDAS will continue to be supported in recent versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Opera.

We appreciate that this may affect a very small number of users, but we hope this blog post gives some insight and understanding as to why we’re making this decision and also gives you plenty of time to switch to an alternative, more modern, web browser.

As ever, if you have any questions or concerns over how this may impact you and your organization’s use of MIDAS, please don’t hesitate to contact us and our friendly team will be only too happy to help!

The forthcoming update to MIDAS – our popular web based room booking and resource scheduling software – includes a handful of small, but none the less useful, updates and improvements to the extensive Invoicing capabilities within the software.

We often receive ideas and suggestions from our customers as to what new features and improvements they’d like to see when it comes to invoicing within MIDAS, and so our next update (v4.19) will feature..


A new “View Only” option for the “Can use invoicing” user permission

Existing MIDAS administrators will know of the powerful set of permissions that can assigned to accounts on a per-user basis.

One of the available permissions is the “Can use invoicing” setting. This setting allows administrators to allow/deny each user the ability access to MIDAS’ Invoicing features.

Previously, this permission had three possible settings:

  • No – User has no access to any of the invoicing features
  • Yes – User has full access to all of the invoicing features
  • Limited – User may create/generate invoices, but may only view/modify/delete invoices which they created/generated (i.e. they will not have access to invoices added by other users)

For v4.19 we’re adding a forth option to this permission – “View Only“. User’s who’s “Can use invoicing” permission has been set to “View Only” will be able to view all invoices, but will not be able to modify, delete, email or print them, nor will they be able to generate or create new invoices.

This new option will be useful to organizations who wish to grant “read only” access to their invoices, for example, for the purposes of auditing.


Exporting invoice summaries in Excel format will format “Invoice Dates” as Excel dates (rather than as text)

In the previous update to MIDAS (v4.18), we introduced the ability to export invoice summaries in native Excel (.xlsx) format.

We’re made a small improvement to this for v4.19 in that invoice dates will now be formatted as Excel dates rather than as a regular text string.

This will allow for easier manipulation/format of dates when viewing your exported invoice summaries in Excel.


Tax Amount and Grand Total fields become editable

After you generate or create a new invoice in MIDAS, you may freely edit its contents prior to “finalizing” it (printing/emailing to the client).

When editing invoices, by default, MIDAS will automatically re-calculate totals when you make changes. For example, if you charge $50/hour for room hire and you’ve invoiced for 2 hours, the line total on the invoice would be $100. If you then manually change the quantity from 2 to 3 hours, MIDAS will automatically re-calculate the line total of the invoice to $150, and the grand total of the invoice accordingly.

A small “Calculate Totals” tick box is present when modifying invoices, and if un-ticked will prevent MIDAS from automatically calculating totals, allowing you to specify manual amounts if necessary.

However, in earlier version, with the “Calculate Totals” box un-ticked whilst you could modify item rates, quantities, line totals, and tax rate, the tax amount value and grand total values would still be automatically calculated and couldn’t be manually adjusted.

We’ve changed this for v4.19 so that when the “Calculate Totals” box un-ticked, you’ll be able to manually modify the value of any field on your invoice.


We’ve also made one other small change relating to invoices for v4.19, relating to the way that a client’s “Paid in Full” and “Outstanding” invoices were displayed in the Booking Information Panel.

Previously, these lists were sorted in ascending order (i.e. the client’s oldest paid invoice would appear at the top of the list “Paid in Full” list of invoices).

We’ve changed this sort behavior to descending order for v4.19, so that the client’s most recently paid/outstanding invoices will be shown at the top (rather than the end) of each respective list.


Click here to continue reading about some of the other new & improved features coming in MIDAS v4.19!

MIDAS v4.19 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 v4.19 “Beta”, why not join the Beta Test? (We reward our Beta testers too!)

We’re improving and simplifying the password reset process for MIDAS v4.19.

Due to the secure way passwords are stored by MIDAS, it’s not possible to “recover” a forgotten password, the only option is to request a password reset.

In the past, this process has been as follows:

  1. User clicks the “Forgot Your Password?” link on their MIDAS login screen
  2. The user then enters their email address and clicks “Reset My Password”
  3. MIDAS then emails the user with a reset confirmation link
  4. The user clicks the reset confirmation link
  5. MIDAS emails the user a new temporary password (which they’re required to change upon their next login)

We’re simplifying this process and so from v4.19 the process will instead be as follows:

  1. User clicks the “Forgot Your Password?” link on their MIDAS login screen
  2. The user then enters their email address and clicks “Reset My Password”
  3. MIDAS then emails the user with a temporary login link
  4. The user clicks the temporary login link and is prompted to enter a new password after which the user is logged in

This simplified password reset process removes the sending on two emails to users (a reset link followed by a temporary password), as just a single email will be sent. This also strengthens security as a temporary password is no longer sent via email.

This improved flow also addresses the issue of multiple password reset attempts and emails arriving out-of-order. For instance, take the following scenario:

  1. User initiates a password reset, receives an email with a reset link and clicks it
  2. Whilst the user is waiting for a new temporary password to be sent to them, the initiate a further password reset and click the reset link in that corresponding email
  3. The original temporary password email arrives, and the user attempts to use the temporary password. However, as they since initiated a second password reset request, the first temporary password is no longer valid

This caused confusion for a handful of users who’d attempted to reset their password several times within a matter of minutes couldn’t understand why the temporary password they received wasn’t being accepted.

The improved password reset flow for MIDAS v4.19 completely eliminates this. Even if a user initiates multiple password reset requests the links they receive via email will all permit the user to set a new password, until they have done so.

We’re sure these improvements will make it easier and stress free for users to reset their own passwords.

Along with these changes, administrators can also still specify how long password reset links are valid for (the default is 2 hours). This setting may be found via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Security. For more information, please refer to the help documentation.

Of course, if a user isn’t able to reset their own password, any other administrative user who has been granted the “Can Manage Users & Permissions” user permission can reset a user password on their behalf.

Click here to continue reading about some of the other new & improved features coming in MIDAS v4.19!

MIDAS v4.19 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 v4.19 “Beta”, why not join the Beta Test? (We reward our Beta testers too!)

When adding new bookings to MIDAS (or modifying existing ones) if there’s an email address on record for the client that you’re making/modifying bookings for, then MIDAS will offer a “Send Booking Confirmation?” tick box on the Booking Availability screen, allowing you to send an automated booking confirmation email notification to the client when the bookings are made.

Sometimes, you may wish these booking confirmation notifications to go to multiple recipients in addition to the primary client that the bookings are for.

That’s why MIDAS v4.19 will automatically detect email addresses added to the standard “Booking Notes” field, or any text custom booking fields, and offer these as additional “CC” email addresses for the booking confirmation notification to also be copied to.

Here’s an example to illustrate:

Detect email addresses entered into booking fields

Two email addresses have been added to the “Booking Notes” field for the above booking. When “Check Availability and Book” is clicked, the following “Booking Availability” screen is shown:

Offer additional recipients for booking confirmation notification

Notice how MIDAS has detected these email addresses and offered each as an optional cc recipient for the booking confirmation email to the client.

Please Note: Cloud-hosted editions of MIDAS will detect a maximum of 5 additional email addresses in booking fields when MIDAS is configured to send via an external SMTP server, or a maximum of 2 additional email addresses when configured to send via the Sendmail option. There are no limits imposed in self-hosted editions.

MIDAS can be configured to send outgoing email via SMTP/Sendmail via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Email. For more information, please refer to the documentation at https://mid.as/help/manage_email_settings

Click here to continue reading about some of the other new & improved features coming in MIDAS v4.19!

MIDAS v4.19 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 v4.19 “Beta”, why not join the Beta Test? (We reward our Beta testers too!)