Version 2.4 getting ready to launch

Version 2.4 getting ready to launch

We are excited about this next upgrade as we wrap up beta testing for the upcoming Version 2.4. Some of the upgrades will be more visible than others but all are critical in an effort to keep R18LabQMS relevant and, most importantly, up-to-date with the latest AASHTO R18 Standard requirement.

The launch will take place the week of March 21 and all users will be kept updated on the login page under Application News.

Let’s Explore

3rd Party software updates

R18LabQMS is no different than all other software applications requiring periodic upgrades to ensure the latest versions have been implemented. Some have asked what programming language is R18LabQMS written in and, well for all you geeks out there, here is the short answer: Ruby on Rails.

Ruby on Rails, or Rails, is a server-side web application framework written in Ruby under the MIT License. Rails is a model–view–controller framework, providing default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages

Application optimization

From time to time the development team will go through the application to ensure efficiency with a focus on page loading times. There are many factors that go into this including the size of a user’s inventory. It was recently brought to our attention that a specific page was slow loading within the reports tab, which we addressed with great success. However, we needed to evaluate the overall application in regard to optimization. It’s important to note that there are other factors outside of the R18LabQMS application that can affect page loading times, i.e., web browser and internet provider.

Procedure forms

This upgrade is long overdue and will allow more flexibility when creating the equipment procedure forms within the application. Users will be able to provide more content on a single page. Currently, entire rows are used for a single form element. With this upgrade, not only will users be able to have three form elements on a single row, but will also be able to check a form preview before completing the task. Details and functionality of the new procedure forms can be found in the User Guide.

Last month

The Senior Technician Role allows the senior technician to navigate through the equipment inventory, which includes adding and editing equipment inventory and procedures. This was launched on January 14, 2022.

PDF refactoring

Reasons why refactoring is important:

  • Improves the design of the existing software code/application
  • Make software easier to understand
  • Makes finding bugs easier
  • Makes the program run faster
  • Provides greater consistency for users

PDF Shifting to AWS (Amazon Web Service): Currently PDFs are stored in a GDrive. AWS is a more reliable storage option, while still processing through Google Docs to generate the PDF from uploaded documents and reports created through the system. 

Criteria for upgrades

These are just some of the questions we look at when making decisions on upgrades.

  • Will the enhancement benefit a significant number of users?
  • Is the upgrade a need or simply nice to have?
  • Is it a requirement in the AASHTO R18 Standard?
  • Did the accreditation body bring functionality to our attention as a need?

User question

Q: As a new user, can we upload our equipment inventory through an import function? 

A:  Great question. The short answer is, currently, no. This is a question that I have been asked several times lately. For one concerned company with over 400 pieces of equipment for a single lab, this seemed like a daunting task. Adding equipment into the inventory is an intuitive and simple process, however, it does take time. I emphasize to potential users that no matter how you manage your equipment inventory there is an initial manual process including developing and maintaining equipment procedures that must take place. 

With the recent interest in an import function, we have initiated an exploratory process and are looking into this as a near-future upgrade.

Resources and training opportunities

Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application;

  • Support
  • R18 Blog
  • Virtual Training (1 hour or less, no fees), contact us for an appointment
  • Extensive Virtual Training – Fee-based, please inquire.
  • 1 Full Day in your lab onsite – Fee-based, please inquire.

Upcoming Meetings

All travel to industry meetings will be assessed on their scheduled dates, 2022 is looking good. 

Please check out our most recent promotional R18LabQMS video.

For all questions regarding your quality management system, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your company.

One last favor to ask, if there is a specific topic or discussion you would like to see in upcoming blogs, please send us a note!

 – Gary Irvine
R8LabQMS Program Manager