Whenever a new release of Asta Connect becomes available, it is a good idea to refresh your web browser by pressing CTRL F5 to ensure that any updated web pages in the application and its Help are displayed.
List filter, sort and page settings now remembered
Before this release, if you filtered or sorted a list, these settings were lost when you moved to a different page in Asta Connect. This meant that you had to reset the filter and sort settings for a list each time you wanted to use them.
The filter and sort settings you set for each list are now remembered, and are applied to the list automatically the next time you access that page.
For example, if you apply a filter to the project list on the Projects page so that only projects that started on or after 1 October 2023 appear in the list, and click the Start Date column to sort the projects in the list according to their start date, then move away from that page, these filter and sort settings are applied to the project list the next time you access the Projects page.
In addition to this, if a list comprises more than one page, the page of the list you were last looking at is now remembered, and you are taken automatically to that page of the list the next time you access that page.
For example, if you are looking at page 4 of the project team list on the Project Teams page, then move away from that page, page 4 of the project team list is displayed the next time you access the Project Teams page.
Whiteboard scroll position and zoom level now remembered
Before this release, if you scrolled to a particular area of a pull plan's whiteboard, or zoomed into or out of the whiteboard, these settings were lost when you moved to a different page in Asta Connect. This meant that you had to use the scroll bars and zoom control to set the whiteboard display each time you accessed a pull plan's whiteboard.
The scroll position and zoom level you apply to each pull plan's whiteboard are now remembered, and are applied to the whiteboard automatically the next time you access it. These settings are remembered for each individual pull plan, so you can apply different scroll positions and zoom levels to each pull plan whiteboard and they are each remembered.
Change the width of list columns
Some Asta Connect pages comprise lists of objects. For example, the Projects page comprises a list of your projects; the Users page comprises a list of your Asta Connect users.
You can now change the width of columns in lists, allowing each column more or less space to display the information it contains. You do this by positioning the mouse pointer over the heading of the column that you want to resize until you see two parallel, dotted, vertical lines on the right-hand side of the heading, then clicking and dragging these vertical lines to the left or to the right:
You can change the width of the columns on the Selected Tasks tab of the Edit Multiple Tasks dialog - which you use to edit and move multiple tasks - in the same way:
New topic that explains how to use the Asta Connect Help
The Asta Connect Help now includes a topic that explains how to use the Help. It includes the following information:
- Accessing the Asta Connect Help.
- Displaying the Asta Connect Help in its own window.
- Moving between topics in the Asta Connect Help.
- Searching for information in the Asta Connect Help.
- Tips on how to search for information effectively.
- What to do if the table of contents is not visible.
Lock a pull plan's whiteboard to prevent it from being edited
You can lock a pull plan's whiteboard to prevent it from being edited. You may wish to do this to prevent contractors and subcontractors from changing the details of pull plans without your consent.
Locking a pull plan's whiteboard prevents users from:
- Creating, editing and removing swimlanes.
- Creating tasks in the pull plan.
- Clicking and dragging tasks around the whiteboard.
- Duplicating tasks.
- Drawing links between tasks to show dependencies.
- Editing task details.
- Editing and moving multiple tasks at the same time.
- Removing tasks from the whiteboard.
- Deleting tasks.
- Adding and removing date columns at either edge of the whiteboard.
Once a pull plan's whiteboard is locked, users can view the whiteboard and can view details of tasks on the Edit Task dialog, but they cannot make any changes.
You lock a pull plan's whiteboard using the new Locked toggle that has been added to the Pull Plan Whiteboard page:
If you lock a pull plan's whiteboard, a warning is displayed wherever you normally edit tasks, informing you that you cannot edit tasks as the pull plan's whiteboard is locked:
To enable the new whiteboard locking feature, a new 'Pages - Whiteboards - Lock/Unlock Whiteboard' user permission has been added. This permission which allows users to lock and unlock pull plan whiteboards, is assigned to the 'Admin' and 'Project Manager' user roles by default. You should assign this permission to any users you want to be able to lock and unlock whiteboards.
Improved Search facility in Asta Connect Help
The Search facility in the Asta Connect Help has been improved in this release: wherever possible, as well as pointing you towards Help topics that provide useful information on the things you are querying, it will now display information that answers your search query directly in the Search pane.
For example, in the previous version of the Asta Connect Help, if you searched for How do I create a new pull plan?, How do you copy tasks?, or How can I change my password?, you got a list of useful search results that point you towards topics that answer your questions.
If you try these searches in the new version of the Help, you now see information above the topic list in the search results that answers your query directly:
Issues addressed in this release
|Summary||Improved whiteboard performance for large pull plans.|
|Description||Before this release, the whiteboard operated slowly if you used it with medium to large pull plans - those comprising a large number of activities, spread over several months, with a large number of tasks generated from the activities.|
|Resolution||The whiteboard has now been optimised so that its performance is much improved when working with medium to large pull plans.|
Lock tasks to prevent them from being edited or deleted
You can lock tasks to prevent them from being edited, deleted, and moved around the whiteboard. You may wish to do this to prevent contractors and subcontractors from changing the details of tasks that you have created without your consent. Once a task is locked, users can view details of the task on the Edit Task dialog, but they cannot edit the task's details, delete it, or move it around the whiteboard.
You lock tasks using the new Locked toggle that has been added to the Edit Task and New Task dialogs:
You can lock more than one task in a pull plan at the same time by editing multiple tasks and selecting the Locked toggle that has been added to the Task Details tab of the Edit Multiple Tasks dialog:
Locked tasks are identified on the Pull Plan Tasks page with a symbol:
You can also use the Locked toggles to unlock tasks, making them available for editing again.
You can also configure Asta Connect to lock tasks automatically as soon as they are completed, on a per-project basis. You may wish to do this to preserve an accurate record of work that has been done, by preventing users from changing details of tasks that have been completed. To configure Asta Connect to lock tasks automatically as soon as they are completed, you use the Automatically lock completed tasks toggle, on the new Project Settings page:
If you turn this toggle on, all tasks in the project that are completed are locked, and all tasks that are currently incomplete are locked as soon as they are completed.
To enable the new task locking feature, the following new user permissions have been added:
- Pages - Project Settings - Edit Project Setting: allows users to edit project settings on the new Project Settings page.
- Pages - Pull Plan Tasks - Lock/Unlock Pull Plan Task: allows users to lock and unlock tasks.
Both of these permissions are assigned to the 'Admin' and 'Project Manager' user roles by default. You should assign these permissions to any users you want to be able to lock and unlock tasks.
Details of individual tasks displayed underneath activities on the Pull Plan Gantt page
The Pull Plan Gantt page displays pull plans in the form of a Gantt chart, with the activities that are included in a pull plan displayed on its own row. Each activity can have one or more pull plan tasks associated with it. Before this release, you could view details of these individual tasks on the Pull Plan Whiteboard page, but you could not view pull plan activities and their associated tasks on the same page.
You can now view details of individual tasks that are associated with pull plan activities on the Pull Plan Gantt page. The tasks appear immediately beneath the associated activities, on rows, relating to project teams, that you can expand and contract as required:
The task rows are similar to the swimlanes on the Pull Plan Whiteboard page.
Tasks are shown as follows:
|'At risk/blocked' task|
Each task is coloured according to the project team responsible for the task.
For task rows, the spreadsheet displays information relating to all of the tasks on the row unless you expand the row to view details of individual tasks. If you expand a project team's row, a row relating to the project team appears above the individual task rows, showing details of the project team and the extent of the time period taken up by the tasks - highlighted in red in the illustration below:
You can click individual tasks in the Gantt chart to edit them using the Edit Task dialog.
Expand and contract all summary tasks at once on the Project Master Plan page
You can now expand and contract all summary tasks at once on the Project Master Plan page, using the 'Expand all' and 'Contract all' controls that have been added to the page:
To expand all summary tasks, click at the top-left of the spreadsheet; to contract all summary tasks, click .
Similar controls appear on the Pull Plan Gantt page, which enable you to expand and contract all pull plan rows.
Delete multiple project teams, project tags and risk categories
Before this release, if you wanted to delete a number of project teams, project tags or risk categories, you had to edit the details of each item individually and delete them one-by-one. This could take a long time if you had a large number of project teams, project tags or risk categories to delete.
You can now delete multiple project teams, project tags or risk categories at the same time, by selecting the items you want to delete using the new check boxes that have been added to the Project Teams, Project Tags and Risk Categories pages, then clicking Delete Selected Items:
You cannot delete project teams if they are being used as a swimlane in the whiteboard of one or more pull plans; you cannot delete project tags or risk categories if they have been assigned to any items. If any of the selected items are in use, those specific items are not deleted, but the other items in your selection are deleted.
Edit and move multiple tasks on the whiteboard at the same time
Before this release, you could only edit one task at a time on the whiteboard. This meant that if you wanted to apply the same changes to multiple tasks, you had to edit each task individually.
You can now select multiple tasks on the whiteboard, and apply edits to all of the selected tasks at the same time. For example, you may want to apply the same location and work area to a number of tasks; assign the same status to a number of tasks; or apply the same amount of progress to a number of tasks. You can also move multiple tasks forwards or backwards in time together by a specified number of days or weeks, and move them to a different swimlane.
To select multiple tasks, you click the new Multi-Select button that has been added to the Pull Plan Whiteboard page, then click the tasks you want to select. A tick appears on the selected tasks to show that they are selected:
You can select all the tasks in a swimlane or column with a single click, by clicking the swimlane or column header rather than the individual tasks.
When you have finished selecting the tasks you want to edit or move, click the new Edit Multiple Tasks button to display the new Edit Multiple Tasks dialog, which you use to edit or move the selected tasks:
Descriptions of all user permissions added to the Help
The Asta Connect Help now includes a full description of each available user permission, and shows which permissions are assigned to the user roles that are initially provided in Asta Connect. You may find this helpful when setting up new user roles, or when applying special permissions to individual users.
Issues addressed in this release
|Category||Task progress/Task status|
|Summary||Changing the percentage progress of an 'At Risk/Blocked' task changes its status to 'In Progress'.|
|Description||Before this release, if you changed the percentage progress of a task with a status of 'At Risk/Blocked', the task status was changed to 'In Progress'. This status change should not happen, as a task with a status of 'At Risk/Blocked' needs to have its risk resolved before its status can be changed.|
|Resolution||Changing the percentage progress of a task with a status of 'At Risk/Blocked' no longer changes the task's status to 'In Progress'; the task status remains 'At Risk/Blocked' until the risk has been resolved.|
'Edit mode' and 'pull plan mode' removed from Asta Connect
Before this release, if you wanted to edit items such as projects, master plans and pull plans, you first had to toggle the appropriate page into 'Edit mode'; and if you wanted to create a pull plan, you first had to toggle the Project Master Plan page into 'Pull Plan mode'.
In this release, the Edit Mode toggle has been removed from the following pages, so you can now edit fields as soon as you access these pages, provided you have appropriate permissions:
- Project Details page.
- Project Master Plan page.
- Pull Plan Details page.
- Pull Plan Whiteboard page.
The Pull Plan Mode toggle has been removed from the Project Master Plan page, so you can now create pull plans as soon as you access this page.
Simplified dashboard configuration controls
The dashboard configuration controls have been simplified in this release: the previous controls have been replaced by an Edit Dashboard drop-down menu:
You use these controls as follows:
|Toggle Filters||Click to switch between displaying filters at the top of the Dashboard page, and hiding them.|
|Toggle Layout||Click to switch between displaying the dashboard in layout mode, in which you can resize widgets, move them around the dashboard and remove them from the dashboard, and in standard mode, in which the widgets are fixed.|
|Add Widget||Click to display the Add Widget dialog, which you use to add widgets to the dashboard.|
|Add Page||Click to display the Add Page dialog, which you use to add pages to the dashboard.|
|Rename Page||Click to display the Rename Page dialog, which you use to rename dashboard pages.|
|Delete Page||Click to remove the current page from the dashboard; this control appears only when the dashboard comprises more than one page.|
Specify whether users are able to view the dashboard
Before this release, it was not possible to specify whether users were able to view the project performance dashboard.
You can now specify whether users are able to view the project performance dashboard, using the new Dashboard check box that has been added to the Permissions tab of the New Role and Edit Role dialogs:
Permission to view the dashboard has been given to the 'Guest', 'Project Manager' and 'Site Manager' user roles that are available in Asta Connect by default.
In addition to this, permissions to view pull plans and risk categories have been given to the 'Guest' user role.
View pull plans in the form of a Gantt chart
You can now view pull plans in the form of a Gantt chart, using the new Pull Plan Gantt page. This page displays the elements of the project's master plan that are included in the pull plan in the form of a spreadsheet and Gantt chart. Each activity in the pull plan appears on its own row in the spreadsheet and Gantt chart. This makes it simple to identify which activities are included in a pull plan:
Use risk categories to define why tasks are at risk or blocked
You can define risk categories in Asta Connect to describe the different types of risk that can affect tasks in a project. For example, you may want to create risk categories such as 'Adverse weather', 'Transport delays', and 'Staff illness'. You create, edit and delete risk categories using the new Risk Categories page:
Once you have created a risk category, you can apply it to tasks in your pull plans, to define why those tasks are at risk or blocked. You do this using the new Risk Log tab that has been added to the New Task and Edit Task dialogs, the fields on which become available when you set the status of a task to 'At Risk/Blocked':
Once you have entered information into the fields on the Risk Log tab, information appears in the new Risk Category, Risk Resolve By Date and Risk Owner columns on the Pull Plan Tasks page, and a warning triangle is displayed on the Risk Log tab, highlighting the fact that the task is at risk or blocked.
Once a risk has been resolved, you can also use the fields on the Risk Log tab to give details of the resolution.
When duplicating tasks in the whiteboard, if the task you are duplicating has a status of 'At Risk/Blocked' - or if it has had that status in the past - an Include Task Risk Log check box appears on the Duplicate Task dialog:
Select this check box to copy information from the fields on the Risk Log tab of the Edit Task dialog to the new duplicate task, or clear the check box to duplicate the task without copying over the risk log information.
Issues addressed in this release
|Summary||Unable to create tasks directly from a pull plan activity if one or more tasks have already been created from the activity.|
|Description||Before this release, if you created one or more tasks directly from a pull plan activity - by clicking the control to the right of the activity name on the Pull Plan Whiteboard page and selecting Create Tasks from Activity - you could not subsequently create further tasks from that activity, as the Create Tasks from Activity menu command became unavailable.|
|Resolution||You can now repeatedly create tasks directly from a single pull plan activity, as the Create Tasks from Activity menu command no longer becomes unavailable after it is first used for a particular activity.|
|Summary||Scroll bars are narrow and it can be difficult to click them; remove the footer from the main pane.|
Before this release, the scroll bars that appear on many pages in Asta Connect were rather narrow, which meant that it could be difficult to click them.
Also, a request was made that the footer be removed from Asta Connect's main pane, to make more of the screen available for displaying data.
Asta Connect's scroll bars are now significantly wider, which means that it is much easier to click them.
The footer has been removed from Asta Connect's main pane, maximising the amount of usable screen.
|Summary||Internal error occurs when creating a pull plan.|
|Description||Before this release, when creating a pull plan, 'An internal error occurred during your request' appeared if the first activity to be included in the pull plan had a name comprising more than 50 characters. This was because pull plan titles are restricted to a maximum of 50 characters, but activity names can have up to 100 characters.|
|Resolution||When you create a pull plan, a New Pull Plan dialog now appears, in which you can specify the title of the pull plan. The title defaults to the name of the first activity to be included in the pull plan, truncated to 50 characters if necessary, but you can edit this to give the pull plan a different title if you like.|
Print and share information from the whiteboard
Each task is represented on the Pull Plan Whiteboard page by a card - you can think of the whiteboard as a pin board attached to a wall, and each card as a sticky note on the pin board.
You can export a pull plan's whiteboard in PDF format, which means that you can share the whiteboard and its tasks with other stakeholders, either by printing the PDF or by attaching the PDF to an email.
To export a pull plan's whiteboard, click Export Pull Plan on the Pull Plan Whiteboard page to display the Export Pull Plan dialog, click the PDF Document radio button and specify your paper options in the Export Options fields that have been added to the dialog:
Improved Search facility in Asta Connect Help
The Search facility in the Asta Connect Help has been improved in this release: it will now handle natural language search queries that, before this release, would result in no search results.
For example, in the previous version of the Asta Connect Help, if you searched for How do I create a new pull plan?, How do you copy tasks?, or How can I change my password?, you got zero results.
If you try these searches in the new version of the Help, you get useful search results that point you towards topics that answer your questions.
Issues addressed in this release
|Summary||Location and work area information lost when duplicating cards in the whiteboard.|
|Description||Before this release, if you duplicated a task in the whiteboard to create a series of similar tasks for a project team without having to create each task individually, the location and work area information was not copied across from the original task to the new tasks.|
|Resolution||The location and work area information is now retained when you duplicate tasks in the whiteboard.|
|Category||Project tags/Project teams|
|Summary||Unable to delete project tags and project teams that had been assigned to projects that had then been deleted.|
|Description||Before this release, it was not possible to delete project tags or project teams that had been assigned to projects that had then been deleted, even if the project tags or project teams were not assigned to any other projects. Asta Connect mistakenly reported that the project tags or project teams were still in use.|
|Resolution||It is now possible to delete project tags and project teams that had been assigned to projects that had then been deleted, provided they are not assigned to any other projects.|
Export information from lists to a Microsoft Excel workbook
You can export information from some lists to a Microsoft Excel workbook. You may want to do this to access the information using another application. For example, you may want to construct a spreadsheet containing information about each of your projects.
Before exporting information, you may want to filter the items that appear in the list, so that only information on certain items is exported. For example, you may want to filter the list on the Projects page so that it includes only projects that start after a certain date, or that finish before a certain date.
View a project performance dashboard
You can display a dashboard view of your projects, which provides you with a quick indication of how your projects are progressing.
The different elements of the dashboard are known as 'widgets'. Each widget displays a different type of project performance information.
You can configure the dashboard to display information on more than one page. For example, you may want to set up a number of dashboard pages, with each one displaying a different selection of widgets - one displaying information on activities; one displaying information on project progress; and so on.
Position more than one task in each whiteboard cell
You can now position more than one task in each whiteboard cell. This helps you to arrange the tasks in your pull plans in a more realistic way: previously, if a project team had more than one task scheduled on a particular day, it was not possible to model this using the whiteboard.
You position more than one task in a whiteboard cell by clicking and dragging a task - either from the task list or from another cell - into a cell that already contains one or more tasks. If you add a second task to a cell, the width of the cell is increased automatically so that both tasks can be displayed, as illustrated below:
If you add a third task to a cell, the height of the cell is increased automatically so that all three tasks can be displayed, as illustrated below:
If you continue adding subsequent tasks to a cell, the width or height of the cell is increased automatically as required so that all tasks can be displayed.
You can change the order of tasks in a single whiteboard cell by clicking and dragging them around within the cell: if you click and drag one task on top of another task in the same cell, the position of the two tasks is switched.
Create new tasks by clicking a blank cell in the whiteboard
You can now create new tasks in a pull plan by clicking a blank cell in the whiteboard.
If you hover the mouse pointer over a blank cell, a plus symbol appears in the cell:
Click this plus symbol to display the New Task dialog, in which you can enter details of the new task. If you create a new task in this way, the project team corresponding to the swimlane in which you clicked is assigned responsibility for the task by default, and the start date of the task defaults to the date of the cell you clicked.
Duplicate tasks in the whiteboard
You can duplicate tasks in the whiteboard. This is an easy way of creating a series of similar tasks for a project team, without having to create each task individually.
To duplicate a task in the whiteboard, you use the Duplicate task command that has been added to the whiteboard task menu:
Selecting this command displays the Duplicate Task dialog, in which you specify the number of days you want the new task to span, and whether you want the task to include Saturdays and Sundays:
When you duplicate a task, it appears in the whiteboard in the cell(s) immediately to the right of the original task. If you specify that the task spans more than one day, that is the number of duplicate tasks that are created to the right of the original task.