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ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

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Regular Member

ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

We have a fairly large mashup that was created in ThingWorx 8.3.3.  Mashup Builder in 8.3.3 was pretty solid - I didn't experience any bugs, at least for what I used it for.  It took a few moments to load in the Mashup Builder because the associated Thing has maybe 100 services in it.  This is my first mashup creation, and once I got the hang of expressions and routers and bindings in general, I found it fairly easy to make the mashup do what I wanted.

 

Then came 8.5.  We first tested an upgrade to 8.5.3 and found a bug with ptc-windchill-integration-connector.  We have several services added to that connector and in 8.5.3, I was unable import the connector from the previous build or add services to the existing connector (the Add button was always grayed out, even for Administrator).  I opened a case with PTC and found it's a bug.  I received a query to run in the ThingWorx database that enabled the "Add" button, but we still had issues getting services to work in the connector, so we went with 8.5.1 instead (no issue with the connector in 8.5.1).

 

I've imported everything into 8.5.1 and I've been attempting to do some modifications to the mashup.  I haven't pulled all of my hair out yet, but it's getting close.  This is more of a minor rant than anything else, but I'm wondering if others have experienced the same things and have had better luck, or if there have been other issues in 8.5.x.

 

  • Loading the Mashup Builder:  In 8.3.3, I never actually timed it, but I'm guessing it took around 10 seconds to load or refresh all of the services in the mashup.  In 8.5.1, I've timed it a few times and it takes just under two minutes.  When I add a new widget to the mashup and give the widget a name, everything reloads and I wait another two minutes. If I click on a different tab in that pane, then back to the Data tab, I wait another two minutes. It gets old in a hurry.

  • Randomly disappearing bindings:  I cannot reproduce this, but I find from time to time that services lose their bindings.  I sometimes notice that something doesn't behave right when I run the mashup.  I investigate and find that a service is no longer triggered.  I re-do the binding from whatever executes that service and it's usually good.  It's not the same services that occasionally lose their bindings, either.

  • Binding "Functions", what a pain!  I like the way expressions, event routers, etc. are grouped in the new "Functions" pane, but binding them can be painful.  In 8.3.3, I could select an expression or events router and click a button to configure their bindings, nice and easy.  Now that these are all "Functions", there is no dialog to configure the bindings.  The only option is to drag the connections, not so easy with a long list.  I can filter by name in some cases (being aware of that, I'm slowly recreating some of them with unique names so I can effectively use the filter).  I opened a case with PTC to see if I was overlooking something and was told there is no longer a dialog to configure the bindings and to submit an enhancement request (for functionality that existed in 8.3).

  • Style themes:  Neat idea, but seems buggy in 8.5.1.  Of course, pretty much all of my many widgets in the existing mashup are deprecated and I get that nice warning every time I begin to edit the mashup.  I clicked "Yes" once to the prompt to replace them with new widgets and I won't do that again, what a mess!  I started creating a new mashup in 8.5.1 to try the Style Themes.  I have a dark background with white labels in some areas so I set one of the label types to a white color and set that type for the labels on the dark background.  The next time or two or three that I came back to composer and edited the mashup, all of the labels would be black.  I also could not find how to make buttons less than 34 pixels high when I use the Style Theme.

For the 8.5 upgrade, I exported everything I'd made from Composer in 8.3.3, wiped it all from the server, then installed 8.5.1 from scratch.  The install worked great, no problems there, then I imported everything I had previously exported.  The server is a VM, 4-core CPU with 16GB RAM.  I don't know if some of the slowness is because it needs more horsepower, but the Mashup Builder performance in 8.5.1 is far worse than 8.3.3.  The mashup runs great - it's just sluggish in Mashup Builder.

 

I wonder if some of the issues are due to simply importing the mashup from the older version.  Is the export/import is the best (or only) way to bring a mashup into a newer install, or is there a migration tool or better way of doing it?

 

Has anyone else had similar experiences in 8.5?  I saw a PTC article about a list widget issue that said it's fixed in 8.5.5, but there's no mention of 8.5.5 or anything after 8.5.3 in the PTC Product Calendar.  Is there any news on upcoming releases that might help with some of these issues?

 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
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Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

Hello,

 

The team is aware of many of the items you and others in this thread have encountered. We are happy to report that the following are addressed in 8.5.4/ 8.5.5 - Mashup Builder/ Canvas loading/ performance improvements (mainly when you use Grids and Charts), bindings for Functions (you can now bind widgets/ properties/ data to Functions, and in 9.0 the Functions tab has it's own Configure Bindings screen), and general bug fixes (includes binding and style theme issues).

 

One thing to note when using the in-place upgrade option - we will migrate your layouts, widgets, bindings, properties/ property values, but your style definitions and general styles may come out different based on our new design system. We encourage you to use our Theming feature to mitigate those in one spot through our new Theme Editor (the 9.0 release supports directly editing layout/ container styles in the editor), and also take advantage of the new layout capabilities, as many styles/placements should be reconsidered in a flex layout world, for better responsiveness. Apart from these, we're also improving performance in the 9.0 release, converting all of our old panels, components, and the canvas to be model driven.

 

We are also working on improving our documentation and adding more tutorials (visual) and videos for Web Components and Responsive Layouts.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

View solution in original post

9 REPLIES 9
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Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

Hi,

 

Thingworx 8.5.4 is also available. Please check below the release notes for 8.5.4 (cannot see anything related to performance, but you can give it a try).

http://support.ptc.com/help/thingworx_hc/thingworx_8_hc/en/#page/ThingWorx%2FHelp%2FRelease_Notes%2F...

 

Also, for importing/deploying please take a look at Solution Central:

https://support.ptc.com/help/thingworx/solution_central/en/#page/solution_central%2Fintroduction_sc....

 

Hope it helps,

Raluca Edu

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Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

Thanks, I see the ThingWorx 8.5.4 download now (I had only been looking under the Nagivate downloads before).  I'll give that a try and see how it goes.

 

Highlighted

Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

Hello @DanWolf,

 

Few basic tricks that help us to work comfortably in the new Mashup Builder:

  • Try different browsers. We noticed that Google Chrome seems to provide the best performance (on the other end, Edge works but is very sluggish), and some of the browser extensions (e.g. AdBlock) sometimes result in random bugs in Composer;
  • Try to reduce your screen resolution;
  • Consider modularizing your complex mashup by splitting it into several contained mashups;
    • Some of the widgets (at least timeseries charts, advanced grids and collections) slow Mashup Builder down much worse than the others -- those are the primary candidates for moving them into sub-mashups.

From my own experience 8.5.0 was very buggy, 8.5.1 was much better, but still far from perfect. Now we're on 8.5.3 and barely notice any bugs in Composer anymore, planning to upgrade to 8.5.4 next week, keeping my fingers crossed.

 

Regards,

Constantine

Highlighted

Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

Hi @DanWolf.

 

If you're running Navigate, you need to check the prerequisites before upgrading the platform.  Navigate has very specific requirements in regard to ThingWorx compatibility.

 

Regards.

 

--Sharon

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Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

Thanks, @Constantine.  We use Chrome whenever possible.  IE is just horribly slow and Edge isn't much better.  The Edge Chrome version works pretty well, though.  Good point on the contained mashups - I plan on reworking the big mashup into contained mashups when I get a chance.

 

Highlighted

Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

Hi @DanWolf.

 

If you have found a solution to your issue, please post it here and mark it as the Accepted Solution for the benefit of others with the same problem.  If you still need assistance, please let us know.

 

Regards.

 

--Sharon

Highlighted

Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

We have been experiencing many of the woes mentioned, plus a bunch that you didn't.   I have a level 1 impact gripe in about the pixel height of many widgets not allowing me to reset them less than 34 px.  If they don't fix this, we are going to have to start from scratch to completely redesign ALL of our applications and seek "look and feel" approvals" from our customers...and they won't be happy about that.  I'm struggling right now to wire in (bind) a NAVIGATION "function", and having very little success at the moment.  Probably something I am missing...but I can't find the updated documentation for it.  Wouldn't matter anyway because none of the documentation has any examples.

I agree that the style themes, while a great idea, is missing a lot in actual application.  I've found it to be very difficult to block, get rid of, or work around PTC's default style theme.  I will delete it, save my mashup, go back and there it is again.  It won't go away unless I replace it.  It does nothing to affect the size of the widgets, however.  Text can get smaller (so long as you don't want to get smaller than 8 px), but some widgets have a minimum height of 34 px (valuedisplay's min. height is 26 px).  Both values are almost double our approved height settings.

That constantly recurring warning "Your mashup uses deprecated widgets.  Replace them now..." is placed horribly, and I am really getting sick and tired of seeing it.  (Yes, I KNOW they are deprecated...got it...leave me alone!  I'll change everything AFTER you FIX everything.)  With over 200 production mashups alone, a mistaken "YES" click will completely ruin my day.  But to my knowledge, there is no other way to break your mashup quickly other than by clicking "YES".  At least the OTHER warning box goes away after a few seconds.  It is annoying, too.  But it won't allow me to commit Hara-Kiri. I had to waste two days making backups of all my mashups so we can recover from that mistake if it were to occur.

 

That's all I have for now.  

 

 

 

Highlighted

Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

@OldGoat, I feel your pain.  I agree - hate having to click the Yes/No choice about replacing the deprecated widgets every single time I load the mashup.  And binding navigation functions is a pain, for sure.

 

I updated ThingWorx Platform to 8.5.4 and it's working better, at least in terms of how long it takes to load the mashup.  I'd say it's about half the time of 8.5.1.  Still much slower than it was in 8.3.3, but improving.

 

 

Highlighted

Re: ThingWorx 8.5 Mashup Builder Woes

Hello,

 

The team is aware of many of the items you and others in this thread have encountered. We are happy to report that the following are addressed in 8.5.4/ 8.5.5 - Mashup Builder/ Canvas loading/ performance improvements (mainly when you use Grids and Charts), bindings for Functions (you can now bind widgets/ properties/ data to Functions, and in 9.0 the Functions tab has it's own Configure Bindings screen), and general bug fixes (includes binding and style theme issues).

 

One thing to note when using the in-place upgrade option - we will migrate your layouts, widgets, bindings, properties/ property values, but your style definitions and general styles may come out different based on our new design system. We encourage you to use our Theming feature to mitigate those in one spot through our new Theme Editor (the 9.0 release supports directly editing layout/ container styles in the editor), and also take advantage of the new layout capabilities, as many styles/placements should be reconsidered in a flex layout world, for better responsiveness. Apart from these, we're also improving performance in the 9.0 release, converting all of our old panels, components, and the canvas to be model driven.

 

We are also working on improving our documentation and adding more tutorials (visual) and videos for Web Components and Responsive Layouts.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

View solution in original post

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