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2022.3

Table of Contents

2022.3

Apporto 2022.3 is a limited deployment release.  Since most colleges and universities prefer not to make changes during the semester, the following features will not be rolled out until late December, 2022.  The exact upgrade date will be announced 2-3 weeks ahead of time along with 2022.4 Release Notes.

 

Student / Faculty / Staff Experience

Feature

Benefit

Keyboard language

With a growing number of international users, there has been demand to support non-English keyboards.  So, we added support for 18 keyboard languages.  U.S. English is the default if no preference is set.

Users can set their preferred keyboard language in their profile, accessible from the Account menu option in the upper right corner of the App Store. 

Additionally, on the users first session, we will auto-detect their browser language and ask if we should set a corresponding keyboard language (if supported).

Launch enhancements

  • Improved launch experience for persistent (named) virtual machines. Previously there was a delay of several seconds before a preloader appeared.  We fixed the delay and added messaging to let users know the cloud computer is starting (see below).
  • Improved messaging for auto-scaling of shared environments.  Previous messaging referred to “adding capacity”.  This confused users unfamiliar with cloud environments.  So, we changed the message to “Starting your virtual computer. This may take 1-2 minutes. Your session will begin shortly.”
  • Fixed an issue causing a delayed launch.  Now, most desktops and applications launch quickly (less than 12 seconds).  The exceptions include persistent VMs (which take 1-2 minutes to launch) and Docker applications (MySQL, MSSQL, Oracle XE, MongoDB) which take about 1 minute to launch.

Classroom enhancements

  • Improved default classroom layout.  Student desktops automatically re-size to fill the screen for a more responsive design.  If only a few students have logged in, larger desktops will display for better visibility.  You may adjust the number of desktops per screen via the dropdown menu at the top of the screen.  Options include auto, 4, 9, 16, or 25 desktops per screen.
  • Ensured students appear in order of login by default.  You may change the sort order via the class roster (as shown below).  The roster is accessed via the group icon at the top of the screen.
  • Removed “placeholders” for absent students in the classroom.  Beta user feedback indicated the gray placeholder desktops did not add value.  Instead, you may use the class roster to see a list of absent students.

Friendly error message

In the rare case a launch error occurs, we added support contact information and friendly messaging to our error message.

Enhancements and bug fixes

Enhancements and bug fixes:

  • Fixed an issue in which a black bar hid the desktop for low resolution settings (< 100% resolution).
  • Fixed an issue in which the cursor appeared disproportionately large for high resolution settings (>200%).

Admin Experience

Feature

Benefit

LTI enhancements
  • Homework submission:
    Students may upload homework files from Apporto directly to the LMS.  This feature is supported for Canvas and Blackboard and is enabled by default.  If faculty create assignments in the LMS (e.g. online assignment with a file upload deliverable), students will see a homework upload menu option in the desktop menu bar.  After selecting an assignment and file, the file is transferred to the LMS where faculty can review and grade the assignment.
     
  • Auto-publishing:
    If your LMS integration is configured such that students launch a specific application (rather than landing on the Apporto App Store), the application will be automatically published to the student.  This saves Administrators time since they don’t need to manage publishing via the Apporto Admin Console. 
  • Group persistence:
    In the past, when users launched Apporto from the LMS, their course and section information (Apporto group affiliation) updated every session.  If the user’s last session was launched from a Math course, their only group assignment in Apporto would be Math, even if they’d previously launched from a Biology course.  This was problematic for users who also log into Apporto via SSO (a common scenario).  So, we changed the logic to persist all group affiliations.  In the case above, the user would have both Math and Biology group affiliations in Apporto – and see all applications published to those groups in the App Store. 
  • Schoology Integration:
    Added support for Schoology integrations via LTI 1.3.  Users authenticate via Schoology.  When Apporto is launched, the user does not need to authenticate again.  Group and role information is passed automatically.
Performance enhancements
  • Improved performance of bulk operations for Users (e.g. deprovisioning, deletion, adding users to a group, etc.).  Previously, it was common to encounter PHP timeouts for bulk operations on a large number of users.  Now, bulk operation (i.e. “Update Options”) processing occurs offline and a notification displays when the process completes. 
  • Improvements to cron performance and reliability.  You should notice improved offline processing, user import, scheduling, and updates to the Servers screen.
Misc
  • Changed the logic for SFTP User Import file processing. Instead of importing files once a day, we check frequently for new files and process them whenever a new file is detected. 
  • To simplify App creation, we enabled starting the base image server from the Apps screen.  Previously this could only be done on the Servers screen. 
  • Upgraded to PHP 7.4.30 to ensure the latest security patches are in place.