After months of Beta testing, the new version of Floorplanner is finally here! In the past months we have done a lot of listening, designing, tweaking, discussing, testing and coding to make it happen. Now that it is finally live, we'd like to introduce you to the new version of Floorplanner and cover some of the common questions.
The most visible changes are of course the new interface and the improved 3D. But we have also made some big changes to the PRO and Business subscriptions, added a new Enterprise version (for retailers) made lots of 2D improvements, completely rewritten the backend for better worldwide speed and reliability, integrated a translation system that can be maintained by local users, moved to the "cloud" for storage and content distribution, improved and extended our API's, built a better integration of Flash and HTML content and done many more things. Some of you followed the progress through Twitter or our Tech-blog
The look and feel of the site and interface was due to a serious make-over. Richard and Rob redesigned most pages and combined with Tummie's" illustrations gave the site a fresh new look. Usability has been improved on various fronts. For instance, logged in users can now access their plans on the dashboard page by clicking on the preview. The sidebar in your work-area can now be minimized for maximum working space.
The 3D view is now available for all users of Floorplanner including the Free accounts and has been significantly improved. You can now see 3D objects and we have also added shadows! The general speed and quality of the 3D is much better (especially for bigger plans) as Tim has completely rewritten the existing Floorplanner 3D engine. This development went hand-in-hand with his work in the Papervision3D Open Source initiative. Gido, Nico and Raj have been working on getting 2D and 3D objects for homes, offices and gardens in Floorplanner and more are added every week.
Creating and editing in 2D is very much the same as the old version. The construction toolbar still has a minimal number of buttons and the way rooms are drawn and objects are placed will instantly be familiar for existing Floorplanner users. However,if you look carefully you will find a lot of enhancements that have been made by Gert-Jan, Rinde and Nico. Among these are free-form surface drawing, mirror designs, grouping and locking of elements, full undo/redo, interface improvements, right-click and shortcuts, enhanced printing and image export and many other "little" improvements based on your feedback and the constant flow of amazing floor plans you have been creating with Floorplanner.
The HTML part of Floorplanner has completely been rewritten by Jaap and Willem (our Ruby on Rails wizards) which was no small task. The content is now distributed and stored in the cloud using Amazon Webservices like S3 and StormCloud. This resulted in significant speed improvements (especially in Asia and South America where lots of you live) and better scalability and reliability. The development of the site has led to various Open Source contributions that can be found on Github and/or through our tech-blog.
With the rebuilding of the back-end, many improvements have been made to make both the personal as the professional accounts. Free users now also have 3D capabilities and PLUS users have more plans and better sharing and co-editing options. For PRO and Business accounts it's now much easier to create nice looking custom templates. You can also completely brand the admin environment of Floorplanner to match your own company style. Changes in the pricing structure now makes it more attractive to publish interactive plans and archive non-published plans for reference or future use. Also searching and managing large volumes of plans is now faster.
Making Floorplanner available in more languages/localizations has got a big boost by the translation engine that has been built into the new system by Jaap. This allows users to contribute to the translation of Floorplanner in various languages. At this moment 8 languages are already available while users are working on 10 more languages as we speak.
How do I get this new version?
The new version is now available for all Floorplanner users. When you log in to your account you will be asked to migrate your account to the new version. If you have existing plans your migration will be queued and you will receive a message by email when your account + plans are available. This should take not more then 30 minutes. If, for some reason, you want to access the old version of Floorplanner you can through this link. This version will be available in the coming months but no updates will be done to it.
Running into problems?
Although we have done our best to make sure everything is working correctly there still might be some issues we have overlooked. We will be monitoring the new version and the migration process very closely in the coming period so please let us know if you run into any problems with the new version through our contact form or post your question in the forums
Some final words
We're excited to release the new Floorplanner as we think you'll like the new features and improved 3D capabilities. A big thanks to all users who have provided us with thousands of valuable comments and suggestions during the Beta. Also a special thanks the growing group of translators who are helping us making floorplanner available in many more languages.
With this new version we have a good base to build on and already have many new features planned for 2009.