What’s new in Zentyal 2.2 usability?

August 1, 2011

Zentyal 2.2 will come with many cool new features and improvements, but in this post I would like to highlight the usability improvements this new stable Zentyal version will introduce. Some of the most visible improvements would probably include: new package selection interface on the installer, warnings in the configuration screen when the module is disabled, explanatory diagrams in the firewall packet filter section (they also increase the clickable surface), possibility to define objects with IP ranges and a lot more changes, most of them related with the redistribution of elements on the interface. We hope you enjoy them all, and I can assure you that this is only the beginning, as we hope to go much further with Zentyal 3.0!

One of the major changes – and something we’re very proud of because we believe this improvement really increases the productivity of system administration when interacting with some Zentyal modules – is the possibility of adding elements (such as objects or services) directly from the drop-down list instead of having to go to their own configuration pages.

Let’s see this with an example. In Zentyal 2.0, if you want to add a firewall rule, you are asked to introduce some fields like source, destination or ports, which can be defined as objects, or services. Maybe you have already created all the objects and services you need, but if not, you’ll realize that it’s a bit uncomfortable to have to go to the Objects or Services menu, add the desired object, go back to the firewall section you were before, and maybe even have to retype some fields you already entered.

In Zentyal 2.2 this is much easier: when you open the drop-down list, besides to the objects or services that you have already added, you’ll see a new “Add new…” option in the top. When you click it, a new dialog will pop up allowing you to, not only create a new element, but also automatically select it right after closing the dialog. Nice, huh? Let’s see a couple of screenshots of what this looks like:

First step of adding a new service

Final step of adding a new service

Of course the firewall is just an example. As this is implemented at the framework level, any other interface using this schema, for example the DHCP objects for configuring fixed addresses, also benefits from it.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that we have made great performance improvements in this release, so, although this is not directly an usability improvement, it should also greatly improve the user experience.

So, what are you waiting to test the current Zentyal 2.2-rc1 installer and see all this with your own eyes? We’re waiting for your feedback!