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Browser/Web based applications such as WinLIMS™ provide a great number of benefits when compared to traditional client or network-based applications. Some of the key benefits are:


  • The ability to access the application and associated data from anywhere
  • The software requires no resident software
  • The ability to use any device that uses a variety of browsers (or apps)


One of the drawbacks that has always existed is the inability to control the speed of the internet connection. This means that the performance of the application can be adversely impacted by circumstances beyond its control such as the type of connection and data from other applications and users that consumes the available bandwidth. These speed variances can often cause frustration due to unexpected slow-downs and can also cause transactions to fail or time out. Finding ways to provide the desired functionality of the application within the constraints of this uncontrollable environment is a never-ending challenge for QSI and all other organizations that develop web-based applications.


A new optional feature named Asynchronous Data Entry (shorthand name; Async Entry) has been introduced in WinLIMS version 7.45 (or later) that provides a powerful and convenient tool to overcome these uncontrollable constraints.


When activated, Async Entry saves data immediately upon removing focus from a field and eliminates the need to click the Save button when editing existing records. There are two key benefits of Async Entry:


  • It removes the need to click the Save button
  • It limits the size of transactions to the database to a very small packet size


Though seemingly small, these two benefits are actually very significant. Think of how many times a day you click the Save button and then wait for the system to apply the changes to the database records. Let’s just assume it currently takes one second to click and then 5 seconds for the database record to update and then refresh the page (a total of 6 seconds). The following table shows how much time your organization will save per person over the course of a day, week, month and year based on a 5-day work week and a 250 day work year when Async Entry is activated. The savings are astounding.


Async-Time-Savings.png


This means that if your lab employs 5 people who currently click 'Save only 100 times per day, you’ve just recovered approximately 40 man days per year. In general, you’ll save time and have more satisfied users.


The fact that small data packets are transacted is also significant. There are many pages within the system that allow thousands of records to be entered. Without Async Entry, the save time can be excessive due to a number of factors that are outside of the control of the software. When the network traffic is high and the amount of data saved is large, the transactions may even time out which is the worst situation of all. When this happens, data is lost and needs to be re-entered which severely frustrates users. Asynchronous Data Entry overcomes this by saving the data as you exit the data cell.


Some entered values are associated with calculations. This is where instantaneous updates are especially effective. As you remove focus from a results cell, the feature will check to see if a calculation is associated with the result. If so, the calculation will also be performed as long as all of the data inputs are available. Again, since a single calculation check is being performed instead of multiple calculations, the transactions are smaller so it causes little stress on both the database as well as the network bandwidth.