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XaitPorter: A Newer Way of Delivering SaaS Solutions

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John Ingve Eielsen



7 min

One of the challenges that come with any new release of our products is to balance the front-facing changes with the back-end changes that are necessary to keep a product of this size running. Infrastructure is opaque to the customer up until the point when things go wrong, and we work tirelessly to ensure the smooth running for everyone. In sports it is often said that the best referees are the ones you don't notice, and the same is true for SaaS infrastructure, so we need to keep up to date with demands the market place on us.

For XaitPorter we are currently transitioning into a new infrastructure, and as part of this the XaitPorter product will move to a newer way of delivering SaaS solutions, making our product more robust and reliable.

First, I would like to dig into the newest features we made available in the last release of XaitPorter.
Alternating rows
Alternating rows is a new table feature, allowing you to have an alternate colour on every other row in a table, making it more readable.
Page count
Page count is a feature whereby we calculate how many pages the document contains before exporting it to PDF. I use the word "calculate" deliberately. XaitPorter's design philosophy is to separate the layout from the content, allowing the various functions to work on their respective areas without worrying about the final look. This means that the document is not complete until it is exported. Last year we introduced the feature where the number of pages is displayed with the PDF export inside of XaitPorter. The new page count feature allows an overview of the size of the document without the need to export first. This is particularly useful for large tenders, giving tender managers an overview of the size of their project, and to customers having a page limitation they need to stay within:
The biggest update to XaitPorter’s latest release is the new spellchecking feature. XaitPorter has had a built in spellchecker for a long time, but we now introduce a "live" spellchecker which will check both spelling, and grammar, while you type. This is a feature we have been wanting to do for a long time, so it is worth digging into what makes it special to us.

Spellchecking is familiar to most people and is built into everything from browsers to word processors. The way spellchecking typically works is that it runs language algorithms on the text, as you type, to find any errors - flagging them. This operation is computationally heavy, and as such, most of the advanced calculation is not run in your browser, but in a datacenter. By and large, this means that as you type, your text is sent to a datacenter "somewhere" to be analyzed, and the result, in turn, returned to the browser.

At Xait we take the security and privacy of our customers very seriously, and in such instances we would have no control over where this text is sent. Some of the more famous plug-ins will send this data to data centers in the Ukraine, in India, or in other locations outside of the EU or US. Our customers use XaitPorter to write sensitive information, and we cannot allow that very text to be sent across to locations we are not in control of. The spellchecking feature we now release is hosted inside of Xait's own datacenter. This means the module will run protected by all the same safety measures that apply to XaitPorter itself, and the text will never leave the Xait perimeter, ensuring the security and privacy of whatever is written. Your data is not going anywhere you do not want it to.

Finally, I would like to also expand on some other, more technical, changes we are making to the way XaitPorter is built and shipped to the customer. We are updating our build pipeline - i.e. how XaitPorter goes from source code to a usable product - and moving the toolstack. XaitPorter has always been self-hosted, however, we now also offer XaitPorter on public cloud, and in order to make the transition easier, the product has adopted more cloud-native features, making use of Dockerization and Kubernetes.

Containerized infrastructure will also help our internal hosting. Furthermore we have introduced additional security measures in the pipeline whereby each build will be automatically scanned, both a static security scan (known as SAST) and a CVE scan of the produced image. Although we have been scanning what we put into production for a long time, by moving these scans forward in the pipeline we can catch flaws earlier, speeding up our process and hardening our product.
So there you have it, the new release of XaitPorter. We are very Xaited to start rolling this out to everyone!

Related article: Xait is ISO/IEC 27001 Certified – What Does it Mean for Our Clients and Partners?

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John Ingve Eielsen

John Ingve comes with 15 years of experience in developing software for the Oil & Gas and energy industry, where he has held roles from software developer to architect and manager. John Ingve is technology enthusiast, and is a believer in continuously improving to meet the demands of the future. He enjoys spending time with his family (including his two dogs), reading history books and hiking in the great outdoors.

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