2017: A Year in Retrospect

To begin 2018 well, I've just deployed an update that makes the app MUCH faster. It was a significant re-engineering which resulted in massive speed increases all over the place, between 20 and 40%, especially noticeable for customers with large BOMs and lots of stock. Enjoy!

Lots of things happened in 2017. In fact, so many things happened that I thought it might be a good idea to write down at least the major features that were introduced last year:

  • 2017 began with the introduction of paid plans, offering database sharing, file uploads and storage, and local/company part numbers. PartsBox started becoming a business!
  • Project/BOM pricing landed in April. It was a huge update, a unique pricing engine has been written to deal with complexity of multi-currency multi-distributor pricing involving both local stock and components purchased from distributors.
  • Barcode scanning followed: support for 1D and 2D barcode scanners meant faster and more reliable entry of parts, and verification of orders from distributors.
  • Custom Fields for parts were added in July. These allow entering any parameters (weight, distributor information, custom specs). Much more use for them is planned in the future.
  • Part Attrition (wastage/loss) parameters were necessary for those doing their own production and planning purchases. Full support for those when pricing and building projects was added.
  • Meta-parts (September) allowed grouping several interchangeable components into a single one. All alternates would be considered for pricing/purchasing and building.
  • BOM Import, a much requested feature, landed in October. It finally became possible to quickly import BOMs from Altium, KiCad, PADS, EAGLE and other systems. Many hundreds of BOMs were uploaded to PartsBox since then!
  • Sub-assemblies and build history (including full build configurations) made it easier to support multi-board products and began to move PartsBox into MRP territory. Much more to come in that area!
  • SnapEDA integration arrived in December and gave everyone easy access to PCB footprints and symbols from our friends at SnapEDA.
  • I also managed to squeeze in one more feature in December: Table Export, which allows exporting every table visible in PartsBox as a CSV file or a nicely formatted PDF, respecting the sort settings.

Throughout the year there were also tons of usability improvements and performance fixes, way too many to list them individually.

For those of you who are currently paying for PartsBox, this is your money at work. You are not just paying for the right to use the app, but rather supporting its continuous development and improvements.

Those of you who use the free version: I am trying to provide as many features as possible in the free plans. PartsBox is not crippleware: the idea is that hobbyists/makers should never feel limited and need anything from the commercial plans. And I am still trying to figure out how to create an inexpensive "Hobbyist+" plan with file storage.

This was a good year with healthy growth, and the future looks bright.

I'd like to end this with a sincere THANK YOU to all my customers and to everyone who trusts PartsBox with their data and uses it, whether for their daily business or for their hobby. Your comments and suggestions are always fun to read, I like to learn about your businesses, and I greatly enjoy developing PartsBox because of you!

Have a Happy and Prosperous Year 2018!

Earlier blog posts: Barcode scanner support (2017-06-18)

PartsBox is an online app that lets you take control of your electronic parts inventory, BOM pricing, and small-scale production. It keeps track of where components are stored, what the current stock levels are, and which components are used in which projects/BOMs.

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