News article

How and why the PicoScope software is changing

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Behind the scenes

Dear PicoScope customer,

Hopefully, it hasn’t escaped your attention that we recently launched a new version of our PicoScope software, PicoScope 7 Automotive (PS7A). We designed it to work better with touchscreen devices and be more intuitive. You can also use PS7A on all the major PC platforms (Windows, macOS and Linux), and it is always being updated to support new versions of those operating systems. In addition, we have included a new Waveform library (initially as a beta release) with a new user interface, which you can access directly from the main PS7A screen.

Last month, we added theming to PS7A, which lets you run it in light or dark mode and change the line thickness on your graphs. Dark mode reduces the overall brightness of your display whilst maintaining a high level of contrast, so you can easily distinguish the differences between the items on your screen. The display mode can conveniently match your operating system’s settings. For example, if you have it set to dark mode, PS7A can automatically run in that mode.

We value the fact that PicoScope is used globally and not just in English-speaking workshops. With that in mind, we have introduced the start of a new set of PicoScope translation updates to PS7A: We added Polish Guided tests, several Chinese Guided tests (the remainder will be in a forthcoming update), and the new PS7A Waveform library now supports all the languages supported in PS7A software. More sets of guided tests in other languages are on their way.

Screenshot of PicoScope 7 Automotive in dark mode

PicoScope 7 Automotive in dark mode.

However, the biggest changes to PicoScope and the Waveform library have been under the hood, out of your sight:

PS7A is becoming a full 64-bit application and will only support 64-bit operating systems (64-bit architectures now dominate the PC market, after having been first available in 2003). The change opens the door to better performance, greater stability and the ability to capture even more data. Note that the new Waveform library is already 64-bit only, so PS7A is already limited to being installed on 64-bit operating systems.

In addition, the new Waveform library is built on a completely new cloud architecture. When you search and download a waveform, you are already taking advantage of its new underpinnings: The library’s availability is improved, search results are returned more quickly, downloads are faster and it will be able to support more waveforms and users as it continues to grow. It is also significantly more secure and will give us the chance to offer you many exciting new features in the future.

On the waveform upload side of the Waveform library, we are not yet fully using the new cloud architecture. Instead, we are temporarily borrowing part of the old library’s underpinnings (this is why your uploaded waveforms immediately appear in the old library but not the new library, as they have to be transferred across to the new system via an overnight copy task). This is necessary to prevent disruption as we:

  1. update the upload mechanism in the library and in PS7A and
  2. continue to support the old library until the new one is complete.

When the new Waveform library is complete, it will be entirely based on the new cloud architecture and we will no longer use the old infrastructure. At that point and when we have added the Masks and Alarms features into PS7A (to gain improved parity with the previous software version), we will shut down the old library and retire PicoScope 6 Automotive. Your saved waveforms will not be affected by these changes.

Although we have estimated that it will be around the start of the second quarter of 2022 before we switch off the old library and retire PicoScope 6 Automotive (PS6A), you may have already noticed the update notification in PS6A making users aware that a new major software version (PS7A) is available and you will soon see a warning in the old Waveform library to inform everyone that they will need to move to PS7A in the future if they want to continue using the library.

End-of-life warning banner in the PicoScope 6 Automotive Waveform Library

End-of-life warning banner in the PicoScope 6 Automotive Waveform Library

Obviously, this article and those notifications are intended to give you as much time as possible to adjust to these changes. We fully recognize that these changes can be disruptive for existing users, especially those trainers who support the automotive industry. It wipes out some of your previous investment in learning the old software and requires further effort to find your way around the new software. We are confident, though, that you will quickly become familiar with PS7A and benefit from the use of this new and more efficient user interface.

Finally, we want you to know that the decision to retire PS6A and the old Waveform library has not been taken lightly. But please bear in mind that PS6A launched 15 years ago, and technology has changed massively in that time. PS6A is unable to make the best use of the operating systems and devices now being deployed and does not let you capture the data volumes you have been asking for. The old waveform library has had issues with availability and needed a major rewrite to improve scalability, resilience and security. It is essential that we focus our resources on providing the new products and features that we know you need to be productive and handle the challenges posed by new vehicle technologies and increasing customer expectations.

So we hope that you will soon come to find that end results are a PicoScope software with greater ease of use, better (current and future) device and operating system support, improved performance, increased data security and an overall stronger foundation on which we can provide unrivalled features and services in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Pico Technology Ltd