So it’s been a couple of months since the last major update (I’ve been saving them up 😂) but I’m pleased to say that I’ve been super busy behind the scenes and have a ton of things to update you on today, here are the section highlights (feel free to jump around the blog post if you’re interested in specific things only):
- Daily flight achievements (new feature!)
- SimBrief Flight Plan Sync (new feature!)
- New flight achievements released
- Display weights in FsHub as Pounds (lbs) instead of Kilograms (KGS) (new feature)
- LRM Client updates (improved GUI, new options and bug fixes)
- FsHub website improvements for mobile devices (Responsive UI enhancements)
- FsHub REST and Webhook API improvements
- New and Official .NET/C# and PHP Client (SDK) releasing next week
- What’s next on the roadmap
Let’s now go over these changes in more detail…
Random daily flight achievements
I have now added a new feature whereby each day (at 00:00 UTC) our platform will choose three flights of varying distance – these will be globally available for pilots to choose and fly one or more of these flights.
So whether you want to simply gain the “daily flight challenge” points each day for completing the daily challenge or using this feature to gain flight ideas and explore areas of the world you wouldn’t have otherwise – I hope you enjoy this new feature.
I have also updated our global stats page to include both a “Top pilots by number of daily flight challenges completed” in addition to a “Top pilots by daily flight challenge streak” to add a competitive angle for those who may enjoy it.
More information about this feature and how it works can be found on our wiki here.
SimBrief Flight Plan Sync (directly from SimBrief)
Up until recently, you could import a number of flight plan formats directly into the FsHub website or use the LRM client these being:
- LittleNavMap file
- SimBrief XML file
- A company route (that had been added by your VA owner)
Whilst LittleNavMap is more heavily used by GA pilots, a lot of the jetliner pilots tend to lean towards generating flight plans with SimBrief and whilst it was previously possible to “export” a SimBrief flight plan in an XML format and then load it by downloading and selecting the file in LRM (or uploading it into FsHub) I have now added the ability to “one-click” sync your flight plan from SimBrief.
This option is now available in both the LRM client and the FsHub “My Flight Plan” page.
I’m super happy with how this turned out, it’s so much faster for SimBrief users now and I’ve already received some great feedback on this latest addition therefore I’m hopeful that the majority of users will appreciate this too.
New flight achievements added!
Since releasing the new flight achievement system at Christmas and releasing several new challenges on new years day, we have just released a bunch of new achievements and two special events (be sure to fly those before they expire!!)
These new achievements will see you visit some other parts of the UK, Italy, France, Spain, North America, touring the Philippine Islands in addition to a trip to the Taj Mahal in India!
As previously stated we will continue our commitment to adding new achievements and badges every 3 – 4 months (so that all pilots have ample time to fly and enjoy them before we release another batch).
A special thanks to CIVA008Jim for planning and “designing” this latest batch of flight achievements for me to add to the system!
We are also planning on adding a few more next week to coincide with Microsoft’s Flight Simulator World Update 8 to give you guys another opportunity and reason to explore the new in-sim world updates whilst also obtaining new achievements in the Iberia peninsula.
Display weights in FsHub as Pounds (lbs)
A new settings page has been added to FsHub where you can now switch the unit of measure for weights as shown on FsHub.
The new setting can be enabled from this page:
and, once enabled, all weight values on flight plans and other sections of FsHub will output as Pounds (lbs) instead.
Hopefully, this new feature will make a few people happy too…. Being from the UK I’m just so used to using kilograms and is the default UoM in the Airbus of which is what I normally fly.
Sorry it took a while to be implemented but in available now at least 😉
LRM Client updates
Last month I spent a while tweaking and improving many aspects of the LRM client, these changes included:
- Added the ability to sync your flight plan directly from SimBreif (no need to export an XML file and manually import it now!)
- A fix for the EFB service not starting when running LRM in BlackBox mode (which was an outstanding bug since Christmas)
- Several new options added into the LRM Client (including the ability to enable or disable logging of short flights)
- Fixes for a handful of bugs (all bugs that we know of at this point are now squashed :))
- ….plus various other things – all visable in the changelog!
Today however I have released another release of LRM (v5.3.0) which you can download from the LRM website now if you wish – it isn’t really a “must-have” version but does include some nice tweaks to add quality of life changes and more importantly is the last visual change to the client until our next major release in what I suspect will be in after summer now (greater than six months time).
The reason for the recent changes to the client and the “freeze” to visual style changes for the next six months is due to the fact that I really need to write the client documentation (user manual) and naturally needs to include screenshots of the client and therefore unless anything is super important (visual style-wise) then the client should, in theory, remain as is now for several months – At this point in time though, it is super stable and all known bugs are fixed and so I’m confident that LRM 5.3.0 will be the “stable” client for a good while now.
With the above in mind we should therefore hopefully have the documentation (user manual) released soon for LRM 5.x.x – this wasn’t really possible before given the frequent visual style and feature changes that had been happening every few weeks!
FsHub website imrpovements (tweaks for mobile devices)
Nothing major here specifically but thought I’d mention that I have invested a couple of days in tweaking many of the pages on FsHub to make them render better on mobile devices.
If you had therefore previously avoided using your phone to check your logbook on your FsHub due to some responsive design issues it might be worth giving it another go now as it’s been vastly improved since 😀
FsHub REST API and Webhook updates
As you may have recalled with recent LRM client updates (especially the Aircraft Manager), pilots can now configure custom sound packs and landing rate scores per aircraft (livery), in addition to that, users can also specify the airframe ICAO as well as the tail number – both of these values can now be retrieved through the REST API and is also exposed/pushed with our webhooks.
There are also some new REST API endpoints available such as the ability to retrieve both airline and pilot stats now too!
These new changes should make it even easier to integrate your flights and provide more options to “match up” FsHub flown flights with your own airline routes, fleet and pilot rosters.
I would therefore recommend, if you are already using the FsHub REST API or webhooks to integrate directly into your website, it might be worth you revisiting the documentation pages again to see all of the new properties that are available for you to consume.
Official .NET/C# and PHP FsHub Client (SDKs) are being released next week!
Since the launch of FsHub several years ago, the REST API was available since day one but whilst I took the time to document with examples how to query and return data from the REST API to use in your own website, mobile or desktop apps, it required a user (with development experience) to write or utilise a third-party HTTP client layer to retrieve and format the data before using it in their own applications – whilst this is relatively easy for a developer to do, it is time-consuming and developers need to keep a constant eye out for API schema changes.
I am pleased to announce that I have been, for the last couple of weeks banging away at writing two new official SDK clients that:
- Provide an easy to use and painless fluent API to get airport, flight, pilot and airline related information from FsHub.
- Are fully unit tested to ensure code quality.
- Both the C# and PHP SDKs have been specifically designed to use the same fluent API methods and properties hopefully making it easy to transistion between the libraries in future if you need to (think… Airbus Cockpit Commonality theory ;))
Both SDK’s will be available to install through the package manager for each code language/framework/environment therefore the .NET/C# SDK will be available through NuGet and the PHP SDK will be available through Composer (Packagist).
I am also planning on writing a Python SDK very soon too but suspect that the PHP and .NET/C# SDK’s will satisfy most developers and will enable them to easily integrate FsHub into their own websites as well as Desktop, IoT and Mobile apps.
Having these SDK’s available will now make it super easy and fast for you to start “playing around” with your personal or airline data and integrate these into your own applications whilst ensuring you always have the latest, quality-assured version of the SDK is now super easy!
Full code snippet examples will be provided too – check out the “API clients and libraries” section on the Platform Integration page next week for links to the individual SDK documentation and instructions on how to download (through Composer and Nuget) and use with your own projects.
What I’m working on next
These last couple of months have been strange – there has been an influx of various private messages to me on Discord as well as emails which mainly have been personal requests for tweaks, custom code or assistance with integrations into their own websites etc.
Whilst I have done my best to accommodate all of these requests it has been distracting and I’ve not been able to achieve as much as I’ve wanted to therefore, I will be having to cut back on the number of personal requests that I will be able to action each month (unless it’s from a “supporter” of course) – it’s nothing personal it’s just that I really should be prioritising features and changes that will benefit everyone or at least the majority.
I can therefore confirm, the next things on my immediate roadmap for FsHub are as follows:
- Finalise and release the PHP and .NET/C# SDK (next week)
- Airport and NavData upgrades (updating our massive database of airports and navaids)
- Pilot statistics page (containing numerous personal statistics)
- The Python (v3) SDK client
…and then, as before will continue to work on feature requests and other useful improvements to the platform but it’s important that I divert my attention at this point to the above four items as they have been on my “todo” list since Christmas but time has just kept running away with me and other new features and improvements have skipped the queue 😂.
Let me know what you think!
How do you feel FsHub and LRM client is doing? Do you like the changes and updates – feel free to drop me a message on our contact form with any feedback 🙂
If you think we’re doing a really great job maybe even consider donating 🙂
Until next time, stay safe!