I wanted to provide more feedback on these issues.
Warning: this is a bit long 😉
How do we release fixes to various versions?
In general, we have made many quality fixes over the past few years, both in SmartConsole (UI) and the Management server. I believe that the quality has greatly improved, especially when looking at R81.10 and above.
Some fixes originate from issues reported from the field. These fixes are delivered to a server JHF or a new SmartConsole build. When possible, and depending on the severity of the issue, we also try to deliver them to JHFs of previous versions.
Many other fixes are handled during our new version development (such as the recently released R81.20). These fixes originate from QA or a backlog of items that we've wanted to handle for a while. Since a new release includes a lot of content and rigorous testing, we feel comfortable to include hundreds of fixes there. Based on the severity and frequency of an issue, we also consider each fix as a candidate for earlier versions. Dozens of fixes are ported to JHFs or SmartConsole builds through this flow.
However, there are also many fixes that do not get ported back, due to considerations of severity, effort and risk.
Due to the above, over time existing versions will get many fixes, but it is possible that a newer version will have even more fixes, especially around cosmetic (which may still be annoying) and infrequently occurring issues.
Importance of running the latest code
Starting from R81, SmartConsole will automatically update if your desktop has an internet connection. Due to Windows permissions, you will get a prompt and need to authorize the update. Note that the update happens in the background into a new sub directory, so you can keep working and relaunch when you are ready.
I noticed that you are using an older R81.10 SmartConsole build, so you are not getting the latest fixes.
For the best experience, it's also very important to install the latest JHF on your management. From this post, we can't tell how updated your environments are.
Many issues that manifest in the UI are actually rooted in the server. The latest JHF includes many fixes that will improve your experience. For example, freezes to the UI are sometimes caused by a bug in the server side that returns a delayed response or an unexpected error.
You mentioned that you are using multiple environments and versions. It's best to upgrade all at least to R81.10, but definitely make sure all are running with the latest recommended SmartConsole build and latest server-side JHF on the Management.
BTW, there is no dependency between client build and server build, so you can update one without the other, or in whatever order you choose.
A management server or desktop client running SmartConsole might behave poorly if it doesn't have enough resources. We've seen many cases of clients not having enough RAM, or even graphics cards that have old drivers or too little memory that caused SmartConsole issues.
Also, a good network connection between the SmartConsole client and the Management server is also important. Very high latency (over 250ms) may give a poorer experience as there are many requests from the SmartConsole to the server.
Specific mentioned issues
Relating to the numbered items in your post:
- Console unresponsiveness
- Opening the gateway editor for the first time will take a longer time than other dialogs since it relies on some older I/S. We are working on modernizing this for future versions.
The policy page might be slow if your policy is huge. If that isn't the case, it might also be impacted by server speed and latency.
- Clicking on "busy" UI will show a Windows "unresponsive" dialog. This is standard Windows behavior. In many cases, we try to perform calculations off the UI thread to avoid it, but it's not always possible.
- I remember a fix for this issue. It's worth checking with the latest version and build.
- We have fixes for this on the way. Currently in private HF and will soon reach JHF.
- I'd need an example on latest version to better understand...
- There are two types of searches in the policy: regular and packet mode. Make sure that you are using the right one for your needs as some will "drill down" into groups and subnets and some will not.
- When searching the object tree / explorer, the search is done by breaking up object names into tokens. For example: "tomer-noy" will be broken up into two tokens so that I can find them by searching "tom" or "noy" as the prefix. However, if I try to search for "mer" it will not find the object as that is not a prefix of a token. Since R81, it's possible to "force" the search mechanism to do a full search (which is less efficient) by adding "*" at the beginning of the search text. So searching for "*mer" will find the desired object.
- This is indeed an open item that we haven't gotten around to fix yet.
- I'm not familiar with this issue, but it is possible that R81.10 with the many DB changes has improved upon this.
- We do try to be "logical" and some popup windows are intentionally non-modal such as "Where Used" and "Object Explorer". This is to allow the admin to work in parallel with the popup and the view behind it, even with drag & drop. Anyway, clicking outside a window should not cause an operation to fail. If this still happens in R81.10 and above, we should investigate.