MIDAS ships with a set of standard booking and client input fields. These input fields allow you to capture specific details about a client and their bookings.

Standard Input Fields In MIDAS
Standard Input Fields In MIDAS

Now some of these fields will always be required. For bookings, a minimum of a date and a venue (room/bookable space) is required. All other booking fields can be set to be optional. Likewise, for clients, a minimum of the client’s name is required. All other client fields can be set to be optional.

Here’s a list of the standard fields which are included in MIDAS by default:

Default Booking FieldsDefault Client Fields
DateClient
Times (Booking)Organization
Times (Setup / Breakdown)E-mail Address
VenueMailing Address
Client / OrganizationTelephone Number
AttendeesFax Number
Booking TypeCell/Mobile Number
Booking NotesClient Notes
Resources

MIDAS also allows you to “turn off” fields that you don’t need. So if you don’t need to capture a client’s fax number, you can disable that field.

But that’s not all – in addition to the standard “default” fields, you can create additional custom booking or client fields in MIDAS.

Adding Custom Fields

A range of different types of custom fields can be created, including:

  • Checkbox – A “tick box” field.
  • File – Allows uploading/attaching of files and documents to bookings or client records (self-hosted systems only)
  • List (Single Select) – A drop-down list of pre-defined items from which a single item may be selected.
  • List (Multi Select) – A drop-down list of pre-defined items from which multiple items may be selected.
  • Number – A field that will only accept numerical input.
  • Range – A “slider” control allowing selection of a numeric value within a defined range.
  • Text – A single-line text field.
  • Text Area – A multi-line text field.
  • URL – A navigable web link to an external resource.

As with standard fields, custom fields can also be set to be “required”. This means that an input is required in the custom field each time it’s shown.

New Validation Feature

For MIDAS v4.34, we’re extending the capabilities of marking custom number, text, text area, and URL fields “required”.

Let’s take the example of a custom single-line text field. Marking this as a required field would ensure that a user would enter something into the field. However, MIDAS wouldn’t check what they’d actually entered. Just entering a single character, or gibberish would be enough to allow you to proceed.

From v4.34 onwards, when setting a custom number, text, text area, and URL field as “required”, you can instruct MIDAS what values are considered “valid” for the field. A user would then need to enter a “valid” value in order to proceed.

Custom Field Validation Using Regular Expressions
Custom Field Validation Using Regular Expressions

A Simple Example

As an example, you could make it so that a user has to enter the word “YES” into a custom text field in order to proceed. If the custom field doesn’t contain the word “YES”, the user will be prompted to correct their entry:

Require Valid Entries In Custom Fields
Require Valid Entries In Custom Fields

The Power Of REGEX

Regular Expressions (REGEX) can be used to create more complex validations for your custom fields too. We’ll cover REGEX in more depth in a future article. In the meantime, as a brief introduction, here are a few simple yet useful REGEX’s for validating entries into your custom fields:

DescriptionREGEX
Value must start with the letters “BOOK”^BOOK
Value must end with the letters “ING”ING$
Value must contain “BOOKING”BOOKING
Value must be exactly “BOOKING”^BOOKING$
Value must contain a number (digit)\d
Value must not contain a number (digit)\D
Value must be exactly “BOOK”, followed by two single digit numbers^BOOK\d\d$

You’ll find further examples together with detailed explanations in our KB article: How to use Regular Expressions for custom input validation.

How To Use

Custom field validation can be setup via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Fields.

On any custom number, text, text area, or URL fields, right-click (or long press on touch screens) on the field’s “Required” box.

You’ll then be able to set or modify the Regular Expression that should be used to validate entries to the field.


What AI thinks about MIDAS?

What rivals ChatGPT and Google Bard think about MIDAS

It’s an exciting time in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially when it comes to AI powered interactive chat “bots”.

You may well have heard about “ChatGPT“, which is funded by Microsoft, and who are now starting to integrate its capabilities into the Bing search engine.

You may have also heard about Google’s rival, “Bard” (now know as “Gemini”), who are also integrating their AI chat bot into their search engine.

So for a bit of fun, we decided to put both of these leading AI chat bots to the test. We asked them both a very simple question to see if they knew…

“What is MIDAS room booking software?”

Here’s what ChatGPT has to say…

MIDAS (which stands for Meeting Room Scheduling) is a web-based software application designed to help organizations manage their room booking and scheduling needs. The software allows users to book meeting rooms, conference rooms, and other facilities quickly and easily, and provides a range of tools to help manage the booking process efficiently.

MIDAS allows users to set up and manage multiple rooms, view real-time availability, and make bookings directly through the software. It also includes features such as email notifications, automated invoicing, and reporting tools to help track usage and optimize room allocation.

MIDAS is a popular choice for businesses, schools, and other organizations that need to manage their room scheduling needs efficiently. It is easy to use, flexible, and customizable, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

– ChatGPT

Here’s what Google’s Bard has to say…

MIDAS is a cloud-based room booking software that helps businesses and organizations of all sizes manage their meeting and event spaces. With MIDAS, users can easily book rooms, track room availability, and manage room reservations. MIDAS also offers a variety of features that can help businesses save time and money, such as:

  • Real-time availability: MIDAS provides real-time availability of rooms, so users can always see which rooms are available and book them quickly and easily.
  • Group booking: MIDAS makes it easy for users to book rooms for groups, so they can easily coordinate their schedules and ensure that everyone has a space to meet.
  • Reporting: MIDAS provides detailed reports on room usage, so businesses can track their spending and make informed decisions about how to allocate their resources.
  • Integrations: MIDAS integrates with a variety of other business systems, so users can easily manage their room bookings from within their existing workflows.

MIDAS is a powerful and flexible room booking software that can help businesses and organizations of all sizes save time and money. With MIDAS, users can easily book rooms, track room availability, and manage room reservations. MIDAS also offers a variety of features that can help businesses save time and money, such as real-time availability, group booking, reporting, and integrations.

Here are some of the benefits of using MIDAS room booking software:

  • Save time and money: MIDAS can help businesses save time and money by automating the room booking process. With MIDAS, users can easily book rooms, track room availability, and manage room reservations. This can free up staff time to focus on other tasks, and it can also help businesses avoid overbooking and underutilizing their meeting and event spaces.
  • Improve efficiency: MIDAS can help businesses improve efficiency by providing a centralized platform for managing room bookings. With MIDAS, users can easily see which rooms are available, book rooms, and track room reservations. This can help businesses avoid the hassle of manually tracking room availability and booking rooms.
  • Increase collaboration: MIDAS can help businesses increase collaboration by providing a platform for users to share information about room bookings. With MIDAS, users can easily see which rooms are available, book rooms, and track room reservations. This can help businesses ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to meeting and event planning.

Overall, MIDAS is a powerful and flexible room booking software that can help businesses and organizations of all sizes save time and money. With MIDAS, users can easily book rooms, track room availability, and manage room reservations. MIDAS also offers a variety of features that can help businesses improve efficiency and increase collaboration.

– Bard

Our thoughts…

We have to admit that on this occasion, we preferred Google Bard’s response. It was certainly a more in depth summary of our MIDAS software.

ChatGPT’s response – whilst concise – was a little misleading. It claimed that “MIDAS” stands for “Meeting Room Scheduling”.

Whilst MIDAS is indeed a meeting room scheduling system, the acronym “MIDAS” itself doesn’t stand for “Meeting Room Scheduling”. For a clue as to what MIDAS does stand for, see this blog post.

AI chatbots are certainly having a bumpy ride of late.

Back in February this year, $100bn was wiped off Google’s parent company, Alphabet’s shares, after Bard made a mistake and investors became nervous.

More recently, a man widely considered to be the “godfather” of Artificial Intelligence, who quit his job at Google, has warned about the growing dangers from developments in the field.

When two big rivals – Google and Microsoft – both launch competing AI ChatBots, the race is on. Yet many are warning that we need to slow down AI development and ensure that ethics are taken into account.

In the fifteen plus years that we’ve been developing MIDAS, we’ve seen (and implemented) numerous technological advances. It’s exciting – if not also a little scary – to think where the advancements in AI might take us in just a few year’s time.

UPDATE: January 2024: We’ve used AI for the first time to help optimize some of our MIDAS code! Read more about this in our optimizing code with AI blog post.

UPDATE: February 2024: “Bard” has now been rebranded as “Gemini”.


Schedule regular Security Audits

You may not know, but MIDAS includes a built-in “Security Audit” tool.

This allows you to perform a quick and on-demand security analysis of your MIDAS system.

Perform a detailed Security Audit of your MIDAS room booking system
Perform a detailed Security Audit of your MIDAS room booking system

First introduced with the release of MIDAS v4.13 in 2016, the “Security Audit” tool tests a number of key metrics of your MIDAS booking system.

The audit checks your MySQL / MariaDB setup, MIDAS files, and recommended MIDAS security settings.

It provides a detailed report with appropriate advisories for hardening the security of your MIDAS system.

When the Security Audit was first introduced, it analyzed 15 metrics. Today, that number has increased to over 20.

For MIDAS v4.33, the audit now additionally also…

  • Indicates the number of recently failed login attempts to your MIDAS system.
  • Checks whether Geofenced logins have been enabled.

But the biggest improvement to Security Audits for MIDAS v4.33 is the ability to schedule regular automated security audits.

Until now, a Security Audit could only be manually initiated (via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Security → Perform a Security Audit)

From MIDAS v4.33, you can now use Scheduled Tasks to automatically run a Security Audit and email you the results. Audits can be configured to run every 7, 14, 30, 60, or 90 days.

Schedule automated security audits of your MIDAS booking system
Schedule automated security audits of your MIDAS booking system

Geolocation and Geofencing

We’re excited to announce Geolocation and Geofencing support for our MIDAS room and resource scheduling software.

What is Geolocation?

Geolocation support in MIDAS room booking systems

Geolocation is the process of determining the geographic location of a user’s device. It is used in a variety of applications, such as mapping, navigation, and weather forecasting. A device’s location can be determined using a variety of methods, including GPS, cell tower triangulation, and IP address location.

IP address geolocation is a method of determining the position in the world of an IP address. This can be done by using a variety of methods, including:

  • Reverse DNS lookup: This method involves looking up the IP address in a DNS database to determine the name of the domain that is associated with the IP address. The domain name can then be used to determine the geographic location of the server that hosts the domain.
  • Geolocation databases: These databases contain information about the geographic location of IP addresses. This information is typically collected from a variety of sources, such as ISPs and network operators.

It is important to note that IP address geolocation is not always accurate. The accuracy of IP address geolocation depends on a variety of factors. These include the quality of the geolocation database and the method that is used to determine the geographic location of the IP address.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing is an extension of geolocation. Once a device’s geographic location can be determined through geolocation, “Geofencing” can be used by a website or application to ensure that devices outside of an authorized area are denied access.

IP geofencing works by creating a virtual radius at a set distance around a fixed point on the globe. By comparing the latitude and longitude coordinates of a user’s device, with this fixed point, the distance between them can be calculated. This calculation will determine whether the user’s device falls within the set virtual radius.

Access form any device which falls outside of a set radius of the central fixed location can then be blocked.

Geolocation applications within MIDAS

Initially, there are two main areas within our booking software where geolocation information can be shown.

First, is the Recent Activity Log. This audit log in MIDAS records all user activity and actions taking place in your booking system. Each entry in the log is time-stamped, and shows the user account and IP address which performed the action.

From MIDAS v4.33, the optional Geolocation addon can be configured to allow location information to be shown for IP addresses in the Recent Activity Log. This location information includes the city, region, and country that the IP address resides in.

The second application for geolocation in MIDAS accompanies the unfamiliar login notifications feature.

The unfamiliar login notifications feature alerts users when their account is signed in to from a new device or location.

These notifications typically include details of the user’s device / browser and their IP address.

Geolocation support now means that you can optionally configure these notifications to now also include the city, region, and country that the login occurred from.

Geofencing applications within MIDAS

Building on the new geolocation support, Geofencing can be used to further enhance the security of your MIDAS system.

It can be used to restrict account logins to certain countries. For example, if your organization only has offices within the United States and the United Kingdom, your colleagues are typically likely to only need to login to MIDAS from within either the US or the UK. You can use geofencing to block any login attempts originating from countries other than the US or the UK.

Restrict MIDAS logins to certain countries
Restrict MIDAS logins to certain countries

Geofencing can additionally (or alternatively) also restrict account logins to within a certain distance from your location. For example, if you run a radio station in Manchester, UK, you could restrict logins to your MIDAS system to within say a 10 mile radius of Manchester.

Restrict MIDAS logins to within a radius of a set geographic location
Restrict MIDAS logins to within a radius of a set geographic location

How to enable Geolocation or Geofencing in MIDAS

The new Geolocation and Geofencing features are available for MIDAS v4.33 (or later) via our optional Geolocation addon.

Existing customers with active subscriptions can obtain this addon via https://mid.as/upgrade.

If you’re new to MIDAS, you can subscribe with the Geolocation addon via https://mid.as/pricing.

Geolocation data accuracy

The accuracy of IP geolocation data depends on a number of factors, including the quality and freshness of the geolocation database, the method that is used to determine the geographic location of the IP address, and the type of IP address.

The IP geolocation data we use in the Geolocation addon for MIDAS is never more than 30 days old.

In general, IP geolocation data is most accurate for large geographic areas, such as countries or states. It can become less accurate for smaller geographic areas, such as cities or neighborhoods.

That’s why if you use the distance based geofence features of the Geolocation addon, you should always set a larger liberal distance than necessary, rather than a very small strict distance from your location. The Geolocation addon does include an instant IP lookup test tool, so you can check IP distances before you apply them.

The Geolocation addon also includes “fallback” options for both country / distance geofence enforcement. For IP addresses where a country and/or latitude and longitude coordinates cannot be determined, you can configure MIDAS to either block or allow these connections.

It’s also worth noting that the accuracy of IP geolocation data can be affected by the use of proxy servers and VPNs. Proxy servers and VPNs can mask the true IP address of a device, making it difficult to determine the device’s geographic location.