Author Topic: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages  (Read 14533 times)

Gruffen

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SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« on: May 21, 2011, 06:38:40 pm »
OK, this has been a long, long time coming and we're sorry for that. Life and a lot of other things intervened last year after 1.0 landed.

Now, sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded, and very firmly, this version - SimpleDesk 2.0 "Anatidae" - is well worth the ride.

Changes since 1.0 "Felidae":

OK, so just so that I can record it and add to this ready for the announcement later, all the changes since 1.0. There's still a bit more to come yet... and I'll update this as new stuff gets added, but this is where we are right now.

Roadmap Legend:
- New Feature
- Feature Enhancement
- Functionality Removal
- Functionality Change
- Bug Fix

General Features
Custom Fields in Tickets/Replies
Email Notifications/Change Updates
Admin customizable "Thank You" screen after creating a ticket
Locked-down "maintenance" mode
Maintenance area with some find/repair options
Plugin system and integration hooks
Bundled sample plugin to provide a customisable 'front page' for the helpdesk
Ability to view closed tickets and to reopen tickets is now controlled by separate permissions
Various bug fixes all over the place
Staff Features
Ticket Departments, including per-dept., move and mass move options
Ticket Relationships / Linked Tickets
Proxy Tickets (Create ticket for user)
Role-based permissions system
Helpdesk admin is now available under the Helpdesk menu, complete with the main subitems
AJAX powered assignment
Various minor layout changes to make it a little friendlier
Member Features
Ticket's action log in the ticket itself (plus various action log improvements)
Helpdesk profile section, including user preferences area (such as whether replies are shown newest or oldest first)
Reattribute tickets with previously deleted users
SMF Features
Ticket wiki-links [[ticket:xyz]] support
SSI.php integration
Installation requires far fewer code edits than in 1.0 (SD now requires SMF 2.0 RC5)
Ability to display each helpdesk department as a board, with read/unread icons
Ability to specify a different theme for just inside the helpdesk, or even just one department
Attach a list of tickets that are unread or outstanding to the list of unread posts/unread replies


I should note, we're not quite finished, there's still a few bits and pieces in the tracker to tidy up, and of course, crunch testing of everything, but I wanted to share what's coming, and why it's really, really worth waiting for.

Unlike any previous announcement, what you see in the above list is *done*. None of it is 'what we'd like to do', it's implemented, working and usable right now.

Custom Fields

Probably the number 1 big functional change. Insanely powerful, too. You can create any number of fields you like (well, not quite *any*, but it's a pretty big number!), and that's for handling all kinds of things.

Fields can be text, whole numbers, floating point numbers, chosen from a select/dropdown, chosen from radio buttons, a single yes/no tickbox, or a set of multiple boxes where you can pick a number from. All of the above can be configured, too, and made required.

Fields can be attached to tickets, or replies, or both, and a field can be made to apply to one or more departments (more on this in a moment), and you can control whether a field is visible to users, staff or only administrators, and whether the field is editable by the same.

You can even use the select/dropdown and radio fields as category filters, so you could create a department for a software project to track your to-do items, and create category-like filters for the different components in the system, or like we do in Project Tools, have category options for security, queries, Javascript, and so on. The number of ways you can use this is pretty varied.

Departments

Probably the number 2 big functional change. This essentially lets you create multiple 'helpdesks' within a single forum installation. You must have at least one at all times, but if there's only one accessible to a user, it looks and feels like the only helpdesk there, rather than being a clear subset of something bigger. (Makes users feel more at home!)

I talked before about the role based permissions - well, you attach a role to one or more departments in which they have powers, which makes it very flexible and functional to run with.

Departments can also be displayed on the board index, in any category you like, including a category of its own with no other boards in it. (And, the best part is that this shouldn't normally require touching your theme at all!)

If that seems complicated, imagine that departments are a lot like boards - just for helpdesk tickets.


There are so many things I could get into at this point, but I'll stop there - those two are easily the biggest things to shake up SimpleDesk but everything else will become clear in due course!


To put it in to context, we have a Project Tools installation here with 4 projects, one for SD itself, one for the site to track any issues, one for team mods and one for plugins for SimpleDesk - and we can now very much replicate that structure in SD itself, so in the near future we actually hope to migrate to our own software for the site, which when specially configured, will allow you to see SD running in all its 2.0 glory right here.


So when it is coming?

Yeah, this was going to be a question we're going to be asked. Right now there are 4 issues in the tracker to be resolved, and after that is our private RC period; it is possible we might release a public RC this time, we haven't decided yet, but you never know, we may well do just that.

Honestly, though, don't expect the next version to be too far away. Hopefully it shouldn't be that far away, the last 2 months has seen a very, very large amount of change under the hood - and some of the code that I originally set down over a year ago has been transformed in ways I hadn't begun to imagine then. I'm probably more surprised at how far SD has come than most people, actually, so when I say we want this release to be special, we want it to be special for the right reasons: awesomeness and quality, not for being buggy.

I'm actually going to spend the next few days 'recovering' from the biggest mind-bending issues, and getting my one site upgraded to accommodate SimpleDesk 2.0; it currently is a modified 2.0 RC3 site (RC5 is absolutely required!) with a custom shoutbox plugin that I need to update for 2.0... I am also looking at publishing that soon after 2.0 lands, too!

We will also get out some screenshots to you soon, of all the new stuff so you can see for yourself how it looks and feels with this extra power at your command.

Offline Spoogs

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2011, 06:45:15 pm »
Looking good there Gruff, as always thank you so much for all the work you've put into this and also to those who have been testing aggressively to find bugs early out.

Thanks to cσσкιє мσηѕтєя as well, for kinking things off again last year after after a hiatus period.

Offline live627

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2011, 07:58:42 pm »
Custom fields: Probably the number 1 big headache maker :P

This all seems so very impressive.

Gruffen

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2011, 08:04:16 pm »
Custom fields: Probably the number 1 big headache maker :P

This all seems so very impressive.

You have noooooooo idea how many headaches that gave. It raised issue after issue and there were times where I felt that as I nailed one issue, it'd create two more. But it seems to be stable now.

Honestly though, it's even more impressive to play with :) The combinations that can be wrought with it are awesome.

Thing I should note is that even with the permissions system and custom fields and everything else, that's actually not what I'm most proud of, although don't get me wrong, it is an achievement for all those who've been developing it, testing it and breaking it. But personally, I'm most proud of "Ability to display each helpdesk department as a board, with read/unread icons".

That sounds so innocent and minor, right? Until I mention that the 'helpdesk board' is added to the board index, read/unread icons and all, without a single template edit... The fact it works in every theme I've thrown at it just makes it the icing on the cake :)

Offline Spoogs

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2011, 08:18:11 pm »
With so much sweetness going on its hard for me to choose a favourite ATM, I find myself going back and forth between which feature I love the most as I test a play with them more and more.

Board Integration - love it, paired with the ability to hide the helpdesk menu button provides a magical integration.
Custom field - wow is about all I can say, admin defined fields can use BBC allowing all sorts of coolness
  *Category type field also allows some hidden magic  (i wont give away too much) you can even have an external filter (well unless that gets fixed :))
Plugins - are on the rise, as time goes by hopefully additional plugin will become available I know I'll be nagging for them (I kinda already am ;))

It's just completely awesome thus far

Offline live627

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2011, 10:04:11 pm »
Board integration is a tricky one, mind. I spent the better half of yesterday testing it for one of my mods and it's still buggy.

Offline tfs

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 10:20:43 pm »
For stand-alone mode, my favorite new feature is the front page, and the new navigation method where the front page is the landing page, and then takes a back seat.  It's very intuitive now.

In general, I'm most impressed by custom fields.  There's a huge amount of potential there.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.

Offline Tah Zonemaster

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2011, 02:04:00 am »
Very nice news :) I can confirm it beautiful ;D

Offline ~DS~

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2011, 09:26:19 am »
This thing is a beast. :)
"I was given the wardrobe of a nobleman, and so I played the part, a puppet ever dancing for the amusement of patrons unseen. This wretched world does not reward endeavour. It is the patron and his troupe who are receipt, maggots grown fat on endeavour's corpse. Most men but play the part they're given. Most live and die not knowing they play a part at all. But I am past all that now. I am their unwitting puppet no longer! No more! I will extract from them the price of their gluttonous feast! ~ Delita Heiral

Gruffen

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2011, 07:49:39 pm »
OK, so I just added the last-but-one feature, canned replies, to the mix. Unfortunately it proved to be a little more buggy than I expected, so there's a few more issues on the tracker to deal with out of that.

After that, there's an enhancement to come to the email notifications system to give it Super Cow powers, then a shakedown to look for bugs.

In other news, the scales just tipped at 22k lines of PHP (excluding blank lines and comments)

Offline tfs

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2011, 09:52:51 pm »
Canned replies is really cool!!!  It's somewhat like a knowledgebase or a FAQ that can be shot into a post one piece at a time.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.

Offline live627

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2011, 11:25:24 pm »
Super cow? Moo?

Gruffen

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 05:41:19 am »
Super cow? Moo?

I'm an apt-get fan, go figure ;)

Offline genusis

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2011, 12:04:25 am »
nice Arantor I did not know anyone was still working on this project till i got the email a couple weeks ago and took a look just no time to post till now XD, and i would love to try out your ticket system If you ever need someone too haha.

Been using simple desk for my games bug, suggestions and issues, to make it easier for me to do things with it.

Offline ~DS~

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Re: SimpleDesk 2.0 officially in final stages
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2011, 06:21:35 am »
to make it easier for me to do things with it.
in 2.0 it will even be easier. ;)
"I was given the wardrobe of a nobleman, and so I played the part, a puppet ever dancing for the amusement of patrons unseen. This wretched world does not reward endeavour. It is the patron and his troupe who are receipt, maggots grown fat on endeavour's corpse. Most men but play the part they're given. Most live and die not knowing they play a part at all. But I am past all that now. I am their unwitting puppet no longer! No more! I will extract from them the price of their gluttonous feast! ~ Delita Heiral

 

anything