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Maintenance Window, 10 PM Pacific, Friday November 20

5 Nov

On the evening of Friday, November 20, PBworks will be unavailable for up to four (4) hours while we perform a scheduled hardware upgrade, starting at 10:00 PM Pacific Time (1 AM Eastern/6 AM UTC on Saturday, November 21). During this time, the PBworks service will be offline; you won’t be able to log in, nor will you be able to access your site.

During this planned downtime, we’ll be upgrading our infrastructure to better support our customers. We’ve tried to select a time when as few people as possible will be impacted. Once the upgrade is complete (2 AM Pacific/5 AM Pacific/10 AM UTC), you will be able to return to using the service as you normally do.

PBworks is available (7/15/2015 3:41 AM Pacific)

14 Jul

Our team has been able to restore service.  We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced.

February 27, 2015 After Action Report

3 Mar

On Friday, February 27, PBworks experienced significant, customer-facing performance problems, and for that we apologize.

The issues began in the early morning hours, manifesting themselves as slow performance and page timeouts.  While the site never went down, it became difficult for our customers to use it effectively.  You rely on us to do your work, and in this case, we let you down.

During the course of diagnosing and resolving the issues, all the senior members of our operations and technical staff got involved, as did our executive team.  We cancelled all our regular meetings to focus on restoring the service as quickly as possible.  At one point, we even sent our CEO to our data center to help with repairs.  He ended up getting a cut on his finger while assisting the technical team, which means that we literally sacrificed blood and sweat to get the service back to normal.

We ultimately determined that the root cause was an unlikely, intermittent hardware failure, and corrected the situation by replacing the affected hardware once the business day ended (to minimize any hard downtime for our customers).

Since then, we have taken steps to ensure that the specific root cause of the incident cannot happen again.  We have also identified additional precautions that we can put in place to help ameliorate any future issues, and will be working on them.

Again, our sincerest apologies for any disruption to your work.  We take our obligation to our customers very seriously, and will strive to avoid any repeats of such issues.


Introducing New Menu Bar Customization

10 Sep

The menu bar at the top of our products is the most important navigational element.  It includes links to all the most important features in the product, a powerful search capability, and a host of other cool tools like the ability to access recent items or tasks.

We’re making it even more powerful by introducing a new system for menu bar customization.

In the past, we offered some limited customization capabilities.  You could hide tabs, change their names, and provide a URL for home tab content.  A few of our premium packages allowed you to add additional custom tabs, or to set up alternate home tabs, but by and large it was very hard to use these features because you couldn’t know which tabs would appear for which users without making the change and testing it with those users.

The new menu bar customization feature adds additional functionality while solving prior issues.  The new Network Menu settings now allows you to define as few or as many tabs as you like.  You can also decide which users can see which tabs, either by selecting the class of users (Admins, Internal Users, External Users) or by setting permissions for user groups.  We’ve even added new types of tabs, like the ability to create a tab with a drop-down submenu of options.

Best of all, the Network Menu screen allows you to preview your changes by user type or group, so you can know what your users will see *before* you implement the change.

If you like your menu the way it is, don’t worry, this feature won’t change your tabs (unless you make the change yourself).

You can access the Network Menu settings from the PBworks Admin screen.  To provide more room for additional tabs, we have moved this Admin screen to be part of the user drop-down.  Admins can simply click on their profile photo in the Menu Bar and access the Admin screen.

Because this is a powerful new feature, we’ll also be offering a free webinar to demonstrate the new features and how you can use them.

New Network Menu Customization Webinar
Tuesday, September 1610 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern/17:00 UTC/18:00 BST

Introducing Search Improvements

15 Oct

Search has long been one of the most popular and powerful features of PBworks.  Our search engine allows you to search through your entire network, including the text within the files you upload.  You also have the opportunity to “facet” your search results (for example, you can filter the search results so that they only show files where you uploaded the most recent version).  The goal is to make it as easy as possible to find what you’re looking for.

Given the strength of our search engine, we’ve discovered that the way to make it even better is to eliminate the need to even complete a search.

While we’ve long had an autocomplete feature, which brings up potential matches as you type in our search box, it was a simple autocomplete, which provided a single list of potential matches.  You can see an example of a simple autocomplete at Google–just type in “What should I do” and Google will quickly offer you options like “What should I do with my life” and “What should I do tonight” (Answer: Invite more users to your PBworks network).

We’ve now launched a greatly improved autocomplete that takes into account the nature of the content you store in PBworks.  As you type into the search box, PBworks brings up a miniature search results page, with the results categorized by the “type” of object that matches.  The basic object types in PBworks are: Files, Pages, Folders, Tasks, Task Lists, Workspaces, Collections, Users, and Reports.  You can always complete the search, which will bring up a lot more results (the autocomplete only finds up to five *exact* matches per object type).

If you know in advance that you’re looking for a particular object type, for example, a file, you can click the dropdown next to the search box and filter the autocomplete to a single object type.  PBworks will return a full list of exact matches (or at least as many as will fit on your screen), and if you want to see all the matches, you can still complete the search and the resulting search results page will automatically be filtered by type.

As your PBworks network fills with content and documents, search becomes more and more critical.  With the latest improvements, PBworks now offers the best search engine in the market, allowing you to find whatever your looking for more quickly and easily.

These search improvements are a free enhancement, and have automatically been activated for all our business customers and freemium networks.

Introducing Workspace Summaries (and wiki page previews)

15 Jan

People use workspaces in many different ways–to manage projects, as an intranet, as a knowledgebase–and in each case, someone who wanted to develop a full understanding of what was happening on the workspace needed to look in a couple of different places.

The FrontPage, which is the default place to start, offers a great place to post messages and high-level information, but requires someone to keep it up to date.  Files provides a high-level view of all the uploaded files and wiki pages, but is a largely static picture.  Perhaps the most universal starting point is the Activity stream, but a stark list of recent changes doesn’t offer leaders and managers a way to provide context for all those actions.

That’s why we’ve created the Workspace Summary for our business products, which combines these different points of view into a single sweeping summary view of a workspace.  The Workspace Summary is a new initial screen for each workspace that includes the following:

  • Branding banner: A customizable graphic that runs the width of the screen, which you can use for branding and visual appeal
  • Workspace title and description: These used to appear only in settings, and on the Workspaces tab of your network; now they appear on the summary to provide the high-level description of your workspace
  • Links: You can specify key URLs, either to link to important parts of the workspace or to the external web
  • Recent activity: We’ve broken down your recent activity to recent uploads (file activity), recent pages and edits (wiki activity), and recent comments (comments on both files and pages).  And unlike the activity stream, this recent activity is graphical, taking advantage of the Gallery view of files that we recently developed
  • Workspace users: List key users like admins or guests, or simply provide the workspace roster on the initial screen

In addition to these features, you can also choose to include your existing FrontPage and/or Sidebar, so you can continue to leverage the content you’ve already developed.  The FrontPage is included by default, while the Sidebar is not.

The Workspace Summary is configurable, which means you can pick-and-choose which elements to show or hide on a workspace by workspace basis.  For example, the recent uploads section is probably essential for an asset repository, but the workspace users column is not.

If you’re an avid PBworks user, Workspace Summaries will let you make your workspaces even more valuable, especially for members of your team who need to come up to speed quickly.

If your team hasn’t yet adopted PBworks as an integral part of their workflow, Workspace Summaries are a great reason to re-introduce them to your network, they will help individual team members engage with the product.

If you’re using our freemium business product, you don’t have to do a thing; the summaries will just magically appear.  Because your existing wiki FrontPage will be configured to appear as part of the summary, you’ll still be able to see all the same information, plus all the new summary enhancements.  And if you want to configure a summary, just go to Settings > Advanced > Summary Tab.

If you’re one of our paying customers, you’ll be able to activate it for any of your workspaces from Settings > Advanced > Summary Tab.  If you decide that you want to turn them on for all your workspaces, contact our Support team or your account manager, and we’ll turn in on by default (you’ll still be able to toggle Summaries off on a workspace-by-workspace basis).

We’ve also released two other enhancements.

First, we’ve added wiki page previews to the Gallery View, folder contents plugin, and the “recent pages and edits” section of Workspace Summaries.  You’ve been able to see a preview of the files in those views; now you can also see a preview of any wiki pages in those files.  And of course, clicking on them will take you to the full page.

We’ve also improved the Workspaces list in User Profiles.  The old list let you see which workspaces a user had joined.  The new list incorporates the Workspace Cards we developed for the main Workspaces tab.  These cards, which appear upon mouseover, provide a quick overview of the workspace, along with a list of possible actions.

Thanks again for being a PBworks user!

30 Minute Maintenance Window, Midnight Pacific Time, Saturday May 19

16 May

On the morning of Saturday, May 19, PBworks will be down for maintenance from midnight to 12:30 AM Pacific Time (3 AM Eastern/7 AM UTC/8 AM BST).  During this time, the PBworks service will be offline; you won’t be able to log in, nor will you be able to access your site.

During these 30 minutes, we’ll be upgrading our infrastructure to better support our customers.  We’ve tried to select a time when as few people as possible will be impacted.  Once the maintenance is complete, you will be able to return to using the service as you normally do.

Thanks for being a PBworks user, and for your patience throughout this process.


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