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Phasing Out the 30Boxes Plugin (June 30, 2012)

9 Mar

30Boxes was one of the first plugins we added to PBworks back when the service was still called PBwiki.  This simple calendaring application let our users add a shared calendar to any workspace, and to have that calendar show up on multiple pages.  And while 30Boxes has never been used by most of our users, it has a loyal following.

Unfortunately, 30Boxes has become an “orphan” product.  Its creators have moved on to other projects, and last week, the entire service suffered a 1-day outage.  While service has since been restored, it seems clear that without future investment of resources, it is likely 30Boxes will become less viable.

While we could simply keep 30Boxes as a plugin and simply offer it on an “as is” basis, we don’t feel that this is good for our user experience.  Therefore, we have decided to phase out the 30Boxes plugin.

The first step, which we have already undertaken, is to disable new insertions of the 30Boxes plugin.  We cannot in good conscience allow people to add a service we fear will not be reliable in the future.

The next step, which will take place on June 30, will be the disabling of the 30Boxes plugin.  After that, existing insertions will stop working as well.

We’ve chosen a date more than 90 days in the future to give our users plenty of time to seek alternatives.  This may involve using our HTML/JavaScript plugin to insert the calendaring service of their choice, or using other features within PBworks as an alternative.

For Business users, here is the relevant HTML/JavaScript documentation.  And here is the equivalent HTML/JavaScript documentation for our Personal and Education users.

UPDATE:

It sounds like 30boxes is a key part of many of your wikis.  As a result, we’ve come up with a compromise solution that will lessen our exposure to any potential 30boxes shutdown, while allowing you to continue using the product.

On July 1, while we will no longer support the embedding of the 30boxes calendar, any existing embeds will link to the same calendar on the 30boxes.com website.  This way, you can maintain access to 30boxes if you wish to continue using the product despite the warning signs, but we can prevent a 30boxes outage from affecting the wiki pages on which they’ve been embedded.

Pages & Files: Now 50% More Efficient

12 May

We’ve just rolled out a major improvement to all our users, both paid and free.

One of the important elements of PBworks is the ability to organize wiki pages, files, and folders in our Pages & Files manager.  This screen includes a lot of neat capabilities, like being able to drag and drop items between folders, and to upload files simply by dragging them from your desktop to the desired folder.

Today, we made it even better.

The new Pages & Files manager presents a cleaner, uncluttered interface AND provides more information on individual pages and files.  The secret to this seeming paradox is our “More” button, which allows you to see detailed information for the page or file you specify:

Pages & Files Manager

Now, rather than seeing a bunch of repetitive links that appear for each item (e.g. Edit, Rename, Delete, Move), you get a cleaner view with the ability to quickly drill down for the details.

As a by-product of this streamlining, we’re able to fit even more pages and files onto a single screen.  A typical user on a 1368 x 768 screen will be able to see 15 pages/files per screen, versus 10 files per screen on our previous interface.  That’s a 50% improvement.

For more details on using the Pages & Files manager, visit our user manual.

Publish PBworks Pages As Printable PDFs

28 Dec

One of the most popular feature requests we’ve received over the years is the ability to convert a PBworks wiki page into a PDF.

One of the most common complaints we’ve received over the years is that the printable version of a PBworks wiki page doesn’t look that much like the on-screen version.

Today, we killed two birds with one stone by releasing the ability to convert any PBworks wiki page into a printable PDF.  This replaces the old “Printable version” with a more attractive PDF, which you can either print or download and share.

The “PDF version” is available at the bottom of every page, and to every PBworks user, paid or free.

Thanks for your suggestions, and helping us make PBworks an even better service!

Coming Soon: Improved File Collaboration For Everyone

15 Nov

Just last week, we rolled out major improvements to how you can work with files in PBworks to our business customers.   We’ve gotten such a good reaction to these improvements that we’ve decided to make them available to everyone, including free users.

Starting with Release #520, everyone will be able to tag and comment on files, while premium users on Classroom and Campus Edition will be able to set file-level access permissions, just as they’ve been able to do with wiki pages and folders.

You can read up on all the details here.

New Feature: Copy Page

17 Sep

One of the actions I’ve often found myself taking in PBworks is manually creating a copy of a wiki page.

For example, I use PBworks to record meeting notes for recurring meetings.  At the end of each meeting, I would have to remember to do the following:

  1. Enter Edit mode
  2. Click “Source” to enter Source mode
  3. Select all and copy the source HTML
  4. Click “Cancel” to go back to View mode
  5. Click the “Create a page” link to start the create page process
  6. Type in a page name and click the “Create page” button
  7. Click “Source” to enter Source mode
  8. Paste the source HTML I copied back in Step 3
  9. Click “Save”

Now I got pretty good at doing this quickly, but the fact is, I had to go through *NINE STEPS* to simply copy a page.

With the new “Copy this page” feature, we’ve reduced this to two steps:

  1. Click “Copy this page”
  2. Name the copy and click the “Copy” button

Those two steps do everything that the previous nine steps did; they copy the exact page contents, including links and plugins, but not including comments or page revision, and they place the copy in the same folder as the original page.

In fact, “Copy this page” even goes one better, by copying security settings and tags as well.

“Copy this page” is available to all our users, free and paid.  For more details on how to use “Copy this page”, you can check out our user manual:

Free/Educational Users: http://usermanual.pbworks.com/Copy-this-page

Business Users: http://docs.pbworks.com/Copy-this-page

Introducing Additive Security

27 Aug

As paid users know, PBworks has a very flexible security system.  Using custom page- or folder-level security, you can specify exactly who can view or edit a page, down to the individual user.

However, until now, there has been one downside to applying Custom Security settings.  These security settings have been exclusive.  That is, once you specified Custom Security, only those people you explicitly added would have access to the page or folder.

This is fine for many uses, but it is difficult when you want to expose a particular page to a particular user without affecting how other people access the page.

Here’s an example: Let’s say I’m working on a new case study.  When I’ve written the content, I want the customer who is the subject of the case study, Jane, to be able to review the page and make her edits.

Under the classic Custom Security system, I could set up Jane as a page-level only user and then add her to the case study page.  However, this would also prevent any non-admins from viewing the case study, cutting off folks like Alexis and Sam from the PR team.  To maintain Alexis and Sam’s access, I’d either have to explicitly add them as users, or make them workspace administrators.

Adding them as users under Custom Security is a hassle, and making them administrators may not necessarily be appropriate or viable.

Enter Additive Security.  Now, when you set up Custom Security on a page or folder, you can add Jane as a user without changing anyone else’s ability to access the page.

Plus, you can always use “Who can see this?” to see an explicit list of everyone who has access to the page or folder.

Additive Security makes it even easier to use PBworks to collaborate with people outside your organization.  For more details and illustrated instructions, check out our user manual:

Create user groups and quickly set page security

7 May

Earlier this year we surveyed the top 100 educators on PBworks and asked them how we could make their workspace even better. The number one request was USER GROUPS!  Specifically people wanted to easily add the same group of users to a page or folder and make it easier to set page security.

dianemain:  I currently have my students change their display names to include graduation year and to take out full last names (so, for example, Joe Student graduating this year would become “2010 Joe S.”).

It would be great if I could put them into groups and then be able to add or remove groups of students to/from a folder instead of having to add/remove them all manually at the start and end of the school year.

Well – we listened!  Today we’re pleased to announce that all premium workspaces can create user groups.

Premium workspaces have custom security.  This allows them share pages with specific users, and hide that content from all other users.  Now you can assign page and folder-level access using the groups that you create. Here’s how:

First, place each user in a group.

Next, add the user group to set page-level access.

This feature rounds out our improvements to the user panel – now all premium workspaces can easily add groups of users to pages, and with the recent security improvements, immediately know what your users can see, and edit.

Huge Security Improvements for Premium Workspaces

5 Apr

We are pleased to release a set of improvements that will make it much easier to understand what your users can see, and edit.

On basic workspaces all creators have to option to add users, and set workspace-wide permission.  This means that you can add an editor to your workspace, and that editor can make changes to every page.

Many of you need more flexible access controls – not all users should be able to view or edit every page.  That’s why premium workspaces have advanced access controls, allowing the administrator to lock pages, hide pages and even set specific access controls on each page.

Until now it’s been difficult to understand which users have access to what pages and what those users can view.  With this release, the security improvements give administrators a much better idea of what each user can see and who can view each page.

What can a user see?

On the new users panel we’re introducing a better way to view a users profile.  Click on a users name to view their email, location and profile. If your users panel is visible, all users can view this information.

Administrators have the option to view what content users can view.   When administrators click  “What can this user see”, they will see a list of all the folders, pages and files that the user has access to.


Who can see this page?

Not only will you have better visibility into what your users can see, you will also be able to understand which users have access to specific pages.  Click on the link that says “control access to this page” to view who can see and edit the page.

Here’s what our customers have to say:

Wow!!!! This is exactly what was missing. I am so looking forward to these updates!!!!
- Eduardo

New workspace editor live this week

29 Mar

Earlier this month we announced upcoming changes to your workspace editor including, improved formatting, easier bulleting and more accurate pasting from Word.

This week the new editor will be rolled out to all remaining users.

Thanks to your feedback and lots of hard work by BK2, this update has seriously improved the performance and reliability of the workspace editor.

Here’s what customers have to say:

“I absolutely love “Save & Continue” and the reduced amount of formatting code being imported along with Word docs. I spend far too much time cleaning up code for my users who can’t re-format after uploading”  -Barbara

“One new thing I really like is the option to save and continue. I also like the new feature for editing already posted links. The are both very nice. Thank you.” – Susan

Enhancements to your Users Panel

18 Mar

As the list of users on your workspace grows, it can become difficult to locate the user information that you’re looking for.

Today we’re pleased to announce a new user panel that makes it easier to locate users.  Instead of searching through many, many pages of names, now you can find the person you want.  You can now located users in many ways:

  • Sort by first and last name
  • Filter by email, name and permission level
  • Order based on last log in

By default this user list is available only to the administrator of the workspace.With this enhancement you can chose to share the users list with all the users on your workspace (only workspace users will see the users list).  This makes it easier for users to find workspace administrators, contact each other, and network outside of your workspace.

To expose your users list to other users go to Workspace Security and chose “Let workspace users see the Users Tab”.

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