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Network Menu Enhancements

8 Oct

As part of our ongoing effort to improve usability, we’ve just released a new version of our network menu.

Historically, one of the more unique features of PBworks has been the shortcuts in the network menu.  These shortcuts allow users to access their Recent Items (visited workspaces and wiki pages, uploaded files), Starred Items, Tasks, and to add content via the big “+”.

The first three shortcuts correspond to the sections of the personal Dashboard, while the big “+” makes it easy to add things.

Thanks to all the new features we’ve added, such as Network-wide page and file types, the old “+”, which only allowed you to add generic workspaces, wiki pages, and files, was incomplete.

Therefore, we’ve remodeled all of the shortcuts, adding new functionality to the “+” and updating the look and feel of the Dashboard shortcuts.

Take a moment to check it out, and let us know what you think!

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
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/453545646

Now you can edit PBworks wiki pages on your iPad or iPhone

18 Aug

While PBworks has always been accessible on your smartphone or tablet, until recently, the built-in browser on iPads and iPhones didn’t allow rich text web editing.

The good news is that browser technology has now advanced to the point where rich text editors like our wiki page editor will now work on iOS devices.  As of tonight, we’ve released an upgrade that allows all PBworks users to edit PBworks wiki pages on their iPads and iPhones (you’ve been able to edit wiki pages on Android devices for some time).

Give these new capabilities a spin and less us know what you think!

Introducing Network-wide Page and File Types

8 Apr

One of the long-standing features of PBworks is the ability to create page (and file) templates simply by tagging .  These templates allow you to standardize the content on a workspace.  For example, you can create a “Meeting Note” template that you can use whenever you set up a new meeting, rather than having to start with a blank page.

As we’ve added more capabilities, like page and file properties, we’ve extended the template system to incorporate them as well.  For example, if a file template includes the property “Status,” with the possible choices “Active” and “Inactive,” uploading a new file with that template lets you specify the status at upload, and to change it later.

But despite these additions, the fact that templates were attached to individual workspaces rather than network-wide had a number of drawbacks.  For example, any time you wanted to use a template on a new workspace, you would have to set it up manually.  And even if you took advantage of our workspace types and templates to include a “Meeting Note” template on each new workspace, if you wanted to make any changes to that template, you would have to circle back and change every single workspace that had been created.

Nor could you search all meeting notes across all workspaces–the pages that were created from a template didn’t maintain any relationship with that template.

That’s why we just introduced Network-wide Page and File Types.  These new types, which can be created by going to the new “Types” menu within the “Admin” panel, address the drawbacks of the old workspace-level templates.  Creating a single network-wide “Meeting Note” type now allows you to create new meeting notes on any workspace.  And the single network-wide type allows you to change the parameters of any future meeting notes in one place, rather than requiring you to make changes workspace by workspace.

Finally, Network-wide Page and File Types are first class elements of the product; they are labeled on screen, and you can even use the search box to search a single type.  An advertising agency, for example, can create a network-wide “Case Study” file type, then search just case studies to find a match more quickly and easily.

If you’ve been a heavy user of the old workspace page and file templates, don’t worry, they’re not going away immediately.  For the next two months, until Saturday, June 7, your existing workspace page and file templates will continue to work just like they always have.  This should give you plenty of time to experiment with the new Network-wide Page and File Types, and to replace your existing templates.

To help you get up to speed on this new feature, we’re offering a free “Network-wide Types How-to Webinar” on Tuesday, April 15:

PBworks: Network-wide Types How-to Webinar
10 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern/17:00 UTC/18:00 BST
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/700479086

We’ll walk you, step-by-step, through the process of using these types, and give you a chance to ask your own questions.

Introducing New Property Types

18 Dec

One of the unique features of PBworks is the ability to combine structured and unstructured information.  A typical workspace contains a lot of unstructured information (wiki pages and files), but both the workspace and specific items of content can be associated with structured information (properties).

PBworks properties can take the form of a drop-down list, text field, integer, date, or PBworks user.  But while these properties cover a wide range of applications, we’ve heard consistent requests for more specific property types.  That’s why we just launched five new property types.

1. Currency
2. Decimal
3. URL
4. Email
5. Workspace Type

Here’s how they work:

1. Currency

Now you can specify the exact dollars and cents, rather than being limited to integer values.  We also add in American-style commas for large numbers to make them easier to read (i.e. $1,000,000.00 versus $1000000.00).

2. Decimal

The decimal property, like currency, lets you go beyond integer values.

3. URL

When you use the URL property, PBworks makes the property a clickable link, rather than requiring users to cut and paste a URL into a web browser address bar.

4. Email

When you use the email property, PBworks makes the property a “mailto” link, rather than requiring users to cut and paste an email address into their email client.

5. Workspace Type

This special property allows you to specify a relationship between individual workspaces and workspace types.  For example, an agency customer might have a “Client” type and a “Project” type.  A project manager could use the workspace type property to specify that the “Hilton Kuala Lumpur” project workspace should be linked to the “Hilton Hotels” client workspace.  The property is clickable, so it’s easy to jump from the project to the related client and vice versa.

These new workspace properties are available immediate to all users (paid and free).  If you’d like to get a refresher course on how to use Properties, we’re holding a free “How To Use PBworks Properties” webinar at 10 AM Pacific (1 PM Eastern, 18:00 GMT) on Tuesday, January 14, 2014:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/458459110

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 the Workspaces Gallery View

16 Sep

One of the most popular features we’ve introduced is the Gallery View of files and wiki pages.  This thumbnail view complements the standard list view of files, and makes it easy for you to visually pick out the files you’re looking for.

However, files within a workspace aren’t the only list that could benefit from a Gallery View.  Over time, we’ll be adding visual Gallery Views to other parts of PBworks.  We’ve just taken the first step in that process by introducing the Workspaces Gallery View.

The Workspaces Gallery View lets you switch the Workspaces tab from a list view to a visual grid.  To make the switch, just click the Gallery icon next to the “New” button.  The visual grid uses the workspace logos you’ve uploaded; in cases where you haven’t uploaded a logo, one of the default textures will be displayed.  To upload a new workspace logo, go to the Settings tab and click on “Branding”:
https://docs.pbworks.com/w/page/27482896/Branding

Clicking on a workspace logo (or texture) takes you to that workspace.  To bring up a workspace card, mouse over the name of that workspace.

Like the Gallery View of files, the Workspaces Gallery View is a “sticky” setting–once you switch the Workspaces tab to the gallery view mode, it will stay switched until you switch it back.  Whether you’re viewing the Workspaces tab in list view or gallery view, the number of workspaces shown per screen remains the same.

To learn more about the Workspaces Gallery View, visit our user manual:
https://docs.pbworks.com/w/page/42027946/Workspace%20Listing

Coming August 26: Updated Naming for Roles and Permissions

20 Aug

Here at PBworks, our powerful and flexible system of custom security and user permissions is one of the key capabilities that makes our collaboration suite enterprise-grade.  When you’re a PBworks customer, you have the ability to specify exactly who should be to do what and where.

The downside of this highly granular security has been a certain level of confusion about terminology.  When someone says that they’re an admin, does that mean they are a Network Admin or a Workspace Admin? (depends)  Can you grant a Page-Level Only user access to a particular folder? (yes)

Because more and more organizations are using PBworks more intensively, we’ve decided to update the names we use for roles and permissions to eliminate the confusion.  For example, rather than wondering about the difference between a Network Admin and a Workspace Admin, you’ll be able to distinguish between a PBworks Admin and a Workspace Moderator.

Starting on the evening of Monday, August 26, these changes will be reflected throughout PBworks, including dialog boxes, menu items, and even tab names.  For example, the current “Everyone” tab on your network will be renamed “Users,” and the current “People” tab on your workspaces will be renamed “Members.”

(If you’re an advanced user, and you’ve already modified these tab names, don’t worry, we won’t overwrite your changes)

For a complete list of changes please visit our user manual:
https://docs.pbworks.com/w/page/68348268/Terminology%20Change

Introducing PBworks Reporting

26 Jul

PBworks is pleased to announce its newest feature, Reporting.  This feature allows you to define, save, run, and download management reports from a new Reports tab.  The goal of Reporting is to allow you to generate an instant, high-level snapshot of some aspect of your business.

Here’s how it works.  When you define a report, you select which workspaces you want to report on.  For example, you can select all the workspace in a particular network collection, or all the workspaces of a particular type (e.g. “Project”).  From there, you can select which columns are going to appear, and drag and drop columns to organize your report.  When your report is complete, you can download the results into a spreadsheet for distribution or for further formatting.

Here’s just a few ways you might want to use Reporting:

  • See you hottest prospects at a glance
  • Monitor the status of all your active projects
  • Check which workspaces are consuming the most resources

Your network now includes a Reports tab with one or more sample reports.  You can modify and run these reports to see how they can help your business.

We’re offering two free webinars to show you how to use Reporting to better understand and manage your business.  You may register for either or both.  Even if you can’t attend, you can register, and we’ll send you a recording of the webinar afterwards.

For specific instructions on how to use Reporting, visit our manual: https://docs.pbworks.com/w/page/67622741/Reports

Customers who want specific help and advice should contact their account representative to set up a professional services engagement.

To create new reports or download report results, you’ll need to buy the new premium Reporting package, which lets you create and run an unlimited number of reports.

Introducing Page and File Properties, Copying Tasks and Task Lists, and the Network Collection Picker

14 May

We’ve got three new features for you to try, all of which are available immediately (to all business users), and at no extra cost.

Page and File Properties

Page and File Properties extends the concept of structured properties from your Workspaces to the Pages and Files within those Workspaces.

We believe that structured data is one of the key ways that PBworks helps you manage your business processes.  Workspace properties help you do things like filter your projects by client or status.  Page and File Properties let you do the same at the workspace level; for example, you can label all your call notes with a “Page Type” property with the value “Call Note.”  This makes it easier for your to view all your call notes on a single screen.

Unlike our tagging system, which lets users enter any value for a tag and creates a “folksonomy,” Page and File properties are defined by network administrators who can define a specific set of options.

You can modify the properties of a page or file from the “Properties” section, right next to the “Tags” section.
https://docs.pbworks.com/w/page/36586108/Tags%20and%20Properties

To define properties for Workspaces, Pages, and/or Files, visit the Properties screen under network Admin settings.
https://docs.pbworks.com/w/page/36732314/Properties

Copy Tasks and Task Lists

One long-standing request has been the ability to copy tasks and task lists.  Now, that feature has arrived.  The Copy Task feature works just like the Copy Page feature; from any Task or Task list, click to pull down the options menu and select “Copy Task” or “Copy Task List” as appropriate.  You can use this to set up repeated tasks, or use copy a Task List when you have a process you need to duplicate.
https://docs.pbworks.com/w/page/27368599/Creating%20a%20Task

Network Collection Picker

Here at PBworks, we try to apply a set of consistent user interface approaches throughout our product.  One of the popular features of the “Files” interface within our workspaces is the ability to navigate using a tree structure, rather than simply having to click and drill down into sub-folders.

The Network Collection Picker applies the same principle to your Workspaces tab.  Some of our customers have many network collections on multiple levels.  This can make it hard to find the specific collection or set of workspaces you’re looking for, or to navigate between collections.

The new Network Collection Picker acts like the folder tree in our workspaces–you can use it to navigate to any collection within your network.
https://docs.pbworks.com/w/page/32472113/Workspace%20Collections

We hope you enjoy trying out these new capabilities!