The last weeks of 2013 proved very benevolent for Springloops source & deploy: we’ve released a couple of useful additions, including a blame tool and online editor, together with numerous improvements to the whole project management suite.
Finally, the time has come to introduce one of the most requested features of all time. We are both proud and excited to announce that Springloops now supports deployments of submodules and externals.
How do submodules and externals work?
Every company in the coding business has its own libraries that are the core of a project. Many a time these libraries are the same across all projects. In such case, the best idea is to add dependencies from external modules to a specific project. Such dependencies are called submodules in Git and externals in Subversion. Although the name and way of handling are different, their purpose remains the same: to allow users to contain one repository within another.
With today’s release, these dependencies can be deployed together with the files from the parent repository.
You can define which projects are going to deploy external repos at the left side of the Deployments tab. A submodule/external folder will also be tagged with an appropriate icon in the Source browser:
All projects created before February 5, 2014, have this option turned off by default, whereas all projects created after that date will have this feature turned on. You can switch it off at any time in case you had problems with the externals (eg. authorization issues.)
Public repositories hosted outside Springloops are now also supported.
Springloops source & deploy will be continually developed alongside BamBam! and the rest of our apps in order to meet the needs of the most demanding web developers around the world. The view of the amazing websites that you make with our tools is just too much of a reward for us to quit.
Today we released two features that will make life of every Springloops user easier.
The first one is an online editor that allows you to edit files directly in the Springloops browser without the need to switch to command line or a third-party editor:
You will find it next to other options in the Source & Deploy: Browse tab right above the currently viewed piece. Clicking Edit will switch the view to full screen, allowing you to work on code in smooth fashion (syntax highlight is also supported.) Once you’re ready with the changes, click Save & Commit to automatically commit them to the repository.
The second feature relates to one of the most common requests we were receiving from both Springloops and BamBam! users: the ability to give access to the payments tab to other users. That’s why we introduced billing liaisons who have special rights to access the Account tab:
The users added to the billing liaison list are entitled to change plans, manage payments and download invoices. The only thing they cannot do in the Account tab is delete the account (only account owners can do that.)
The difference between admins and billing liaisons is that admins are able to add and delete projects but aren’t allowed to manage plans and payments, whereas billing liaisons have access to the account settings but aren’t allowed to manage projects (they can only access those to which they are assigned to.) Both roles can be combined freely, however.
Next thing on the roadmap? Submodules and externals for Springloops. See you in two weeks.
It’s been a long year for 84kids: we finally got a name for our team, inspired by the time we grew up in. We introduced a brand new UI to Springloops and divided it into four separate products, the biggest change to the system since the upgrade to v2.0 in 2009. We moved to a new office seated on the high scales of city walls. We launched new social media channels and responded to hundreds of emails. It was a busy time.
Thank you for sticking up with us in 2013. We’re not going to let the momentum die in the year to come. In fact, we aim higher. 2014 will be a blast.
Merry Christmas everybody and all the best in the New Year! 84kids
You know the drill: something’s not working and you need to find out why. You find the bug in the code, but don’t know how to fix it. Who you gonna call? The person who coded that piece. Don’t know who did it? Use the Blame tool and trace him!
The main function of the tool is to indicate who and when modified the file so that you can blame the responsibility on him and drown in guilt in front of everybody use his help to fix the bug quicker and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s safe to assume all of us have used either svn blame or git blame at some point of work. Now you can access it directly from Springloops: just click the Blame link at the right side of Source Browser to see which lines have been modified in the currently viewed revision and learn who is the author and when the changes were made.
It’s the first one in the series of online tools that will improve work on repositories. The next in line is Online Editing, to be released soon.
If there’s somethin’ strange…
In your repo code…
Who you gonna call?
A few weeks ago we received an email from one of our users. Here’s what he had to say:
Every time I open up Springloops, it takes me a good two to three seconds to get my bearings. Every time. And it always feels like there’s an extra step to get where I needed, like everything useful is one level too deep. Anyway, keep it up you still have a great product. Vincent
Unfortunately, it appeared that Vincent wasn’t the only one having a hard time getting his bearings: we were receiving similar emails from other users rather regularly. We decided to perform an audit and investigate this matter closely. It appeared that the reason behind people getting lost like hobbits in the mines of Moria was lack of clear division between Global and Project view, which were very similar.
The Global View
There are two main views in the system: Global and Project.
The first one, also known as Dashboard, is what you see immediately after logging into the system: the overview of all your projects. In order to make the view it more distinctive, we bulked all tabs from the main navigation bar in the Global View (i.e. All tasks, All wikis, etc.) into one drop down menu. This is how it looks now:
Grouping the “All” views under one menu allowed us to better expose features important for account management: Workflows, Permissions, Groups & People and Account settings. They are now easily accessible at the right (note that some users may not have access to some of them due to permission settings):
The Project View
Clicking on a project brings up the Project View. This is where you work on tasks in BamBam!, browse source in Springloops, analyse time tracking reports in Chime and edit documents in Anchor. You can see which project you are currently in by the name at the top left corner under the colored line. Note that you can switch to the Global View at any time by clicking the link above. At the right side you can find Project Options with settings applicable to that project only.
We hope the changes introduced will improve the UX of the service and make the navigation easier. Once again, thank you for all feedback that you share with us. We want to develop the best online collaboration tool platform out there and, thanks to your suggestions, opinions and unbiased criticism, with each release we’re getting closer to our target.
The good ol’ Springloops account is still up and running at twitter.com/springloops You can now choose what information you want to receive by following one of the accounts (or more) above – we are not going to tweet about BamBam! on the Springloops channel anymore and vice-versa.
If you think of the May release as v3 upgrade, then the September upgrade is like a v3.1 patch. It is our final touch to the 18 months of redesign which resulted in Springloops getting younger brothers: BamBam! (tasks), Chime (time tracking), Anchor (wiki) and Turbine (notes, still in beta).
If we were to describe the changes in one word, it would be usability. We collected all feedback we’ve received from you since the redesign in May, analyzed it and introduced tons of UI improvements all around the system. It looks better, works better and certainly feels better to work with.
Here’s the list of the most important things introduced:
Improved main navigation
Easier access to the most popular features
Going one page app: stacked boxes in tasks, wiki, commits and milestones
Quicker task edition
Custom lists in tasks
Path searching in Source
Grouping tasks by dates: the first move towards calendar feature
Ability to migrate tasks between workflows
Numerous bugfixes and UI tweaks
Introducing: New Project Overview
BamBam!’s here and needs your help!
With redesign finished, we are now officially ready to release BamBam! to the world at www.dobambam.com.
Check out the website and share it with your friends, readers and followers to help the little fella get the recognition he deserves! The more people learn about him, the faster we’ll be able to deliver new exciting features – like the mobile version, which is now our priority.
Along with BamBam! goes Chime, a free time tracking tool that’ll help you evaluate the real costs behind your work. Meet him here: www.getchime.com
Last but not least, we’ve updated the landing page for Springloops at www.springloops.io. Hope you’ll like the new looks!
We’d like to thank you for your support and invaluable feedback during the last months. We can assure you that you’ll hear about us here and there in the weeks to come.
Please note: We wrote this short guide mostly with new users in mind. We are aware that since the upgrade in May many of you are already familiar with the information below.
What is the Stream?
Stream is a news feed which gives you real-time insight on the overall progress of work in the project. It aggregates every action made within the account with the most recent one always at the top: updates to tasks and wiki pages, new time entries, admin changes, commits and deployments, milestones, messages and more.
There are two main views for the Stream: Threads and Timeline. In general, the first one allows you to respond to what’s happening directly from the Stream (eg. update tasks) while the latter is more of a condensed summary of past actions.
Every action is described with a category title (Threads) or a label for quick identification (Timeline).
You can also choose what kind of events to display on the Stream by selecting a category from the left sidebar.
The Unread view
The unread switch toggles the view to unread elements only. Unread events are colored. Scrolling down or updating status automatically removes the color and marks them as read. Switching to the Unread view unlocks a dropdown menu in which you can mark all events as read, instantly clear already read elements or select an option to remove an event from the Unread Stream upon updating
If you run a serious business (or have a deadline on Monday and your team is crunching like a gerbil on drugs) and the traffic on the Stream is getting heavy you might want to filter the information to what is really important for you. To do that, you can switch the view from All to Following in the left sidebar. This way only the events that you are currently following will be displayed. You can trigger following of each event manually while viewing it, or adjust it globally for every category in the Notifications section of your profile.
Please note: We wrote this short guide mostly with new users in mind. We are aware that many of you may be already familiar with the information below.
With Source getting a significant boost, it’s good to learn how to move around it quickly to get the most of it. There are three ways to navigate the Source: Path Bar, Tree Explorer and using Content Preview.
An excellent way to move in the file tree. Useful for people who use mouse for navigation as well as those who prefer the keyboard: start typing for path autocompletion, choose what you wish and approve with Enter. Simple as that.
A solution well-known from every OS and IDE. Without it navigating large projects would be simply unbearable. Arrows to the left of the folder expand the tree while clicking directly on the name of file or folder opens its contents in the preview on the right side.
Used to display contents of a folder or file. You can choose either Large icons or Details. The latter shows the date of last edition together with its author and comment. The Source view also uses syntax highlight used for easier code navigation and identification, and image comparison tool with which you can spot differences to pictures in real-time or on side-by-side placement.
The best way to get a grip of the Source is to start using it by yourself. Soon moving around it Flash Gordon style will become your second habit.