Gary Sherman
Gary Sherman

Gary Sherman

Chief Technology Officer, Vice President of Products
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Gary Sherman
March 3, 2015

I’ve written recently about how we’re using Markdown for rich text on our solutions.  Under the hood, we’re using the Remarkable library.

Barrett Sonntag, one of our developers here at Dovetail, has written an excellent post on writing custom extensions for the Remarkable JavaScript Markdown parser.

He includes details on extending the parser to add images to a lightbox – which we use in Dovetail Agent and in Dovetail SelfService.

As he says:

There were no clear examples on how to create new plugins or extensions for Remarkable though. So having worked on creating some and having a measure of success it is time to share the knowledge.

I love seeing our knowledge being shared – through blogs, solutions, code samples, etc.

Great stuff Barrett!


Gary Sherman
February 24, 2015

I received an email today from IT Toolbox:

Based on recent member feedback, the following groups will be deactivated:
ACT!
Clarify
SalesLogix
You are currently a member of one or more of these groups. You can ask or reply to new threads in CRM – General Discussions.

I’m definitely saddened by this – I’ve shared a lot of information there, and learned a lot as well.  We’ll see how the Clarify community takes to the CRM – General Discussions list instead.

I’m guessing that it’s due to the lack of activity on the Clarify list. Looking at the number of messages per month, the decline is pretty obvious.

ClarifyMessageArchive

Quite the decline from its heyday in the early 2000s.

My first


Gary Sherman

Throughout our application, we use “pickers” for selecting items.

For example, we use a picker for queues when dispatching a case:

QueuePicker

a picker for contacts when creating a case:

CreateCaseContactPicker

and a picker for the installed part on a case:

EditCaseSitePartPicker

For a small list of items (lets say < 100), such as a list of queues, we’ll just show the user all of the available items straight-away. The user can scroll to see them all, or start typing and the list will be filtered in place.

When there are a large number of items, such


Gary Sherman
February 17, 2015

Last spring I posted about some of the enhancements we’ve made to the case history in Dovetail Agent.

Over the last few releases, we’ve also made more improvements that we think make it even better. 

Images

File attachments that are images are now shown inline. They’re constrained to a maximum size, to maintain readability. Clicking on an image opens it in a lightbox, and in a larger format when necessary.

Example:

case

Ordering

In my previous post, I mentioned that we displayed the case history in reverse chronological order – with the newest entries at the top, similar to many current social apps (facebook, twitter, etc.).

Based on customer feedback, we added an additional option here. Users can now choose the order – either


Gary Sherman
February 12, 2015

One of the common complaints with knowledgebase articles (solutions) in Clarify was the fact that they are plain text – even on the web.

We’ve recently enhanced solutions so that they are much more robust and useful.

Solutions can now contain rich text, images, and videos.

Apps

This functionality is supported within Dovetail Agent and in Dovetail SelfService.

Dovetail Agent:

solution

Dovetail SelfService:

selfservice-solution

Examples

Here’s a few examples of solutions from our knowledgebase:

https://support.dovetailsoftware.com/selfservice/solutions/show/700 https://support.dovetailsoftware.com/selfservice/solutions/show/638 https://support.dovetailsoftware.com/selfservice/solutions/show/721 Rich Text

Solutions now support rich text, including:

Headers (heading 1 –> heading 6) Italic Bold Superscript Subscript Highlighted text Strikethrough Unordered Lists Ordered Lists HTML


Gary Sherman
February 5, 2015

One of the newer features in Dovetail Agent is broadcasts. A broadcast is used to communicate a message to all users.

Broadcasts appear in the user’s notification drawer – along with Notifier messages (such as from business rules).

broadcast

Notice the megaphone icon which helps identify it as a broadcast.

Examples

What are a few examples of where you might use broadcasts?

The system will be going down tonight at 5:00 PM for maintenance. If a customer calls about the special holiday promotion, here’s what you need to know. This app has been updated to a new version. Outgoing shipments will be delayed because of the snow storm. Or whatever other message you want to send to your users. Properties

Broadcast messages


Gary Sherman
February 2, 2015

When a business rule fires, most of the time the result is a notification to one or more users. There’s a few common ways a user can get notified – email, pager, sms/text messages, and the “notifier”.

Notifier means that the user gets a notification within the application itself.

In the Clarify Classic Client, there is a Notifier form (Desktop – Notifier) where messages are displayed.

notifier

Notify Server

On the back end, Clarify uses  a Notifier service/daemon, commonly referred to as the Notify Server. The Clarify Client communicates with the Notifier service using a Windows socket connection.

This is notoriously buggy. It wouldn’t always connect, the connection would drop, messages would get lost, etc. Often, the Notifier service would think it


Gary Sherman
January 29, 2015

Stumbled across a copy of a disk that we (when we were First Choice Software) gave away at the 1998 Clarify User Group.

disk

 

No idea what’s on it, as I don’t have a 3.5” disk drive kicking around anymore.

In case you kids have no idea what the hell that is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk#3.C2.BD-inch_floppy_disk

Pretty cool that we’ve been giving away free software to the Clarify community for close to two decades now.


Gary Sherman
January 28, 2015

In our last episode, we looked at Commitments in Dovetail Agent.

When a commitment expires, or is about to expire, the system will notify the user. Rulemanager is what sends out the notification, and the content of the notification message is defined by the commitment templates.

Lets take a look at these templates, and see how we can make them better.

Templates

There are two templates in the system that are used for commitments: Commitment and Warning. These are stored in table_com_tmplte.

With the commitment enhancements that we’ve made to Dovetail Agent, we can also enhance the commitment templates to provide more information and context.

Commitment Template

Here’s the commitment template we provide with Dovetail Agent.  They’re simply DAT files that you import using dataex or DIET.

The interesting part of the template is really


Gary Sherman
January 26, 2015

Like a lot of the work we do here at Dovetail, we try to deliver newer, cooler, better software, while still maintaining compatibility with Clarify as much as we can.

The commitments functionality in Dovetail Agent is a good example of this.

What is a commitment?

From the Clarify docs:

A commitment is a promise to perform some action by a certain time, such as a promise to call back a customer with a progress update. To keep track of this promise, you can make a commitment.

Some folks call them reminders, or ticklers.

New Commitments

Lets compare the new commitment form in Clarify vs. in Dovetail:

ccc.commitmens agent.commtment

Notice a couple


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