July and August was a quiet time at Scandio with many of our co-workers being on summer vacation. Our Atlassian apps team used this opportunity for a productive phase with four new releases:
- PocketQuery for Confluence 3.10.0
- PocketQuery for Jira 1.4.0
- Lively Theme 3.2.0
- Team Admin for Confluence 1.6.0
Read what’s new in the following sections.
PocketQuery for Confluence 3.10.0
Descriptions: We finally implemented a new field for all entities in the PocketQuery admin (Queries, Datasources, Templates, Converters) that administrators have long wished for: descriptions! Previously, there was no hint on the actual purpose of, e.g., a queries. For example, in our own Confluence at Scandio we currently have 162 queries and a total of 262 entities. We don’t know exactly for how many of these entities we actually have no idea what they were once used for but a rough guess would be more than 50%. This will now hopefully become an issue of the past, because each entity will have a description (with some administrative discipline).
Read-only compatibility: PocketQuery for Confluence is now officially read-only compatible on Data Center instances. As soon as you enter read-only mode, administrators won’t be able to create/edit/remove/clone/import entities.
Improvements: a few minor issues were fixed in this release:
- Header validation for “REST Custom” datasources was too strict and didn’t allow numbers at the beginning of values.
- JNDI datasources could not be tested in admin UI.
- The template function PocketQuery.load() used to be deprecated and the admin dashboard showed a warning. The reasons why we originally deprecated this function are now obsolete and we therefore “undeprecated” this function. Happy loading!
PocketQuery for Jira 1.4.0
We integrated the descriptions feature from PocketQuery for Confluence also in PocketQuery for Jira, so your descriptions won’t have to wait in the Jira version! The bugfixes were also integrated. Furthermore there was a minor bug in Jira that the current user’s name was not rendered in debug mode, which has been fixed as well.
Lively Theme for Confluence 3.2.0
The release improves upon the customizability of widgets with three more basic but powerful settings: background style, height and custom CSS class.
Background style: The background style option allows to change the widget from a pure white display with a colored border to a fully colored background reminiscent of modern flat design elements. A simple logic determines the text color to be either black or white depending on the background color by analyzing the percepted luminance.
Widget height: Used to strictly fix the container height to a certain value instead of letting the content expand the widget vertically. Longer content will make the widget scrollable internally instead. This feature allows the user to build grid-like layouts with multiple widgets next to each other using the same height values while Confluence’s default layout sections and columns still determine the widget width dynamically. Together with the colored background style, these tightly controlled grids can produce beautiful landing pages.
Custom CSS class: One of the advanced features of a widget that allows a user to set a CSS class name on the widget container. Users can apply individual customizations to a widget through custom CSS content within a space or globally to basically introduce additional styles. For example a class of “highlight” could be used to apply certain colors to the content to make it stand out against other default widgets. It would also be possible to offer some default customizations with the plugin directly as an inspiration for users.
Summary: With these very basic settings, users have much more control over the widget elements and can easily produce a visually distinct experience within Confluence. Unlike other advanced settings, which can be a bit overwhelming without the documentation at hand, these changes offer a lot of power and are implicitly understandable even to new users without adding too much complexity to the macros.
Team Admin for Confluence 1.6.0
With Team Admin, users can create dedicated groups for their spaces. In the past, when the space was deleted, these groups remained in the system. But users may in fact want the related groups deleted as well, so we’ve implemented a dialog that pops up when a user tries to delete a space. The dialog will hint that a few groups exist that they may want to delete as well. The user then has the option of deleting only the space or both the space and the groups.
Additionally, Team Admin now has a “Get started” button when installing the plugin, leading the user to our documentation.
Summary and Future
As you can see, we’ve been pretty busy over the summer! We hope that some of these improvement will be of some use to our existing users or arouse some curiosity in potential new users!
More good news: we will remain busy for the remainder of 2019! On our roadmap are new major releases of:
- Task Reminder for Confluence
- Hide Elements for Confluence
- PocketQuery for Confluence
- PocketQuery for Jira