Clibu V1.33.10, Clipper V1.0.4 Released

Some users, especially in Corporate environments have had trouble getting Clibu to connect to our Server because of firewall and related lockdown procedures, that they have in place. In this release of Clibu we’ve changed how we connect the Browser to the Server and vice-versa, which should resolve this. If you’ve had this issue please do try the new V1.33.10 release and let us know if it is working for you now – email info@clibu.com

Note that you need to do a Browser Refresh to get this new version.

We changed the Article Panel in this release so that it occupies the full height of the Browser window when it’s content doesn’t fill that space. SImilarly when you create a New Article it fills the full space instead of changing height as new lines of text are added or removed. These changes improve the overall look of articles and improve article editing.

Another new feature in this release is Article Titles, which I know some have found lacking, especially our Surfulater users.

When you create a new article a placeholder title is added as shown above. As soon as you start typing this will be overwritten by the title you enter.

In addition to adding Titles to new articles, we’ve added the capability of creating titles for articles present prior to this Clibu release. This works by analyzing the content at the start of an article and then extracting what best makes sense and converting that into a Title.

These two new features are entirely optional and enabled via. a new Settings dialog accessed from the User menu.

They are turned on by default as seen here.

Also note that the ‘Show Tooltip hints’ option has been moved from the User menu to this new Settings dialog.

The Clibu Web Clipper has also been updated to change the server connection as per the Clibu changes mentioned above.

We’ve also reworked the Clipper code that detects any instances of Clibu which are open in Browser Tabs and displays same when you Login, so you can use the Clipper with Clibu ‘On Premise’ etc.

Chrome will update the Clibu Web Clipper Extension to the new version 1.0.4 automatically at some point. If you don’t want to wait then Uninstall and Reinstall it to get the latest version.

An update to Clibu ‘On Premise’ will be released in due course.

Clibu ‘On Premise’ Major Update – V1.33.01op

We’ve just released a major update to the ‘On Premise’ version of Clibu. The  ‘On Premise’ version (Clibu OP) enables you to run Clibu on your own PC or Server with all data kept locally.

For various reasons Clibu OP had fallen somewhat behind our hosted cloud version (Clibu Cloud.).

Over the past few months we’ve put considerable effort into updating the tooling and refining the workflow required to build Clibu OP. This will enable us to keep Clibu OP releases in sync with Clibu Cloud from now on.

You may in fact notice that the new Clibu OP release is actually ahead of the current Clibu Cloud version. This is because we’ve done a major update to the server as well as many of the Browser modules and we aren’t quite ready for these to go live in Clibu Cloud just yet.

Clibu OP also has some new features which we’ll tell you about once we complete work on the next Clibu Cloud release.

As a teaser some things we are working on include the ability to attach files to Clibu articles, the ability to drag images from your operation system File Explorer and drop them on Articles and new Article Titles to name a few.

For those already using Clibu OP you need to update MongoDB (the database we use) to the latest release, V3.4 as noted here.

If you are interested in using Clibu OP open a support ticket telling us why and what you want to use Clibu for and we’ll get back to you with details.

Note that Clibu OP runs on Windows only at this time, however you can access it using a Browser on any operating system that can connect to the Windows PC.

The latest Clibu Web Clipper now works with Clibu OP, see here for details.

For more information on Clibu OP, these older posts will be of interest:  Clibu v1.30.40 Released – Install and run it on your PC/Server and  To Cloud or not?

Finally thanks to Graham Rhind for his assistance with initial issues with the new Clibu OP.

Neville

 

Firefox Extensions, herein lies a big problem!

The great news in the past year or so is that Chrome, Firefox and MS Edge now implement the same Browser Extension framework. This means that for the first time we can (theoretically) develop Extensions that work across all three Browsers, with only minimal changes – hoorah!

I mentioned in my last article that we now have the Clibu Web Clipper Browser Extension working for Firefox.  It’s development was rather painstaking, primarily because finding and fixing issues in Browser Extensions in Firefox is really hard work.

Firefox makes you use different debuggers (apps that help locate problems) depending on which of the three components that make up an extension you are working in. And much of the time I couldn’t get them to do what they are supposed to do, debug! Now this may be partly due to the way I develop, writing es6 code and transpiling, however I’m not doing anything all that unusual. And often times Firefox would just crash when it was trying to load Node.js modules it shouldn’t have had any interest in, in the first place.

To complicate matters further there are Browser functions such as being notified when the user selects some content, which aren’t available in Firefox. This quite basic, yet important capability is mentioned in Bug 1242718 posted Dec 2015 and seems to be going nowhere in a hurry.  Desktop notifications can’t be updated in Firefox and Bug 1215025Popup size does not respond to content change, reported Oct 2015 is still waiting to be fixed.

None of these issues are show stoppers, however they do impinge on the functionality we need to deliver to our users.

But there is a show stopper, a very big one, which prevents us from making the Clibu Web Clipper available for Firefox. Let me rewind a step.

Once you have a fully debugged and working Browser extension, you need to go through a series of steps before it can get published in Firefox Add-ons, which is where you get to download extensions from.

First you have to submit the extension, then in 5-7 days someone will get in touch with you with further instructions. Specifically they require the developer provide full source code for the extension along with complete instructions on how to build the extension from the source code, so they can verify it compares exactly with the compiled extension you upload.

The “Source Code Submission” section of the Review Policies states:

This code will be reviewed by an administrator and will not be shared or redistributed in any way. The code will only be used for the purpose of reviewing the add-on.

There are multiple fundamental issues here.

First the build process for the Clibu Web Clipper is a complex one requiring installation and setup of various development and build tools. We would need to provide detailed documentation in order for them to accomplish the build and it would take them a fair amount of time and expertise to set this up.

Second they want access to our intellectual property without offering to sign a NDA as part of the process. Saying that I’m reluctant to do this, is an understatement.

Third the entire process is onerous, costly and time consuming. And is one I assume needs to be repeated each time we update the extension.

Now let me contrast this to getting the Clibu Web Clipper published in the Chrome Store.  Step one, upload the extension, wait up to 60 minutes and if there are no issues the extension is live and available for download. So far we’ve had three releases of the Chrome Web Clipper and each one has gone off without a hitch and has been live in around 30 minutes.

You simply need to look around and you will see lots and lots of Browser Extensions that are available for Chrome that should also be available for Firefox, but aren’t. It’s not hard to see why.

Besides making it quick and simple to publish to the Chrome Store, development of Browser Extensions using the Chrome Developer Tools is also a breeze, with none of the issues seen in Firefox.

Unfortunately these issues aren’t limited to just developing Browser Extensions for Firefox, but impinge on overall development of Web applications using the Firefox Browser and it’s development tooling.

I’ve been holding off writing this rant, but I’m sorry Firefox folks, but I’m simply not prepared to jump through these hoops.

I read a few months back that Firefox’s plans for 2017 are to develop a faster, better browser. According to the Firefox 2016/17 Strategy & Roadmap

Firefox will deliver a rock solid browsing experience with world-beating customization and a first of its kind recommendation engine that gets you the content you want when you want it, whether at home or on the go.  ….

Firefox will deliver the best of the web in a way that is more useful and navigable than on any other browser. With great new features like Activity Stream and Recommender, the Firefox Context Graph will deliver the right web page, always.

Well that has a nice warm and fuzzy ring, but maybe they’d be better devoting resources elsewhere. Improve the developer experience, fix long outstanding bugs , get as close as possible to the latest Web standards and give us the new Javascript, HTML and CSS capabilities present in other Browsers.

As of this writing Firefox usage is down around 12%. Given that and the issues raised above, it is hard to see why folks like me should keep on devoting precious resources to support Firefox.

Neville

 

Clibu v1.32.00 Release plus new Web Clipper – it must be Xmas Pt 2

For Part 1 which covers Clibu v1.32.00 see this post.

The Clibu Web Clipper has had a major update to add new functionality and bring it inline with Clibu.

Whenever the Web Clipper needs to Login to a Clibu Server it looks to see if Clibu is open and logged in, in a Browser Tab in the same Web Browser as the Web Clipper. If so it displays this new dialog.

From here you can select from the list of Clibu sessions or Enter your Login Credentials.

This does two things. First it enables the Web Clipper to login without you having to enter any credentials and second it enables it to login into a Clibu Server other than the server at myclibu.com. More specifically this now enables users of Clibu ‘On Premise’ to use the Web Clipper with their Clibu Server.

If Clibu isn’t open and logged in you are prompted to enter your login credentials.

You can now enter the name of Knowledge Base you want to use with auto suggest simplifying selection.

Knowledge Bases that are shared with you include an icon beside their name as shown above.

Tags selection has been updated to the same user interface as in Clibu.

The Web Clipper uses native OS Desktop Notifications to keep you informed. We’ve updated these notifications to include more detailed information.

This example is the result of clicking ‘Add Article’ and includes the article title and the name of the Knowledge Base the article was added to.

Similarly the associated notifications in Clibu itself have been updated.

If you are new to the Clibu Web Clipper note that it can also be used from the Browser context menu.

If no content is selected on the Web page you get ‘Bookmark’ items on the Clibu sub-menu.

And when content is selected you can either create a New Clibu Article with it or append it to an existing article.

For more information on the Web Clipper see this post and this one.

In addition to the new features described above we’ve put considerable time and effort into developing a version of the Clibu Web Clipper for Mozilla Firefox and now have this working. I’ll write more about this in the next Blog post so stay tuned.

That’s it for this release of the Clibu Web Clipper. Just like Clibu we’ll keep on making it even better and welcome your suggestions.

– Neville

Clibu v1.32.00 Release plus new Web Clipper – it must be Xmas Pt 1

Well it has clearly been too long between Blog posts, in fact way too long. The good news is, this in no way reflects on Clibu development or releases. In fact it is simply because we’ve been so busy on development that allocating time for blogging has sadly not happened.

Our regular Clibu users will have seen we’ve had several releases since the last blog post and I’m sure are wondering what we’ve been up to, so let’s get to it.

V1.32.0.0 sees a long list of enhancements and new features and the Clibu Web Clipper has had a major update with new functionality. Let’s start with Clibu itself.

For a while now you’ve been asking for a quicker way to get back to seeing ‘All Articles’ once you’ve done a search. Our simple solution was to include an x button in search as shown here.

We’ve also rearranged the Tags Filter button so it stays in the same place after adding a filter. We’re also continuing to think about ways to somehow combine Search and Tags Filtering into one unified widget. If you have any suggestions we’d love to hear them.

Next we’ve added a ‘New Article’ button to the ‘Articles List’ header which brings it in line with the ‘New Tag’ and ‘New Knowledge Base’ buttons on their panels.

The Article editor has been updated with new capabilities including:-

‘Code Inline’ lets you style selected inline text as in this example:and is available on the editor toolbar Styles menu:Also note ‘Code’ has been renamed to ‘Code Block’.

The editor Styles button now reflects the style the cursor is on:

In this example the cursor is in a Quote. We’ve also improved the styling used for Quotes.

The new Horizontal Rule button adds, guess what, a horizontal rule.

The behaviour of the indent and outdent toolbar buttons has changed to only work inside lists. This fixes issues with the previous implementation and brings their behaviour into line with best practice.

The image above shows indent list disabled, even though we are inside a list. This is because the cursor is in the very first item in a list, which can’t be indented.

For the final editor toolbar improvement, we’ve made the buttons a little bit narrower, so more fit on a row.

Knowledge Base collaboration and sharing is the next area we’ve been working on. You can now Move articles to a Knowledge Base that is shared with you, as long as you have been granted full access by its owner. Similarly you can Merge a Knowledge Base of yours into a KB that is shared with you, given the appropriate permission.

We’ve updated all Clibu Web components, updated several third party libraries, further improved overall performance, optimised code both in the Browser and on the Server and fixed a variety of colorful bugs. For complete details see the Release Notes.

This post is long enough, so I’ll leave the Web Clipper enhancements to the next post.

As always we look forward to and welcome your feedback.

Neville

Clibu v1.30.40 Released – Install and run it on your PC/Server

Clibu v1.30.40 is another major milestone release for us.

Clibu running in the Cloud on our servers works wonderfully well for most folks, however we understand that not everyone wants this, instead they want to have their data stored privately on their own PC’s.

It was always a goal of ours to develop a product that would accomplish just this. So I’m excited to announce that starting with Clibu v1.30.40 you can now install and run Clibu entirely in house. We call this Clibu ‘On Premise’.

I’d planned and told people that this would be available back in March, however we had a major setback due to a third party shutting down a product we’d planned to use to build the ‘On Premise’ version. This forced us to go back to square one, and reevaluate the available options. In the end we did our own thing, as none of the contenders met all of our complex needs.

Clibu ‘On Premise’ is especially important in the business world, where data privacy is all the more important. And having it running entirely in house means you are in complete control, with minimal reliance on third parties.

To our knowledge there are no products that deliver the functionality that Clibu does, that can be installed on premise, which makes this release all the more exciting for us and for you.

If you’ve already requested access to Clibu ‘On Premise’ you will get an email with download details shortly. If not open a “New support ticket” in our Help Center to do so.

For details on getting up and running see: Clibu – Install and Run Locally

And finally we have full Release Notes.

Clibu V1.30.30, Rename, Merge and Delete Knowledge Bases and Move Articles

Clibu V1.30.30 is now up and running. This is yet another milestone release which sees Knowledge Base management capabilities completed.

The ability to Merge knowledge bases and move articles around from one knowledge base to another, provide the utmost flexibility and mean you aren’t locked into decisions which over time proved not quite as you’d like.

The Knowledge Base menu is opened by clicking on the down arrow beside each Knowledge Base name in the Knowledge Base Panel as shown here.

The first new feature in this release is Rename Knowledge Base.

You can rename any Knowledge Base that is owned by you, except the `Sample` Knowledge Base. You can’t rename KB’s that another user has shared with you. Instead ask them to rename them.

Next up is Merge KB.

Merge lets you move all content (including Tags) from one Knowledge Base into another, deleting the source Knowledge Base in the process. Like Rename you can only merge  knowledge bases that you own, not ones that are shared with you.

Merge cannot be undone, so ensure this is what you want to do, before clicking on the Merge button.

Delete KB is next.

This deletes all Knowledge Base content and cannot be undone, so proceed with caution.

The final new Knowledge Base management feature in this release is the ability to move articles from one Knowledge Base to another.

Start by selecting the article(s) you want to move by clicking their checkboxes in the Articles List panel. Then click the Move button highlighted below

The Move Articles dialog opens next.

Select the To Knowledge Base and click Move. You can move articles from/to Knowledge Bases you own, but not from those shared with you.

Autosuggest is provided in both the Merge and Move Articles dialogs to simplify the process and robust error checks are in place everywhere.

The Merge and Delete KB processes can take a little while to complete, depending on the size of the knowledge bases. You can continue working normally and will be notified they finish.

Finally a big thankyou to Andy Brice (Hyperplan, Perfect Table Plan) for his help with Clibu usability testing. Andy made a video which was quite painful to watch and showed some glaring issues when Clibu was used on a narrow Browser window. I’ve addressed these and other issues Andy raised, in this release. From now on new users should get off to a better start with Clibu.

For everyone hanging out for the stand-alone, self installable version of Clibu,  it has been delayed due to extra time needed to finish this release, but shouldn’t be far away.

As always for complete release notes see here.

– Neville

Clibu V1.30.20 – Tag Creation Enhancements

Clibu V1.30.20 addresses some shortcomings with Tag Creation, streamlining its operation.

The “New Tag” and “New Child Tag” dialogs have been enhanced to enable you to create a new article containing the newly created tag.

Clicking on ‘Create Article + Tag’  toggles this option on and off.

The ‘New Child Tag’ dialog shows it toggled off.

The setting for each dialog is retained locally across Clibu sessions.

The other change in this release is the newly created Tag is now selected in the “Tags Tree” and in the “Tags Filter”.  I’d previously decided not to change the current Tags Tree etc. selection, however after using Clibu for quite some time now I feel that selecting the new tag provides for a better user experience.

Full release notes are available in the Support Forum.

– Neville

Tags, Structured or Free Form, Hierarchical or Flat

There are a variety of choices when implementing Tagging systems, each with their own pros and cons.

Free form tags

Free form tags are created as you write. For example you might use a # character to signify a word is a tag. ex. #Christian Or you could use [] to identify multiple word tags, [Cars,Porsche].

The upside here is you are not interrupting the writing flow and they are quick to add. However, they have real downsides. The first is misspellings, so you are likely to have multiple variations of what should be exactly the same tag. Next, content captured from other sources, such as Web clippings, needs to be edited and tags placed somewhere. Finally, as tags are splattered throughout the content, you can’t see all tags in one place.

Managing and updating these free form tags is fraught, as you actually have to modify article content in order to do something simple like rename a tag (e.g. to fix a typo). Articles that are being edited will fall through the cracks as we can’t touch them.

Maintaining an index of which articles contain these embedded tags, along with their in-situ management, is a never ending task, which is expensive in terms of computer processing and performance.

Structured Tags

Structured tags sit beside article content vs. inside it as free form tags do. You add, edit and delete them outside of the article, so your workflow is impinged upon slightly, which may be viewed as a downside.

However, they have none of the drawbacks of free form tags. You never have inconsistent spellings of like tags, as they are easily checked when you add or edit them. They can be instantly renamed or removed without touching article content, regardless of what other users are doing at the time. They are all collected and visible in the one place and processing overhead is absolutely minimal.

Hierarchical Tags

Let’s say you are building a series of articles on Religion and you start adding a tag “Christian”. Then as your work progresses you want to tag articles of interest to your colleagues, one of whom is named “Christian”, woops.

Simplistic single level tagging can’t really help you much here. You could become creative and use “Religion.Christian”, although this falls short in so many ways.

Clibu has excellent Hierarchical Tag support, so this is easily handled. Simply add a tag “Religion” then move “Christian” below it. This happens instantly without having to update any articles. Next add a tag “Colleagues” and under that add a tag “Christian”, all done.

Some applications don’t allow you to use the same tag in multiple branches in the tag hierarchy (ex. Evernote(tm)). So the example above isn’t possible, which is extremely limiting. Clibu doesn’t have this restriction.

Hierarchical Tags as Folders

Everyone is used to Operating System folders, that’s where we store our files. Let’s look back at my earlier example of  tags “Religion / Christian” and “Colleagues/ Christian” and let’s say we have a document which relates directly to both of these. By and large OS folders let us down here as we can’t have the same document in multiple folders. (Power users may take exception at this.)

Back to Clibu. A document or article can have as many tags as you want, so this is akin to having the same document in multiple folders.

In fact, if it suits your way of thinking, simply treat  Clibu’s tags as folders.

Helping with Tag creation

Clibu helps you to pick existing tags via its autosuggestion capabilities. If the tag doesn’t exist, creating it is simple enough.

And there’s a nice tag adding shortcut you can use when editing content. Simply select the text you want for a tag, and then click on the tag icon on the floating toolbar.

If the text already exists somewhere in the tag hierarchy, pick the appropriate entry and it gets added.

If the text doesn’t already exist as a tag, you have the option to create a tag using it. Simple and saves time.

Analyzing article content and suggesting tags to add is, without doubt, a good idea and is something we are thinking about, along with some other interesting tagging ideas.

Tag tedium

Some people find adding tags cumbersome and not worth their effort. Instead they use Search to locate content. Others go back later on, after articles have been created and add the appropriate tags.  With Clibu you can work either way you choose.

I’m personally a heavy tags user, typically with multiple tags per article, several levels down in the hierarchy. To find specific content I use the Tags Filter much more often than Search, but hey, that’s just me.

I’m all tagged out, see you next time.

Neville

PS There will be some new Tag time savers in the next release. 🙂

Clibu V1.30.09, a major new release

A lot of work has been done since the last V1.20 release in Dec 2015. Unfortunately I’ve fallen behind in Blog posts and keeping the Clibu Release Notes up to date. I’ll work back and cover some of what we’ve done since the last Blog post in Oct , 2015.

As discussed in the past some folks want to have Clibu installed locally and also have their data stored locally. This was a goal we set out to achieve from the start. To accomplish this we needed to rework aspects of the Clibu code base to enable the entire application to be bundled into a single executable.

Much of the development these past few months has focused on just this. And we’ve gained other benefits to, such as the ability to use the latest Web Browser and language capabilities, along with a streamlined build process that enables us to release new versions faster, more reliably and with less effort.

These developments have gone extremely well. We now have a Windows .exe version of Clibu you can run on your own PC or Server. We’ll also have Linux and Mac versions available, covering all bases.

This is very exciting and is yet another capability that sets Clibu above and beyond similar products. We hope to start getting this out to users to try next month. If you’d like to be added to the list, open a Ticket at our Support Center or drop me an Email.

As part of this work we’ve dropped support for Internet Explorer. This enables us to use important new capabilities which are only available in the latest generation of Web Browsers, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Back in Clibu V1.20 we updated the rich text editor used for Articles. This was another important update which resolved a number of issues, added some new features and gives us a better platform as we move forward.

The Article List was also enhanced with a new Compact List view which is toggled as shown here.

The compact view lets you see more articles in the list at one time. And the < button at top left, provides a new way to close a panel.

For more information on this new version please see the Release Notes. You may notice there is a gap in the release notes and my blogging has dropped off somewhat. This is purely and simply because I’ve had my head down being super productive working on Clibu.

Some of the things planned in the near term, besides the local installable Clibu include:

  • The ability to delete a Knowledge Base
  • Move Articles between Knowledge Bases
  • Knowledge Base Export (downloadable backups)
  • Web Clipper Extensions for Firefox and MS Edge
  • Add Attachments
  • And work continues on full off-line support

Finally if you haven’t visited the Clibu Web site recently I’ve been doing some work on that and plan to do more.