I hope you all had a great summer and had the chance of resting and recovering energy for the remaining months of the year. We certainly did, but still had the chance of working on some little features and improvements we just released. If you have been following our last few entries of the Dev Diary, you already know we have been working on our public API and we expected to release the first version right after the summer. However, we have to finally announce the API will be delayed at least until the end of the year or the beginning of 2018. Reasons? The main one is we may have underestimated the effort to bring a stable, secure, and well-documented version of our API (it happens in the best families xD), but also we have decided to prioritize many small features and improvements you have been requesting effusively and will help to improve the user experience of the web application before building other services on top of the main one. We’ll come back to that at the end of the post.
Let’s take a look at the improvements included in the last update:
Features and improvements
Some game development teams use HacknPlan to track bugs or support tickets as part of their development cycle. For that matter, being able to visually reflect the importance of certain tasks is critical for them to be easy to spot, filter and track. We provide the “Importance level” field on tasks for that purpose, but the fixed four options available may not be enough to represent the more complex scenarios bigger teams may encounter. That is why HacknPlan Studio users will be able to customize their importance levels, creating new ones, editing existing ones or deleting them, including configuration of icons, colors, and defaults.
Design element references from Markdown
Many of you requested this feature, so we moved it to the top of our backlog for it to be released as soon as possible. Those of you who use the full power of the Game Design Model have been asking for a way to easily reference some design elements from within another one, to create more complex relations than the ones that can be created by the tree structure. Exactly as we did with tasks, we added a new functionality to our Markdown editor that allows you to easily reference design elements by entering % and selecting them from a list with autocomplete. Now you can easily link design elements to other elements, task descriptions or comments.
Is quite common, depending on the kind of games you make or the purpose of your development team, that you create plenty of small and short projects rather than one or a few big ones. Those users creating many projects have complained about how crowded and messy the project lists become as they grow, taking into account many of these projects are no longer active. That is why we have introduced the concept of project closing: administrators can now mark a project as closed, which removes them from the common lists of projects and makes them read-only for regular users. The project information is kept perfectly safe, and the project can be reopened at any moment, making this functionality perfect for temporarily disabling a project too. The closed projects will be listed in different panels on the front page or organization project lists so you can still access them, but they won’t appear on the dropdowns and selectables for normal usage (quick switch, task creation…).
Inline subtask edition
Continuing with our process of improving the productivity of the tool and replacing the number of popup dialogs with inline edition, you can now edit the subtask text directly on the list, which makes everything simpler and quicker.
- In some special scenarios, the number of pending and completed tasks shown on the milestone metrics page were incorrect.
- The configuration option “Unblock dependent tasks” was not working properly for new stages (Studio).
- The mentions (@username) in the Markdown content were not generating notifications.
- The tasks tab of the GDM editor (when an element is selected) was not showing a badge with the number of tasks inside.
- Executing some actions from the context menu of a task in the GDM editor was causing the whole list of tasks to be refreshed, including resetting the scroll position, which was really annoying.
- Due to a problem with real-time sync and cache, some values were not properly updated when another user of the project modified them.
As we said at the beginning of the post, we are going to reduce the priority of our API and other big features a bit, with the sole purpose of improving and stabilizing the web application based on the feedback you’ve been giving to us during the last few months. We are talking about things such as the stability of the real-time automatic updates (when another user in the same project modifies something), general performance, a better drag and drop functionality that works well on the mobile version of the site, easier setup of notifications, more in-depth 3rd party integrations, creation of design elements directly from the selector, more filtering and sorting options, more metrics and data… There are plenty of small features that compound a big package we want to release iteratively during the last quarter of the year. We will update the Roadmap section of the site very soon with more details about this.
Changing the subject, did you know it will be HacknPlan’s birthday later this month? It’s been 2 years since we deployed the first version of HacknPlan beta! We will prepare something special for the last week of the month, stay tuned 😉