Dev diary 5 (2015-12-21)

Hi hacknplanners!

I’ve been quite busy recently, mainly working on the notification system which is the main feature we are launching this week. It’s been quite a lot of work in the shadows to prepare the system for many new functionalities related to activity in HacknPlan. We are not only sending notifications to keep you updated about what’s going on in your projects, but also are starting to record many activity information that we will use very soon to provide you with a complete historical stream of activity. This will be very useful for several things, like checking the whole process of a task from creation to completion, extract statistics and data from your interaction with the tool, and many others.

This week we released the MVP of this notification system, which means there are many features remaining to be implemented and we will be iterating over them, also getting all the feedback we can from your experiences using it. This first iteration is focused on UI notifications, which are those you receive directly in the application while you are using it. We will have email notifications in the future too, as I will explain later.

The entry point to the notification system is this bell icon placed in the top right part of the screen. This icon will display a small number inside an orange circle when there are notifications pending to be read.

2015-12-21 20_26_08-HacknPlan

When you click on that icon, a side panel is displayed on top of the normal page listing your notifications sorted by date (newer at the top). Is important to understand that a notification is considered read when you open the panel, but won’t be deleted from the list until you click on the trash icon to delete one by one, or the Dismiss all button placed on top. This way you can clean up your panel whenever you want or keep them to come back to them later on. In a next iteration we will create a background job to delete very old notifications to help you keep it under control.

2015-12-21 20_27_45-HacknPlan

So, what is being notified at the moment? For this first iteration, we decided to include the notifications we consider most important for the daily work, that are the ones related to tasks. This is the list:

  • Task created: the admins are notified whenever someone creates a new task.
  • Task deleted: the people involved in the task (creator and assigned users) will be notified.
  • Task moved to a different milestone: the people involved in the task (creator and assigned users) will be notified.
  • Task moved to a different status: the people involved in the task (creator and assigned users) will be notified.
  • Task updated: the people involved in the task (creator and assigned users) will be notified when any of the other fields of the task is modified, but it will be a generic message. If there are many updates in a short period of time, only one notification will be sent.
  • Comment added to task: the people involved in the task (creator and assigned users) will be notified.
  • Task assigned to user: the user will be notified.
  • Task unassigned from user: the user will be notified.
  • User invited to project: the invited user will be notified.

This is just the first version of this feature, but I’m pretty sure it will improve your workflow and will make the process of finding what has changed a lot easier. The next iterations we will keep working on this to extend the functionality with the following features:

  • More notifications (sub-tasks, milestones, game model…).
  • Email notifications.
  • A configuration panel where you will be able to determine which notifications you want to receive and if you want them via UI, email or both.

Bug fixes

The following bugs were fixed:

  • The default category in the task creation modal was not the one from the kanban board you were in.
  • A user without privileges was able to see the Configuration link for the project in the top menu, and clicking on it was causing a Forbidden error page.
  • Sub-categories were not correctly displayed when switching among projects in the task creation modal.

What’s next?

We will keep iterating over the notification system as I explained before, after a small break for Christmas time. After that, we will also work on some improvements over existing functionality instead of many new features, like some bugs, visual improvements, usability of the forms, drag and drop, mobile display… And finally, in a few days I will write an article as a recap of the year and will announce some interesting things about our strategy for 2016 that I’m pretty sure you will find very interesting, stay tuned 😉

Happy planning!

Chris Estevez

HacknPlan Founder

This entry has 2 replies

  1. Artur says:

    Hello Chris.
    Me and my small team just trying hacknplan and it’s very nice.
    We found one little issue that we need to have email notification from the notification area.
    We were using teambox, treello and Arsna and that’s the common feature there that we used to it.
    You planning such thing in Your system like external notifications as I describiet above?

    • Chris Estevez says:

      Hi Artur,

      Sure, we will implement email notifications soon. You will be able to choose which notifications do you want to receive via email, through the UI, both or disable the notification. We want to build this configuration before starting so users have control over it and don’t get upset if we send many notifications to their email that they can’t configure.

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