Solutions go from boring to kick-ass
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:

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 links
  • Blockquotes
  • Inline code
  • Task lists
  • Tables
  • Code blocks, including syntax highlighting
  • Typographic replacements – such as ©

Images

As nice as text is, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, especially in a knowledgebase context. So solutions can also include images.

Images are shown inline, scaled to an appropriate size. Clicking on them opens in a larger size in a lightbox, and can be navigated through in a slideshow fashion.

Inline images on a solution in Dovetail Agent

Video – Inline images on a solution in Dovetail Agent

Where are images stored/hosted?

Images can be stored/hosted in a few different ways.

  • Any public image store – such as Imgur, Flickr, etc.
  • On Amazon S3. This is a good solution for organizations that use Amazon for storage.
  • On your local network, similar to file attachments. Dovetail Seeker is used for saving (uploading) and serving up (downloading) these images.

Videos

We also support embedding of videos from YouTube and Vimeo. Video is a great way to add a lot of value to your knowledgebase articles.

video

Here’s one of our knowledgebase articles with an embedded video

Markdown

We’ve chosen to use Markdown for enabling all this goodness.

Markdown is a lightweight and easy-to-use syntax for styling text on the web. You control the display of the document; formatting words as bold or italic, adding images, and creating lists are just a few of the things we can do with Markdown. Mostly, Markdown is just regular text with a few non-alphabetic characters thrown in, like # or *.

Why markdown?

We think markdown is easy and fast to write, and the syntax is clean. Much easier and cleaner than raw HTML.

And even if you view the markdown in a non-markdown-enabled app or editor, it’s still readable.

Markdown Syntax

Within Dovetail Agent, if a text area is markdown enabled, then we say so, with a Markdown supported text element. Clicking on that opens the Markdown syntax guide, so you always have a handy reference available when you need it.

Preview

When editing a solution, the textareas also have a Preview tab – allowing you to preview what the formatted text will look like while you’re in the context of editing.

Markdown Preview in Dovetail Agent

Video – Markdown Preview in Dovetail Agent

What about apps that don’t support markdown?

What about apps that don’t support markdown – such as the Clarify Client? As I mentioned earlier, markdown is still very readable even in non-markdown enabled apps.

It’s much nicer then trying to read something like raw HTML.

clarify-solution

Summary

We’re super excited about this new functionality. We’re already using this within our own knowledgebase, and looking forward to seeing how our customers use it as well.

And we have more ideas about where we can use markdown within the system – so we’re not done yet.

Rock on.

Leave a Comment

International: +1 (512) 610-5400
Toll Free: 1 (800) 684-2055