SelfService
Gary Sherman
March 30, 2015

Our Dovetail Agent and Dovetail SelfService products are both very JavaScript-heavy applications. And we have quite a suite of automated tests we run as part of our development process.

Barrett Sonntag (one of our developers here at Dovetail) has written a nice post that details Unit Testing a JavaScript app using RequireJS with Mocha, PhantomJS, Chai & SinonJS.

Unit testing is something every developer agrees should be done, but often doesn’t do. Setting it up isn’t hard after reading and evaluating what feels like a 7 course meal of modules that need to come together hand in hand to allow you to write some tests. It is fairly easy after you’ve learned more than you ever wanted to know about unit testing. Not easy at all, so I’m going to distill a stack down here


Gary Sherman
March 3, 2015

I’ve written recently about how we’re using Markdown for rich text on our solutions.  Under the hood, we’re using the Remarkable library.

Barrett Sonntag, one of our developers here at Dovetail, has written an excellent post on writing custom extensions for the Remarkable JavaScript Markdown parser.

He includes details on extending the parser to add images to a lightbox – which we use in Dovetail Agent and in Dovetail SelfService.

As he says:

There were no clear examples on how to create new plugins or extensions for Remarkable though. So having worked on creating some and having a measure of success it is time to share the knowledge.

I love seeing our knowledge being shared – through blogs, solutions, code samples, etc.

Great stuff Barrett!


Gary Sherman
September 10, 2014

I’ve seen a few questions come up recently about our Dovetail Support Center / SelfService portal, so I figured a post was in order.

Our portal vs. the app we sell

We have our Dovetail SelfService portal that we make available to our customers and community. And we sell a SelfService application.

Our Dovetail SelfService portal is basically an older, customized version of the SelfService application that we sell. It’s been customized to provide specific capabilities for our customers.

portal Public Access

If you’re not yet a Dovetail customer, there’s a number of things you can do:

Access the Clarify/Dovetail knowledgebase Search Browse recent articles Browse articles by product Subscribe to the


Gary Sherman
March 26, 2014

With Dovetail Agent 5 and SelfService 2, we’re using Canopy for acceptance testing. We even ship our test suites with the app, so if you customize/extend the application, you can run the tests to be sure you didn’t break anything, and you can add in your own tests for any custom functionality.

So far, Canopy has proved itself to be the nicest web testing framework we’ve used – it’s simple and stable.

Scott Hansleman recently kicked out a nice blog post talking about canopy and the F# language. In it, he provides some links to playing with F# and a simple Canopy example. Great stuff!

So check out the tutorials that Scott links to, and then for our Dovetail Agent and SelfService customers – be sure to download the latest versions of those


Gary Sherman
March 4, 2014

We’ve done a lot of work recently to improve case (and subcase) history within Dovetail Agent 5.

It feels much cleaner, is easier to read, and just feels pleasant. Plus there’s some cool new features.

Here’s a few highlights.

 

history1

 

Avatars

Avatars for users, applications, and customers are shown.

Notice that there is an avatar for Annie (who is a employee/user), Scott (who is a contact), and for Dovetail SelfService (an application).

And the avatars are clickable links. If the avatar is for a user/employee, the link goes to the employee page. If it’s a contact, it goes to the contact page.

Reverse Chronological Order

Notice that the history shows the newest entries at the top, similar to many current


Gary Sherman
November 7, 2013

We use our Dovetail SelfService application for supporting our customers on a daily basis. It gives customers the power to access what they need, when they need it – quickly and easily.

Customers have access to:

knowledgebase product downloads product documentation license keys

And of course, they can interact with our support staff using cases:

create new cases update existing cases: add notes, upload files, change severity close cases reopen cases etc.

When a case is created via SelfService, customers pick the severity of the issue, such as:

Low – I’ve just got a question Medium – It’s minor and not significantly affecting production High – Production is heavily degraded Urgent – Production down

We use Rulemanager and business rules to notify our support staff. For Urgent cases, we send SMS messages and make a phone


Gary Sherman
January 19, 2011

In addition to our recently updated corporate website, we also updated our customer SelfService portal. I wanted to comment on a few changes that were made as part of that.

Ditching the Case Type

One of things we eliminated was the case type. When customers create a new case, they no longer have to choose a case  type. And the case type isn’t shown on the view case page.

We do have (and use) different case types, including Problem, Question, Help Desk, Sales, Support Renewal, and a bunch more. However, when it comes to a technical support issue submitted from our customers – we don’t treat those cases any differently depending on the case type that the customer picked. Whether the customer picks Problem, Question, or Help Desk – it doesn’t matter to us. We don’t


Gary Sherman
January 6, 2011

 

A colleague asked me recently about an email he had received from the support department of one of our vendors. It looked something like:

 

 

Hello, Anne Teak,
A few days ago, our support staff has replied your inquiry at:
http://www.some.vendor.com/helpdesk/view-thread.aspx?thread=735746

 

Since then, we have not received any response back from you, and would like to know if you consider this issue to be closed. If you have any further questions, please use the link above to post them. This issue will be automatically closed out in a few days if you choose not to respond.

 

To access this discussion thread, navigate to the following link:
http://www.some.vendor.com/helpdesk/view-thread.aspx?thread=735746

 

 

Sincerely yours,
Some.Vendor Team

 

 

 

The gist of the process is that if a customer hasn’t responded after a certain period


Gary Sherman
September 29, 2008

One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a long time is have the ability to add comments on objects within the Clarify/Dovetail system. As a specific example, I’ve wanted to be able to add comments to a solution. For those not versed in Clarify/Dovetail speak, a Solution is essentially a KnowledgeBase (KB) article.

By allowing comments, I (and others) can (hopefully) enhance the information that is within the Solution.

For example, consider a  KB article that is available on the web, such as a Microsoft KB article, or a Dovetail KB article. Now, lets say that I use the information in that article, but I run into a bit of a snag, discover another tip or workaround, or perhaps I’ve even found something wrong in that article. What can I do? I’d like to be able


Gary Sherman
August 22, 2007

The 37signals guys point us towards Twitter’s use of HelpSpot’s Help Desk software:

 

twitter_support

How do you help your helpdesk/support team give you the best support? Give them the information they need right from the start.

I really like the simple, clear, and concise labels:

This is what I DIDThis is what I EXPECTED to happenThis is what ACTUALLY happened

I’m sure this greatly helps the support team resolve more requests on the first go-round, as opposed to the all-too-common first response having to ask the customer for more information.

It’s good for the support team, and good for the customer.

Nicely done.  


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