Site Update: New goodies and speedups

We’ve deployed some new updates to RBCommons that should please many of you. Let’s go through the highlights.


New “Depends On” field

When you’re working with several inter-dependent changes, it’s helpful to give your fellow teammates a heads up on what depends on what. That helps them prioritize what to review, and gives them some context on what they’re looking at.

We’ve added a Depends On field to review requests for listing the review request IDs your change depends on. Each listed review request will then show that they block your change. A small change, but one we’re sure will be helpful to many of you.


Performance Improvements

We’ve worked hard to improve performance for uploading new diffs. From here on, as you begin to upload and view more diffs, we collect more information on what files and revisions we know exist, and which we know don’t exist. We use this to avoid some of the lookups we used to do before against your repositories.

For those of you who are very active and use GitHub, this drastically reduces the API lookups we have to do, speeding up diffs, and making it even harder to hit the dreaded GitHub API rate limits.


Nicer dashboard refreshing

The dashboard used to do a full-page reload every so often to refresh your view, which was.. noticeable. It was also pretty nasty when your connection to the server was interrupted, or when it tried to refresh during an RBCommons server upgrade, as you would come back to an error page.

You won’t see these issues anymore. The dashboard intelligently refreshes itself without a full page reload, and is resistant to temporary outages.


And more

There’s also a handful of bug fixes and some interface polish, particularly around issue tracking. We hope you like this update.

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PDF Review Beta 2

A few weeks ago, we did our first private beta release for an extension for collaborative peer review of PDF documents. If you haven’t seen it yet, we encourage you to check out the original announcement, which explains the basic workflow.

Since that first release, we’ve received a lot of great feedback, and have been working hard to improve it. We’re proud to announce a new beta release, with several significant improvements:

  • Continuous scroll through the document!
  • Significant performance improvements when switching between pages.
  • Review emails now contain the selected sections for each comment.
  • Comments on the “Reviews” page and in review emails now link to the relevant page in the document.
  • Improved interaction when dragging out comment areas.
  • Improved visual layout, maximizing the amount of space for the document.
  • Fixed an issue where the page would continually make requests to the server when thumbnail storage fails (for example, if the PIL version on the server can’t handle PNG compression).


If you already signed up for the beta, you should have an email explaining how to install it (or upgrade from the first beta). If you haven’t signed up, but would like to participate, please fill out our sign-up form and we’ll be in touch.

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