Power Pack 3.0: PDF Diffs and License Updates

The new major release of Power Pack 3.0 brings the ability to diff PDF documents, comparing how the text of the document changes between revisions, and makes it easier to manage your license subscriptions.

Viewing Differences in PDFs

This can drastically cut down on the time needed to read through documents as the author takes in suggested edits from reviewers. Just like a code diff, any text changes made in a document are shown inline in the PDF, color-coded for easier viewing.

A handy new sidebar view catalogues all the changes made throughout the document, so there’s no need to carefully scrutinize as you scroll.

If you do need to scroll, a new “Lock scroll” checkbox gives you control over whether the documents should scroll in sync, or scroll individually.

In order to enable diffing support for PDFs, you will need a PDF document that contains text information embedded in the document (such as when printing to PDF or using OCR on a scanned document). It’s also important to update the existing PDF file attachment with the new document, instead of creating a brand new upload.

Easier License Management

We’ve revamped the Power Pack configuration page to better show the status and health of your license, how quickly the expiration date is coming up or whether you’re hitting your user cap.

The new “Manage your license” button takes you straight to our license portal where you can renew your license, convert to a yearly subscription, add additional users, and more.

Power Pack now checks for updates to your license automatically when viewing the Power Pack configuration page, and will install any new license it finds. You no longer need to download and install new license files from the license portal yourself.

Plus the Usual Bug Fixes

We’ve sorted out some crashes and visual glitches in reports, as well as a compatibility problem with AWS CodeCommit. The full list of changes are in the release notes.

Get started today with a 30 day trial license. After 30 days, enjoy a complimentary license for up to 2 users forever, or purchase a license for the rest of your organization.

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New Beta Release: Review Board Power Pack

Review Board Power Pack

Until now, we’ve been running two separate beta programs for PDF Review and “Review Board Enterprise”. We’ve decided to merge these together into a single product that we’re calling the “Review Board Power Pack.”

The major features of the combined package are:

  • Review PDF documents that are attached to review requests, commenting directly on the text, all in the browser with no extra plug-ins.
  • GitHub Enterprise support.
  • The ability to add capacity to your Review Board server by adding additional front-end servers.

Changes in the new preview

In addition to merging together the features of our two previous beta packages, there are some improvements and bug fixes for PDF Review in this release:

  • The outline mode in the sidebar now shows the tree structure of the table of contents.
  • When a document has a table of contents, the sidebar now allows switching between either the outline mode or the pages mode.
  • Scrolling behavior when using the mouse wheel or touch-pad gestures has improved significantly, making it easier to get all the way to the bottom of the document.
  • Non-PDF documents like .docx are no longer detected as PDF.
  • When attaching a PDF file with drag-and-drop, you can now click on the thumbnail to jump to the review UI to preview the document.
  • Several issues with PDF rendering have been fixed.
  • A fair amount of visual design polish.

pdf

Getting the Power Pack

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.

Once we have a final release, these features will be available on RBCommons.com for our larger tiers.

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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).

pdf-continuous-scroll

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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PDF Review Beta

A little while ago, we announced that we were building document review features for Review Board. This will be available as a commercial extension in order to help fund the project. Of course, once it’s ready, RBCommons customers will get it as part of their normal plans. I’d like to show off a bit what you’ll be able to expect.

Since Review Board 1.6, you’ve been able to attach arbitrary files to review requests. For anything except images, the only way to view them was to download them. You could add general comments to these files, but for large things like a document, you couldn’t use the direct commenting that we’ve all come to love from the diff viewer.

With the PDF Review extension, when you upload a PDF file, it gets a thumbnail and a “Review” link.

review-request

Clicking on this file will open up the PDF Review UI, which has controls to navigate the document. The file is rendered directly in the browser with no plugins (which requires a relatively modern browser).

pdf-viewer

Like image review (and screenshots before it), you can add a comment to the document by clicking and dragging over the area that you’d like to talk about.

adding-a-comment

When you publish, the areas that you selected will be copied into the review along with the page number on which they occurred.

review

If you signed up for the beta program already, you should have received an email with instructions on how to install and activate this extension. If not, feel free to sign up and we’ll get in touch!

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