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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Introducing new special user permissions

As a team grows, it often becomes the case that more developers need to assume more specialized roles in the code review process. Not just that of developer and reviewer, but also that of a manager of sorts, helping to keep the review process going and to keep the process tidy.

We’re introducing a few new special user permissions, designed to give users a subset of an administrator’s abilities. These can all be set in the Team Administration page by clicking the pencil icon next to team member.

 

 

The first permission, “Can close or reopen review requests from other users,” enables a user to help keep the list of review requests tidy by toggling whether a review request is currently open. If you’re not auto-closing review requests, if you have review requests open from former team members, or if you’re managing an open source project on RBCommons, this can be quite handy.

The second permission, “Can edit review requests from other users,” allows a user to modify a review request on someone else’s behalf. They can upload diffs, edit fields, and so on. The changes currently appear as if they’re from the owner of the review request.

The final permission, “Can post review requests as other users,” is most useful for scripts. In cooperation with RBTools (using rbt post –submit-as), a script can post a review request on another user’s behalf, perhaps when a change is committed to a special branch, or after a sandbox operation passes.

We’ve been piloting these permissions with some projects for a while now. Please let us know how they work for you, and if you have any questions or problems.

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A new batch of feature and performance improvements

Tonight, we’ve released a huge set of bug fixes and feature improvements for RBCommons that should improve your code review experience.

Faster performance

We’ve fine-tuned many parts of RBCommons to give you a faster experience.

Editing Markdown text should now feel as fast as editing plain text. The lag that would sometimes appear has been fixed.

The dashboard now loads a lot faster when using the People, Groups, or To Me columns.

We’ve also improved performance in our API. RBTools and various operations on the site should be much faster now.

Markdown improvements

Markdown is now completely optional. By default, all text fields on review requests and comments on reviews will be in Markdown mode, as before. However, you’ll now be able to turn off Markdown while editing, saving as plain text.

You can also choose to disable Markdown by default for all fields in your My Account page. Simply uncheck “Always use Markdown for text fields.”

Note that if Markdown is enabled by default, then all fields will start off editing in Markdown mode. Any plain text will be escaped first.

Along with this, we’ve fixed a number of escaping and rendering problems with Markdown text, particularly for text coming from a commit.

Better clipboard support in the diff viewer

The diff viewer now supports selecting and copying the text within either column in the diff viewer, without that selection covering code from the other column.

Previously, selecting worked like it did for any table in a web page, in that the selection would span both columns, making it impossible to get the text out cleanly. With this new support, you can safely copy a block of text from the original or modified file and paste it into your editor.

Better e-mail control

We’ve reduced how much e-mail you’ll receive in certain cases. For instance, if a review request is updated to add new reviewers, without altering any other fields or introducing a new diff, only the new reviewers will be notified of the update.

We’ve also introduced an option to let you opt out of any e-mails triggered by your own actions. To opt out, head over to the My Account page and uncheck “Get e-mail notifications for my own activity.”

Numerous bug fixes

We’ve fixed nearly 40 bugs across the site, covering issues with repository compatibility, diff generation, usability, e-mail notifications, and more.

 

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Auto-closing review requests when pushing changes

We’ve launched a new feature today for simplifying your code review workflow.

If you’re using GitHub, Bitbucket, or Google Code, RBCommons can now automatically close your review requests when you push your commits to your repository, making use of the service’s “post-commit” hooks. You’ll no longer need to click Close -> Submitted, saving time and keeping your dashboard clean.

 

Usage is simple

Once you’re set up (and we’ll go into that in a minute), all you need to do is include the following in your commit message:

Reviewed at https://rbcommons.com/s/<your-team>/r/<id>/

Or:

Review Request #<id>

Just commit, and your review request will be automatically closed, along with a message containing the commit revision and which branch it was committed to.

 

Setting this up

Setup depends on which service you’re using for your repositories, but we’ve worked to make it pretty simple.

We’ve added some new buttons to your Team Administration -> Repositories page. You’ll see a “Hooks” button next to any supported repository. Click that, and you’ll see instructions on turning this feature on for your repository. In just seconds, your repository will be set up!

This feature is still new, but has been undergoing testing for several weeks. If you hit any snags, let us know and we’ll help get you going.

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