What’s New in Knowledge Base Manager Pro v5.3?
(Released on June 25th, 2010)
- Staff and Client User Accounts
- Add/Edit User Windows Redesigned for Better Convenience
- Detailed Reporting for Group Actions: Enable, Disable, Approve, and Delete Users
- User Registration
- Access Settings
- Ability to Send Questions by Email to Selected Groups, Users, and Custom Email Addresses
- New Permission Added for Staff Groups – Back-end Access
- View Selector for User and Group Types in Manage Users and Manage Groups
- Automated User Assignment
- Documented API with Usage Examples
- Significant Performance Optimization
- URL Rewriting Components Are No Longer Required
- Quick Access to the Recycle Bin from Articles & Categories
- Links for Manual CRON Job Launch and Reset Added
- More Informative Messages for Fault Login Attempts
Staff and Client User Accounts
The new version features division of user accounts into staff users and client users.
Staff users (one may also call them Editors, or Authors) are able to login to front-end and back-end. Their ability to access, create, and edit certain articles, categories, and use KB functions depends on their access permissions.
Clients are read-only users who can login to the front-end only. They cannot create or edit content. They can access certain restricted and public content if permitted.
More Accounts for Free!
Client accounts are available starting from 10 Staff & 100 Clients License (ex. 10 Users License). Good news for all current customers – everyone who is using 10 User License or higher will get client accounts in addition to current staff accounts with upgrade to the v5.3 absolutely for free!
Add/Edit User Windows Redesigned for Better Convenience
First General tab contains only required fields now. These include user login details, his status, type, and token.
Messages at the top of the window remind you about required actions to help you with user creation and management.
There is also a new button "Send Login Info" that sends credentials necessary for access the application.
Since passwords are not stored in the database as is (hashes are stored instead), you can just send a link to the knowledgebase, or type in a new password and send it to the user. When you create a new user, you can send his login and password without re-entering it.
Detailed Reporting for Group Actions: Enable, Disable, Approve, and Delete Users
Due to the larger number of users supported by new licenses, it becomes necessary to use group actions more frequently and get detailed reports on successful and unsuccessful results of performed bulk changes.
Now when you enable, disable, approve, or delete a bunch of users, you get a detailed report on this action.
For example if you disable several users in one turn, it will report you how many users have been processed, how many have been disabled and not disabled, and what reasons caused unsuccessful disabling.
Bottom hint describes each reason in more details.
User registration is a "must have" feature for a knowledge base that supports thousands of user accounts, especially when many of them are clients and it is unlikely that you would create accounts for them manually.
Registration in KMP includes all common steps:
- Sign up
- Email confirmation
- Optional user approval (pre-moderation)
User gets notified by email about all actions taken on his account during registration process.
If registration is enabled, anyone can sign-up for a user account using the registration form:
However, assignment this user to a group and his ability to login right after registration are all up to you. You can enable pre-moderation of new users and set groups users should be assigned to by default.
Staff users can be notified about new user registrations so they could take a quick action. Notification can be sent to certain groups, users, or any number of custom email addresses.
New settings for knowledge base access and existing ones have been grouped to a separate tab under Styling and Front-end Settings module.
You can now change availability of the "Control Panel" and "My Account" links in user menu, manage the access mode and even disable front-end login here. All settings for user registration can be also found here.
Ability to Send Questions by Email to Selected Groups, Users, and Custom Email Addresses
Previously it was possible to forward questions to a custom email address. Starting from this version, you can select users, groups of users, and unlimited number of emails as recipients.
New Permission Added for Staff Groups – Back-end Access
Although there are general rules that describe client user as a "front-end user", and staff user as a "back-end user", you can still change that according to your needs. There is a new permission that removes back-end access for staff users. They may still be able to create and edit articles, if you permit them, but they would do that from the front-end.
Knowledgebase Manager Pro flexibility also allows you to remove back-end access permission and permissions to use all other functions of the knowledge base, so you can easily turn a staff user into a client user by the means of access permissions.
View Selector for User and Group Types in Manage Users and Manage Groups
Modules for different user types (e.g. staff, clients, pending, unassigned, all users) have much in common, so why wouldn’t we make a quick-switch between these modules?
Enjoy the view selector that helps you to change view in two clicks.
Each view has its own grid settings, such as number of elements per page and look of the action buttons.
Automated User Assignment
Commonly, when you create a new user, you may also want to create a group for him. There is an Add Group button right there at user preferences, and once you’ve created a group, the user gets assigned to it automatically, assuming by default that this is what you wanted to do next. Of course if it is wrong in its assumption, you can unassign the user in one click.
Documented API with Usage Examples
There is another great feature in the new Knowledgebase Manager Pro version. It is API that provides flexible and seamless integration with any other software. Knowledgebase Manager Pro uses XML-RPC, a remote procedure call protocol which uses XML to encode its calls and HTTP as a transport mechanism. This is a standardized, simple, and highly-popular protocol for API.
Here is the list of currently supported API methods.
- Get full set of article properties by its code (including article title, body, assignment, creation date, attachments, related articles, and much more – all properties are available via one simple call).
- Get comments by article id.
- Get list of articles (all articles from the knowledge base, or from any category – including subcategories or not – by your choice).
- Get list of the most popular featured articles (this and all coming article lists can be pulled from the whole knowledge base, or from a category– including subcategories or not – by your choice).
- Get list of the most discussed articles.
- Get list of the most popular articles.
- Get list of the recently created articles.
- Get list of the recently updated articles.
- Get list of the top rated articles.
- Get list of categories (all categories from the knowledge base, or from a given category).
- Get tree of categories (the whole tree or specified branch).
- Get list of glossary terms.
- Search attachments and articles by content and comments (the same search function, that is available in Knowledgebase Manager Pro, can be accessed via API; you can specify search method, and use any search fields you wish, including custom fields).
- Get list of searched categories.
- Get suggested articles for search query (the Active Response feature that provides quick answers to user question while he is typing it into the Ask Question form – now available via API).
- Get search suggestions for search query, search by article, category, and attachment titles (smart search suggest – exactly the same that you can see when you start typing a phrase into the search field in Knowledgebase Manager Pro – now available via API).
- Search glossary terms.
- Get an array of the available API methods.
- Get the description for a specified API method.
- Get input and output format for a given API method.
- Combine multiple RPC calls in one request (API method that lets you combine several requests and gain a lot in performance).
Product package includes examples for each API method and ready working examples that can be used from the box with little or no changes.
API server can be disabled if not used.
API requests can be anonymous, if you permit this. Otherwise user token must be used for authentication in API request. Each user has his own unique token, and if he has “API Server Access” permission, he can use his token to connect to the API server. In this case, he can get access to certain restricted content that may not be available without authorization. Authentication via token in API uses the same security model as authentication using login and password when user logins manually. This means that in either case, user can access the same content.
API requests logging helps you to troubleshoot your requests. You can specify for how long API request log entries would be stored in the database.
You can see the complete request and response XML message for each logged request. Such details as date of request, requester IP address, success or fail, method name, and user, whose token has been used, are also logged here.
We have plans to add more API methods in future versions to improve integration capabilities of Knowledgebase Manager Pro.
Significant Performance Optimization
Knowledgebase Manager Pro shows great performance results. Five months have passed since the launch of the previous online demo version. More than 24’000 user accounts have been created during this period, more than 1 million of articles have been created in demo areas managed by single Knowledgebase Manager Pro instance, on a single server, without any clustering or load balancing!
There is always place for a feat though – we have conducted serious performance research using data provided by our customers who use Knowledgebase Manager Pro extensively, and data we took from our online demo and here are the results:
- Optimized number of executed database queries per page: 2-6 times less queries. This is an especially valuable optimization for instances, where MySQL server and web server run on different physical machines.
- AJAX requests work faster in PHP v5.2+ due to usage of the native function for JSON encoding of strings.
- In average each front-end and back-end page loads 2.5 times faster now!
URL Rewriting Components Are No Longer Required
Our customers have had some hard time installing URL rewriting components, especially on old IIS servers that don’t have native components and require third-party tools for that. It is not an issue anymore! Knowledgebase Manager Pro can generate fancy SEO- and user-friendly URLs without any third-party components.
Here is an example of article URL without using of any URL rewriting tools:
Here is the URL to the same article with URL rewriting:
You can see that the small part "index.php?" is the only difference between these two URLs and they both are user-friendly and SEO-friendly. If you would like to remove this small part for some reason, you can still install a rewriting tool for your platform and enable URL rewriting.
Availability of URL rewriting is being checked during installation, and if it is installed, URL rewriting will be turned on automatically.
Quick Access to the Recycle Bin from Articles & Categories
Knowledgebase Manager Pro had this feature from the very first version – all deleted articles are being stored in a special place, like trash bin, until someone who has permission restores them or delete completely. However this feature had not been too popular among our clients because it was somewhat difficult to find it. Now we have renamed this function to Recycle Bin and put a button for quick access to the Articles & Categories.
Links for Manual CRON Job Launch and Reset Added
Knowledgebase Manager Pro uses Unix Cron or Windows Task Scheduler to run recurring tasks on regularly. Here is the list of recurring tasks:
- send emails to subscribers
- create search index for attachments (although attachments are being indexed on the fly when you upload them, if you enable an indexation module, you need to launch Cron task once to create index for existing attachments that this module supports)
- make automated database backups
- run automated related article linking
We have brought troubleshooting tools for Cron in order to ease its setup. There is a link for manual Cron launch in each place where this functionality is used: in database backups, attachments indexation, subscription, and auto-related articles modules and tabs.
When you launch Cron manually, it shows messages about successful/unsuccessful run, so you can easily run it from an appropriate place and check if the result has been successful.
More Informative Messages for Fault Login Attempts
Now when user tries to log in to Knowledgebase Manager Pro and fails, he gets a more informative message about failure reasons. He may not be able to login due to one of the following reasons:
- Login or password is incorrect
- User is not assigned to any group
- User account is disabled
- User is not approved by moderator
This helps to resolve login issues faster.