Dimensions CM 14.3 Pulse Reviews


The Dimensions CM 14.3 release is available for download, so I'm writing some blog articles to provide you with more information about new features we've just implemented.

I'm David Conneely, a technical lead for Pulse, and this is the second of a couple of posts about new functionality in Pulse (see also the first post which was about the Agile Requests functionality).
This post is primarily about the changes to peer review, navigation and some other changes made in the new release of Pulse.


Pulse started out as a peer review tool for Dimensions CM 14, and each release has seen incremental improvements to the existing functionality, and brand new features.
Of course, adding new functionality each time has also meant we've had to change the way you move around the application. In Pulse 14.3, we've relocated some of the main links from the slide menu into the top navigation bar. We've also taken advantage of the favorite streams feature to make access to these streams easier (they appear first in the product page's list of streams).
[image "Before"]  [image "After"]

New Review Features

No Opinion voting

Pulse allows you to customize the rules under which a review is approved or sent for rework, based on votes that reviewers cast on the review. In some circumstances, for example majority voting, a reviewer might feel they want to abstain and leave the deciding vote to someone else - by voting with No Opinion they can do this. Of course, if everyone votes No Opinion, there is an impasse: someone will have to change their vote to a deciding vote!
[image "Non-committal voting"]

Override binary

Reviews use Dimensions CM's item format MIME types to determine if a file is text (so line differences can be shown side-by-side) or binary (so they can't). We found that a large number of customers don't have enough item formats configured, and getting a CM Administrator to change them can take time.
We now allow you to temporarily select that a file should be shown "As Text", even if the item format implies it is binary, and try to show the line differences. If you do this for a file that really is binary, you will get nonsense, but for situations where you are waiting on a CM Administrator to add the correct MIME type, it gives you a short-term workaround.
[image "Overriding item format to show line differences"]

Show / Hide files

Sometimes when you are doing a review with more than just a few files, you want to somehow hide a file from the review (because you've finished reviewing it), and be able to come back to the review a few hours later and remember where you were up to.
When you open a review in Pulse 14.3, you'll notice a "disclosure icon" to the left of each filename. When the icon points down, this indicates that the file is currently being shown. If you click the disclosure icon, the file will be hidden and the icon changes from pointing down to pointing right. You can click it again to show the file again (the icon will change to point down again).
The state of these disclosure icons is remembered, so if you navigate away from the review (or even log out) and come back again later, they retain their state (and the corresponding review file is shown or hidden).
We find this helps reviewers a lot with reviews that take more than a few minutes to complete.
[image "Use the disclosure buttons (arrow icons next to filename) to show/hide files in a review"]

Edit Review title

In previous versions of Pulse, the review title was fixed by the initial commit to the review. This could sometimes lead to the review having a misleading title that didn't really correspond to what the change to be reviewed was actually about.
Now you can rename the review to a more sensible title, which will be shown in lists of reviews.
[image "This dialog does just what you would expect it to..."]

Miscellaneous changes

There are lots of other changes (other than Agile Requests, Reviews and Chains) - too many to go into detail about here, but to give you a flavor: you've probably noticed the new default avatars, the new User Contribution page, that you can move a Product between Suites.
Try filtering the Activity Feeds, Shift click on a review to open it in a new tab, and try Shift clicking on a merge or branch point in the Changeset Graph to select all the connections.
[image "User contributions"]  [image "Changeset graph selection"]  [image "Filtering Activity feeds"]
I really hope that you find the new Pulse features and improvements useful. Please do let us know how you are using them. Further information about the Dimensions CM release can be found in the Introducing Serena Dimensions CM 14.3 webcast.


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