Introducing Silver Essence HelpCenter

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development states that working software is valued over comprehensive documentation. While this is very true, it does not say that documentation is not valued at all. On the contrary, documentation is highly valued. Just not as high as working software. But yes, highly valued.

Document your Solutions and Templates!

To document your Silver Essence Solution or Template, there are many great online solutions. Like Wiki's, Sharepoint, Google Docs or Sites, videos on Youtube or Vimeo and many more. Because there already is so much out there, we decided not to add another option. Instead, we have made it possible to link and qualify all your online documentation right into your Silver Essence Portal.

As of this week we are rolling out the Silver Essence HelpCenter. At first you and your users will not see any differences until you activate the HelpCenter. Activating the HelpCenter is done simply by adding content to the HelpCenter. Here's how you can do that.

Adjust the Portal Settings

Go to the Silver Editor and open up the Portal Settings. Here you have 4 options on how users can ask for Support. You need to fill out at least one option. 

As you can see, besides the usual options "Phone", "Email" and "Website", tawk.to integration also is build in into the HelpCenter so you can offer users the option to chat with you in real-time. More on the tawk.to integration can be found in our previous post.

What the HelpCenter looks like

First let's have a look at what the user will see when you added content to your HelpCenter. The first thing the user will notice is the link to the Helpcenter in the upper right corner.

By clicking the link, the user opens the HelpCenter. And as you can see, the link also includes a count of the documents regarding the screen the user is using. If the user opens the HelpCenter using the link, the HelpCenter will automatically filter so only relevant documents are shown.

On the left you can see the contact options from the Portal Settings. The tawk.to widget is in our case shown in the bottom right corner, but the appearance and styling can be changed through the widget settings from tawk.to.

At the top of the page, there is a search box so the user can search for specific keywords. The keywords will be highlighted in the search results so it is clear for the user how the document matches the search. Besides the Free Text Search the user can also filter the result using the following:

  • Type
    You can qualify your online documentation using the various different document types. This is a set of fixed types including all the common types of documentation you might have in a software project. Like help-files, test-scripts and HowTo documents.
  • Process
    You can also define the processes that play a role in your Solution or Template. Like the "Order Entry Process" or the "Contract Invoicing Process". Users that play a role in the process can group all documentation easily, using this filter.
  • Business Controller
    Here's where you can link your online documentation to the Business Controllers in your configuration. That way, when the user is in the "Sales Order" screen, the link in the upper right corner will show how many online documents are available that have something to do with the "Sales Order" screen. Whether these are help-files, testscripts or whatever types you are using.

In the result list, an icon is shown to signal that the online document is shown for Internal and/or External users. External users can only see the documents that are available for External users. Internal users can view both Internal and External documents. A tool-tip in the mouse over clarifies this as well.

If the online document you have added to the HelpCenter requires a login, a lock will be shown next to the view button so the user knows what to expect.

Add content to your HelpCenter

From the Portal Settings, click the "HelpCenter Content" button to start adding online documents to your Silver Essence Portal. Or in the HelpCenter, click the Maintenance button on the top right of the page. To maintain the HelpCenter, you must have a Partner account associated with that Solution or Template.

On the left is the form to add content to your HelpCenter. In the list you will see an Edit button. By clicking this, the form is filled with the data from that document and you can change its settings. The Delete button is self-explanatory. It deletes the document from the HelpCenter but it will not delete the online document itself. After deleting a document from the HelpCenter, you can always add it back.

Rolling out the HelpCenter this week

We have started updating the first Silver Essence instances with these new features and we expect to have it available on all our hosted Apps and Portals. If you want to update your local instance or your own hosting environment, please contact us through development@silveressence.net and we will get you started.