Well, 2020 didn't start as we expected. We were looking forward to seeing many of you at Atlassian Summit and had also planned on sending our COO, Kate Caldecott, to Asia to meet with various Solution Partners. That did not happen, but we are grateful that all of our staff are well and that we can continue providing service and developing ProForma from our homes.
We also sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are well and that ProForma is a useful tool in allowing you to continue to do your work during this difficult time.
The New Form Builder
We have now rolled out the new form builder. When you create a new form template, you will automatically see the new form builder with a Confluence-like interface and greatly expanded formatting options.
We think the new features will inspire you to bring more processes into Jira, but if you're looking for ideas about what you can do, check out the examples in our blog or see our sample forms at https://proformademo.thinktilt.net.
For existing form templates:
When you open an existing form template to edit it, your form will open in whichever version of the ProForma form builder it was created in. We recommend that you convert existing form templates to the new form builder by following the steps in our documentation.
Any scripts you have written to interact with your existing forms will continue to function. However, you won't be able to make changes to them. The new form builder includes an "Issue JSON" tab that will allow you to see how the data is stored, so you can begin updating your scripts.
Existing forms on issues will not be changed and will continue to be supported.
Along with all of the beautiful new formatting options, the new system includes a few fixes that we wanted to get to, including:
In conjunction with the new form builder, we overhauled the PDF generator so that the PDFs will be a closer rendering to what you see on screen. The new PDFs will also support languages that use non-Latin characters (excepting Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, which we will be adding soon).
User-specific Date Format
We've heard from our customers in the US that the dd-mm-yyyy date format is confusing for users. So ProForma now formats dates according to the users' location.
Better Form Design Blog Series
Since the new form builder expands your design options, we thought it would be a good time to share some insights into what makes a good form. We published a series of articles on good form design. Our friend and Jira super-user, Rachel Wright, is continuing the series with articles on how you can bring these principles into Jira.
Now that the new form builder is available, we will start sharing new ways you can use forms in Jira. We'll publish workflows and use cases that illustrate how you can streamline processes by integrating forms, automation, and key Jira add-ons.
From a Development Perspective
This quarter we are shifting gears and taking a “slow is fast” approach. The release of the new form builder represents the biggest upgrade ProForma has undergone and it will be the foundation of our development for years to come. However, we have also become aware of a number of issues that we need to resolve now so that their effects don’t snowball into major rewrites 12 or 24 months from now. Therefore, we are delaying some of our earlier goals to focus on bedding down the new form builder and making behind-the-scenes improvements that will have a long term impact.
What are these improvements? We’ll be reworking how forms load and save, so that we updates can be made on a field by fields basis. This is fundamental to supporting tighter integration with apps such as Mindville’s Insights as often the selection in one field affects the options in another. Along with paving the way for integration with Insight and other apps, improvements to how ProForma loads and saves will allow us to develop better auditing and logging within Jira’s issue/request history.
From a Workflow and Use Case Perspective
Bug Report Workflow
Through much trial and error, a good bit of eating our own dog food, and the discovery a great app (Deep Clone for Jira), we've developed a Bug Triage and Reporting use case that addresses the challenges of triaging bugs and managing communication between the Support team and Dev team. We'll publish this bug reporting use case, making the workflow available on the Marketplace and adding the forms to https://proformademo.thinktilt.net and the in-app template library.
Use Cases, Use Cases and More Use Cases
Bug triage is just the beginning. We'll soon update our existing use cases with new forms, and will develop additional use cases that illustrate how you can tackle cross-team processes using advanced features like project automation and app integrations.
Here’s a sampling of what’s to come:
Onboarding and recruitment for HR teams
Broken equipment for Facilities teams
Clinical trials for Research teams
Updating Sample Forms and the Template Library
Our dev team is excited to have completed the new form builder, but the members of our staff who build our sample forms are even more thrilled. Over the next few months, we'll put them to work creating new sample forms for https://proformademo.thinktilt.net and updating the 200+ sample forms that are already available within ProForma. We are always happy to create new forms if you need them, so let us know what you'd like to see.
Stay well, and please let us know about any new forms, new features, or new functionality you'd like to see. In a time when the future seems so unpredictable and out of control, you can at least control how you collect data in Jira.