New blog posts

A new look in Jiglu 14.1

We've just rolled out a new minor release with a mixture of useful updates.

First, we've given Jiglu a new, more contemporary look. This includes improved navigation with a user experience that will already be familiar to many people from social media sites.

To make life easier for system administrators, we've added new features to help with GDPR compliance, allowing the export of all a user's information and the ability to erase a user's personal data.

For use in Internet communities we've brought in the ability to detect banned words, such as profanity, as part of workflow, so you can trigger moderation of what might be inappropriate material.

There's also lots of minor improvements and some bug fixes. For the full details check out the release notes.

If you haven't tried Jiglu yet then find out how to get started. You can also drop us a line if there's anything you'd like to know more about.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

A smoother user experience in Jiglu 14

Our major releases tend to have a particular theme, usually a big new feature that’s been added. For Jiglu 14, though, we instead went through the entire product to find all the things we thought weren’t as easy to use as they should be, weren’t quite as useful as we thought they ought to be or could be improved in some way.

Here’s some of the biggest enhancements we’ve made.

Jiglu Radar

Jiglu Radar is the personal home page for each user, showing them the latest things that have been happening in all the groups that they are a member of. For Jiglu 14 we removed clutter from the edges and ensured the focus was on the activity stream as the place to go for updates on what’s new for you and for notifications about how people are interacting with the content that you’ve personally added. Moderators will also find they can do more actions without leaving the page.

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We’ve brought the daily email newsletters that users can subscribe to into line with the radar, so you get the exact same updates whether you’re on the web or catching up from email.

Version comparisons

For blog posts and wiki entries Jiglu has a version control system. This sits in the background keeping track of changes that are made, ensuring authors don’t overwrite each other’s work and letting them go back to earlier versions if they need to. With Jiglu 14 you can now see the differences between versions, with the text marked up with the changes and a list of attachments and other things that differ.

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Content analytics

Insight is the place to go in a Jiglu group for analytics on how content is being used, where it’s coming from and what being talked about. For Jiglu 14 we’ve beefed this up, with new charts that give additional ways to understand the content and new ways of segmenting the information.

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Within collaboration spaces you’ll find useful new visualisations that let you see what topics a particular author contributes most and how a tag relates to others.

Automated tagging

Jiglu Dynamic Discovery is our automated tagging engine, which analyses the content in groups and creates tags that represent it, allowing you to follow connections between different pieces of information. For Jiglu 14 we took a fresh look at how the engine was working on today’s content and made lots of small changes designed to ensure the tags really are those that best represent the content.

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We also revamped the interface that lets users choose tags manually for blog posts and wiki entries to make it easier to use and more accessible. For tags that come in from outside, such as from feeds, we ensured they are consistent with those the system itself generates.

Security enhancements

With every recent release we’ve progressively added more defences against unauthorised activity and Jiglu 14 is no exception. New protections include locking out brute-force attempts at password cracking, keeping the most sensitive parts of the system fully secure and improving feedback to users when there have been attempts to get into their accounts. We’ve also made setting up two-factor authentication simpler and safer so there’s no excuse not to use it.

The rest

There’s also lots of smaller improvements. The user interface has been made more consistent throughout and some accessibility gaps have been addressed. We’ve further improved how we can support corporate data policies with new settings controlling content retention. Behind the scenes, Jiglu is faster and more memory efficient and better recovers on its own from external failures.

There’s lots more besides – if you’re interested in seeing the full details then check out the release notes.

If you haven't tried Jiglu yet then find out how to get started. You can also drop us a line if there's anything you'd like to know more about.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

New tools for business communities in Jiglu 13.0

Almost autumn already and we're back with a major new release, Jiglu 13.0.

Business communities

This release has focussed on enhancements for open online communities. Jiglu is great for groups of people from different organisations getting together to collaborate, but when those groups have looser bonds sometimes additional controls are needed.

Since the very first release, Jiglu has had the ability to define different workflows depending on the role of a group member. So, for example, you could decide who are your most trusted members and allow them to publish immediately, while others you might want to have a moderator check over what they've written first. Now we've added an extra option that makes it super simple just to have new members moderated for the first few days after they've joined.

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In any community sometimes things do go wrong. We've brought in the ability for people to flag content for moderators that they think shouldn't have been published. This creates a simple task for a moderator to check a contribution over and decide whether to withdraw or keep it. If arguments get especially heated and you think a timeout would be useful, you can now temporarily suspend a member of a group. They can still read as normal but won't be able to contribute until the suspension is up.

Onboarding users

We've made improvements to the experience for new users when they first join. There's an optional quick tour that fills them in on the most important things that they need to know when they join. We've also made it easier to give them information tailored to the site which is shown when they first join, directing them to important local content.

Other improvements

As usual there's a number of other minor improvements, many suggested by our customers, to help make users' life easier. We've simplified some of the navigation and made it easier to jump between different groups. We've added an additional feature to help with GDPR compliance by deactivating accounts when email couldn't be delivered to them. There's lots more too - for a full list of what's changed, take a look at the release notes.

If you haven't tried Jiglu yet then find out how to get started. You can also drop us a line if there's anything you'd like to know more about.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

Collaborating across organisations with Jiglu

One key difference that separates Jiglu from others is support for collaborating across different organisations. This is something our customers have helped us refine, from security consultants sharing threat information with clients to the provision of social services where a number of different agencies, including local authorities, health trusts and police, may need to be involved.

Critical for all these customers is being able to ensure users can easily take part and find the information they need while also having in place access controls that ensure information remains in the right hands. Cross-organisation collaboration complicates this because you may be working with people who you are not so familiar with and are uncertain as to what level of trust is appropriate. The potential penalties from GDPR mistakes have also helped sharpen people’s minds over how important it is to get access correct.

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Like most collaboration software, the key access control in Jiglu is the group. You can decide who you want as members of the group and cut off access to anyone who isn’t. However, Jiglu goes beyond that with role-based access controls for individual types of content and workflow controls for how content is contributed. For example, you could allow anyone to take part in group instant messaging or email discussion, but contributing more formal knowledge to a collaboration space’s knowledge wiki might be only open to members with a certain role or it might require sign-off from other members first. That way you can allow people into a group but only when you are sure of their abilities and do you allow them to be trusted to contribute the most important information.

Keeping track of personnel changes in other organisations is another challenge. Jiglu can automatically deactivate accounts when email to them is returned undelivered or a user has not logged on for several weeks. These will reduce the risk of a user getting continued access when they have left an organisation or from someone getting unauthorised access to a now-unused account. There are also controls over people changing their email address, requiring administrator approval if appropriate before an account can be switched.

We also recently added new features that make it easier to audit users of the system and members of groups, which can help with GDPR and (in the UK) Cyber Essentials compliance. New search options let you see who hasn’t logged on recently and reports can be downloaded for offline analysis. Bringing people into the system is also easy, letting you send out personalised invitations, choosing which groups people should be joined to on registration and what rights a new member should get when they join a group.

If you’re interested in trying Jiglu out then you can download it now for use on the machine of your choice or you can get started in minutes with one of our Amazon Web Services images. If you need any help or you’d like a full demo or a hosted trial, just get in touch. You'll find all the details on jiglu.com.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

Smarter collaboration in Jiglu 12

It’s been a while since the last release – and the last post on the blog – but after an eventful and rather busy few months I’m pleased to now announce the release of Jiglu 12.

Here’s some of the new features.

Better searching, better document metadata

This was one of those, “why didn’t we do this before?” moments. If you’re searching contributions or documents for text then the search results now show you highlights of what matched. We’re also showing more information about attachments and other files that matched, and you can now download these directly instead of needing to view the message or knowledge entry they’re attached to first.

Incorporate anything into an existing wiki entry

If you find some useful information that you want to add to an existing knowledge entry – perhaps something someone mentioned in an instant message – you can now quickly incorporate it in the wiki and keep a link back to where it originally came from so people can see the context.

Nicer invitations, HTML email for notifications

We’ve spruced up invitations to join the system and added reminders if someone hasn’t yet joined. We’ve also converted all the rather drab plain text notifications from the system into better looking HTML and made every email look more like the website.

Email verification

You can now have all email from Jiglu signed with DKIM and email on arrival checked for a valid signature and subject to moderation if it doesn’t match.

Security enhancements

You can choose to lock users out of the system at times when it’s not being actively monitored, there’s protection against people bulk downloading files and we’ve made logs easily downloadable for external analysis.

Architecture and performance improvements

We’ve rewritten the email and search subsystems, made page loading faster, lowered resource and memory usage, upgraded to Java 11 and made many other behind-the-scenes improvements.

Jiglu 12.1 is available now (12.0 was only rolled out to direct customers). If you haven't tried Jiglu yet then find out how to get started. You can also drop us a line if there's anything you'd like to know more about.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

Quickstart guides

If you haven't checked them out yet, we now have a full set of guides to get you up and running with Jiglu as fast as possible.

Administrators

For administrators, there are guides to configuring Jiglu:

We also have a couple of checklists of things you need to gather or think about before you start:

Users

For ordinary users there are guides to system basics, things you need to know in Jiglu groups, using your personal Radar home page and everything to do with tagging:

If you're looking for more on the technology and how to install Jiglu, then you should also check out the installation space.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

Collaboration software's missing pieces

Back in 2003 when I first started developing collaboration systems, a lot of organisations had something like this:

  • An email system in which lots of useful conversations resided but which was difficult to search and often limited in how much was kept.
  • A content management system in which more valuable information was held, but which was not part of users’ everyday workflow and was not really geared to easy contributions.

Skip forward sixteen years and frankly things haven’t improved that much:

  • Conversations moving to Slack or Microsoft Teams have just opened up another silo, while the splintering of discussions into tinier pieces makes finding information later more of a challenge.
  • Important information, while now more likely to be held in a dedicated collaboration system like Confluence or SharePoint, is still isolated from where conversations are mainly taking place.

This isn’t a new problem. For several decades people working in the knowledge management field have been considering the problems of tacit knowledge versus explicit knowledge and ways that organisations can better capture information of value. When we designed Jiglu, we looked for how we could bridge the divide between those two sides:

  • Making it easy to transfer information from conversations into a more formal setting. If something comes up in an email discussion or in a group instant message then with just a few clicks it can be transferred into the knowledge wiki.
  • Supporting different roles within a collaboration space, so some members can be involved just with contributing while others can do more organisation, such as taking useful information from conversations and making it suitable for long-term retention.
  • Using simple workflow to ensure that knowledge is of a suitable quality: you can transfer something in a conversation then come back to it later to work on or have others work on it; for bigger teams you can require approval from a certain number of members before something is published; after a certain amount of time has elapsed then entries can go back for review to ensure they are still valid.

Once an entry has been published in the wiki, Jiglu also helps you connect it to other resources:

  • There’s an audit trail back from a published entry in the knowledge wiki to the conversation where it originally came from. Sometimes it’s useful to see the original context and who said it.
  • Jiglu’s automatic tagging engine connects conversations and content, so if a new discussion is taking place it’s very easy to see what else is known on that topic, whether it’s explicit information in a knowledge entry or a tacit information in a group email discussion or instant message.
  • Search encompasses both content and conversations, prioritising the wiki entries where knowledge is being retained for the long term but also letting you find the nuggets that may be buried deeper in conversations.

Once you’ve captured something in the wiki, that isn’t the end point either. Jiglu lets you easily start discussions around entries, which in turn can feed back into updates to an entry or perhaps a new one.

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It’s all part of a continual cycle that we hope better brings together these two sides, eliminating the information silos and ensuring teams can work together more effectively. And for the future we’re looking at ways that we can use AI to better support users in these processes.

If you’d like to try it out, it’s very easy to get started with Jiglu.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

Jiglu's summer of security

Right from the start we've designed and built Jiglu with security as one of the most important considerations. From the beginning Jiglu has had a strong role-based permissioning model that ensures users only have access to appropriate resources. An extensive unit test suite ensures that API calls cannot breach that model. Since then we've added additional security features, such as two-factor authentication and password encryption upgrades to ensure we continue to meet current best practice. We've also added new user account integrity features, including additional workflow options to prevent accounts being taken over.

It's always good to get an outside view of flaws that may have been overlooked and this summer with one of our customers a source code security review and a penetration test of their product installation were carried out. This work found some cases where we had not considered how the product might be used in a malicious way, a number of recommendations for hardening the product against vulnerabilities and several script injection flaws in the web application that had been missed. We were pleased though that the core integrity of our security model was not an issue.

With Jiglu 11.8 and 11.9 we addressed all these issues. Significant enhancements to our test suite were also made to better safeguard against future web application vulnerabilities slipping through. You can find the details of all these changes in our release notes.

With our latest version we think Jiglu is now an even better solution for collaborating securely and in an environment where you get to keep total control of your own data. None of your data, metadata or user behaviour gets shared with anyone else, ever.

If you haven't tried Jiglu yet then give it a spin, or drop us a line to sales@jiglu.com if there's anything you'd like to know more about.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

Improved Amazon Web Services integration in Jiglu 11.6

It's the first release of 2019, filling in a few gaps before we get down to work on the next major release due in the summer.

Amazon Web Services has become a key platform for us over the past year. For customers hosted on the platform we're pleased to announce a new integration with Amazon Simple Email Service, which gives the advantage of spam and virus filtering on incoming email for a small additional monthly charge. We also added new spam filtering options in the product, letting you decide how to handle messages that are potential spam.

11.6 also has a handful of smaller improvements and fixes, including simpler configuration when running in a distributed server environment.

You can find the full release notes here. If you'd like to try out Jiglu then you can get started here.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .

Everything bigger enterprises need in Jiglu 11.5

It's the last release of 2018, a year in which I feel we've made huge strides with Jiglu - a better user experience, the latest technologies and all the features you'd expect in a modern collaboration suite.

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The last three releases have focussed on filling-out some of the requirements needed for bigger enterprises. I'll be writing more on some of these in the new year, but for now here's a summary of what we've added recently:

  • Virus scanner integration, so attachments and other shared documents get checked before they are made available for download.
  • Auditing improvements and a new email newsletter for administrators that summarises important changes to the system that they should know about.
  • Retention improvements, so everything contributed can always be kept with inappropriate content withdrawn from viewing rather than deleted.
  • Categories for groups, so they can easily be flagged with internal security access levels.
  • Invitations that let you pre-select multiple groups a user will be joined to when they register with a one-time token, making administrator workflow easier and eliminating the need to ever distribute passwords.
  • Improvements to automated workflow so users can make changes themselves but administrators can quickly approve them when necessary.

There have also been lots of minor enhancements for end users and some performance improvements too.

You can find the full release notes here. If you'd like to try out Jiglu then you can get started here.

Written by Stephen Hebditch. Published on .