After five years of Mods for HESK development, I have decided to end development. I no longer have sufficient time to work on Mods for HESK along with other projects and obligations, so rather than try and limp this project along, it would be best to simply end development. I will attempt to push out some bugfix releases from time to time; however, no new features will be added beyond this point.
https://www.mods-for-hesk.com will be available until Mar 2, 2021 (“end of life”), and the GitLab repository will always be available should you ever need an old release for whatever reason. The Mods for HESK sub-forum will also be available until Mar 2, 2021.
I will still be present in the HESK community, but in a different capacity. I’m not able to disclose much at this time, but all I can say for now is, “stay tuned” 😀
Well, I am most certainly not dead (sorry everyone 😛). However, I have been taking a break from Mods for HESK for a while. To be very straightforward, I wasn’t enjoying the time I was putting into the project, and it started to feel like a second job. I never wanted this project to feel like a job, so I decided I needed a break from it.
So, what have I been doing? Well, nothing HESK related. Instead, after the release of HITMAN™ 2, I’ve spending the past few months building interactive maps for HITMAN™ 2, which is over at https://www.hitman2maps.com. I must say, I have been enjoying working on the site, which is why I have been focusing more of my time on it instead of Mods for HESK (or any of my other sites for that matter).
I’ve also been taking some more “me” time, being able to catch up some other things that I enjoy doing, such as taking part in the Distant Worlds 2 expedition in Elite Dangerous.
I’ll be returning to Mods for HESK “soon™” with the release of Mods for HESK 2019.1.0 (which was supposed to be 2018.3.0 last year). However, don’t be surprised if it is a few months from now before the release — there are still things I want to accomplish with hitman2maps.com and I will naturally gravitate towards what I want to work on more. Hopefully this break will allow me to come back into Mods for HESK development and enjoy working on it again 🙂
Coming to Mods for HESK 2018.3.0 is a brand new way to organize your categories: category groups! No longer do you need to name categories like “Account > Password Reset” and “Account > New User” — you can simply have an “Account” category group. Let’s take a look at how they will work:
Managing Category Groups
To manage category groups, there is a new “Manage Category Groups” page. Here you can create, rename, and re-order category groups. You can have an infinite number of nested category groups; however it will be recommended to only have 3 levels (otherwise the layout will become quite cramped). To re-order category groups, simply drag-and-drop the category group into its new place via the simple tree view.
When creating a new ticket, the select category group page has been changed to support these new category groups.
There are no security options when providing access to category groups; you will continue to provide access to categories as you already do.
Users who can manage categories will automatically be able to manage category groups.
Coming as part of the Mods for HESK 3.4.0 update is a massive overhaul to the translation system. Let’s take a look at some of the new features to make translating Mods for HESK easier than ever.
Translate Languages Online
The biggest change to the translation system is the ability to translate Mods for HESK strings online. Instead of modifying the language file manually in a text editor, you can now modify the string directly online, with the results immediately being available for download as soon as clicking “Save Changes”.
The edit language page allows you, the user, to edit all types of translatable content (regular text, plain-text emails, and HTML emails). Once finished making changes, simply click “Save Changes” to save, or “Discard Changes” to go back to the language site without saving anything.
In order to actually translate anything, you will need to create an account at the Mods for HESK website. All you need is an email address, name, and password! Once you start contributing to translations, your name will automatically be added as a contributor to the languages you help translate.
Strings that were not created or modified by Mods for HESK will not appear in the list of strings to translate. This is because Mods for HESK will synchronize its list of HESK strings on a regular basis to keep an updated set of translations.
When creating an account, your privacy is of the upmost security. Passwords are security salted and hashed, and your contact information will never be sold or distributed to any third-parties.
Translated strings are community-created and verified. If a translation is wrong, simply fix it! There is no verification/confirmation process to translated strings.
There’s usually a time when you send a ticket reply to your customer, and then you hear nothing back. After a while, you contact the user directly, just to receive the classic “I never got the email!” response. Now, if your user does not return in a timely fashion, you can now click a single button to re-send the exact email they received the first time.
When viewing a ticket message / reply, simply click the “Re-send Email Notification” button. That’s it!
Back in the old days of Mods for HESK (when it was simply called “HESK UI”), you could add custom elements to the customer navigation bar, staff navigation bar, and to the homepage “block” elements. Well, after Mods for HESK 2.3 was released, support for these custom elements was somewhat dropped.
(as you can see, I hoped to have brought them back in 2.6……not so much 😆)
However, 3.1.0 has brought back custom elements and easier to use than before. A new page has been added to manage custom nav elements. The main page will show any custom nav elements that have been added (Note: any custom nav elements added the old-fashioned way will not be transferred).
Creating an element is straightforward and user-friendly. Custom nav elements support multiple languages, allowing you to set a different name per language. You can also choose between an image URL or a font icon for your icon as well (recommended image file sizes are available by hovering over the (?) icon).
One of the new features coming to Mods for HESK 3.1.0 is a REST API that can be used in third-party applications. What does this mean exactly? Well, for regular end-users, nothing. This API is purely for allowing other applications to call HESK / Mods for HESK features.
Perhaps you have an online form that you want to auto-create a ticket. Can you do that now? Not really. You have to send your user to your helpdesk and have them submit a ticket, or put the “create ticket” page in an iframe on your site. Now you can create a custom form and submit the form to the create ticket API.
Now, starting in 3.1.0, the REST API will be considered a BETA for a little while as some issues may be present. Additionally, not all HESK / Mods for HESK features have an endpoint available. The possible functions that can be used during 3.1.0 are:
Tickets – Customer
Tickets – Staff
Edit Basic Ticket Information
Get Attachment for Ticket
Save Attachment on Ticket
Delete Attachment from Ticket
Get All Categories
Get Category by ID
Note: Any settings that can expose private information (such as usernames and passwords) will not be returned for privacy reasons.
Hopefully some of you find a good use for the upcoming API, and of course, report any issues with the API so they can be patched 😉
Thanks to all of you that have donated to Mods for HESK development. At the time of this blog post, 1,221.84 USD has been donated in total, which is simply amazing. I never would have thought that this project would have resulted in over $1,000 of donations. So, I thought I’d put some of this money to good use.
Primarily for development I have been using a MacBook Pro (Mid-2009) as my primary development machine. Overall it has been a good machine for its time; however it has recently been having some issues and needed to be replaced. Therefore, I now have a new development machine: a Lenovo IdeaPad Y700. Primarily for gaming, this laptop is quite powerful:
It has been almost a month since Mods for HESK 3.0.0 RC 1 was released, and not much has changed since then. I also haven’t responded much on the forums, and I do apologize for that.
Things have been a bit hectic and stressed to say the least. Right after RC 1 was released, I had to focus entirely on a senior project for college/university (different words for different languages / regions of course :D) which finally wrapped up on December 16th (graduation day). Right after that were some personal / family matters which required attending to, and right after that was Christmas, so I decided to not work on Mods for HESK at all during that time (family > Mods for HESK 😉 ).
So now that all of that fun stuff is out of the way, I plan on dedicating more time towards Mods for HESK 3. With college officially out of the way now and only having a full-time day job, I can now work on more “enjoyable” things, such as enjoying playing some video games, as well as Mods for HESK and any other projects I may work on in the future.
Anyways, I hope to have the stable release of Mods for HESK 3 out by the end of next week, as I don’t believe there are too many changes needed before releasing the stable build; just some additional testing to make sure I didn’t forget anything over the past month. Of course, keep an eye on the Mods for HESK site, PHP Junkyard sub-forum, and the twitter account for more information as it comes.
So, HESK 2.7.0 is in its second beta (and will be nearing its third beta sometime soon), which means a new “major” release of Mods for HESK is on its way. I’m currently working whenever I have a free chance to incorporate the changes that HESK 2.7.0 will be including. As usual, some new HESK features already exist in Mods for HESK, so Mods for HESK 3.0 will be making some changes. A current list of changes include:
Mods for HESK’s autorefresh feature will be removed, and existing settings will be migrated to HESK 2.7’s autoreload feature
Right-to-left text support will be removed in Mods for HESK 3. I do not know of any users who are using this feature, and it is half-broken as it is.
The “multiselect” custom field is being removed. Multiselect fields are very similar to checkbox fields, so existing multiselect fields will be converted to checkbox custom fields.
Mods for HESK will continue to use its existing email template editor, instead of using HESK 2.7’s. There is no difference between the two, so there is no reason to replace the page.
Mods for HESK’s “can manage email templates” permission is being converted to HESK’s “can manage email templates” permission.
Mods for HESK 2 currently does not require an email address on the staff side when creating a ticket. This will change to HESK 2.7’s email requirement system.
HESK 2.7 will include custom statuses. However, Mods for HESK 3 will continue to use its own status system as it is more robust and feature-packed than HESK 2.7’s. Any statuses created in HESK 2.7 will be migrated to Mods for HESK 3 when installing.
Mods for HESK 3 will use HESK 2.7’s date custom fields, as it is better than Mods for HESK’s (and most likely bug-free 😉 ). All existing dates will be converted during the Mods for HESK 3 update.
(if there are more changes they’ll be posted here)
I’d also like to take a moment to discuss the planned new features, in order of priority of completion*:
New backend UI: The staff panel is getting a fresh new look, thanks to AdminLTE. This is done to provide an easy way of noticing there is a new version of Mods for HESK, as well as provding a needed facelift. Additionally, this new UI opens a new world for a “dashboard” page. There are future plans to make a dashboard where users can add widgets to their page (ticket lists, calendar, etc)
Bugfixes: There are currently 3 bugfix issues open on the GitLab issue tracker right now, and those are planned to be fixed in Mods for HESK 3.
Miscellaneous new features:
Category descriptions: Add a description to a category to have it appear on-screen for users so they know what each category is meant for
Small Calendar Tweaks:
Add ability to remove the start time from the event
Popover header background will be the same color as the category background color
Category colors can have a background, border, and text color, rather than just the background color
Display Service Messages in Multiple Places: Currently service messages are only displayed on the homepage. Ideally it would be nice to view service messages on the create ticket page, view ticket page, knowledgebase, admin homepage, admin KB, and admin ticket page (create and view).
REST API: A REST API is being planned to allow third-party applications to integrate with HESK, such as mobile applications.
* depending on how much can be done before 3.0.0 is released, some features may be delayed until 3.1.0.
So, when will all of this be released? Well the answer is (1) when HESK 2.7.0 is released, and (2) when I finish making the changes. Just like Klemen and HESK, I work on Mods for HESK in my spare time, between college and my paid job. I’m making every effort on getting this finished in time for HESK 2.7, but don’t be surprised if there is a delay between the HESK 2.7 and Mods for HESK 3.0.0 release.