All posts by Chris

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Snowstorm

BoxR1.0 Beta 5 (Build 271) | Download | Release Notes

A centralised notification platform for your business.

Disseminating information around a corporate environment is harder than ever.  Staff may not always be in the office and – even if they are – may not be at their desk for long periods of time.  Smartphones and home-working have made it so much easier for staff to keep in touch no matter where they are – but how do you keep in touch with them?

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Sometimes, it can be important to communicate out events – whether it’s to congratulate an employee on their promotion or award, or to urgently inform employees to events occurring within (or without) their working environment.

With Snowstorm, this problem is easily solved: Once Snowstorm has been installed onto your users desktop PCs, it will monitor specific local or remote folders that you define.  When a special notification file is created in a monitored folder, the file will be parsed and the information used to generate a Snarl notification on the user’s desktop.  You can decide who can create the notification files and – because Snowstorm can monitor multiple folders – you can configure which users receive which notifications.

Snarl allows for these notifications to be forwarded onto another computer, or redirected elsewhere – for example, to the user’s smartphone as a direct alert, an email or an SMS message – so now you can truly keep your staff in the know…

Installing and configuring Snowstorm on users PCs takes seconds, and creating notifications is just as quick. There are no special filename requirements (although you must use the “.notify” extension) and the content can be created using any ASCII text editor.

There’s no complex XML or HTML to include: just one mandatory section – [content] – and any number of [action] sections that you want.  The [content] section defines what’s displayed within the notification; the [action] sections add items to a drop-down menu that’s displayed when the user moves the mouse pointer over the notification.

To create subsequent notifications, simply duplicate an existing file (Snowstorm can be told to ignore duplicates), edit it and give it a new name – your message will be distributed immediately.

If you can map a drive to it, Snowstorm can watch it. Multiple folders can be monitored at the same time, and these can be configured on a per-user basis.  So, you may want all staff to receive corporate alerts, weather alerts and traffic alerts, but only certain staff to receive alerts about specific parts of the site, or specific sites themselves.

Simply create the folders you want, give them meaningful names, and point your users to the appropriate ones.  You may want a centrally-managed hierarchical structure controlled by a single team, or you may want project teams to be able to notify each other in a peer-to-peer manner – simply use use NTFS file permissions on the folders to control who can access what.

eggShell Alpha 2 due soon

eggShell Alpha 2 is due out shortly, so I thought I’d take some time to explain what’s new.  Firstly we have a super wizzo new menu.library which provides fantastic menus with full colour icons.  There’s also a new system.library which provides loads of Windows internal functionality in a way that’s easy to use for scripts and native programs alike.

There are a bunch of new plugins to try out and new functionality (like multiple bars and persistent settings) is starting to come through.