We’re pleased to introduce our new support site: Support.GibraltarSoftware.Com. This replaces our previous email-based support system with a new system that provides a central support ticketing system, knowledge base, and forums capability. We’ve placed our old forums site (which we inherited when we acquired VistaDB) in read-only mode so it’s still accessible but new activity will show up on the new site.
A Public Ticket System! Finally!
When we started Gibraltar Software, having a public ticketing system was one of our “pre-launch” check items. That was in 2009. Frankly, I was amazed as time went by how far we got without it. Internally, we’ve used FogBugz for years as our feature, defect, and help desk system. From our side of the table it does a great job as a help desk as long as all your interaction is via email. The minute you step outside of that, well… it just wasn’t workable. So, while we could track support very well we couldn’t provide public visibility into it.
In the last 6 months we’ve seen a real change in our user’s expectations. Almost overnight we started getting emails to support that started with “I couldn’t find a way to submit this on the site so I’m taking a guess and sending you this message” or support tickets entered through the general company contact page. In short, it was clear that people were expecting to find a system and surprised when they didn’t. This is what kicked us into gear to finally get a system selected and in place.
We reviewed a number of help desk systems and selected FreshDesk. We were looking for a system that combined knowledge base, forums, and a ticketing system. We wanted a hosted option so it would work even if our entire platform was lying on its back, feet in the air. We needed to be able to skin it so it would fit our site aesthetic to give you the comfort that this was the official place to be. In the end we went with FreshDesk because they were just more responsive, nimble, and customer focused than the alternatives we looked at. In short, more like us. We really value that.
How’s it All Work?
- Solutions: A set of knowledge base articles covering common questions and problems culled from all of the support tickets we process.
- Forums: Peer to peer community support for Loupe and VistaDB
- Documentation: You can view the full product documentation for going deep into how the products work
- Your Company’s Tickets: Any ticket you or your company has opened with us, complete with history.
If you can’t find the answer to your question, just open a ticket. We work hard to respond to these in less than one business day. Previously you had to use email to open and interact with a support ticket but now you can do it via email or online.
To see your ticket history online or post in the forums you’ll need to log in. We’ve implemented single sign-on with My Gibraltar Software, the central account site we use for all purchases, licensing, and trials. One account gets you access to everything which is a further improvement over the past.
Why Replace the Forums?
Things are very different than they were back when that forum system was started - sites like Stack Overflow now satisfy general developer communication that previously happened within each company’s forums. The key things that remain are very focused on our specific products and we wanted to provide a home that zeroed in on those needs. For example, the new system has specific capabilities for feature requests which we want to take advantage of.
We’ve had users complain because they’ve posted questions in the forums and haven’t gotten a timely, official answer from us. The forums created confusion about whether that was an official support channel or not. Often we’d post on the forums “please open a ticket for this” or end up explaining to an upset customer that while we do monitor the forums we stand back and look for peer to peer communication to happen first and foremost. This new system integrates everything together in a manner that we hope will eliminate that confusion and reduce the friction to getting the right request handled in the right way.
The other issue we’ve been struggling with is that much of the content in the old forums is obsolete. In some cases it doesn’t reflect the current capabilities of VistaDB so the advice will lead people astray. In others it reflects the philosophies and goals of the previous owners which don’t align with ours. So it felt like a good opportunity to start fresh. Naturally over time that’ll happen on this new system as answers change but the integration of Solutions (official, maintained knowledge base articles) and the forums should help us stay on top of it in a way we couldn’t before.
From day one we’ve been focused on driving our development from customer feedback and providing the best customer support possible - even in ways that other companies would consider uneconomical. Our new site makes it even easier for you to get into the loop with us: Let us know what you think of our new support site and how we can make your life easier!
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