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In the Works: Collea Alpha 2
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We’re thrilled to have just rolled out our second major alpha release to our internal testers and we thought we’d take this opportunity to share an update and offer insights on the development of Collea, our productivity platform.

Highlights

The goals for our Alpha 2 release were centered around:

  1. Message attachments and other file uploading support
  2. Building out our Collea Chat Server customization experience
  3. Implementing early improvements and resolving issues based on feedback and identified issues

File Sharing / Uploading

The biggest item by far in Alpha 2 is the introduction of message attachments and file-based avatar setting. To enable this, we needed to expand on our already comprehensive Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in Streambits Core (our developer tooling for realtime messaging) to support file uploading and make refinements on our existing APIs to support attachments, while ensuring this is done in a way that is flexible and extensible going into the future.

We’ve implemented Upload APIs for Account and Server Avatars / profile pictures, which allows our users to change their avatar or update their company / organization’s branding without providing a link to an external service.

This is done in a manner that promotes flexibility for developers, allowing one to tweak the supported image file types as well as file sizes, individually for Streambits Chat Accounts and Streambits Chat Servers, both of which are leveraged by Collea! By default, we support JPG, PNG, and WebP formats and set a max avatar size of 512KB.

When sending a Message, you can now attach a file up to a 5MB size (subject to change as we get closer to our first public Beta). This can be done seamlessly in our editor using a traditional attachment button or dragging and dropping a file in the editor.

Doing so will create a basic preview of the attachment, indicate if the file is too large, as well as offer the ability to remove the attachment should you share your mind about sending it.

2020/05/Collea Alpha 2 Editor

Out of the gate we support 55 different file types, such as:

When an attachment is provided with a Message, either by yourself or a colleague, we’ll use our Smart File functionality to automatically generate an embed that makes the most sense for the file type, as shown below.

Images

For images, we’ll directly embed the image with the ability to click to open and enlarge the image.

2020/05/Collea Alpha 2 Message Image

Videos

For MP4, OGV, and WebM videos we’ll automatically generate a video player so you can easily view the content.

2020/05/Collea Alpha 2 Message Video

Other File Types

For other file types, we’ll embed various information about the file, such as its name and size, as well as offer a button to easily download the file!

2020/05/Collea Alpha 2 Message Document

Server Customization

In Alpha 2, we’ve introduced a new Overview section in our Settings to enable the owner of the Chat Server to easily change the avatar and name. This is useful in allowing your company or organization to easily differentiate itself in the Server Browser, as shown in the screenshots below!

2020/05/Collea Alpha 2 Server Overview 2020/05/Collea Alpha 2 Server Browser

Minor Improvements

Quick access to theme switcher

You can now easily toggle between dark and light theme via the main dropdown menu!

In Alpha 2, you can now click the title of a page presented in a Smart Link, rather than just the image and link button, to open the page. This makes it easier to interact with links on mobile.

Settings Improvements

2020/05/Collea Alpha 2 Settings Nav Improvements

While implementing file avatar uploading via Collea’s Settings, we made some improvements to the navigation and the naming of various menu items, such as renaming Account -> “Profile” to Account -> “Personal Info”, as well as changing the “Settings” menu item for Global and Server-specific settings to “Profile”, since you are able to have server-specific profiles.

Twitch Clip and Player Integration

It’s pretty common here at Streambits for us to have a Twitch stream going while working, or share a Twitch clip of one of our favorite streamers.

Before Alpha 2, these would show up as normal links. While this was functional, we wanted to do better and be able to check out clips like we would any other video on Collea!

To improve this experience, we focused on implementing Twitch support in our open source page parsing and platform API gateway library called sauron. Leveraging Twitch’s GraphQL API, we are now able to fetch details about a provided Twitch link, whether that is information about a live Twitch streamer or a Twitch clip! This even includes information about the game they’re playing (although that isn’t something we expose in Collea).

2020/05/Collea Alpha 2 Twitch

Want to learn more?

We’re excited about building products and services that keep you and your team productive. If you’re excited as we are, click here to learn more about Collea and sign up to be notified when we roll out early access invites!