New feature: Snippet references

Our first annual customer survey gave us a lot of amazing feedback. One of the most-requested pieces of functionality was the ability to see "where" a snippet, file, or article was used. This is functionality I've also long dreamed of, to be able to quickly audit where something was being used so I could tell:

  • Pieces of content that might need updating
  • If it was safe to delete this item

We've released the first piece of this functionality and would love to have you try it out and send us some feedback: Snippet references.

First, the less exciting news: 

No snippets in your knowledge base will yet have references populated. We had to add some logic to the Article Editor itself to capture these relationships, so references will be tracked as you create, edit, and save articles and custom content categories moving forward.

Manage Bulk Edits will not trigger reference generation, since it depends on logic in the editor. There was no great way for us to generate these in bulk without significant performance impacts.

The exciting news: 

Moving forward, any major edit as well as minor edits to fix typos, etc., will automatically generate these snippet references when you save.

If, like me, you'd like to see this in action: adding a blank line at the end of an article and saving it will properly "read" the article to generate these references. (And then you can resave with the line removed.)

Where to see references

For our first experiment with this functionality, we've added a References section to the Snippet editor.

This section will show you a count of the articles and custom content categories that reference (or include) this snippet:

New References section in the Snippet editor Clicking the View details... link will open a pop-up with a list of links for each article and custom content category that references this snippet:

Sample References pop-up

What gets counted as a "reference"

A snippet is logged as being referenced when:

  • The snippet appears in the body of the article
  • The snippet appears in the body of a custom content category

We do not yet track references for snippets appearing in:

  • Category description
  • Category title
  • Article title
  • Settings > Style
  • Other snippets (though how meta would that be?)

Please let us know if you use snippets in these places and would like to see them included in the references!

What's next?

We're planning to add reference tracking for:

  • Files
  • Articles themselves (to see which articles reference each other)

We hope that these changes make it easier for authors and admins to better audit your content, snippets, and files to know when it's "safe" to delete something, or to have a feel for related content/objects that may need updating along the way.

These features are in very early development stages, so contact us with feedback along the way to let us know what you'd like to see!