Customer Voices, Product Success: Utilising Feedback for an Impactful Roadmap

At DeltaXML we work with people who are developing products or maintaining systems that handle XML and JSON documents and datasets, including editing tools, document and data workflows and specialist publishing applications. Our primary goal is to assist our users in incorporating advanced functionality that enables them to effortlessly identify differences, effectively manage change, and seamlessly merge documents and datasets. Our approach ensures that users are not overwhelmed by irrelevant information while crucial changes are not overlooked or omitted.

With a history spanning nearly as long as XML itself, our expertise in XML comparison dates to the early days of the format. Our tools find, merge, process and synchronise change in XML and JSON data and documents and are used daily throughout the world by governments, banks, aircraft manufacturers, and the defence industry, where 100% accuracy is vital. Implementing the process of “differencing” in software can be challenging, despite its apparent simplicity. Many customers approach us after attempting to outline the development work required and realising the extensive time investment it demands. However, a feature highly sought after by one customer may not be necessary for another.

Listening to feedback

Customer feedback plays a pivotal role in shaping and enhancing our products. By actively seeking input from our valued customers, we gain invaluable insights that directly influence the development and refinement of our XML and JSON comparison tools. By listening to customer feedback, we can identify pain points, address functionality gaps, and implement crucial updates that ensure our tools deliver the highest level of accuracy and reliability.

In response to the valuable feedback from our users, we have diligently worked on enhancing our product offerings over the past few months. We are delighted to announce the release of several highly requested features that have significantly improved the functionality and versatility of our solutions. These include enhanced table change representation, SVG comparison capabilities, and the introduction of a REST API for our DITA and DocBook solutions. Additionally, we are thrilled to introduce our brand-new Content Compare products, designed to accurately highlight differences within content while intelligently disregarding structural changes.

We actively seek feedback from our customers throughout various channels. A significant source of valuable input comes from our continuous communication and collaboration with customers and partners. Remember when we said building a comparison solution takes an enormous amount of time and effort? That’s because every user needs something done just a little bit differently. While we can assist customers on building their comparison pipelines within their existing processes or products, there are always a few exceptional requests that make their way into our product roadmap. We also highly recommend submitting your feedback via our feedback form on our website.

Building the roadmap

Our Product Roadmap feeds directly into our development backlog, which is where our Scrum teams go to pick up work items. The roadmap is made up of all sorts of ideas, from product enhancements to new features and even brand new products. These are all gathered together in one place where they go through an iterative process of refinement until they are ready for implementation.

How do new items get onto the roadmap in the first place? There are lots of ways! We have an internal ideas board where anyone in the company can make a suggestion for the roadmap. These ideas are evaluated, often leading to questions about the what, the why and the how. We also gather feedback from customers in a similar way – either through catch-up phone calls or support cases. This feedback might be a direct request for a new feature or it could be a sense that there’s a problem that needs solving. We refine these ideas in the same way – by finding out the detail of the ‘what’ but most importantly the ‘why’. If we know why something is a problem, or why a customer wants a new feature we can work on solving the problem in a much more complete way. This is the nature of ‘backlog refinement’ in Scrum – ideas start of kind of vague and get clearer and clearer through conversations and questions until we’re ready to implement a solution.

Not all ideas make it of course or we might end up with a solution that solves the problem in a different way than was originally anticipated, but the important thing is to be able to capture and evaluate all ideas wherever they come from.

New releases from the roadmap

More than a few new releases have been launched during the past 6+ months that have come from customer feedback. This includes:

SVG Comparison

A significant enhancement in the handling of embedded SVG images. Changes between images are now graphically highlighted making modifications easily identifiable. With customisable object styling, both the original and updated versions of each image showcase the highlighted changes, offering users a comprehensive visual representation of the differences. This update empowers users to quickly and accurately pinpoint modifications within embedded SVG images, enhancing their overall comparison experience.

Advanced table comparison for CALS and HTML tables

When comparing tables, there has always been a trade-off between capturing structural changes and displaying content changes logically. This update allowed for a more detailed representation of content changes between tables, offering users a comprehensive view of modifications at the cell level. This enhancement created a more intuitive experience, particularly for users accustomed to encountering multiple row and column duplications.

Content Compare

This brand-new range of solutions was built to dutifully identify changes between the content of XML documents while ignoring but maintaining the schema structure. These solutions were built for customers who needed accurate and precise change detection to effortlessly pinpoint modifications within XML documents, without getting distracted by inconsequential structural differences.

A better evaluation procedure

We revamped our evaluation process to prioritise putting our solutions directly into the hands of users. Recognising the importance of ensuring a seamless user experience, we provided on-call step-by-step guidance to every new user. However, we soon learnt from customer feedback, time and resources can be scarce. So, we introduced our self-service evaluation manager, empowering users to set up our powerful XML Comparison and Merging solutions quickly and independently. Rest assured, we are always available to assist any user and are open to scheduling calls to address individual needs. However, for those who prefer to explore our products at their own pace and witness first-hand our commitment to being the best XML Comparison and Merging solution, we encourage you to take advantage of our flexible trial options.

In-progress releases from the roadmap

Here are a few examples of items at various stages in our current roadmap:

  • Handling element moves without needing id attributes
  • Handling moves in our n-way Merge product
  • A new way of finding change in DITA Maps focused much more on a publication view
  • A new product for ensuring that content conversion processes have successful migrated all content

These ideas have all come from customers which means that we can be sure they’ll be put to good use when we release them.

By integrating customer feedback into our product roadmap, we aim to fuel customer-centric innovation and develop products that genuinely cater to the needs of our users. At the core of our development efforts is a deep understanding that our customers’ insights and perspectives are invaluable in shaping the future direction of our offerings. By placing the user at the heart of our product roadmap and utilising their most impactful requests, we remain committed to creating a roadmap that reflects customer needs. We’re always looking for more feedback and suggestions, so if you have any to share make sure to get in touch!

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