MAAS UI: bi-weekly update #5

Support for the upcoming 2.8 release

MAAS 2.8 is now on RC5 (release candidate 5). We hope to release the final version soon. Our 2.8 release supports LXD-based VM hosts, external/remote PostgresSQL database with the snap version, and several bug fixes, such as: reducing log sizes for power events to increase performance; the ability to edit physical interfaces on the UI; and faster loading for subnet pages.

Read more about what’s new in MAAS 2.8; and for more information about how our release process works, visit our latest show and tell.

Cloud-init exploration

We are happy to inform you that cloud-init configuration via user data will be part of the UI for this cycle. However, we are on the verge of finalising the design. As part of our scope, this feature will be added to the UI for feature parity with our MAAS API. The feature includes:

  • Allow snippets to be pasted on the text area or upload from a file
  • Ability to edit your snippet after pasted or uploaded
  • Flag machines with different customisation from the default option on the UI
  • Allow users to view their customisation via flagged machines.

Here is a sneak peak of the not-so-final version:

MAAS Documentation

This week our quest to learn more about our users’ and understanding the flaws of our MAAS documentation continues. Last iteration, we have been exploring different search behaviours for our documentation reader. The three distinguishing behaviours are:

  • Navigational Search: “I know exactly what I want to do and I need some code examples.” These are task oriented users who are quite familiar with MAAS and needed to do a quick run through of the documentation to find code examples. They will browse quickly and alternate between searching and browsing. Some might even try to adjust the search query to see if the top 5 search results are relevant. Most people in this category tend to find their answers in a community forum as some people might have had examples of their implementation.

  • Informational Search : “I want to learn about the concepts in MAAS before I start playing with it.” This search behaviour is more towards users who are interested in MAAS and wanting to understand MAAS as a whole. They will read through the documentation thoroughly and learn about the concepts in order to understand it. They look for keywords such as “How does it work?”, “Installation Guide”, or “Quick Example”. Some users might already be familiar with one side of MAAS and would like to understand more about the other concepts and features in MAAS.

  • Transactional Search: “I want to start building something in MAAS”. Transaction search behaviour occurs in the user group that is somewhat familiar with MAAS and wants to start building things. Their behaviour mirrors a bit of navigation search and information search combined. They are open to read about a concept and understand it in order to implement something if that’s what it takes. They are motivated to understand the examples and how they can use the examples to implement MAAS with their own convention. Keywords that they look for are “Quick guide”, “where to start”, “Create my first…”, “API”, “CLI”.

A user may have more than one search behaviour depending on their motivation at the time of their search.

This week we added a little sprinkles on top of our research and tried to look into our quantitative data. Our data suggests that the highest searched keywords are “DHCP”, “DNS”, “PODs”, “Windows”, and “API”. Whereas our most visited pages are “install”, “how it works”, “dhcp”, and “troubleshooting”.

Based on the data we have now, we are trying to find the correlation between what the search term and the most visited page. Is there a correlation between them? Is our installation page too complicated to implement that they need to understand it first? Are certain concepts in MAAS not explained clearly?

These are some of the questions we need to find out.

We’ll be happy to learn about how you use our documentation and how we can improve it. Your feedback is a gift, feel free to share some of your thoughts, tell us about your current struggles with our documentation and hey, sign up for a user testing session if you’d like to go through it with us!