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PlannedDoneNot planned

Monospaced / Unformatted Text ...

MP
suggested this on October 17, 2008 07:44

In our work a solution frequently involves code snippets.

e.g.

(defun c:PointAt ( / ename dist point )
(if (setq ename (car (entsel)))
(if (setq dist (getdist "\nEnter distance: "))
(princ
(if (setq point (_PointAtDist ename dist))
(strcat
"\nPoint: "
(vl-princ-to-string
(mapcar
'rtos
(setvar "lastpoint" point)
)
)
)
"\nPoint not on object."
)
)
)
)
(princ)
)

Posting code into a ticket thread is unsatisfactory as the rendering engine flattens (strips leading white space) all indentation.

e.g.

(defun c:PointAt ( / _PointAtDist ename dist point )
(if (setq ename (car (entsel)))
(if (setq dist (getdist "\nEnter distance: "))
(princ
(if (setq point (_PointAtDist ename dist))
(strcat
"\nPoint: "
(vl-princ-to-string
(mapcar
'rtos
(setvar "lastpoint" point)
)
)
)
"\nPoint not on object."
)
)
)
)
(princ)
)

While some solutions could be posted to a forum entry, it's not a blanket solution, nor is the rendering engine for forum posts ideal from a coder's perspective (you can edit the html direct and place [pre] code [/pre] tags but meh).

Attaching code files is overkill for solutions that involve a dozen or so lines of code.

Thoughts?

--

Unrelated ...

  • It would be great if posts and comments could be previewed before posting.
  • The ability to color text (without modifying html directly) would be nice.

Having said all this ... zendesk kills ... outstanding product!!

- Michael

 

Comments

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Alexander Aghassipour
Zendesk

MP, thanks for the positive feedback!

We've just improved the WYSIWYG engine, so editing posts should now look 100% like the final rendered version - hopefully this makes a preview function obsolete.

Internally, we use Zendesk for a lof of our coding stuff - and we use pastie.org for code snippets, which works very well. White space indentation is very shaky when working with HTML. Anybody else have thoughts on this?

October 26, 2008 14:18
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Andy Donnan

What setting have you found pastie.org best used for within zendesk? I'd love to see GeSHi integrated within the Zendesk editor http://qbnz.com/highlighter/

November 24, 2008 08:10
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Graham Robson
Coherence Design

I believe the original requests still stands - it's the comments fields within ticket threads that need some level of formatting support.

I certainly believe that comments threads should be kept simple, but adequate support for code snippets is really quite important.

December 02, 2008 11:17
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Thomas Pedersen

Ticket threads appear in emails, which is why special styling probably won't work satisfactory. Pastie.org (and the like) ensure superior styling, and works qua links in all channels.

December 02, 2008 13:56
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Graham Robson
Coherence Design

OK, but what UI facilities would you provide for users. Please describe what Pastie.org is, how it is used, and show how it renders in a ticket thread.Thanks.

December 03, 2008 01:14
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Alexander Aghassipour
Zendesk

With pastie.org, you simply paste in the code (any language), and get an URL back. Try it a http://pastie.org. The URL is inserted in the ticket text and points to a nicely fullscreen formatted version of your code, complete with syntax highlighting and indentions. 

December 03, 2008 08:23
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Graham Robson
Coherence Design

I have tried this (using MP's the original example above). This seems to be the link produced: &lt;<script src='http://pastie.org/330787.js'></script>

Whilst this renders in a topic (I've escaped it here to show the link), it doesn't in ticket thread it escapes automatically.

December 04, 2008 04:05
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Alexander Aghassipour
Zendesk

Just enter the link in a ticket comment, and it should be linked automatically.

December 04, 2008 15:34
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Graham Robson
Coherence Design

OK, I've worked through this and it transpires that the use of Pastie's in ticket comments threads is limited to providing a URL link back to Pastie site to render the formatted code. This Pastie method is further compromised as the link takes you away from ZD i.e. you look at the code without the surrounding context of the ticket & thread.

I appreciate the limitations/benefits of the simplified ticket comments - so the conundrum stands. We'd still  like a way to paste code snippets into comment threads so they are rendered in the flow of the conversation.


Note: I still think it is a smart idea to delegate complex code format rendering to a web service.

 

December 06, 2008 02:06
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Andy Madge

I think this is partly a UI problem - when you are typing a comment, it uses a monospaced font, therefore you assume that it's going to stay monospaced.  Then you submit it and it changes to proportional, and throws away the layout.

You have broken the user model - it doesn't do what the user expects it to do.

I agree that being able to put <pre> content into a comment is absolutly vital.

I also understand why it's currently throwing away the whitespace - that's what happens in HTML.

Ideally it would be great to have the same WYSIWYG editing for comments as for forum posts.

If you're not going to implement WYSIWYS for comments, could you at least change the textbox font to proportional?

May 22, 2009 03:08
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Mike Wille
flowz

Pastie isn't a solution that works well for the reasons listed above.  I would suggest a few syntax highlighting libraries:

http://pradador.com/code/lighterjs/

http://code.google.com/p/syntaxhighlighter/

I personally prefer the first option as the setup is very easy and requires no configuration so it would be very easy to allow end users to add syntax highlighted snippets just by adding a class to their pre tag.

This is a hot topic for us as we are starting to use zendesk for a technical user knowledge base and single color pre tags don't cut it.

For the comment about what to do with email sent out containing a snippet, I think a best effort solution works.  Include the pre in the HTML encoded body and drop it for the text encoded body.  Let the email client handle it.

May 22, 2009 10:15
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Alan Trombla
tweaksoftware

Just want to second the above comments and ask if there's been any improvements on this front since May.  We really need to be able to send <pre> formatted code snippets to our customers, and the pastie solution is really not workable (especially for many small snippets, interespersed with comments.  Even just supporting <pre> would be a big win for us.

Thanks for listening.

November 05, 2009 10:09
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internal_support
electriccloud

This is a major concern - surprised I hadn't noticed until now!  We send code snippets and XML snippets relatively frequently in discussions with customers.  Being able to generate a well-formatted snippet for the customer, and them not being able to read it in-line, with proper indentation, looks very bad!

 

Atlassian's WIKI offers an the ability to supply a {noformat} delimiter for such things - which would at least help in the times one answers directly from the GUI. 

 

What is an ETA on providing a solution for this problem?

November 06, 2009 11:12
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Alan Trombla
tweaksoftware

For the record, if such a "{noformat}" delimiter were respected in email ticket updates, that would solve most of our problems as well. 

November 06, 2009 13:08
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Alan Trombla
tweaksoftware

Sorry to harp, but just wanted to say again that this is a big issue for us.  Our helpdesk interaction is almost entirely email-based, and often questions and aswers are peppered with lots of little code snippets (so pastie.org is really not a solution).  Again, just some way to <pre></pre> in email would be sufficient.  To be clear, this is the only big problem we have with Zendesk, so you guys are miles ahead of most software we use, but still it'd be really great to get this change.

November 18, 2009 09:53
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Amy Au-Yeung
Zendesk

Hey guys,

Thanks for the responses, and apologize for the delay.  We understand your concerns, and we heard you.  Let me make sure the team is aware of this, and I'll get back to you when I have an update

Sorry for the inconvenience

Regards

-amy

Zendesk Support

January 20, 2010 02:33
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MP

Thanks and keep it alive!! This issue is the principle reason I don't have a paid account.

January 25, 2010 07:14
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pk

+1. Please make everything monospaced.

We're talking about e-mails after all.

March 09, 2010 12:00
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MP

This issue remains the deal breaker for us. Pastie.org is not a solution, all code/data/posts/yada need to be integral to the service.

March 09, 2010 12:05
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Josullivan

This is a showstopper for us also - I would expect an HelpDesk product for use with tech companies to be able to support this requirement.

Any update on when if ever this is going to be supported?

April 30, 2010 04:42
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Björn Fant
videoplaza

I Agree we too need to know when this is supported.

June 11, 2010 02:03
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Manne
tank

Same for us -- all we want is that the whitespace stops being stripped as the ticket reply is added to the zendesk system -- the pastie.org is far too complicated for our clients -- all they want is just to send us a little snippet of code that we can look at and we want to send snippets back.

Furthermore, with python, its not just a formatting issues, its actually breaking the code which is even worse :) 

August 30, 2010 01:11
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Manne
tank

This is not marked with a "Planned" tag -- does that mean its part of your "ticket inbox" (since 2008?)? Or that you have decided to not to do this?

Curious since this is really becoming quite a big problem for us - clients are getting annoyed when we have to ask them over and over again to attach files instead of just pasting 20 lines of code into the ticket etc. And with python there is no way to just "fix" the formatting automatically - basically, information is lost at the point the whitespace is truncated and the code snipped many times becomes useless, unless its super small.

I might be totally wrong here - but it sounds like a pretty simple thing to just stop stripping the white space from the content as its being stored in zendesk? 

August 30, 2010 01:19
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Steve Thompson

I may be wrong but it looks like anything that you put into Pastie is made public. This is therefore not an option as we would be violating license conditions, we cannot afford to have private API's and code leak into the public domain.

September 16, 2010 02:53
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Monty Williams

My customers frequently and bitterly complain that this problem makes Zendesk unusable for them. Here's the most recent example (out of many):

The whole purpose of a system like Zendesk is to facilitate the exchange of technical information, and it's absurd to suggest I should have to jump through hoops to make good its fundamental deficiencies in this regard.

My attitude to this issue is that you are requiring me to use a technical communication system that fails in its most basic function, that of transmitting messages correctly. For heaven's sake, this system cannot transmit a chunk of code without mangling it beyond all recognition. It is astounding that you adopted this system, but it is even more astounding,
and depressing, that there are programmers on this earth who are so badly educated that they do not know what a tab character is for. And that they work for a company producing technical communication software! The programmer responsible for this mess must have a brain so small that it doesn't even move his hind legs properly.

December 13, 2010 11:00
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MP

Issue is 2+ years old.

That says so much about zendesk I don't have to add any ranting.

December 13, 2010 13:34
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Alan Trombla
tweaksoftware

Just wanted to add that this comes up every day for us as well.  One note on pastie.org:  a 'pastie' is an ok solution for outgoing mail from agents (athough it gets pretty unwieldy when you have lots of snippets interspersed with text.  But pastie.org really doesn't help at all with incoming mail from users.  After someone who's having trouble with your software goes to the trouble to send you the block of error text it spews, it really doesn't go over well for support (us) to write back and ask them to do it all again but use pastie.org this time.

December 13, 2010 13:57
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Manne
tank

I just checked with them where on the roadmap this sits and the answer is "nowhere". Their support staff advised me to keep watching this thread for updates... 

December 13, 2010 14:37
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MP

the dog ate the original request

December 13, 2010 14:39
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Steve Thompson

They certainly lost our business based because of this missing functionality.

December 14, 2010 00:34
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John Burk
pipelinefx.com

I'd like to vote for this feature as well.  While I find most of the Zendesk functionality to be pretty good, this is my biggest and most bitter complaint.

And my customers aren't too pleased about it either.  We routinely send code snippets back and forth, and our the bulk of our development is python, which gets trashed in the comment field, so we're forced to continually attach a lot of 10-line files...

 I tried to recommended Zendesk as a helpdesk solution about a month ago to a customer.  When I asked them the other day what they had thought about it, they mentioned that the inabliity to show monospaced or pre-formatted text was the main reason they went with a different solution.

December 14, 2010 09:37
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James Turnbull
puppetlabs

Thought I doubt it'll matter given 2 years after the fact and no movement - this is another reason we find Zendesk problematic.  We regularly use code snippets in comments and the lack of preformat is extremely troublesome.

January 17, 2011 18:01
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Matt Walker

Can we get an update on whether support for pre and code blocks is coming. We are a software company and find it very frustrating that code snippets don't appear as expected in comments. This is perhaps the biggest issue for us right now.

I'd be happy with the option to switch to raw html formatting but markdown/textile support would be great.

Matt.

January 27, 2011 04:56
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Ophir Ronen
cascadeo

ping.

current status please?

April 08, 2011 13:51
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

There is still no immediate plans to support this, though it may well be coming in the second half of the year.

April 08, 2011 13:58
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MP

Last post would be more entertaining had it been posted 1 week ago.

Instead it's just another vague and empty promise.

April 08, 2011 14:45
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James Turnbull
puppetlabs

This is really ridiculous.  This is a HELPDESK system. People post code, snippets of config and a dozen other variants into it.  This should be basic, core, functionality - Trac can do it, Redmine can do it, Remedy can do it, CA can do it, Tivoli can do it, ServiceCentral can do it... Getting the idea?

April 08, 2011 16:25
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Rachel Andrew

This issue has meant we have been unable to sign up with Zendesk although everything about the app is perfect for us. We currently use Tender, which is ok although a bit limited, however it does allow formatted code. Our product is a small CMS, we have to help users edit their templates and so on, not having formatted code is a showstopping issue for us.

I'm researching other options currently and it's a shame as I keep coming back to look at Zendesk as it is the best fit for us, but for this one issue, and we can't live with it in the hope of some future fix, as we know exactly the problems it will cause.

April 19, 2011 06:26
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

Sorry to hear that Rachel, but good to hear we're still a good app :) While there's still no immediate plans for this, the discussion does keep coming up internally. I'm sure once we have the resources this should move along faster. 

I'll update when I can actually give more of an idea on when.

April 19, 2011 09:38
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Steve Thompson

The lack of this functionality meant that Zendesk also missed out on our business too.

April 26, 2011 03:58
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Markus Knoke
sponsorpay

+1

We are evaluating Zendesk right now, this may become a dealbreaker.

May 16, 2011 12:30
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John Burk
pipelinefx.com

I find it hard to believe that "Share Tickets With Other Zendesks

"Love my helpdesk"?  Not really, and not until this works.  Every day I curse the Zendesk developers for not getting this working.  Every day I end up having to send customer a 10-line code snippet as an attachment instead of in-line.  Every day at least one of my customers complain that the snippet they sent me lost formatting.

Had I known that over a year later this would still not be implemented, I would have chosen a different helpdesk product from the beginning.

It's that bad.


June 07, 2011 09:54
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Jim Hourihan
tweaksoftware

Just want to add another request for this and express my sadness at what I feel compelled to say here:

Perhaps the zendesk developers need help implementing it? I'm sure there are many capable users who would be happy to lend their expertise to this problem in order to get it solved.  If this is truely a difficult feature to add does that indicate a problem with the implementation that we should all be aware of? 

Just FYI: this has become onerous to the point of making my audible reactions to your "formatting" to cause my wife to ask me to leave the house.  Do you really want your users' personal relationships to suffer because of this mis-feature? Will you be able to live with yourselves knowing that a 3 year old child has to deal with an ugly divorce because your development planning continues to sweep this desperately needed feature under the rug? Surely not! "Zendesk ruined my marriage" should not be something you hear people exclaiming as you walk by their house on the way to the taqueria

Finally, If I have to rent office space because you guys can't add basic formatting I'll be tempted to write a competing product. Just saying.

Hopefully the gravity of your indecision regarding the implementation of this feature is a bit more clear from this post.

Thanks for the support.

   -Jim

June 08, 2011 10:13
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

Guys, I completely understand your frustrations here - we use our own product after all and long for the same awesome formatting when we're crafting our responses. 

However, it is not as simple as simply sticking a WYSIWYG editor into the tickets interface or supporting markdown. Zendesk is fundamentally an email processing ticketing system. That means that email is at the core of Zendesk, and making changes to that core comes with significant challenges. Not everything is as simple as it looks, we deliberately make implementations look simple as that's our job as Product Managers and Engineers.

There is no question of skill in our engineers here, it is simply a matter of getting our timing right so we can actually make this significant change as smoothly as we normally do, and making it look as simple as it should. That time is not too far from here. As I had hinted at earlier, you'll likely see movement on this during the second half of the year (which we've just entered). 

June 08, 2011 11:54
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Markus Knoke
sponsorpay

Appreciate the response and understand that this may not be a simply thing to fix

However, this is an issue that has been open since end of 2008. If 2,5 years onwards you say we'll "likely see movement" (which is no commitment at all), it seems that the importance still hasnt been grapsed by the Zendesk team. 

June 09, 2011 01:16
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Simon Jones
studio24

+1 vote from me. A simple approach may be best, since some form of functionality for adding code snippets into tickets would be really, really useful :)

I appreciate this has to work flawlessly with email, but some simple code markup which renders as <pre> tags, for example:

@my code here@

would be fine and may be easier than trying to implement a big WYSIWYG (which are a pain in the ass!)

July 04, 2011 08:08
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Wedge Martin

This discussion started in 2008 and there's still nothing available.  Just do what Simon suggested and add a simple markup that will inject a 'pre' tag... 

September 23, 2011 07:48
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Chris Rault

@Jake Any updates on this? you mentioned that this was something you guys were planning for the 2nd half of the year and its October now.

I'll refrain from listing why this is important, as enough has been said on the matter, but we're looking to use Zendesk to support our software and being able to post code snippets is absolutely essential for us. 

While I can definitely appreciate that the issue may be more complex than it seems, it does however make me question whether going the hosted SAAS model is a good idea.

Hosting our own support setup means if something crucial like this is missing, we can just add it ourselves and not be left stuck waiting for 3 years for the feature to be implemented. 

Btw, I actrually found this post by accident after reading the new article posted on Smashing Magazine. Considering the mag's readership and the fact that its one of the most popular web-dev blogs on the internet, I can't imagine the mention will do much good for Zendesk's reputation (not so much the lack of code inclusion as a feature, but rather the way its been handled).

You can find the article here -> http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/10/supporting-product-provi.... (PS, why are links disabled in replies? Seems pretty arb to disable links on a support forum?

I'm really hoping you guys have some good news about this, otherwise it's back to the drawing board for us.....

October 10, 2011 07:15
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Chris Rault

Just to clarify my previous comment about links being disabled, I see that the links are auto linked, but thats not always ideal, as you may want to link a specific word - which is where the wysiwyg link option comes in handy..

October 10, 2011 07:21
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

@Chris: Yep, still the second half of the year! I won't go into too much detail about why self hosting your own stuff is just an inherently bad and damaging idea for any business at risk of derailing the thread, but I also believe those decisions are completely anyone's prerogative. 

We still looking at trying to squeeze this in before the year is out. 

October 10, 2011 08:16
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James Turnbull
puppetlabs

Jake - and wow that's a sweeping generalization.  Whilst I appreciate you guys are a SAAS company that model doesn't suit everyone for lots of reasons: availability, audit issues, security, compliance, data integrity, enterprise architect, network architecture... The list goes on.  People should choose the hosting and tools that meet their requirements.  Sometimes that's going to be a SAAS or Cloud-based solution and others it is not. 

October 10, 2011 15:57
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

@James: Like I said, it's anyones decision, that's just my belief personally.

Let's stay on topic.

October 10, 2011 16:13
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James Turnbull
puppetlabs

Apologies but I am a tad annoyed as I have been waiting nearly 2 years for this functionality.  IMHO remarks like yours in a thread like this aren't overly helpful - especially when dealing with a customer who doesn't have a choice about what he/she chooses because you don't support the feature they need.  That seems downright arrogant.

October 10, 2011 16:18
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Manne
tank

Next Monday (October 17) is the three year anniversary for this thread. Is there a way we can influence any roadmap decisions you are making and somehow promote this particular feature as a higher priority than it currently is?

Failing that, is there a way this could be solved though some sort of plugin development effort or customisation which would effectively mean that we would get the feature but zendesk wasn't necessarily the team doing the actual work?   

October 10, 2011 16:47
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MP

I never knew one thread could host so much vendor fail.

October 10, 2011 17:34
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

@Manne: Hey, don't worry, we're pretty influenced! We know this is a high priority for many people, and we do want to make as many people happy as we can - it's just this feature touches on more areas than it seems, hence the long turn around. 

Unfortunately there is no plugin that can achieve this, as the HTML needed to achieve things like bold or code snippets needs to be stored and rendered by us - not a plugin. This one has to be done by us, from top to bottom!

October 10, 2011 18:01
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Nick L
clustrix

I've "fixed" this to a usable level for email replies just by adding:

<pre>
{{ticket.comments_formatted}}
</pre>

Now at least the code spacing isn't totally fubar. I'm working on a way to modify the html so comments are readable as well. It's mindblowing that this isn't an out of the box feature. It makes supporting code/mysql/etc almost impossible.

November 15, 2011 13:27
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David Benson

We're just evaluating Zendesk, Assistly and tenderapp. We prefer Zen but this issue alone is making us look again at tender. It supports ' and 4 spaces for formatting text in comments. 4 spaces would work fine, that's a convention in pretty much every wiki and forum. 

We're a software development company and source code goes into pretty much every thread. It's not so much the lack of the feature, but the time over which this has been requested that is scary and this and similar threads reflect very bad on your support levels. Nick's change sorts out the emails. Is there really no trivial hack you could use, like ' around text renders it as <pre> in the comment page? You could even make people turn it on as an option in settings so they accept it's a workaround for now. I bet you'd pacify 80% of the annoyed users and there is no possible way such a change could take over a week to implement.

January 19, 2012 02:42
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Alan Trombla
tweaksoftware

I'm sorry, I love zendesk over-all, but I have to agree with David, I just can't fathom why such an important problem has taken so long to fix.  I've been living with this (and stupid workarounds like pastie.org) for over 2 years now, and the problem was first pointed out over a year prior to that.   It's very hard to imagine something like this taking that long to fix (even if it is in "the core" of the software) unless it is just not a priority for you.  Very disappointing.

Jake, specifically, your hope that this would be addressed in "the last half of 2011"  seems to have been in vain, can you give us an updated target ?

January 19, 2012 08:59
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Chris Rault

Can't help myself chiming in here, but this issue was a big deciding factor in our eventual decision to ditch Zendesk and the SaaS model for our support infrastructure.

Regardless of whether it's really as complicated a feature to implement or not, what it really came down to for us was being at the mercy of a 3rd party entity whenever there was some new functionality we needed, or a change to the overall support workflow.

Don't get me wrong, I love Zendesk and even though it was quite a bit pricier than some of the alternatives we looked at, my team was really looking forward to using it. Overall the system is really slick and the mobile apps really make you want to spend time providing support - which really says on its own.

We were so committed to using Zendesk that, after months of searching for a decent integration with Joomla, we went and built our own single-sign-on solution. This was another much-requested feature, which has also dragged on for ages, without any resolve. 

In the end we decided on a gpl Q&A system for Joomla (since Joomla is our primary business and what our site is built on), which is easily extendible and has a solid team of developers backing it, who thrive of the feedback from their users.

As a result of going this route, we got 90% of the functionality we required out-the-box (note this is only a Q&A/discussion forum solution and doesn't have any ticketing functionality) and since it's an open platform, we've been able to extend it to meet our specific requirements. As an added bonus, we now also have full control over our data and infrastructure, which is something that always bugged me a bit with the SaaS model. 

I really hope Zendesk learn from this experience and adjust their development workflow in a way that they are able to meet their customers expectations, while still keeping the app slick and sexy.

January 19, 2012 09:54
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MP

A company that espouses to bring on-line support to the masses cannot support their own clients on such a fundamental issue, unable to ante up a proper solution after over 3+ years?


Comic irony, that's all I can say.

January 19, 2012 10:30
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Glenn
vmwareg11n

The customers we support through Zendesk are developers, and source code stripped of indenting is unacceptable. Echoing others, this is the primary reason for looking at alternatives like Tender and Assistly.

February 25, 2012 21:06
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Joaquin Casares

+1'ing this since our company also deals with code and logs on a daily basis and having links to external sites (like pastie) doesn't guarantee we have everything on one system.

March 13, 2012 11:55
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Nick L
clustrix

Is there any progress on this? This is far more important to us than full formatted text (https://support.zendesk.com/entries/14098), though that would be nice to have as well.

Programmers and DBA's need support love too!

*Side note: The <pre> solution in my previous comment breaks readability on iPhones so is not really viable. Darn.

March 13, 2012 13:34
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Joaquin Casares

We have a slight workaround going that was just implemented today. We added this to a Global CSS Extension:

#events .item li.public p,
#comment_partial p,
#comment_full p
{
white-space:pre-wrap;
}

#events .item li.public p br,
#comment_partial p br,
#comment_full p br
{
display: none;
}

This now give us all the indentations as seen. Adding a bit more puts the entire ticket with a monospaced font, for those who need that portion a bit more.

Hope this helps someone!

May 08, 2012 13:48
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David Benson

Clearly +1ing does nothing. 1st June today. If this feature isn't in by 30th June, I'm cancelling our account.

Some features never get in, I understand that. But this "it's coming, it's coming" is inadvisable. You'd have been far better to say "look, assume this isn't coming", than simply ignoring the thread. It's not about what's in the product necessarily, it's about setting expectations correctly.

June 01, 2012 06:29
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John Burk
pipelinefx.com

This is a big enough deal to us as well that we're starting to look for another help desk solution.  We're a software company, and at least half our our tickets contain code snippets...

June 05, 2012 12:59
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Nick L
clustrix

I mentioned this to them at a recent conference in person, but just don't feel like it's something that's going to get worked on. It would be really nice to have support for software company helpdesks. It's really aggravating asking customers (or engineers) to do extra work in order to provide our team with readable information.

There used to be updates from ZenDesk stating that they were working on this issue on this thread: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/14098

but they've long since stopped responding to customers at all about it. It really is an important feature and deserves attention. 

June 05, 2012 13:05
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Joaquin Casares

@David @John

#events .item li.say p,
#comment_partial p,
#comment_full p
{
white-space:pre-wrap;
}

#events .item li.say p br,
#comment_partial p br,
#comment_full p br
{
display: none;
}

This is the current CSS code I've added under Settings->Extensions->Add->Global CSS. This is viewable for all users and it's been working great for the past month. Someone else on this thread mentioned adding the <pre> tag to their emails, but I've yet to use that since we primarily use the actual website.

ZenDesk should make this widget into a default widget as a quick and simple workaround.

June 05, 2012 13:08
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Arnaud de Theux
Zendesk

@John & others

I don't need this specific feature personally so I haven't tried yet. But I'm pretty sure that with some jQuery fun in a custom javascript widget you could add to Zendesk this feature yourself and embed Syntax Highlighter: http://alexgorbatchev.com/SyntaxHighlighter

I'd be happy to help (when I find the time ;) ) Tweet @AdeTheux if needed.

June 05, 2012 13:08
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Nick L
clustrix

@Joaquin Thanks! I had something similar that wasn't doing anything and I'm not a CSS guru by any stretch and didn't have time to debug. That appears to work. Will update if it doesn't. The <pre> tag solution totally obliterates iPhone email formatting, so don't do it.

June 05, 2012 13:25
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Joaquin Casares

@Nick Good thing I didn't give the <pre> tag a whirl. Glad to hear that solution appears to have helped so far!

June 05, 2012 13:26
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Nick L
clustrix

A proper solution with correct outward email formatting, and full "we've QA'd this" bits would be really nice, but being able to see proper code formatting on tickets when logged in to the ticketing system is a fantastic start.

June 05, 2012 13:28
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David Benson

@Joaquin It sounds like a nice easy fix. The question is, if it's so easy, why haven't Zendesk taken a solution handed to them on a plate and done anything with it? Either it's easy and Zen pay no attention to these threads/customers or there's some hidden problem with this solution. Zen lose both ways :).

June 05, 2012 13:30
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John Burk
pipelinefx.com

@Joaquin Thanks, but... While this approach does nicely preserve indentation when the text is input via the web interface, it still does not preserve whitespace and indentation on inbound or outbound email.

As the majority of our customers' interaction with our helpdesk is email-based, we need a more comprehensive solution.  Inbound formatting is lost unless the original inbound email was plaintext, and even responses received via plaintext email that display properly in the web UI exhibit lost indentation as soon as the ticket is ticket is updated and the response sent back to the user (the user receives email with the indentation stripped back out) 

June 05, 2012 14:52
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

@David: Good question. I can't count on my fingers and toes how many times I've heard "it must be so easy!" both on these forums and internally - I'm certainly no saint when it comes to that statement too. Unfortunately it's the problem of looking at a problem from a very high level, and not taking into consideration the amount that's unknown - which in software is just so much; one software companies hard-to-implement is another's intern project.

Anyway, I'll spill the beans: we are working on rich content in tickets. I should state right now though that we are currently only looking at outbound communication from agent to end-user, and not inbound emails displaying richly in the Zendesk UI. These two things, while they sound very similar, are so technically distant from each other that they're very different problems - with their own use cases, unknowns and technical hurdles to overcome.

The first implementation of this we'll see will be something called "Markdown" for Agents to use in their responses to end-users. For those not familiar with Markdown, it's a little like HTML but without the complexity - it's super simple to learn and quick to craft responses. This will give an immediate solution to a large number of our customers, and for anyone else that might not like the idea of Markdown, we'll need to look into other solutions to make rich content generation easier for you - perhaps a WYSIWYG editor, for example - we're not 100% sure on this just yet.

Getting the Zendesk UI to render Markdown was actually very easy for us to do, it's even already part of Lotus (although not turned on live yet). The massive complexity came when we started to work on the most important part: rendering rich content in email. We knew this would be a challenge, but expected it to take us perhaps a week.

Instead, we actually ended up pretty much re-writing the entire outbound mail renderer behind the scenes. This has been making its way into production for some weeks now, and we had to do this completely seamlessly so we didn't interrupt your workflow - that meant a lot of heavy tests and a lot of QA to make sure we didn't cause anyone inconvenience. We're actually still not completely done with this effort. Considering we now send over 1 million emails per week, we need to be very careful about this area of Zendesk when it comes to making absolutely any changes at all.

On top of this, rich content in email just isn't very easy, in both the technical and will-to-live. There's no HTML standard for email, each mail client will render things completely differently from each other. We have to inject CSS inline with the HTML elements, which means no cosy stylesheet and yet something else we need to add into the outbound mail renderer. Add even more tests on this and QA, involving having to render this in every mainstream email client available and tweaking the outcomes, and we perhaps begin to see why this isn't so easy after all.

Nonetheless, we are working on it and we are listening. Unfortunately I can't share an ETA with you right now, because we're at the mercy of making sure our mail renderer efforts have paid off, but just to prove to you that it does work, here's a screenshot: http://cl.ly/0N0X141g1H243X1e1o0O/o it's a pretty big file, and yes that really is me).

For those looking for a solution to the inbound HTML email problem, we're also listening to this. We have a few solutions in mind, but right now I can't talk about much. We'd like to get Markdown fully implemented without a hitch first, and then work on the next email requests.

I'll be back when I have more progress to share with you all, and of course when we want to start beta testing this feature.

June 05, 2012 14:58
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Arnaud de Theux
Zendesk

@Jake

"Haters gonna hate" :)

June 06, 2012 06:36
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Greg Villain
xdn

We had (very) high hopes for Zendesk that just got crushed 10mins ago when we realized that the code highlight feature wasn't available in the Knowledge Base part of the service...therefore making it worthless for us. The part that remains is the ticket handling bit that all most competitors already have.

ZD is currently not usable for us without it, since we won't be able to offload support to better public Knowledge Base, which was at least half of our intent.

We dug quite a bit in the product specs when we were shopping for a support/ticketting system and didn't (at all) see this coming. Now we're at a point where we are going to have to roll back all the customization work that we've done so far to integrate ZD with our entire platform and do it all over again with a product that fills this requirement.

This is a very disappointing experience. Worst is that it is too risky for us to keep using ZD *simply because* there is no ETA on this feature request that has been opened for ages, if I trust that thread.

June 12, 2012 14:39
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Stephen

Wow, we were so close to plunking down the funds for a full zendesk enterprise support system, until this problem was discovered by one of our techs.  This is a deal breaker for us, whereas our clients send us in formatted email all the time.  So disappointing to have zendesk not interested in solving this for clients.  Three+ years sends a clear signal about how much they're actually listening.

July 03, 2012 09:06
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Manne
tank

Any update on this? Any ETA? Thanks!

November 11, 2012 10:21
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David Benson

My update is that we cancelled our Zendesk account purely because of this issue and the repeated false promises given in this thread. Cheers!

November 12, 2012 01:35
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Adrian Nedelcu

wow...2008-2013; They are going after the Duke Nukem record. 

January 30, 2013 05:58
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

Hello everyone,

I have two updates for you!

Markdown

We've now rolled this out to all accounts, but it's not on by default. You can get all the details about turning this on here: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/22610681-enabling-markdown

Markdown is available only through the web interface, and currently only for agents. When the feature is turned on, you'll notice the ticket interface will change very slightly to show a "Write" and "Preview" mode. The documentation explains these two modes and indeed how to use Markdown here: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/21714462-formatting-ticket-comm...

Note that we strongly recommend you also update your Email Template before turning on Markdown, if you haven't already.

Original Email Viewing

Some of you may know that when Zendesk receives an email we process it before it gets turned into a ticket or a ticket response. We actually keep the original, raw version of that email around, but previously we were not making it available to you.

Now you can view that raw version if you need to, but we'll also allow you to see how the email looked in the original HTML version - preserving the original formatting. We'll even show you the original plain text version too. You can get more details on this here: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/22945927-viewing-the-original-e...

Both of these features were heavily inspired by all the feedback we've received in this thread, tickets, user groups, my inbox (thanks for all those emails!) and of course those we've had the pleasure of meeting in person. While I know the above two features won't satisfy everyone, it's certainly not the last improvement we're hoping to make to email this year.

January 30, 2013 09:00
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MP
Sorry. This "news" challenges my ability to keep my correspondence professional. Zendesk's "responsiveness" to this issue has been somewhere between complete failure to keystone cops hilarity. tl;dr: Lost my potential business long ago.
January 30, 2013 09:09