My new love affair with Atlassian


One of my first tasks at Activate3d was to get us set up with the software stack that lets us get head’s down into engineering. At Emergent we cobbled together a system from DevTrack, Excel, CCTray, and TWIKI. None of them were designed to interoperate well. CCTray was the best of the lot, largely in part to Dave Boss constantly keeping it in line. DevTrack in particular was the bane of our existence. It was chosen because it was “the standard in the games industry” and we should try and stick to what our customers used. We ultimately shoehorned it into being a planning tool thanks to Katie McGovern’s Excel spreadsheet hackery, but it’s UI was riddled with oddities and annoyances that just made it a bear to work with. The TWIKI system was internal and fell into the problem that most internal wiki’s face, they need constant gardening to keep from going off into the weeds.

I’d heard tell of a tool suite that was designed to work well together and was the backbone of another successful middleware team’s workflow. I was concerned that its licensing cost would be prohibitively expensive for a scrappy startup like Activate3d. That product suite is from Atlassian. It turns out that they are incredibly startup friendly, offering 10-user licenses to each of their major products for $10. What a smart way to get new companies to take a look at your software and get vendor lock-in! When we get to the point that we have 10 active users, we’ll easily be able to afford the $5k in licensing costs that we’ll incur. They also have a reasonably priced all-in cloud hosted deal that we might have investigated if our requirements didn’t ultimately need us to consider keeping the data and code local.

Each product works like a dream when installed using their standalone client. Getting them all to work together is a bit of a thornier topic. To this end, they’ve turned it into a mini-adventure game called “Here Be Dragons”. Completing it entitles you a t-shirt. I’ve completed the Jira, Greenhopper, and Confluence parts of the tutorial and it is quite a doozy. I made several typos and minor errors that took a bit to find and fix. However, I am bound and determined to earn my t-shirt by the end of this week.

Jira with Greenhopper looks to be a real time-saver and the rest of the team has already started to smile as many of us recall the frustration that we’ve endured in the past with DevTrack. Confluence will hopefully be valuable, but its long-term value will be based on how well we maintain it. I’m hoping that Bamboo turns out to be as good as CCTray was, but we can easily revert to CCTray if we need to. I’m still in the honeymoon phase of this relationship, but I have to say that this is feeling comfortable already.

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~ by shaunkime on July 7, 2010.

2 Responses to “My new love affair with Atlassian”

  1. Sounds like you’re off to a great start. Bamboo is good. It is sometimes difficult to configure and duplicate but can be done without too much hassle. I love JIRA. wish we used it at Emergent. Glad to see you’re moving along.

  2. “Here Be Dragons” is brilliant. Would make even more sense for a games middleware product…

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