Can you be more exuberant about something than IT guys are about technology? Joy, cheers and applause accompanies to almost every product new version release. How come? Why IT geeks are so enthusiastic about new features or UI changes? Take a while and ponder this questions. If you would like to know my answer to the story. Go ahead and read it below.
This will be a short article about excitement with a new releases from the Atlassian. A company that changed our definition of work and collaboration in our either offices or open spaces. To be more specific, about their conference addressed to plugin developers and power users. The Atlassian Camp 2013 in Amsterdam.
The ShipIt Day
First day of the Atlassian Camp was exceptionally creative. The hackathon, or ‘the ShipIt day’ as they call it, was an amazing experience for me. I have attended to several hackathons in my life, however this particular one was… hmm… it was ‘something completely different’.
That day I took a walk from my hotel to Atlassian headquarters in Amsterdam. Google Maps predicted a little bit than 15 minutes of constitutional. Unfortunately the weather that day was terrible. I did manage to get to the Atlassian building pretty quick, although I was completely wet from ground up. This beautiful city, was sinking in the streams of constant rain. Very sad view for such a exquisite town.
Atlassian headquarters is a nice and small place inside the apartment building in the very heart of the Amsterdam. In the first room two very nice girls briefly introduced me to the floor plan and registered me to the upcoming event. I have joined the crowd gathered in the biggest place out there and the introduction to the ShipIt day begun.
After the small dose of event history, the Atlassian core developers was called out on the stage. Guys introduced themselves, and in a few very brief sentences, they told what they do on everyday basis at the Atlassian. 10 minutes later we were asked to go to our favourite projects and sit with its core developers. I chose Stash. This one is particularly interesting for me because in my company I am holding responsibility for rolling out the production version of this GIT repository hosting service. Tim Pettersen with Nicola Paolucci welcomed us and showed Atlassian SDK and Stash API. After around a half an hour there were time to share what project the attendees want to code for the ShipIT Day. Tim popped-up Atlassian own JIRA project for Stash support and feature requests and magic started :}
He was talking about plug-in ideas and brought the topic for disabling project key and project name change for non sys-admins in Stash (in order not to loose coupling with JIRA project names). What magic you ask? That was my issue, did I report several weeks ago to the Atlassian… Lets the story continue.
I was thinking about something completely different to ship at the hackathon. However this one could be an easy and quick win. That could give me a brief introduction to the Atlassian SDK, Stash API and a solution to my problem at my workplace. The issue was partially solved by one of the Stash developers. He helped me a lot by coding a solution to disable project key. Although the next part, project name, was untouched.
That was a solid foundation, a quick win, and possibility to contribute to the Open Source. ‘Lets start with this one’ told to myself and I begun development. I did struggled a bit with SDK because the source code was not able to run at my setup. Then some guy appeared and ask me whether I need help.
I did say yes. ‘What project are you working on?’ he asked me. I explained briefly and then I spotted his name tag. He was the guy who answered my issue at the tracker and laid foundations for the plugin. Seb Ruiz, that was his name, explained me some events that the plugin is listening for and what callbacks and when are executed.
Unbelievable. In the less than an hour, the coincidence happened twice!
I did code that feature. At the end of the day, I opened a pull request at the bitbucket.org (https://bitbucket.org/atlassianlabs/stash-project-lock-plugin) where the code is hosted and it was merged by Seb to the repository on the very next day.
Conclusion and the After-party
In my career I have been an administrator of the Atlassian tools for around a 1.5 year now. I have approached to topic of plugin development several times with minor success. I knew I need a hard side-kick. That was the one that put me back on the tracks of the development path, which it seems, I really do love!
The after-party that day was brilliant. I have met almost every creator of the plugin we use in our tools instances. Indeed, the tools itself and add-ons for me, are no longer soulless and faceless software. Every bit of the JIRA UI, source code or even simple button has name for me since then. What is more important, those feature has faces of the programmers who wrote that feature and drunk a beer that night with me. Amazing feeling!