Atlassian Embraces Open Social, Shows Strong Momentum at Summit

The Atlassian Summit 09 has just concluded in San Francisco, kicking off a busy week for coders, with Sun's Java One also happening.The 6 minute video above, shot in dynamic wobble vision from my Flip UltraHD, is of a portion of CEO Mike Cannon-Brooke's keynote.
Written by Oliver Marks, Contributor

The Atlassian Summit 09 has just concluded in San Francisco, kicking off a busy week for coders, with Sun's Java One also happening.

The 6 minute video above, shot in dynamic wobble vision from my Flip UltraHD, is of a portion of CEO Mike Cannon-Brooke's keynote. You can see better quality video on Atlassian's site in a few days (along with all the other sessions), but what prompted me to upload this clip is Atlassian's use of open social.

This provides the ability to bring all the Atlassian applications - plus plugins, external gadgets and embedded apps - much more closely together, allowing a seamless workflow revolving around Jira 4.

The new dashboard approach is being rolled out to all Atlassian applications and will transform the currently somewhat siloed Atlassian product set. What's special in this demo - and what prompted me to start filming - is the integration with Google's Gmail (also a full open social container) as a workflow example.

Controlling the Atlassian backend from GMail, and opening Atlassian components within it, Mike shows seamless workflow from the email client to quickly get stuff done.

This use of open social is smart thinking and opens up some very interesting possibilities, particularly around their rapidly expanding plug-in ecosphere. It also essentially means you can daisy chain multiple instances of applications together, for example different JIRA installs, to get all the info streaming through a single customizable dashboard.

Mike is 'committed to pioneering open social in the enterprise', a statement that will play well in the Googleplex.

Mike Cannon Brookes overview talk

Industrial Strength Tool Set

Atlassian are the cornerstone engineering collaboration and construction toolset, with a formidable array of products. The flagship product is essentially bug and issue tracker JIRA and the Jira Studio bundle package.

The constellation of other products around this core are:

Fisheye, which provides a web interface into source code repositories,

Bamboo, which automates the process of compiling and testing source code, while alerting users to problems,

Clover, which measures code coverage generated by system tests, functional tests or unit tests, and

Crowd, a very useful single sign-on (SSO) application for as many users, web applications and directory servers as you need to associate, which unifies all applications under a single username and password.

The collaboration components are Confluence, Atlassian's enterprise wiki product, and Crucible which is a peer code review tool that allows teams to review, edit, comment and record outcomes.

Historically, as the above suggests, Atlassian are an engineering-centric productivity suite with a well earned reputation as a company that listens closely to their customers (users vote on enhancements) and champions agile development.

Atlassian announced the acquisition of GreenHopper, a popular JIRA plug-in that adds agile project management capabilities for development teams - the planning and organisation of tasks, workflows and reporting.

Agile since day one, Atlassian have put up a useful site titled 'How We Do Agile' which provides the people components to the methodology.

Confluence 3

Confluence has a strong reputation as a leading enterprise wiki. Bill Ives did a good write up of the feature set here, and the Confluence page on the Atlassian site has comprehensive exposition.

For all its strengths, particularly around security, historically Confluence has been the wiki solution IT and engineering departments have provided for their broader business 'customers', some of whom haven't enjoyed the user experience and usability aspects in past versions.

Confluence's DNA comes from its close association with bug tracker JIRA. There's a yin and yang relationship between logging issues and expanding upon them in associated wiki spaces in the engineering world.

This hugely successful tandem product partnership for agile developers has been offered up by well meaning engineers for broader company use, where line of business have needed collaboration functionality that more closely fits their specific needs.

This has been the source of some friction despite some excellent professional services partner work that has made the user experience more friendly to non techies in past versions.

With Confluence 3 we have the happy combination of a formidable technology stack combined with the previously mentioned open social interoperability plus a new generation of Adobe Air powered UI options.

Kap IT's 'Confluence FX' extends both the UI and the functionality of the mothership with a mashup desktop app, a library of rich front end extensions plus back end Action message format (AMF) server extensions for scalable Rich Internet Applications (RIA).

Add in sophisticated plug-ins such as Zagile's wikidsmart, which aims to allow semantic capture of information within Confluence, deep interoperability with other applications and tools plus smart search across all tools and applications, and Atlassian is gradually turning into an Adobe style epicenter of creativity.

Where Adobe's multimedia products are now relatively siloed, albeit with an amazing plugin universe, Atlassian is becoming a formidable middleware layer for mashups and integrations, as well as a suite of specific application solutions.


Despite the downturn Atlassian's momentum is palpable; of course many of their customers are struggling with integration with legacy applications and older email clients which don't have open social flexibility.

Nonetheless the pathfinding and agile guidance is there to help these clients improve their technology stack with viable solutions, and judging by most of the people I spoke with at the Summit this is as valuable as the actual tools.

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