4 tools to make life easier for software developers

It is not easy being a software developer today. A software developer needs

  • to link code changes to the related features/bugs
  • to report to project managers on status updates
  • to work and integrate codes for other fellow developers
  • to code, test and deploy fast
  • to know many software applications for different tasks

Atlassian has been dogfooding their tools to streamline the application development process and has released their first suite of tools – Git Essentials.

Git Essentials - JIRA, JIRA Agile, Bamboo and Stash

The 4 tools (JIRA JIRA AgileBamboo and Stash) can be integrated seamlessly with each other to enable developers from filing the bug, coding the fix till deployment. And because they are from the same company, the integration can be done easily with minimal configuration.

The key benefits of Git Essentials are:

  • Integration – All the tools are nicely integrated together easily
  • Visibility –  Related information are presented in context
  • Traceability – All the information are linked automatically
  • Time saving – Information is accessible directly
  • Faster learning curve – a same look and feel interface as though it is just 1 single application

Check out Atlassian’s infographic on how everything works together

how Atlassian tools works together


How to protect your JIRA from viruses, missing files and performance issues

We have just released v2.0 of the Attachment Checker for JIRA plugin. The 2 key features introduced in this version are

  1. virus scanning of uploaded attachments (JRA-8626)
  2. restricting of attachments with duplicate filenames (JRA-2169)

While it is already possible to install an anti-virus scanner on the JIRA server, there are some implications:

  • Attachments are deleted unknowingly by the scanner without notifying the author that his file is infected. Other users will be unable to download the file later.
  • As mentioned in https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRAKB/Anti-Virus+in+JIRA, some of the users have reported slowness with JIRA when anti-virus software is installed. This is because of the dramatic increase in disk IO and CPU usage as JIRA creates many temporary files. The Attachment Checker only scans the attachments once when they are just uploaded, thus addressing the security concerns.

The checking for duplicate filename improvement also helps to alert the user if there is already another attachment with the same filename. This solves the scenarios where a copy of the attachment has been uploaded before or the user forgot to rename the file to include the updated version number. This saves time on identifying the correct attachment to work with.


How to Win a War with Confluence

Maybe it should be corrected to “How to Win Wars with Confluence“. At the time of writing, we have already won 3 consecutive wars using Confluence and a strategy from Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

The Clash of Clans has introduced the latest feature called Clan Wars. It allows 2 different clans to fight each other. The clan that earns the most stars from attacking wins the clan war.

Clash of Clans

We lost our 1st war despite our clan was stronger. We were pretty sore and did a RCA (Root Cause Analysis).

Our conclusion was that the coordination among clan members was lacking. Our clan members are from various part of the world and log in at different time of the day. Some of us never met face to face. The only means of communication is the in-game chat, but there are limitations. It stores only the last 100 messages and the chat room is littered with chit-chat messages among members.

When we launched our 2nd war, we thought why not use Confluence? There is a free 30 days trial to test whether it is useful or not. And we don’t want to spend a lot of time to do the set up.

The Confluence site was available in 20 mins after signing up with Atlassian OnDemand. The content was added by typing short paragraphs of text with bullet points. We even decorated the pages by adding images via drag-and-drop.

In less than an hour, the site was ready for members to get access to key information.

Welcome blog post

Welcome blog post

Members started to circulate the website address within the in-game chat. It was easily accessible from their mobile phones. Some of them even posted comments to discuss how we can refine our fighting strategy.

The improvement in collaboration really made a difference. We won our 2nd war by a clear margin and thrashed our opponent in the 3rd and 4th wars.

Battle Updates

Battle Updates


How to group JIRA issues by months

Being an Atlassian Expert, we use JIRA to track a lot of issues. Helpdesk tickets, project tasks, purchase requests, and etc. The Three Dimensional Date Gadgets plugin was created to generate reports such as

  • # of tickets filed by customers across the months and years
  • # of tasks assigned to each team member each month
  • # of tasks completed by each team member each month

The process used to be time-consuming as we had to run several JQL queries to tabulate the figures. Now we are able to get the reports at real-time.

Original version

Original version

It was designed to group the issues by any date field and commonly used fields.

We thought it was very useful and decided to put it on Atlassian Marketplace as a free plugin. The feedback was very encouraging and we received many suggestions to improve it.

Marketplace Review

Early this month, we have released the latest version (v1.4.0) fulfilling almost the entire the wish list:

Improved 3 Dimensional Monthly Gadget

Improved 3 Dimensional Monthly Gadget

The new Rolling Window Monthly Gadget

The new Rolling Window Monthly Gadget

Along with this release, we also listed Three Dimensional Date Gadgets Lite plugin. This free edition (which has the same basic features as the original Three Dimensional Date Gadgets Plugin v.1.3.1). The latest version (v.1.3.2) contains bug fixes for v1.3.1.

Lastly we would like to thank the Atlassian Marketplace team for their assistance. They conducted testing on the plugin and discovered a security vulnerability which was an oversight. The plugin was allowed to be listed after we made the fix. This gives us assurance on the quality of Paid via Marketplace plugins. Keep up the good work, Marketplace team!