Atlassian is looking to make its core Jira platform invisible while simultaneously extending its tentacles into developers’ IDEs over the coming months.
Jira is at heart an issue tracking platform, and Atlassian is banking on making an “issue” the “basic unit of work”, and eradicate the need for developers to keep interface with multiple tools to keep other stakeholders happy.
Head of growth for software teams Sean Regan said research by the firm showed updates were the bane of developers’ lives, with an average of 4.3 tools being used by software and IT teams as they shifted code from development to product – all of which need to be kept updated.
“Developers are being assaulted by this need to update tools everywhere,” he said – with their protective clothing being little more than hoodies and headphones.
Regan said that Atlassian was looking to establish “first class” integrations with IDEs in the coming months. “We don’t think the most important thing in the world is to get developers’ eyes into Jira…developers want to code.” The company aimed to put Jira “under all these tools in an invisible but powerful way.”
He envisioned Jira as acting as a bus, or protocol, for moving information between the different tools developers had to rely on. It was already well integrated with design and collaboration tools and feature flagging tools, he said.
“We’re going to extend that further into IDEs. So that your developer environments can connect into Jira or Bitbucket without your developer going into Jira.”
Wanting to underpin the entire software development process is not exactly a new idea, and developers have once again become a prime target for vendors offering both best of breed tools, or all in one platforms – not least Microsoft which has rebranded its Visual Team Services development platform as Azure DevOps and snapped up GitHub.
But modern software development means trying to enforce an all in one stack would be perceived as “anti-partner” and “anti-ecosystem”, Regan said.
“I think Microsoft is aware of its own shadow,” he said. “If they really want to drive their brand transformation, they’re going to work with other vendors.”
The problem came with “the economics”, he added, where purchasing officers or accountants sought to enforce a single vendor on development teams.
Atlassian’s research also showed that 71 per cent of respondents using microservices said it made it easier to test and deploy features. However, that still leaves 29 per cent who are struggling, and Regan said the complexity of communicating with other people in small autonomous teams was part of this.
Other brakes on happy development were manual testing and other processes, with 47 per cent of teams saying they ship changes and got feedback faster with CI/CD.
Complementing this was feature flagging – rolling new additions out to just a subset of users – with 63 per cent of respondents saying they experienced better testing of features and higher quality software using the mechanism.