Its an exciting week for AppFusions, both in events and milestones.

The Team Arrived in San Francisco today!

Today, most of the team arrived in San Francisco for Atlassian Summit 2011. This includes: Patrick and Colin from Australia, David from the UK, Danielle from Washington DC, Laura from Pennsylvania, Keri from Texas - and well myself - I lucked out. I only have to drive up the road an hour!

Needless to say, the "reunion" in person is exciting for us, and can't wait to play out the next couple days of good Summit conversations and events to come.

As a very close team, really - many of us talk almost every day in our work efforts, but nothing can replace in the flesh in person meetings.

LaunchPad Presentation

Following is the slideware from our LaunchPad presentation at Summit. At the end there was a video about Alfresco to Confluence - which I have included below.

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Updated 6/3/2011: Stopped in for a beer w/an early-arrival Aussie (Guy Pearson of Interactive Accounting) .. and new news: They will have a Live Irish Band, and serve great Guinness soup too! (smile)

So here's the riddle

Just like opening day of baseball season -

QUESTION:

What's opening day of Atlassian Summit without post-bar fun and cheers?

===

Schedule:

June 6, 2011 -
Summit Kickoff Welcome Reception
Intercontinental
6pm - 8pm

DIRECTLY FOLLOWING!
Opening Day - Irish cheers
The Chieftain, 1 block from the hotel
8pm - 10pm

Hosted by AppFusions. SEE YOU THERE!

Download flyer

Soo - don't stew about it, just come

ANSWER:

(bring your qualified answer to the riddle to the bar - we'll listen to all qualified answers - we'll also listen to why your answer is qualified, as well as what "qualified" means in the first place... and so on and so on and so on... so just COME!)

Get Stoked!


The AppFusions team has been on fire - and recently we released a whole bunch of our flames all at once on Atlassian's Codegeist 2011 contest, with 10 entries!

The short rules were any plugin or connector could be entered that was:

  • developed and released since AtlasCamp 2010 (Oct 11-13, 2010)
  • open source or commercially available

...and well since the AppFusions team has been raging hard for the past year, MANY of our efforts have been fruiting in that exact window!

Perfect - our response:

LIKE IT!           BINGO!           RIGHT ON!          Answer == YES!

Whatever lingo suits you!

And so off to the races we went - releasing some old, as well as some new - and couldn't be more excited about the timing as we all run up to Atlassian Summit 2011 - fast approaching on June 6 in the beautiful Intercontinental hotel in more beautiful sunny San Francisco, CALIFORN-I-A! 

As Gold Sponsors of the event, for us... quite frankly - IT MATTERS, a lot (but maybe it matters regardless too ... i think so - anyways...)..

It's a great humble, yet proud show-n-tell cap to a very hard working year for the team!

==

In sum, We're charged up, all fronts! AppFusions' fire is red hot right now!!

Here's our Codegeist Entries - PLEASE VOTE FOR OUR ENTRIES, before May 29!

You may vote for one entry, or all 10+ (smile) ...

  1. "Speak My Language" Translator for Confluence
  2. Votazz Agile Ideation for JIRA
  3. Confluence to Alfresco CMIS Integration
  4. Enterprise Directory and Org Chart
  5. SharpView 2.0 in Confluence - High Resolution PDFs
  6. Webtrends Analytics for Confluence
  7. Support Details for Confluence
  8. Confluence Space List Filter
  9. MindMapIt for Confluence
  10. Google Docs for JIRA

... And the "'Coming Soon' Group"

As exciting as all that is above - following are a few other great prods up our sleeves, in active development...

  • Jive to JIRA integration - LIVE demo at Summit
  • UserVoice to JIRA integration - LIVE demo at Summit
  • AppFusions Enterprise 2.0 Federated Search "solution" - LIVE demo at Summit
  • Badgeville integrations with JIRA and/or Confluence - LIVE demo at Summit
  • Extentech to Confluence integration - post Summit
  • Spigit integrations with JIRA - post Summit

Please, stay tuned to "our channel" - as we head to the Summit!

So ... Bring. It. On. Mates!

That is, the good E2.0 "bringing it together" fun, and hell - SUMMER TOO!!

Wooooooowweeeee!!! Goodnesses all around the table!

The AppFusions team is excited to see and meet up with all those who will be at Atlassian Summit in June! Stoke it!

(and Enterprise 2.0 Conference - in late June!)

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Updated the page May 25, 2011, since book is now avail in REAL, not just raw format. It can be purchased via:

THANKS - check it out, and do let us know what you think at info@appfusions.com or on twitter at @appfusions.

AppFusions is pleased to announce the release of JIRA 4 Essentials by AppFusions co-founder, Patrick Li.

Available NOW as a PDF ebook, or in print in May (or both). More ...

Buy Now here!       Buy Now here!       Buy Now here!        Buy Now here!        

About the Book

This book is a great book for every JIRA system administrator - beginner or advanced, to have as a handy local reference next to your system. Answers, quick answers, at your finger-tips! More ...

Packed with real-life example and step-by-step instructions, this book will help you become a JIRA expert.

What you will learn from this book:

  • Determine and choose the best options to set up JIRA to suit your requirements and constraints
  • Understand key concepts to use JIRA more effectively
  • Adapt JIRA to your organization and make it part of your everyday business process
  • Customize JIRA's data capture and presentation layout to provide a better user experience
  • Secure JIRA to protect your data
  • Add value to your data through powerful data query and information retrieval
  • Capture data and display it to users by using different types of fields in JIRA
Buy Now here!       Buy Now here!       Buy Now here!        Buy Now here!        

About the Author

Patrick Li is a highly experienced and established JIRA developer, among many other development skills. He is well-known in Atlassian Forums, with a top position in the leader boards on most Atlassian subjects.

Internal to AppFusions, he's highly respected not only for his technical expertise, but also his logical pragmatic guidance on just about any technical challenge we encounter.

We joke that if JIRA could ride a bike, Patrick can make it do so. We've yet to trip on any JIRA requirement that can break Patrick's back. Thus, of course he's a key member of the team, let alone co-founder to AppFusions.

Awesome job Patrick - we're mighty proud of you - again!

Shameless advertisement

While JIRA is certainly a strength, lately Patrick's been in full-speed development mode with another senior developer on our team: Colin Goudie. Their project: our imminent Confluence to Alfresco Integration product.

This CMIS-based connector brings the world of structured ECM/DMS documents (PDFs, Docs, XLS, etc.) and unstructured Wiki content under one hub, finally! This solution solves the problem of rogue attachments in the wiki with a logical DMS fileshare home, as well as enabling normally out-of sight DMS documents to be easily accessible and also embedded in wiki pages (among other features).

In essence – a single collaboration environment with both structured and unstructured data properly managed.

We think the power of this connector in the industry is enormous, and can't wait to share it with the world!

Early Adopter trial deployments are expected to start with 6 large corporations the week of April 4, 2011. Contact us if you'd like to join..., or please check back again.

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St. Patrick's GOOD BLESSINGS SALE:
$50 PRODUCT SALE FOR JAPAN CHILDREN VICTIMS - UNTIL MARCH 20 11:59 PDT FIRM!

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The time has passed and the sale is now over! THANK YOU to our new customers who took advantage of this opportunity and also helped the cause! Rockin'!

Last week, an awful Tsunami/Earthquake hit/shook Japan. As the news continues to flood out about the catastrophe, and the aftermath unravels with horrifying early stories - and many more to come - it is a time to come together and cherish our blessings more than ever! It is a time to help.

Today in Japan (and Asia Pacific), and Tomorrow in US/Europe, is St. Patrick's day - a day typically rejoiced and celebrated by green-wearing-for-the-day-Irish-people everywhere - whether you are Irish or not.

In general it's a day about luck - and good blessings - and ALWAYS, everyone is invited to the party! That is what's so awesome about St. Patrick's Day!

It's a day to wish well on others - and celebrate those good tidings in grand spirit and typically many many laughs too! The Irish are a jovial bunch!

However... the irony

The irony of St. Patrick's day and the simultaneous horrifying situation in Japan with the Tsunami and Earthquake aftermath cannot escape me.

I woke up this morning, read the news, looked at pictures - and despite a very busy day of fast projects and back to back calls - I can't get everything that's happening in Japan out of my head.

The devastation is AWFUL! And only just begun!

As someone with strong Wish Good Luck Irish heritage and values, I can't help to think that today is not feeling very lucky for so many.

But AppFusions can try to help ...

So here's our idea and hoping you will join us in this campaign ...

For the next 5 days for $50 each - ALL AppFusions products are on sale - any size system - until MARCH 20, 11:59pm PDT (That's California time).

Here's the catch -

ALL of the money will go to the Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund.

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So please - a sincere plea - please help us help others and get on board.


How you can help

It's this simple! Save $100s of $$$s! and do something really good !

Decide to buy a great connector or product(s) that you want anyways, NOW.

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Make the decision and help Japanese children victims! And don't wait - this offer WILL EXPIRE on MARCH 20, 11:59pm PDT.

  1. Review the AppFusions products.
  2. Decide if you want one of our products, or three. (smile)
  3. Donate to Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund (times however many products). OR - a relief charity of your choice also fine -
    • If you don't want product but still want to donate and/or are inspired by this post - please let us know anyways. Or tweet it. Or spread the word. Or Donate on your own. Just DO something, please. EVERYONE can help.
  4. Send info@appfusions.com a copy of your receipt(s).
  5. Let us know if we can include your name in a scrolling Contributors list - if you wish to be acknowledged.
  6. We'll issue you an annual license to the products of your choice via email.
  7. Tell a friend, or three.
The Fine Print
  • Each product is $50 - so if you want two - that's $100
  • If you need support, basic get-you-installed support will be provided (AFTER you try on your own with the documentation).
  • Functional extensions to the connectors are not part of "support" - yet can indeed be provided under a requested SLA. The functions are what they are and pretty darn good imho, and besides, you are entitled to updates throughout the year as we continue to evolve the products.
  • Basic support requests should go to info@appfusions.com or our Zendesk.
  • Even though you can buy any-size product in this offer, you do need to specify your Atlassian product SEN # and license-size upon request - so we can align the licensing of our product (since they are hooked).
  • The prices of the products WILL return to their normal prices on MARCH 20, 11:59pm PDT ! Positively! Our products cost many $1000s to create, so of course we can not always sell at this price - this is a special case only, to help.
  • If you don't want a product - or want to donate less, please do - and also please do let us know! We'd like to thank you!
  • Other questions - likely there's tons that we haven't thought of - send email - but need to get this going ALREADY! Clock is ticking.

Don't touch that dial - See step "How Can You Help".

Japan, Stay Strong!

Our thoughts and prayers goes out to our brothers and sisters in Japan. Stay strong, you will survive this.

(attrib. of above Tsunami photo and quote)

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If you have never been in an earthquake or tsunami - then thank St. Patrick and help people at this very critical time of need. Never take good fortune for granted.

Let me start it off... here's my receipt.

Ok -

Do you know the @ConfluenceGuru?

The charlie-icon, the Atlassian-fan-magnet, the evangelistic mystery mascot, and positively the all-knowing Confluence how-to master..

He lives out in twitter-land, roaming the field, not just for cute chicks, but more seriously seeking to help troubled Confluence users, or plucking out obscure or exciting reference implementation examples (full Wikis, feature updates, or tips/tricks).

... and ALWAYS answering the innocent to expert questions as they arrive.

Well here ye - that there Charlie-icon just made our day with this tweet!

Here's the referenced Atlassian blog post to which our Google Docs Connector for Confluence got a nice stroke.... whooweee!

Thanks Guru!

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As for the @ConfluenceGuru, if not following him yet, get with the program and do.

You'll surely learn a trick or three... and I've never seen him bite, so give him your best shot with your toughest question!

He eats them up, like yum!

===

As for who is behind that masked-man, donate here, write us an email ... and I'll expose the mystery man.. AND we'll send you a license to the connector to try it out!

So Oct 11-13, we had the privilege of attending the annual AtlasCamp, Atlassian's Annual Dev Conference in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Well, it'd be easy to really get off track on all that - much to say, but you can read about it here and lots more places on the net. Here's some cool picts! In short - KICKED ASS!

Before Camp...

BEFORE CAMP they had a great little "Herculean tasks" Camper team building Contest and our team came in 3rd place! Yay Bamboo Team!!

We won PRIZES:

  • a cool Atlassian beer coolie
  • bottle opener and a swift pat on the back
  • "6-PACK OF ATLASSIAN SOFTWARE LICENSES (10-users)" - TRIPLE W00t!

The last item - SW value $60.. real value, priceless!!

How about a set of Atlassian licenses for 50% off?

AppFusions already has lotsa systems - so we want someone else to use these, get engaged and stoked up about Atlassian SW, make some neat plugins, or track your life in your own Wiki and JIRA at least!

So if you are a Java developer, or Atlassian developer, technical writer or PM, or serious dabbler - or just keen to learn alot and get into it, then STOP WISHING now and GET INTO IT!)

And plan to attend NEXT YEARS AtlasCamp. But before...

  • Here's the SDK. Download it.
  • Here's the instructions. Read them, do them, and then install your new plugin of whatever flavor.
  • A good kickstart is to do the Atlassian dragons.
  • Get your 50% off licenses by paying $30 here for a great cause.
  • Send email to me saying you paid the $30 bucks.
  • I send you email with your 6-pack of licenses.
    • Confluence - Enterprise wiki
    • JIRA - issue tracker
    • FishEye - integrated code browser, etc.
    • GreenHopper- code review
    • Crowd - centralized user management and SSO
    • Bamboo - continuous intergation server
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ONLY $30 for complete set of Atlassian SW (10 user licenses)
.. And the money goes to a great cause. H20. CLEAN H20.

EVERYONE should have clean water!

It's a basic. It's only right. What if you didn't have clean water? THINK ABOUT THAT!!

Please help out - its not a lot o money, and you'll feel better afterwards for it! Help out, share some water, and kick off your new Atlassian moonlighting dev practice.

When you have something to show, SHOW IT! (smile)

When you feel like you have something good to show - contact us, and maybe we'll hire you!

ALWAYS looking for killer developers of all stripes. The more stripes the better - since we're dealing in the big world. And trust me - customers also come in ALL stripes.

Exhilarating - get into it!

==

p.s. If ANYONE ELSE that went to AtlasCamp and won a STARTER LICENSE pack that will not be used? Please let me know! Let's get MORE water donations, and get some new devs into the swing of it!

OR... You can always donate to the water campaign anyways. Love to see that barometer go up some in the next 60 days! (smile)


Yesterday was a great day at AtlasCamp, as over 100 Atlassian ecosystem developers and 20+ Atlassian-ites from all over the world descended on the beautiful town of Half Moon Bay in Northern California... some by car, many by Atlassian-hosted buses from San Francisco or SFO, and I think maybe a couple by bike (though that is just a rumor).

Whatever way, it's an awesome scene - with Mother Nature providing some incredible weather to bless the kickoff of 2 1/2 days of dedicated Atlassian-geek-time.

Monday sessions started PROMPTLY at 1:30 with Jonathan Nolan, Director of Developer Relations kicking things off as "MC" with a warm welcome to the packed room of attendees.

Directly following an excellent talk was shared by Ben Speakmon appropriately diving hard into the Atlassian Plugin SDK - the cornerstone of Atlassian development - both internally and external. Atlassian's strong functionality and growth in the market is largely due to their strong support, focus, and dedication of consistently improving their SDK plugin development environment.

If interested in getting involved in Atlassian plugin development, the best place to start is HERE! Pure and simple.

While Ben's talk was a great start, it got deep from that point forward (never to stop.. (smile) ) providing plugin developers with a vision of true product development and how easily possible, starting with an excellent example by Andreas Knecht.

Andreas is an Atlassian employee who has created this "side project" plugin: JIRA iPhone Web Interface. Check it out.

John Kodumal, also an Atlassian developer, then gave a talk on modularizing large plugins - and then, the Lightning talks!

Lightning talks at Atlassian conferences are short and sweet demos, tips and tricks sessions, or whatever else deemed relevant by the volunteer contributors from "the attendees".

While the organized Atlassian Sr. Developer talks are excellent nuts and bolts talks - not to be diminished AT ALL - the Lightning talks engage the audience and allow folks in the ecosystem to share real work experiences. It brings it home.

What the exact schedule of Lightning Talks will be in never known in advance - since by sign up on a white board a couple hours before, making them even more exciting for anticipation of whats to come.

While not a competition per se, of course each speaker presenting is trying to pack their best shot, fast - and share out to the audience. Collectively, the group of Lightning Talks is an exciting display of Atlassian-plugin-development-and-experiences at work - in the real world, and an even more excellent example of an ecosystem that is growing and juicing at an endlessly collaborative way. It's very cool.

Monday's lightning talks were:

  • Ajay Goel of AppFire - Embracing Reusability - a talk about creating reusable plugin code for efficient plugin development.
  • Chris Kohlhardt of Gliffy - Stuff Gliffy did to try and sell more software in 2010 - a great talk on marketing tips for commercial plugin developers. The presentation is located here.
  • Darryl Duke of Stepstone Technologies - Building A Custom Confluence Brand With Zen - demo of an excellent customizable Confluence look and feel frame work. Check it out - I was impressed with this!
  • Igor Sereda of AlmWorks - Structured JIRA Plugin - an introduction of AlmWorks's Structured JIRA plugin allowing JIRA users to hierarchically control JIRAs, and many other features. Also cool - see it here.
  • Janusz Gorycki of Spartez - inviting you to MeetingRoom group chat integrated with Confluence (and more)
  • Jonathan Doklovic of SysBliss - Auto-loading test data with AMPS
  • Roberto Dominguez of ComalaTech- Selenium Testing Tricks in plugin development

It was a great kickoff of talks and more today (Tuesday) and also Wednesday.

Dinner last night was awesome! Thanks @jessiec of Atlassian for being Event Coordinator extraordinare.

..

K - back to AtlasCamp. Don Brown just jumped up to the front of the room (Functional and Integration Testing for the Lazy...). Gotta listen. (wink)

AtlasCamp or bust

Well AtlasCamp 2010 is finally upon us - Atlassian's notorious best event of the year (in my opinion) for Atlassian developers, partners, and/or consultants.

AtlasCamp, simply, is where it's at!

This year has already kicked off in a special way with Atlassian Camp Counselors kicking off this years event with their offbeat online team-building exercise ...

Yah yah yah... team building "exercises"...gag! But hey - sometimes it's actually cool! This was! and WE HAVEN't EVEN ARRIVED YET! Sheesh - what will they think of next!!

The Great AtlasCamp Game 2010! Not sure whose brainchild this was, but gotta hand it to them - beauty.

I bet most probably started the game with a little optimistic skepticism, but the novelty was enough to invoke curiosity to see how it played out.

I think most would agree that it was ONE HELLUVA way to kick off what is likely to be topped by 2.5 awe-inspiring days.

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For me, this is my third AtlasCamp, and each one has a different flare - so I am pretty charged up for this upcoming one!

Each is different because Atlassian is also so significantly different each year - growing like a wild child it seems, but boy - the ride is very interesting! NO ONE could deny that!

And LOTS indeed has changed in the last 3 years!

For me also, each AtlasCamp has also marked a unique twist in my Atlassian career, sorta speak.

The first one, I was a single consultant as a new Atlassian partner (Clifftop). I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, too-excitable, likely talking schmack for lack of knowing otherwise yet, but also overwhelmingly in awe of the incredible people I met that weekend in Santa Rosa - relations that to this day have a great familiarity because of that first camp!

I came out of that weekend flying - I knew right then that Atlassian was one special corp. THIS CORP WAS GOING PLACES, and I wanted to get on that ecosystem bus.. NOW and to stay!

A couple months after that first AtlasCamp, I joined CustomWare in 2009, dedicated to growing their US business. It was a ride like no other, and grow we did do.

I learned a ton in my solo US "office" with an extended engineering team in Australia. When I started, less than 20% of the Atlassian business was US-based. When I left, 80%+. We worked our asses off! And when you do that, you bond hard in relations - even when 8500 miles away. The bonds I made with the different folks on the CW team in 2009 will forever be in my head and heart. The memories are entrenched in my soul.

Bonds. Good segueway... In Spring 2010 - it was time for a new adventure!

On April 6, 2010 AppFusions, Inc. was born! I collab'd with a few senior development buddies of mine from my past, and Patrick Li - an expert in Atlassian development with many years of experience.

I then recruited, and recruited, and then recruited some more - selling, telling, pleading, and sharing my vision, passion, and beliefs to many, trying to get developers to "take the risk and ride" with me as we grew a new and very great Atlassian solutions partner group! The goals were explicit:

  • experts-only technical services,
  • excellent customer service,
  • endless challenge, exciting and cutting edge projects - guaranteed through the technology biz dev efforts I would forge, and
  • trusting open relations with all team, clients, and partners.

I posted these too-heavy perhaps objectives on the website - realizing it might be too intense - but also realizing that we needed to set a very strong and solid stage/objective, or maybe we wouldn't get half that far.

The basis of these goals are pretty simple - and personal. I simply defined the type of business that I would want to do business with, and figured, well that's likely to be a good formula for success... OR bust.

But either way, I'd know before 6 months!

==

In late May, Andy Brook - another Atlassian Forums "Genius" finally drank the AppFusions "kool-aid". Shortly thereafter was Atlassian Summit, and fed more "drink" to Colin Goudie (an independent Atlassian partner since 2007). I ended the 2-month stand-off with Mr. Google Analytics' (and more) David Simpson in early July. October brought another all-star: Laura Kolker, who already has been a huge impact of greatness on the team.

We've had a few other folks help us along the way that have been nothing less than critical in their helps - and I can only be extremely thankful, honestly!

Andy, Colin, David, Laura and myself will all make AtlasCamp this year - and I couldn't be more pleased! (Patrick - next one!)

As extra bonus: We will have delivered on a huge new Intranet rollout for one of our clients the day before AtlasCamp ... so we ARE ready to celebrate - the end and start of a good long road... !

See you there... let the fun begin.. !

p.s. (Can we call it Luxury camp already? This is hardly roughing it camping stuff .. (wink) Not complaining though. (smile) )

Have you seen the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Social Software report?

It's a goodie for anyone in the market, purchasing or delivering - just to understand these perspectives and analysis.

I'll cut to the chase - here's the quadrant power image which says 1000 words without the rest of the 19 pages, but indeed the rest is still worth a read.

Here's the full doc to download if you wish!

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July 14: traveling today - so will get back to this blog to add a bit more meat - but anyways, you got the important pieces... Enjoy!

Last weekend was busy since we decided to move off of Amazon Web Services EC2 cloud that was hosting our core systems infrastructure and move to Contegix Managed Hosting Services. We've had our Website hosted by Contegix for the past few months, but our larger infrastructure (x7 systems) was on AWS.

AWS was okay - until our needs grew

As a service, AWS was fine in terms of bandwidth and access - no complaints. However, as our efforts, projects and engagement has grown, so too was our fees on AWS - which is part of the snag.

The more time (literally, by minute) you are on AWS systems, the more your business grows in size, the more you pay.

Very quickly, with our team being from US, UK, and AU - and accessing systems almost around the clock, it became UN-cost-advantageous, let alone service UN-advantageous (since there is no service support - you are on your own).

Why we like Contegix


Contegix has become a better solution for us.

Why - well people put a whole lot of argument and discussion on cloud providers but it's really quite simple in our opinion.

With Contegix:

  • you buy the server and/or VM and plenty of diskspace, RAM, and CPU power to serve you needs
  • if you also go with managed hosting, you get 24x7 technical support and monitoring of your systems.
  • you can also get regular "backups" support (daily or weekly).

But if we really need to sum it up:

Working with Contegix is like having a bunch of new guys on your team with great expertise -- overnight, for the same price (or maybe less) than it is on AWS -- where you have to do it all yourself!

Upgrades to latest releases - W00t!

Currently, we have the complete Atlassian Suite installed as our base framework for our cloud-hosted SDLC work environment.

These systems are the backbone to our company, let alone efficiency. AppFusions is a HUGE believer of the full suite for software development lifecycle best practices. Admittedly, we don't use them perfectly yet, but every week we push on them and get better and better, and so for that, we're good with it.

Since we had to migrate our data anyways to Contegix, and our systems will only get bigger, we decided to take advantage and upgrade to latest versions to get latest features. Internally, we now have:

  • Confluence 3.3 (rels'd June 2010) - Latest feature news and video here.
  • JIRA 4.1.2 (rels'd June 2010) - Latest feature news and video here.
  • GreenHopper 5 (rels'd June 2010) - Lastest feature news and video here.
  • FishEye/Crucible 2.3.3 (rels'd May 2010) - Latest feature news and video here.
  • Bamboo 2.6 (rels'd June 2010) - Latest feature news and video here.
  • Crowd 2.0.5 (rels'd July 2010) - Latest feature news and video here.

THIS is a W00t!!!

Collaborate online - no email (in general)

We have a general "no email" rule. I'd say we are about 90% working that way, and very little email communications is needed that is not better served in the Wiki and/or JIRA task.

We started this approach from the get go, so this was our initial habits.Sometimes we break out into 1-1 emails, but really they are rare now.

And if someone breaks out and shouldn't - you get accused of being so "Web 1.0"... Ouch. Slaps you back into the systems fast.

I'm super psyched that our "communicate in the systems" mode has not only taken off, but everyone seems to appreciate it.

SVN now, but evaluating Distributed Version Control System (DVCS)

We use SVN, now, yet we are evaluating Mercurial - seems it might us one step more efficient. Good quote on the topic:

"Mercurial is your smart friend who likes to explain things to you. Git is your genius coworker who sighs and rolls his eyes everytime you ask him a question." -- from thebuild.com

We have team members in the US, UK, and AU, so we need both reliable systems and flexibility.

Mercurial's Distributed architecture

Traditional version control systems such as Subversion are typical client-server architectures with a central server to store the revisions of a project. In contrast, Mercurial is truly distributed, giving each developer a local copy of the entire development history. This way it works independent of network access or a central server. Committing, branching and merging are fast and cheap.

Mercurial seems like it will give us what we need - and we can also take advantage of Atlassian's latest tricks too.

Here's a REALLY AWESOME video/talk on the subject, including great discussion on Git vs. Mercurial.

I'm stirred today to write a comment on this MyCustomer.com post, "Ross Dawson: Six tools to kickstart your crowdsourcing strategy" that surfaced on Twitter the last few days.

See this tweetdoc for activity.


In general, it's a great post, and I am continually intrigued and inspired by the very notion of crowdsourcing for innovation, which has many elements -- Ross provides a nice overview of the following concepts in particular:

  • Distributed innovation platforms
  • Idea platforms
  • Innovation prizes
  • Content markets
  • Prediction markets
  • Competition platforms

My questions though arise in the definition of crowdsourcingand where does it start and stop, in terms of the process?

For me, on face, the word denotes pure collaboration, with a purpose based on the crowdsourced event or goals -- yet not merely at the front end of the process.

Products like Spigit or Brightidea, among others, provide great provocation, good vetting and a tangible platform pull for crowdsourcing innovation ideas. 

What is not discussed is phase II

Great ideas, great contests for up-front vetting, great community rally getting people to help push the ideas forward, competition, prediction, etc. - all excellent, and all this data is now in a system.

But beyond, where does the data go?

  • To me, the data needs a seamless phase II. It needs to go into a tacit development project system, ideally automatically, to push the ideas into life.

  • To me, the vetted ideas now become product roadmap feature lists and design discussions, systematically, thus requiring direct integrations into in-house task and project management systems driving agile software development teams that may be geographically dispersed.

  • To me, ideas that don't end up in a development or planning "system" for execution, quickly and painlessly preferably, can easily fall into the "just ideas" category - as fleeting as the next guys'.
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The notion of floating meeting ideas come to mind. I used to call them "airball meetings".

How many times have you been at a meeting with brilliant minds, and brilliant ideas -- all floating around, in the air -- and no one writes them down, or puts them into a system. Then the next week comes, and um, let's rehash and refloat those ideas again, and again... (and I've also been guilty -- don't get me wrong!)

What is simply AWESOME about innovation platforms is not merely the community collaboration elicited. I think it's about the enormous collected data over anything else -- in a system -- so much data that needs a life beyond.

Collected data, utilized, is extremely powerful.

Phase II - making the data useful in the software development lifecycle


With phase II, new product and innovation ideas that began, can now begin to come to life with the right hosted, shared, and collaborative environment. Phase II is the software development process (SDLC) -- with direct data integrations of innovation platforms' data into systems.

It would look like this:

  • Valuable data from the innovation platforms flow directly -- systematically -- into a task or issue workflow management system, like Atlassian JIRA, to further kick off the agile SDLC.

    • Corresponding idea details, categories, priorities, voting, use cases, or other data are also mapped, and continually pushed directly into JIRA.

    • Feasibility of the ideas are further vetted through online discussion threads.

  • Confluence wiki is used to enable collaboration, requirements vetting, and community development among the team.

    In fact, the dev team may even have been elicited by the initial crowdsourcing community. Conceptually, the dev team needs fluid communications channels, rich tools platforms, and they need it remotely accessible, cloud hosted -- not constrained by timezones, office hours, or card key access.

  • GreenHopper agile planning tool is used to plan and progress the project forward, with weekly scrum and/or kanban agile SDLC management.

  • Shared codebase (e.g., SVN), FishEye, Crucible, Crowd, continuous integration and good team agile processes are of course also core -- accessible from any corner of the Internet. Afterall, engagement flows will speed up globalization.

Am I stretching the term too much?

There is this one point in Wikipedia's definition:

Individuals who participate in crowdsourcing projects are often anonymous,

Am I stretching the definition too much?

I'm not sure.


While the origination of the term may have come from open anonymous approaches, keep in mind that the innovation platforms called out above are not merely anonymous. These are being sold into large closed organizations... So thinking that anonymous part is just a nit.

Maybe initially an open and anonymous crowd may work, but to translate into really making something - hmm....


Well that's my thoughts -- and in my crowdsource group of one here, (smile) vote was thumbs up, unanimous! (thumbs up)

Okay - this blog, we're going to get a little off-topic, err, I guess.CHOCOLATE!!

But I have something I need to confess, and also thought a good lesson for others. I am SURE I am not the only one that has fallen prey to Chocolate dilemmas.

So here's the story, confession, and finally resolution! Glad I got to the last step!

The story, confession, dilemma ... and finally resolution!

A couple weeks ago I promised fat chocolate for Jessie Curtner given her non-food diet that had overcome her with busyness on the planning/run up to Atlassian Summit - I talked about it here.

While at the summit, I also realized that chocolate should also go to Trisha Hong - for her excellent and amazing efforts in planning the partner events. Just awesome!

strategy #1 - #fail

So then... Atlassian Summit arrived, and with best intentions - I thought - San Francisco would be one of the best places. Surely there will be a nice Chocolate place near by and I could pick up a killer chocolate bar. Not just Hershey's - something special.

Well, not so lucky. Could have gotten a big Babe Ruth, or 100,000 $ bar, or even Hershey with Almonds... but wasn't finding anything "special"...

So: "Nevermind". Will wait - needs to be special. Will do it AFTER the Summit = will taste just as good then.

strategy #2 - #fail

After the Summit, I flew to Boston for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, and stayed near Harvard.

Have you ever been there?

Yep - this is the place for luxury stores and KILLER chocolate. On the second day, I bought 5 bars of killer chocolate ($4.55 each - THAT's killer chocolate!)

(Okay - I admit - I bought SIX... but I ate one :)

Great! Just need to get it into the Snail mailbox and should be good! Shouldn't be a problem. err... shouldn't be?

How many times have you tried to find the post-office in a strange town when you are traveling everywhere by subway?!!

I never found it!

==

Sooo... the chocolate traveled... from Harvard, to Boston, back and forth a few times on the subway ... and then eventually to New York with me via USAirways.

Glad to see my husband and kids, I kind of forgot about the chocolate for a day... but um, then my husband FOUND IT! and a day later, I found wrappers!

UGHH!!!!! Back to square one!!!

He said - "Thanks so much for the chocolate... that's awesome!"... (err... I was like, "um... Sure. Anything for you babe!")

strategy #3 - #fail

My husband the next day decided to return the favor and while at the store bought 6 bars of chocolate... Hersheys.

I um, said "thanks" - while in my head - was thinking "God bless the Father of US chocolate and all - but I need "Special" chocolate". I said thank you anyways, for the thought.

I didn't complain, but 2 hours later found 4 empty wrappers of Hershey's...

This time Thing One (Ryan) and Thing Two (Stella) scarfed the chocolate.

I wasn't that bummed of course - though shocked nonetheless on the lunacy of this Chocolate dilemma. It is like the most impossible thing to move outside of our walls before someone eats it!

strategy #4 - #SUCCESS

Today I made a resolution - never again will I try to buy and send chocolate via a brick and morter store. Never. No, always online.

Today I ordered some Dan's Chocolate for you Jessie and Trisha... should be there next week. It's great stuff!!! And Special!

Small tokens for your amazing coordination and planning efforts, top-notch all the way! NOT an easy task for that big of a crowd, and not to be underestimated.

At your choice, share your chocolate with your other Atlassian coordinating minions...

==

p.s. AppFusions team, while I was at it, ordered some for you too!

Thanks for getting the Alfresco to Confluence connector out... lets keep plugging... got big customers itching for that in their production environments.

Top-Tier Talent/People are what "MAKE" the Atlassian Summit and Enterprise 2.0 Conferences

Last week was a busy week -- much catch up from being away from my desk alot during the prior two weeks while attending Atlassian Summit 2010 (San Francisco) and Enterprise 2.0 Conference (Boston), and also AppFusions' release of the Alfresco to Confluence connector on the Atlassian Plugin Exchange .

Both conferences - exhilarating experiences in alot of ways, albeit really because of the people more than the events, for me.

This statement is not meant to be a criticism of the events -- actually quite to the contrary. Both events were very well planned, organized, and had large engaged attendance (in fact Atlassian Summit was sold out a month in advance; stopped counting the waiting list at 200+ over...).

It is the people though that each event drew in -- top talents of the Atlassian and Enterprise 2.0 industries, trekking in from all corners of the world -- that made the events so amazing. Having that much top-tier talent all in one city, let alone single venues, all at the same time, is just a do not miss experience on so many levels.

Endless exposure and share in conversation, stories, visions, designs, knowledge, tricks, insights, examples, networking, and simply inspirations over short periods of time is exhausting, seemingly unrepeatable, and very cherry.

And then comes the streams of blogs, write-ups, opinions, and tweets moving the experiences and knowledge even more. The After-Conferences are almost more intense actually. These are NOT passive conference attendee folks!


For the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, here's just a few notable recap/"archival"-like blogs, samplers -- of the tons out there:


For Atlassian Summit, here's some recaps on that:

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I started this section with the title that "top tier talent/people "make" the conferences". Come to think of it, top-tier talent/people are also what makes Enterprise 2.0 work in organizations too! Interesting coincidence!

"Too Vendor-Centric at E2.0 Conference" - what to do about it

One of the loudest criticisms that I kept hearing about the E2.0 conference was:

Too vendor-centric...

I always find this criticism quite ironic - since it really is a cheapshot and also kinda short-sighted and lame. You need the vendors for conferences - they are critical; but indeed, with some thought, a balance in the planning and preparation can help.

If I recall a year ago, Atlassian Summit 2009 had the same criticism and I applaud Atlassian for really taking the bull by the horn on this issue for this year.

For the 2010 event, alot/most of the sessions were by Atlassian employees/experts, or real-world customer case studies, sharing their knowledge, and really trying to change the conference flavor to be less vendor-centric, yet to keep the conference enticing for both vendors and customers at the same time. Not easy.

For the conference sessions that were dedicated to vendors, Atlassian did a good trick to up the ante (quality) on those sessions.

They played the Superbowl angle, as @chrisyeh commented to in Megan Murray's blog about the #e2conf .

Vendors need to follow the Gladiator Principle..."Are you not entertained?"

Just because you've delivered your talking points doesn't mean that you've made an impact. Buying a keynote is like buying a Superbowl commercial -- yeah, you've got a big audience, but they're as likely to mock you as support you. Money gets you in front of people, but it's up to you to tell a story worth hearing.

At the Atlassian Summit, the Keynote was presented by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar - always good presenters (here's their Starter Day presentation ). Directly following was a LaunchPad event that allowed the 13 or so vendor sponsors a chance to show off their stuff, on stage. Here was the non-rules to the competition.

Do their "SuperBowl spot", LIVE, if you will.

Following each spot, the audience was given a couple minutes to SMS/text their vote in on it, which was calibrated and calculated in real-time on the big-screen so everyone could also see.

Some of the presentations were standout, others were mediocre at best.

The winner - Gliffy Design Software - for their pirates themed presentation.

Gliffy excited and rousted the audience. It was funny, charming, engaging, informative and simply - an Atlassian Summit "superbowl" standout. And to boot, they had a blast doing it - sometimes laughing harder than the audience.

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That is good marketing! Having fun and sharing the fun, with a serious solution! So, as one pirate said at the end: "There you go Jack!"

Up the ante on those vendor presentations

Enterprise 2.0 Conference could rip a page off the Atlassian Summit conference playbook for their LaunchPad, and endless Keynote sessions too!

People like to be entertained at conferences, as well as informed - but engagement expectations are high.

  • Up the ante on those vendor presentations.
  • Provide real-time E2.0 friendly competition!
  • Make the vendors earn their stage time, not just subject the audience to mediocre.I know I know - they paid for their stage time. But so did the attendees!
  • Engage the audience to vote after each event and get into the fun!

As for next years' Atlassian Summit vendor events - I think the ante has already been up'd, and I'm sure next year will hold new surprises. In good Atlassian E2.0 way, continuous improvement - it always gets better and better.

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NO ONE should take for granted their stage time though, at any conference event.

Very stoked about Atlassian Summit 2010 coming up next week ...

Will be great to meet many Atlassian enthusiasts, developers, customers, partners, and indeed Atlassian-folks themselves!

Bound to be filled with surprises and invigorating discussions on all levels with a crowd like this. Four of us from AppFusions are attending, with smiles and excitement!

HOWEVER, before we even get there - I know one thing:

I'm already extremely thankful to the amazing Jessie Curtner - Atlassian's event coordinator extraordinaire!

This is my fourth official event (aside from user groups or such) that she has pulled together that I have attended:

So this is stated from experience and without hesitation!!

Truth be told, these events get bigger, more intense, and more complicated for her I am sure as each one evolves and grows - (just as Atlassian does :) ) - so the challenges are not to be underestimated at any level in pulling off grand-scale top quality events for so many people flying in from all corners of the world.

Atlassian official events (AtlasCamp and AtlassianSummit) are top of the scale on excellence - certainly in accommodations, but more importantly in the quality people drawn that attend and the always upping-the-bar information shared.

Early Kudos Jessie and best wishes in the coming days during the event! You simply ROCK!

.. and I loved these recent tweets of yours! I'll be bringing you a big fat dark chocolate bar just in case!

Looking forward.