What do you get if you put 30 Atlassians and 150 ecosystem developers in a 17th century church for two days?

This:

AtlasCamp Attendees
Photo courtesy of Seb Ruiz Photography

A couple of weeks ago we ran our second ever European AtlasCamp in the lovely city of Amsterdam. Atlassians and ecosystem members took two days out of their schedules to hang out, listen to some inspiring talks and hack on add-ons together under the huge Koepelkerk.

We mixed things up a bit this year with a ShipIt competition that ran the length of the conference. The competition kicked off with a day of workshops and hacking in Atlassian’s Amsterdam office and culminated in an afternoon of awesome project demos on the last day of camp. We’ll be publishing the dramatic presentation videos soon – stay tuned for in-browser asteroids, country music, explosions and most importantly fantastic add-ons!

Don addressing ShipIt attendees

The track sessions were a mix of new ecosystem-targeted technology and inspirational talks on all things software. The hot topic was Atlassian’s shiny new add-on paradigm Atlassian Connect. In a nutshell, Atlassian Connect allows you to build an external application that injects new functionality and data into an existing Atlassian application. Unlike the existing plugin system, Connect will allow add-on developers to easily target Atlassian OnDemand and “bring their own stack”. That is, build solutions using whatever combination of language and platform takes their fancy.

Some other session highlights included:

  • Confluence’s new Blueprints API, a new feature that allows developers to create powerful out-of-the-box solutions to common business problems
  • new plugin points (and upgrade considerations for existing ones) in JIRA 6, which was coincidentally released on the first day of camp
  • an investigation of techniques employed by the highest grossing vendors on the Atlassian Marketplace
  • an exposé of the comprehensive APIs and plugin points available in Atlassian’s new Git-hosting product: Stash
  • best practices and tips for designing great add-ons, including the indispensible Atlassian Design Guidelines

.. and much more! All track sessions were recorded, including some spectacular live coding demos on building an Atlassian Connect add-on using Play or Node.js. We’ll be publishing them on GoAtlassian soon.

A lightning talk

A beautiful moment of serendipity occurred during the Stash workshop. One of the topics for discussion was the perennial “How do I think of a good idea for an add-on?”. At one point I pulled up Atlassian’s public JIRA instance to demonstrate the plugin_opportunity label as a good place to hunt for ideas. It turned out that one of the workshop participants had actually reported STASH-3055, one of the issues in the list. He jumped on it immediately and raised a pull request a short while later, effectively resolving his own feature request during the ShipIt competition 🙂

The traditional AtlasCamp party took place at the dramatic SkyLounge bar. The majority of buildings in Amsterdam are low rise three-to-four storey dwellings, so the view from the eleventh floor is fairly overweldigend:

Amsterdam from the SkyLounge
Photo courtesy of Seb Ruiz Photography

It was with heavy hearts (and hearty hangovers) that we left our new found friends and the beautiful city of Amsterdam behind us. I’d like to extend a huge Thank You! to all of our attendees who travelled from over thirty countries to make AtlasCamp the special conference that it is. The ecosystem is one of the great things that makes Atlassian unique. As any of our developers can tell you, it’s a life-affirming experience to come to camp and see the amazing tools and add-ons that are being built upon our platform by our talented community.

I can’t wait to see you all again next year!

To get a bit of a feel for what attending AtlasCamp 2013 was like you can check out the storified version or @tigertechtalk‘s amazingly detailed blow-by-blow account of AtlasCamp 2013.

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