Last week we held Atlassian’s fifth “ShipIt Day”. Originally ShipIt Day, the new expanded ShipIt gives all developers at Atlassian a day and a half work on anything they like, provided they can deliver it for demonstration at the end of Friday.
The best (peer-voted) project wins for its developer a small prize, and an inscription on the incredibly attractive perpetual ShipIt trophy. (That’s Chris on the left, celebrating after his virus-checking plugin crushed the opposition to make him the inaugural holder of the award).

While not everything built during ShipIt makes it into the product (often the result of the day’s experimentation is: “Yes, it is as hard as we thought it was!”), just looking at Confluence alone, these features all owe their existence to previous ShipIt days: the Dynamic Tasklist Macro, the Flowchart Macro, the Calendar Plugin, drafts and autosave, automatic edit conflict resolution, the Activity Plugin, and user-specific time-zone preferences.
Lessons Learned from ShipIt V:
* Jabber is the new AJAX. Where previous ShipIts were dominated by funky DHTML effects and drag-and-drop everything, this time around it was all XMPP and chat integration.
* Practical is the new fun. The proportion of “stuff we’d consider shipping” vs “interesting tech demo” was at an all-time high
* The commitment award goes to Don Willis, who stayed in the office for the full day and a half, and didn’t even fall asleep during the two hours of demonstrations at the end.
* The perseverence award goes jointly to Atlassian newcomers Anatoli and Brad, both of whom found themselves awash in a sea of unfamiliar APIs, but managed to keep their heads above water
* Runner up in the “dirty tricks to get votes” award: Nick Menere, for having the design guys put together a cool over-sized logo for his largely text-based project
* Winner of the “dirty tricks” award: me, for realising my plugin was really quite boring, and deciding what my presentation really needed was that cool Propellerheads song from the Matrix
Over the next couple of days we’re going to be beating lightly prodding people to post write-ups of what they did to this blog. In the meanwhile if you’re looking for cool stuff, you might want to head over to the Codegeist submissions page, where we’ve had a veritable flood of entries in the last 24 hours.

ShipIt Episode V: The XMPP Strikes Back...