Collaborative development in the cloud
With JIRA Studio for Google Apps, you get the world’s best set of hosted development tools combined with the power of Google’s online business applications: mail, calendar, documents and more. As my team worked on integrating Google Apps and JIRA Studio, we put a lot of thought into how these applications can work together, and how to highlight the strengths of each.
JIRA Studio is a full-lifecycle development system. No matter what process your development team follows, JIRA Studio provides brilliantly simple tools for planning, coding, testing, project management, release and support. You’ve got a bug tracker and an agile planning tool to keep your development project on track. You’ve got built-in Subversion to keep your code safe and everyone on the same page. There’s a Code Review tool that helps share knowledge and prevent bugs by letting everyone on the team see changes. And JIRA Studio continuous integration server always has your back, checking the build and running the tests even when you forget. No team should do software development without these sorts of tools. And the Google Apps integration makes it easier to get up and running, with SSO and shared users. And combining your development tools with Google Apps makes it easy to collaborate with the non-developers on your team.
In terms of collaborative development, Google Apps + JIRA Studio is an embarrassment of riches. You’ve got one of the world’s best email clients in GMail, but you’ve also got Google Calendar, Google Docs, and the JIRA Studio Wiki. These are all “collaboration tools”, but as we’ve built a tighter integration with Google Apps, we’ve begun to see the strengths of the different apps.
Collaborative development in Google Apps
Google Docs works great for:
1. Real-time collaborative authoring
Google Docs has an awesome feature where more than one person can edit a document at the same time. So my colleague from Sydney and I can both work on the spec, each typing away, each reading the other’s additions at exactly the same time. (At least while the time-zones allow.) There’s no faster way to hash out a document with multiple people.
2. Spreadsheets & Presentations
Google Spreadsheets and Google Presentations are both best of breed applications. And they have the same real-time collaborative editing feature. I’d so much rather use this than Excel or PowerPoint. There’s always one, canonical copy, that everyone can find at a single URL. It’s versioned, so I can see who made every change. And it’s web-based, so I can share it with anyone, whether or not they’ve got the latest version of Office.
3. Sharing content with the world
It’s all backed by the power of Google and it’s massive reach. So I can share a Google doc with the anyone with a Google Account, even if they don’t have an account on JIRA Studio. And my document will be lightning fast, no matter where in the world they are.
Collaborative development in JIRA Studio
On the other hand, using Google Docs makes me appreciate some of JIRA Studio’s strengths even more. The wiki in JIRA Studio is well suited to:
1. Create very rich content
JIRA Studio gives you the ability to create rich, dynamic, incredibly detailed documents. In a wiki page, you can pull in live data from your bug-tracker or your build system, like a list of outstanding bugs or the latest build state. You can write reports that query data from arbitrary, live datasources. You can create charts and graphs that update automatically. You can pull in web content from your favourite services, like Flickr, YouTube or WuFoo. And you can create and embed images, diagrams, presentations, or movies.
2. Organize lots of information
The wiki in JIRA Studio gives you the power to organize, to link, to reuse, to include, and to move your content. Unlike Google Docs, the wiki has a structured hierarchy, and supports easy linking between pages. You can move or rename your pages, and the wiki will automatically update all of the links. You can also excerpt sections of pages, or include one page into another to reuse content.
Most critically for us, the JIRA Studio wiki gives us comments and threaded discussions on all of the content that we create. In my experience, the comments are often even more important that the document itself. And of course, the wiki searches across all of the content you create, whether that be a document, a blog post or a comment.
Integrated Tools For Collaborative Development
In our experience, we’ve found that Google Docs and JIRA Studio make a great team. We use the docs for real-time collaboration, for spreadsheets and presentations, and for making content available to people outside of our project. We use the wiki to organize all of the information about our project, keep it automatically up to date with the latest information, and have detailed discussions amongst our team.
With these tools at your disposal, you’ll feel more on top of your project that you ever have before. Google Apps and JIRA Studio make an unbeatable combination, so go check out all of the things you can do with these two great apps.