Software development becomes a social activity

By Andrew Charlesworth
24 Feb 2012 View Comments

Writing software is moving beyond mere collaboration and becoming an increasingly social process, according to Australia-based collaborative development specialist Atlassian.

"Developers are no longer guys who sit with their headphones on, heads down and never talk to anyone," Atlassin's product marketing manager, Ken Olofsen, told Computing. "They're tuned in to the business."

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The company has just launched Jira 5, the latest release of its flagship product, which offers a social platform that accelerates software development by connecting people, applications and activities in real time feeds that will be instantly familiar to Generation Y programmers reared on Facebook and Twitter.

Jira 5's social features, such as mentions, sharing and live activity streams, pull developers into real-time discussions, which helps to share best practice and saves wasted development effort, the company's customers say.

"Before Jira, our developers lost so much time reproducing the wheel through a tedious process of figuring out what had been done and who'd already been involved," said Alex Kirmse, head of mobile development for Zappos.

Users can filter the live activity streams so that they only see feeds relevant to their task, such as for specific test cycles from the quality assurance team.

Despite not having any sales people, Atlassian has 18,000 customers, among them Boeing, Citigroup, Oracle, Adobe and L'Oreal, and is used by more than 70 per cent of Fortune 100 companies.

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