Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Tasktop Dev 3.5 and Mylyn 3.11 Released

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Tasktop Dev 3.5 and Mylyn 3.11 are now available. These releases include some cool new features that result from the combined efforts of many people in the Mylyn community and at Tasktop.

Speaking as a Tasktop Dev and Mylyn user, I am already loving the new support for finding text in the task editor. It was originally contributed to Mylyn Incubator a few years ago, but unfortunately the implementation suffered from serious performance problems. Recently I had the pleasure of supervising a Co-op student at Tasktop, Lily Guo, as she reimplemented it with dramatically better performance and improved the UI. Thanks to her efforts this very useful feature is now released and the task editor supports searching for text within the comments, description, summary, and private notes.

Screnshot of Find in the Task Editor

Another long-awaited feature in this release is task-based breakpoint management, which extends the concept of task context to include Java breakpoints. This was implemented as part of a Google Summer of Code project by Sebastian Schmidt, a graduate student at Technical University Munich. It provides several important benefits for Java developers. First, the debugger will not stop at breakpoints that aren’t related to the active task. Second, only breakpoints created while the task was active will appear in the IDE – when working on a task, the breakpoints view and Java editors are no longer cluttered with dozens of irrelevant breakpoints. Because the breakpoints related to a task are only present while that task is active, there is no need to delete or disable these breakpoints – which often contain valuable information such as which lines of code and which runtime conditions trigger a defect – when a task is complete. Finally, breakpoints can be shared with other developers as part of task context.

Screenshot of the context preview page showing breakpoints in the context

In a single view, the Hudson/Jenkins connector provides quick access to status information about selected builds across multiple build servers, even when you are offline. This includes information about build status, build stability, and test failures. But one thing I realized was missing was a quick summary of how many builds are passing, unstable, and failing. This information is now displayed at the top of the Builds view and, when the view is minimized, in a tooltip, making it really easy to tell when there’s a change in the number of failing or unstable builds.

Screenshot of builds view showing summary of build statuses

This release also includes a number of bug fixes and enhancements to the Gerrit connector. Among them are support for comparing images, buttons for navigating to the next/previous inline comment in the compare editor, and a code review dashboard that lets you see which of your changes have been reviewed and whether they have passing or failing builds. The connector also remembers your previous votes on a patch set, so that posting additional comments doesn’t reset your vote. Thanks to Jacques Bouthillier and Guy Perron from Ericsson for their work on comment navigation and the dashboard.

Screenshot of the Code Review Dashboard

To help you prioritize the tasks you are responsible for, a “Show only my tasks” filter has been added to the task list, and the tooltip uses the gold person icon to accentuate those tasks.

Screenshot of the task list showing the new filter button

Tasktop Dev 3.5 is built on Mylyn 3.11, including all of the above features. This release includes a number of bug fixes as well as support for VersionOne 2013. We have also upgraded Tasktop Dev for Visual Studio to support Visual Studio 2013, bringing the benefits of a unified task list to users of that IDE.

For more information, see Tasktop Dev New & Noteworthy and Mylyn New & Noteworthy, or try out Tasktop Dev and Mylyn for yourself.

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Tasktop Sync 3.5 released: VersionOne, Zendesk, links get sync

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

We’re at the ALM Forum this week, where the hot topic is how to scale Agile and DevOps deployments.  What Scott Ambler made clear in his opening keynote is that there isn’t a single Agile best practice that spans the various sizes, domains, business processes that we find across organizations. While the practices and vendor tools implementing them vary greatly, the principles are consistent.  Short iterations, automation, real-time collaboration and end-to-end traceability are critical to an effective software lifecycle.  These principles are relatively easy for individual teams and startups to adopt.  The massive challenge that mid-size and large organizations are faced with is how to reap the benefits of Agile at scale.

While December’s Tasktop Sync 3.0 release extended our support to DevOps, the 3.5 release is all about supporting Agile at scale. Sync is now the lifecycle integration infrastructure for 5 of the top 25 world banks and powers many of the world’s largest Agile deployments.  The larger the scale of the deployment, the more problematic the disconnects between tools and processes become.  With Sync 3.5, we are introducing a new capability to our software lifecycle bus called Artifact Relationship Management.  This provides the last mile of integration needed for large scale Agile.  In addition to synchronizing the artifacts that make up your lifecycle, we now synchronize the relationships between those artifacts.  The result is end-to-end traceability and for best-of-breed and heterogeneous Agile deployments.  Which is pretty much every sizeable Agile deployment.

The internal workings of Artifact Relationship Management are complex due to the different kinds of relationships that make up your software lifecycle architecture.  For example, a requirement can be in a hierarchy, a folder, depend on an internal item or an external item, as well as being connected to tests, builds or source changes in other tools.  While it took 3 PhDs to untangle the various scenarios that enable Sync to federate relationships across tools, as with the rest of Sync, all of this functionality is now easy to configure for your administrators and completely transparent to your end users.  Whether you’re working with traditional requirements managements and Water-Scrum-Fall, or deploying new methodologies for large-sale Agile such as the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) or Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD), you will now have end-to-end visibility, traceability, and collaboration across your best-of-breed tool stack.

RequirementsTraceabilitySLIpattern

We are also very pleased to announce Sync support for our partners VersionOne and Zendesk.  This means that we now have support for all of the market-leading Agile tools, and we have also made significant improvements to our support for Atlassian JIRA Agile, Bugzilla, CA Clarity Agile, IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC), Rally, Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) and ThoughtWorks Mingle.  Adding to our other integrations, our Integration Factory is now continually testing 220 different versions of the Agile, ALM and DevOps tools that we support.

zendesk-versionone

Finally, Sync now has a new desktop and mobile device friendly Web UI. While Sync Studio provides the rich Eclipse-based configuration environment that allows Agile ALM tool administrators to easily deploy Sync purely through configuration, the Web UI provides you with a metrics of what Sync is doing, such as the number of synchronizations and artifact creations that are spanning systems.  Now that Sync has become a core part of the organizations’ Agile and DevOps infrastructure, these metrics provide a quick way to manage your Software Lifecycle Integration infrastructure as it evolves.

For more on the release, see New & Noteworthy

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Tasktop Sync 3.0 released, service desks get support

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Open source projects have it good. Their issue tracker serves as the single system of record for all development, support, quality management and planning activity. The result is a theoretical ideal in terms of a connected software lifecycle. For example, every vote that a user makes for a particular bug is immediately visible to developers. As soon as a new feature is added, users watching the corresponding task are automatically prompted to try the latest build and report back. This kind of real-time connectivity between users, developers and project leaders makes for an incredibly efficient build-measure-learn loop, which explains why so many open source project are able to deliver so much value so quickly. Having lived it day-to-day, it continues to inspire me in wanting to bring these benefits to software delivery in the large, where these benefits can make a tremendous difference.

Tasktop Sync 3.0: Defect Unification

The problem is that this open source project management approach doesn’t scale to the enterprise. It’s fine when you’ve got one stakeholder playing multiple roles. For example, on Mylyn I played the role of developer, product manager, tester, and support desk. I spent so much of my time triaging and commenting on bug reports that, in order to help me get through the tickets fast enough to have enough time for coding, I ended up adding features to Mylyn to make it work as a developer’s inbox for triaging tickets. The experience of other open source projects leads that I know is very similar, in that a tremendous portion of their time is spent triaging and responding to users. This direct touch with end users enables open source developers leverage the collective wisdom of their community so quickly.

However, the developer’s issue tracker does not scale to meet the demands of commercial software support, such the need for SLAs and ITIL processes. So a separate help desk tool is required, once that separation is made, real-time collaboration between the developer and support team stops, and reverts to inefficient channels such as email and meetings. The result is a chasm between the people who are user facing and those who are developing the application. The knowledge of the customer’s experience gets siloed into the help desk and voice of the customer gets diffused by the time that the next sprint planning session comes around. Given the increasingly primary role that the service desk plays in the software lifecycle, as evidenced by the amazing growth of ServiceNow, we need to fix this.

Tasktop Sync 3.0: ITSM

Our goal with Software Lifecycle Integration is to unify the ALM stack while allowing software stakeholders to use the systems that make them most productive. With today’s Tasktop Sync 3.0 announcement, we are very happy to reveal that the Sync bus now supports ITSM artifacts such as tickets and problems, and can connect service desk tools to the large and growing number of Agile and ALM tools that we support. Tasktop Sync makes it possible to extend the popular Defect Unification SLI pattern to the service desk, meaning that tickets matching specific criteria, such as those marked as problems, are automatically created as issues in the issue tracker or defects in the quality management system, and synchronized bidirectionally from that point on. For example, if the defect is Synced to IBM’s RTC, developers can schedule them onto a sprint, and the support team will instantly know that it has been assigned. And as soon as it’s completed, the workflow transition will happen on the service desk indicating that the fix is ready to review or deploy to the customer. Comments and activity streams are federated in real-time. And then it’s smiles all around.

We are launching two service desk integrations with Sync 3.0. Our integration for ServiceNow integration is fully certified by ServiceNow, and will support the many uses of the ServiceNow platform ranging across its ITSM and lifecycle capabilities. We are also launching support for Atlassian’s recently announced JIRA Service Desk, which builds on our comprehensive support of JIRA versions including the latest JIRA 6.1. And as usual, there will be more to come so please let us know what other support desks you would like to see integrated.

ServiceNow Visualizer

Connecting the help desk and bridging the task management gap between Dev and Ops is the most exciting Sync 3.0 news in terms of our mission to scale the efficiency of open source development to the enterprise software lifecycle. In other news, we’re releasing new template support for inheriting and extending mappings, making it dramatically easier to manage large numbers of of projects with different schemas. For those customers using Rally and Serena Business Manager, we’re very happy to announce the GA of those Sync connectors along with the Tasktop Dev connector for developers accessing Serena from Eclipse and Visual Studio. We’ve also extended the Sync bus to support time tracking federation between Agile and PPM, enabling time on task to flow between your Agile system and CA Clarity.

Sync 3.0: Example

Finally, the big news for both ALM vendors and customers is a beta program of the new Tasktop Connector SDK. You may think that SDKs should be old news given that Tasktop created and maintained the Mylyn SDK, which became one of the most extended SDKs on Eclipse. But it turns out that in order to support the real-time lifecycle bus architecture of Sync, an entirely new integration extensibility layer had to be created in order to support robust and easy-to-implement 3rd party extensibility. Along with it we created a bridge to support Mylyn connectors, so if you created one of those you’ll have a head start. If you’re interested in being an early adopter partner of the SDK, please get in touch.

Tasktop Sync 3.0 Bus

We’re thrilled that the tremendous customer demand that we saw for connecting the service desk ships today, and look forward to bringing the voice of the customer into the enterprise software lifecycle.

Want to learn more about Tasktop Sync 3.0? Register for an upcoming webinar:

When: Thursday, January 23rd, 2010: 12 noon ET
Presented by: Mik Kersten, CEO of Tastkop
Register now: Webinar – Introducing Tasktop Sync 3.0

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Agile 2013 Retrospective

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

… or, “work isn’t supposed to be this much fun”

I’m just about recovered from our whirlwind trip to Nashville for the Agile Alliance’s conference Agile2013. There were 1700 attendees, 200 sessions, keynotes, parties, and a little controversy.

On a personal note, I was gratified to see the number of women in technology there… most specifically, the number of women who gave talks. Encouraging women to take leadership roles in technology is a side project of mine – I help run a blog and mentoring program at ALineAtTheLadiesRoom.org.

So for me personally, Agile2013 was a blast!

I bumped into so many people I know from various “former lives” – a former engineering manager, a former engineering colleague… folks I know from Agile New England – as well as hanging out with my colleagues at Tasktop (into the wee hours of the morning :-) ).

It was also terrific to meet Tasktop partners, customers and prospective customers. I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time in our booth, chatting with people who often started the conversation with, “My friend told me I had to stop by your booth. Can you really integrate <product A> with <product B>? We’ve got so many systems that don’t talk to each other and… “

This kind of conversation is HUGE fun for me; I haven’t cut code, fixed bugs or managed a software deployment in a while, but still love helping those that do.

Mik presenting

Mik delivering his session

I also had great time listening to Tasktopians give their talks. Mik Kersten, Tasktop’s CEO presented: “As distributed as it gets: 10 Agile best practices from open source” and Dave West, our Chief Product Officer presented: “Agile ALM – A horror/feel good/fantasy story“. Check out their slides; unfortunately it’s not like hearing the talk itself because both Mik and Dave are such great speakers. (If you create an account on tasktop.com, we’ll put you on our mailing list so you can find out about our upcoming talks and webinars).

And while it’s not the same as hearing his talk, you can hear a bit of Dave’s perspectives in two video interviews that were done at Agile. One by DZone and one from BigVisible.

While at Agile, Tasktop made a couple of announcements. On Monday, we announced our partnership with Serena, and on Tuesday we announced the GA of Tasktop Sync 2.8. Our CEO Mik blogged about this release, time tracking and how we’ve connected the worlds of Agile ALM and Project Portfolio Management (PPM)… it’s definitely worth a read.

So, were you at Agile2013? What was notable for you?

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Tasktop 2.8 released, Serena partnership announced, death to timesheets

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Filling out time sheets is about as fulfilling as doing taxes. This mind-numbing activity is an interesting symptom of what’s broken with the way we deliver software today. What’s worse than the time wasted filling them out is the fact that the numbers we fill out are largely fictitious, as we have no hope of accurately recalling where time went over a course of a week, given that we’re switching tasks over a dozen times an hour. As Peter Drucker stated:

Even in total darkness, most people retain their sense of space. But even with the lights on, a few hours in a sealed room render most people incapable of estimating how much time has elapsed. They are as likely to underrate grossly the time spent in the room as to overrate it grossly. If we rely on our memory, therefore, we do not know how much time has been spent. (Peter Drucker. The Essential Drucker, ch. 16. Know your Time)

Tracking time is not a problem. When done well it’s a very good thing, given that time is our most scarce resource. Done right, time tracking allows us to have some sense for what the burn downs on our sprints are, and to predict what we will deliver and when. It allows us to get better at what we do by eliminating wasteful activities from our day, such as sitting and watching a VM boot up or an update install.

Effective knowledge workers, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start out by finding where their time actually goes. (Effective Drucker, ch 16. Know your Time) (Peter Drucker. The Essential Drucker, ch. 16. Know your Time)

Drucker was a big advocate of time tracking systems for individuals. With Agile, we have now learned how effective tracking story points and actuals can be for Scrum teams. Yet all of this goodness feels very distant when the last thing that stands between you and Friday drinks is a time sheet.

What we need is a way to combine the benefits of personal and team-level time tracking with those needed by the Project Management Office (PMO). With the Automatic Time Tracking feature of Tasktop Dev (screenshot below), we validated a way to combine personal time tracking with team estimation and planning. I still use this feature regularly to be a good student of Drucker and figure out where my own time goes, and many Scrum teams use it to remove the tedious process of manually tracking time per task.

While that automation is useful for the individual and the team, it did not help the PMO, that works at the program, enterprise and product level. PMOs use specialized project and portfolio management software such as CA Clarity PPM. So now, in our ongoing effort to create an infrastructure that connects all aspects of software delivery and to keep people coding and planning to their hearts’ content, we have stepped out of the IDE in order to bridge the divide between the PMO and Agile teams.

The Tasktop Sync 2.8 release includes updates to the leading Agile tools, such as support for RTC 4, HP ALM, CA Clarity Agile and Microsoft TFS 2012. It also ships the first Sync support for Rally and the TFS 2013 beta. The other big news is that we now are announcing a partnership with Serena in which both Tasktop Sync and Tasktop Dev will be OEM’d as part of the Serena Business Manager lifecycle suite. This new integration, which further cements Tasktop’s role as the Switzerland of ALM, will be showcased at Serena xChange in September, and ship this fall.

With Tasktop Sync 2.8, we have finally managed to connect the worlds of Agile ALM and PPM both in terms of task flow, and time reporting. While the support currently works for CA Clarity only, integrating these two worlds has a been a major feat in terms of understanding the data model and building out the integration architecture for connecting “below the line” and “above the line” planning (Forrester Wave). For the individual, it’s like having your own administrative assistant standing over your shoulder filling out the PPM tool for you, only less annoying and easier to edit after the fact. For the Agilistas, it’s about getting to use the methods that make your teams productive while making the PMO happy. And for the organization, it’s the key enabler for something that Drucker would have been proud of: automating the connection between strategy and execution.

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Software Lifecycle Integration (SLI)

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Disjointed tools have inundated the application lifecycle. At its roots, tool diversity is a good thing. Over the past few years, it has transformed the way software is built via Agile methods, open source tools and differentiating vendors. But it has also wreaked havoc on the decade-old promise of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). We need a new kind of infrastructure to deliver on that promise in a world where developers get to choose the tools that make them most productive. The time has come for an integrated lifecycle bus that allows information to flow freely between developers, testers, business analysts and administrators. This infrastructure will enable us to connect the best offerings in ALM in order to create a Lean Software Lifecycle, and implement a build-measure-learn loop that connects business idea to app store, and back again. We need a set of common data models and architectural patterns. Most importantly, we need to establish the common artifact that will connect the lifecycle. We are calling the category of infrastructure that will enable this Software Lifecycle Integration (SLI).

When outlined on a whiteboard or diagram, the architecture of today’s ALM stack resembles a half-eaten bowl of spaghetti, with meatballs corresponding to the various tools selected by stakeholders. We have two choices, either find a way back to the homogenous and single vendor solution of the 1990s, or embrace heterogeneity and come up with an infrastructure that provides end-to-end collaboration and traceability across best-of-breed tools.

Not long ago, we witnessed a similar transformation of the app dev stack. Once the services, databases and app server space enabled heterogeneity, the middleware category materialized and the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) emerged, along with the new title of “Enterprise Architect”. History doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme. It’s now time to create the role of the Lifecycle Architect, and to define an architectural framework for connecting the software lifecycle. Just as the notion of services was key to enabling the ESB, and file and documents abstractions were to sharing data, we now need an abstraction to connect the software lifecycle and to create a Software Lifecycle Bus. That abstraction is the social task.

Today Tasktop is a kicking off an effort to bootstrap the SLI discipline, with a series of whitepapers discussing the technical architecture, common data model, and technical tools. We are proposing the Eclipse Mylyn m4 open source project as a home for collaborating on a de facto implementation of the SLI data model, which will leverage what has been learned from the adoption of Mylyn, integrations that build on it, and new efforts around the open standards of Linked Data and OSLC. Later this week we are also launching an SLI integration patterns catalog, based on existing input from our customers, and open for all to contribute to. By the end of the week, with input from key thought leaders present at the ALM Connect subconference of EclipseCon, we plan to release a first draft of the SLI manifesto. To learn more and to participate, see:

Whitepaper: Building the Business Case for Software Lifecycle Integration
Whitepaper: Software Lifecycle Integration Architecture
Software Lifecycle Integration landing page
Eclipse Mylyn m4 Project Proposal Draft
SLI Patterns Catalog Wiki (to come)


Learn more about SLI

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Tasktop is “Ready to Rocket” again

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

For the second year in a row, Tasktop has been named to British Columbia’s Ready to Rocket list.  This exclusive group is made up of 25 privately-owned companies in the technology and communications sector who are positioned for high growth in 2013.  A hundred semi-finalists are selected by Rocket Builders through open nominations, and from this hundred, only 25 are chosen to be a part of the final list. Lucky for us, Tasktop was deemed worthy.  As Reg Nordman, Managing Partner at Rocket Builders, said,”Each year when we choose the Ready to Rocket companies, we are looking for those companies that have best matched technical innovation with market opportunity. Tasktop Technologies is an excellent example of the right technology for the right customers at the right time.”

For us at Tasktop, being named to the Ready to Rocket list for the second time highlights the sustained opportunity we have in front of us and reinforces our excitement for what is to come in 2013.  It’s so fulfilling to see that outside groups have just much faith in our success as we do, and we’d like to thank the selection committee at Rocket Builders for acknowledging us. As a bootstrapped business, we are proud of what we’ve accomplished so far; we experienced a 250 percent growth in 2012 with the help of our 50+ staff across two continents, and being recognized by Rocket Builders makes all our hard work even more worthwhile.  Tasktop is certainly “Ready to Rocket,” and we have great expectations for our continuing growth in the coming year.

Tasktop is always looking to add the best and brightest to our team, so contact us if you’re interested in joining a company that’s passionate about connecting the world of software.

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Talking about ALM ? Why EclipseCon ALM Connect and Executive Event is the place to be in March

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

EclipseCon 2013 BostonHaving just returned from the fantastic ALM Summit in Redmond it is even clearer to me that there is a lot to talk about when discussing ALM. The event in Redmond is focused on the Microsoft platform, but the discussions were far broader. Technology impacts such as cloud, mobile and open source coupled with process changes driven by Agile and Lean Startup mean the very fabric of ALM is changing. The announcement of TFS and GIT working in perfect harmony is illustrative of this shift. But even after 3 busy days there is still lots to talk about, which brings me to the ALM Connect, an event that myself, the Eclipse foundation and a team of great people have been working on. The event, which is scheduled for March 25th through 28th in Boston MA has all the ingredients for an amazing conference.

Deep Dive Into Content

All the sessions in the program are great, but I would like to draw your attention to a few that caught my eye during the call for papers.

  • Moving towards ALM 3.0 by Forrester Analyst Jeffrey Hammond. Not only is Jeffrey a great speaker, but always fills his presentation with lots of data that you can use back in the office. In this talk Jeffery is highlighting the major shifts in the fabric of ALM. Looking at the data this talk is based on we might see a redefinition of the ALM category, which is very exciting!
  • What ALM knowledge you can expect from CS graduates by Gary Pollice, professor at WPI. The emerging skills crisis in software engineering is going to affect us all so I am excited to hear how you can better hire CS graduates and make them more productive. This talk also helps to remind us that ALM is more than just tools, but includes processes and people.
  • Continuous Integration at Google Scale by John Micco, Google. CI has emerged as the lifeblood of modern software delivery, and on paper seems easy, but for the majority of large organizations with complex builds, heavy dependencies and nasty test environments building a workable CI environment is difficult. In this talk John describes how a very complex CI environment can be built and maintained in a very changeable business.
  • Building Mylyn 4.0 by Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop. Mylyn has defined how Eclipse developers interface with systems of record such as bug trackers and project manager tools, but the underlying model has not changed for over 5 years. Mik is going to describe what needs to change to get Mylyn ready for next generation ALM.

 

Bring your boss to ALM Connect Executive Event

ALM Connect will provide a rich set of ideas for practitioners to take back to their teams, but without management support many of those ideas will never be implemented.


Above: EclipseCon 2012 ALM Panel with Mik Kersten, Dave West, Melinda Ballou and James Governor

Solving this problem was the motivation of running an Executive event on Wednesday the 27th of March. This event is aimed at decision makers and is by invitation only.

Get on the guest list

Content highlights include:

  • Twitter and Github kick off the event talking about the future of ALM and how the next generation of software development is being undertaken. These presentations will show how you can marry innovation, rapid delivery and complex development teams into an Agile delivery capability.
  • ALM in action case studies. Still working on the fine print, but we will have two high profile companies who are going to present their experience with ALM and how they are using ALM to form a competitive advantage. These sessions are aimed at telling all the dirty secrets of ALM, the motivation for adopting ALM and the reality of ALM in their companies.
  • The user is the center: Apps in the world of engagement by Lee Nackman from HP. Lee has been involved in ALM for many years and was one of the executives responsible for IBMs involvement with Eclipse. In this talk Lee will describe how systems of engagement have changed the face of ALM and how that is only to get worse. I expect some sneak previews of the HP’s future ALM strategy in this talk.
  • Agile 2.0 software development in the era of the social graph by Israel Gat Fellow at the Cutter Consortium. Israel a leading management light on ALM and the economics of software delivery will describe the social side of development. Describing how social graphs and other mechanisms can be used to better manage and enable software delivery.
  • Scrum – Success ends with middle management by Ken Schwaber co-creator of Scrum. Having Ken, one of the drivers of the Agile movement at the event will add a level of Agile pragmatism to the proceedings. In this talk Ken will present the audience with framework for taking Agile to the next level, but be warned this path is not for the faint of heart.
  • The future of ALM panel – This session includes Sam Guckenheimer from MS, Lee Nackman, Jeffrey Hammond and Mik Kersten on what the future of ALM looks like and how it will affect the audience. I will moderate, so expect an exciting and thought provoking session.

Get on the guest list

If you are interested in attending the executive day, or have boss who is interested then please let us know. You may also wish to view the Executive Day landing page, or the event announcement from the Eclipse Foundation for a detailed agenda. I can promise the event will be exciting, thought provoking and inspiring. It is rare to get so many leaders on ALM in one room and at one event.

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Tasktop turns 6, plays well with others

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

January 17th marks the 6th anniversary of Tasktop’s inception, and has given me an opportunity to think about the past 6 years, and the next. All technological revolutions require a new kind of infrastructure. This decade will mark the shift to the software economy, with traditional companies turning into software delivery organizations. The problem is that, outside of ISVs who have glued together their own ALM processes, we’re not all that efficient at building software.

The generation before ours mastered building cars, managing just-in-time inventories of parts, as well as complex supply chains. And yet we’re still seeing software collaboration across companies and departments being done via spreadsheets and email threads, today’s equivalent of carrier pigeons. While the rest of the ALM industry sorts out the new generation of systems of engagement to make developers, Agile project managers and other stakeholders happy, Tasktop’s mission is to create the infrastructure that glues together this new breed of tools, with tasks as the new currency of planning and collaboration.

When staring out the window at our new Vancouver HQ, I often fixate on the orchestrated flow of cargo ships routing containers–the abstraction that has come to define the shipping industry. Rob Elves, co-founder of Tasktop, joins me in the picture below, as we were reflecting on our journey of the past six years. We validated the need for a layer of infrastructure between the developer and the various ALM servers by shoehorning it into the Eclipse desktop client and giving it a single and collaborative UI called Mylyn. That paved the way for our first commercial product, called Tasktop Dev, whose success was not just in laying our commercial foundation and revenues that drove our growth, but in allowing us to learn what a mess software development outside of the IDE really is. In our mission to connect the world of software delivery, the next step became overwhelmingly clear. A new infrastructure for connecting the software siloes within the organization, and increasingly across the chain of software suppliers, is now the bottleneck. Even the cars that previous generations learned to build so well now depend on dozens of software suppliers working together. Without automating the interaction between these suppliers in a way that supports collaboration and lean delivery across organizations, innovation is being stifled.

As Neelan reported in the Tasktop Year in Review, 2012 was huge for us with with 250% growth since our last birthday. A portion of the year went to thinking about what shape this new task “container” has in the software lifecycle. But it’s now clear that the problem is not the container, as the Mylyn model is nearly expressive enough, and our work with IBM in OSLC and W3C Linked Data is a good start to defining things like common query APIs. It turns out that the biggest gap is the lack of infrastructure for shipping this information between people and tools, and supporting the many previous attempts by each vendor in defining their own APIs specific to their specialization in the software lifecycle.

In 2012, Sync became the lifecycle integration platform of choice for numerous Fortune 100 companies. We got to learn what it was like to be building infrastructure and digging canals between vendors while becoming a mission critical component of the stack, which resulted in Sync’s transition to an enterprise-scale lifecycle integration bus. We’re looking forward to scaling this new kind of collaborative infrastructure in 2013, and making your software lifecycle as orchestrated as the flow of container ships through Vancouver’s magnificent harbor.

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I am number 50

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

TomaszI never thought this day would come, but I can proudly announce that this fall I have joined the team at Tasktop! I am the 50th Tasktopian. My story started a long, long time ago when I was writing my first Java programs. At that time, I looked for a tool that would help me focus on my job without spending too much time on setup and javadoc reading. Eclipse had it all: quick fixes, content assist, fast search, syntax highlighting, you name it.

Years passed, and although my requirements have not changed much, my projects got bigger, the number of files increased tenfold, and I started to feel lost. This is when I discovered Mylyn (known as Mylar at that time), and used it to regain my programming efficiency. I have been a big fan of the tool ever since and can’t think of any other Eclipse add-on that makes as much of a difference in my everyday work.

In the meantime, I was lucky enough to start working on the Eclipse project itself. Becoming part of the open source community around Eclipse was an eye-opening experience. Watching all those smart people sharing thoughts and contributing patches, I finally understood why the tool is so great. I have been involved in multiple projects on the Eclipse Platform, including JDT, PDE, JGit/EGit and Orion, and have received commit rights to some of them, which is a recognition that I’m proud of.

Throughout my journey, I always held onto my motto that “to be the best, you need to learn and play with the best”. This is what prompted me to apply for a position at Tasktop Technologies. Now I’m proud to be part of the team,making the lives of thousands fellow programmers better, and I can’t wait to see how my journey with Tasktop will continue to unfold.

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