Last week I stumbled on a tweet that questioned whether Tasktop was an “Obsession with integration or new paradigm of working?” The answer is both. The tricky part in bringing about a fundamental simplification in the way that we work is providing an incremental transition to the new paradigm. For the past year, our focus at Tasktop has been on expanding the ecosystem of Mylyn ALM integrations needed to get the benefits of the task-focused interface into the hands of the majority of developers using Eclipse. With this release, over 50 integrations exist and the majority of ALM solutions used by Eclipse developers are Tasktop Certified, including 70% of those covered in Forrester’s Agile Wave.
Tasktop’s developers and farm of interop testing servers are working tirelessly for one reason. To bring about the migration away from file, folder and search-based navigation, which does not scale to the volumes of information that we deal with today, to the focus and control that comes from the task-focused collaboration paradigm. While a few key connectors are still in the works, with Tasktop 1.7 we have crossed a threshold in the reach of integrations building on Mylyn. We have measured that more than half of enterprise developers’ time is wasted on constant interruption recovery and context switching. By integrating all of your tasks into a single Task List, anchoring of your collaboration around those tasks, be it file, comment, email or Twitter based, and then automatically focusing and restoring the context of your source code, files and web navigation, Tasktop eliminates all of that waste.
Bringing about this fundamental change in the way we work is impossible to do in isolation. During the past year of the Eclipse Helios release train, we have worked closely with both Agile and ALM partners such as Rally, VersionOne, ThoughtWorks and CollabNet, as well as leading application development vendors such as SpringSource/VMware, to ensure smooth integration between application development, deployment and lifecycle management tools. In the features listed below, you will also notice the results of projects that we undertook in order to make Eclipse be a better platform for this next level of ALM integration that we are driving. We worked with IBM to define OSLC-CM 1.0 spec for REST-based interoperability of change management tools and brought that implementation into Mylyn. We worked with Microsoft to enable Eclipse to leverage new features in Windows 7, the results of which you will see in our contributions to the Eclipse Platform’s New & Noteworthy and the Tasktop RCP screenshot below. Not wanting to neglect our users on Mac OS X, we also resolved one of the biggest performance problems in the Cocoa port. For the Eclipse Foundation, we created the Eclipse Marketplace Client, which uses the simple install technology that we moved into the Eclipse P2 project earlier this year. Finally, we restructured the Mylyn project to bring in new contributors bringing about the next phase of ALM integrations ranging from continuous integration support to code review tools.
It has been a busy 12 months since the Galileo release, and Tasktop 1.7 marks the third major Tasktop release in the past twelve months. For the full details on this release see the New & Noteworthy documents, and for some key highlights see below.
Twitter integration for the task editor
Tasktop 1.7 introduces Twitter integration for all Mylyn connectors. Developers can now view all tweets related to a task and quickly broadcast the currently active task. This is useful for promoting social collaboration and awareness in community-driven development, such as open source projects. While Twitter provides public social communication, integration with tools such as ThoughtWorks Studios’ Murmurs provides project-specific social communication.
|Task Editor with Twitter section for social collaboration|
IBM Rational Team Concert Connector
Tasktop’s new Rational Team Concert (RTC) Mylyn Connector provides the task-focused interface and Agile task management capabilities to developers using RTC. Developers are now able to instantly resume their coding session when switching work items, automatically track and update time estimates on user stories, and link between RTC and more than 50 ALM integrations provided by the Mylyn ecosystem. The RTC Connector is included with Tasktop Enterprise and available now through Tasktop’s Early Access program. Contact us to evaluate the RTC Connector in your environment.
|IBM Rational Team Concert Mylyn Connector|
Tasktop includes the leading Mylyn connectors, and Tasktop 1.7 includes key enhancements to connectors such as IBM Rational Team Concert and ClearQuest, ThoughtWorks Studios Mingle, VersionOne, Perforce, Rally, JIRA and Bugzilla.
Eclipse updates for Microsoft Windows 7
The Eclipse 3.6 Helios release includes enhancements for Windows 7 developed by Tasktop in collaboration with Microsoft. These improvements benefit all Eclipse users on Windows 7 including developers using the IDE and end users who run Eclipse RCP applications. One of the notable enhancements is the ability to display task repository synchronization progress in the task bar, and create and activate tasks from the task bar in both the Eclipse-based and standalone Tasktop application.
Windows 7 task bar with synchronization progress
indicator and Tasktop actions
Managed Connector Install
Connector install, update, and compatibility are all managed by the Tasktop application. Regardless of what commercial or open source integrations you have installed, Tasktop Certified tools are guaranteed to interoperate with each other and with your vendor-supported server install. This provides seamless interoperability no matter how diverse your ALM stack is, and ensures that you always have the latest and most compatible version of Tasktop, Mylyn and relevant connectors installed.
|Managed Connector Installation Dashboard|
New task list presentation
A key new feature in Mylyn 3.4 is the redesigned scheduled presentation, which now serves the purpose of showing what’s most important when working with a large Task List. Important tasks appear near the top based on when they are scheduled and whether they have unread changes made by colleagues or outgoing changes such as draft comments. Be sure to try the presentation with the Focus on Workweek button enabled if you are using scheduling, as an additional benefit is that it does not duplicate tasks, since tasks that show in a container will not reappear in a container below it.
|New task list presentation reduces overload|
|Read the Tasktop 1.7 press release|
|See more new features and enhancements|
|Download Tasktop 1.7|
About Mik Kersten
Dr. Mik Kersten is the CEO of Tasktop Technologies, creator of the Eclipse Mylyn open source project and inventor of the task-focused interface. At Tasktop, Mik sets the strategic direction of the company as well as drives many of Tasktop's key partnerships and key customers accounts. He created Mylyn and the task-focused interface during his PhD in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. Mik has been an Eclipse committer since 2002, is a 3-time elected member of the Eclipse Board of Directors and serves on the Eclipse Architecture Council. Mik's thought leadership on task-focused collaboration and improving the software economy makes him a popular speaker at software conferences, and he was voted a JavaOne Rock Star speaker in 2008 and 2009.