HipChat

As we’ve been getting started with development at our new company I have taken the opportunity to re-evaluate developer tools and workflow. At Hyperpublic I had the chance to try a lot of the tools that emerged as part of “make everything a cloud service” trend that was sweeping the late 2008-2010 era. I have stuck with many of the old stalwarts – Github (source code hosting), Pivotal Tracker (feature and bug tracking), Dropbox (files haring) – however one welcome new addition to the workflow is HipChat.

HipChat is a private group chat client developed by Atlassian, the company who brought us Jira (ticket tracking) and Confluence (information collaboration). It runs natively as an Adobe Air application, and there’s a browser based UI for search and history should you need to access a piece of information on the go. It supports multiple rooms for group chat, one on one private chat, file and link sharing, and has a useful API for integrating with other services in the workflow.

A nice benefit of integrating our other services with HipChat is the activity stream that is produced which helps everybody observe progress. When code is pushed to Github, a new pull request is issued, new comments are left, new stories are created, Chef finishes running, integration tests fail….everybody is kept up to date on progress in a way that isn’t obtrusive and doesn’t clog the inbox. I’ve noticed an increase in engagement with code reviews and an increased commitment to our intended workflow – both huge benefits. If you’re looking for a team alternative to Campfire, IRC, or even iChat I’d recommend checking out HipChat.

* Hat tip to our team member Jamie for bringing HipChat to the team.