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Atlassian takes on DevOps pipeline tools integration

Pre-built hooks between Atlassian DevOps tools are in demand among IT teams that must manage an overwhelming number of cross-functional projects and vendor products.

Users of Atlassian DevOps pipeline tools no longer have as much custom work to do as they link together various products, though significant work remains to integrate the company's portfolio.

Atlassian added fresh integrations between Bitbucket Cloud code repositories and deployment pipelines, third party CI/CD tools from GitLab and GitHub, and the Jira Software Cloud project management tool this week. These include newly centralized developer dashboard views into DevOps workflows and DevOps automation triggers that sync updates between the CI/CD tools and Jira workflows.

The company also shipped integrations between Bitbucket Pipelines, Jira Service Desk and Opsgenie that it previewed at its Summit virtual event in March. These tie-ins add a new risk assessment engine and change management tool within Jira Service Desk as well as an incident investigation dashboard that brings together elements from Jira Software Cloud, Bitbucket and Opsgenie.

Finally, Atlassian deepened its integration of DevOps security tools with its pipeline products, extending its support for security scans on developer pull requests in Bitbucket using Mabl, Sentry or Snyk. This integration, dubbed Code Insights, expands on partnerships announced earlier this year with security vendors for code repository scanning.

The new integrations are available now for the next-gen versions of Atlassian cloud products, which remain the company's clear priority. But Atlassian officials said this week they also plan to bring together multiple generations of tools as customers make a gradual migration to cloud.

"We're definitely focused on making sure that we're looking at a range of use cases, not just all cloud," said Tiffany To, who joined Atlassian in December as head of Agile and DevOps solutions. "A lot of customers are saying [they] will probably keep code repos on premises behind the firewall longer [as they] move Jira to the cloud, [and] we're looking at different connectors that would go behind the firewall and how we aggregate data so these workflows are cleaner."

Atlassian DevOps automation triggers
New Atlassian DevOps automation triggers strengthen links between Jira and BitBucket Pipelines.

Easing Atlassian admins' DevOps pipeline burdens

Atlassian customers and industry analysts have called for the company to more deeply integrate its DevOps pipeline tools together, as IT pros become overwhelmed by the number of software tools they must deploy and custom-integrate to support the transition to cross-functional Agile teams.

Most end users want DevOps platforms wired together out of the box because they already have so many other tools to integrate [into Agile workflows].
Christopher CondoAnalyst, Forrester Research

"Most end users want DevOps platforms wired together out of the box because they already have so many other tools to integrate [into Agile workflows]," said Christopher Condo, analyst at Forrester Research. "Especially as they build cross-functional teams, they're dealing with things they never had to worry about before."

IT pros at one such shop, business VoIP phone system provider Nextiva, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., welcomed any packaged integrations that could help free up time for the company's two Atlassian administrators.

"They're overworked as it is," said Jen Lang, senior project manager at Nextiva, who oversees teams that work with Jira Software Cloud, Confluence and Opsgenie. "Any kind of automation that cuts down on the amount of [manual] work, they would be all over that."

One integration Lang is evaluating for near-term deployment is between Jira Roadmaps and Confluence, which was recently made available for Jira Software Cloud Classic.

"The Confluence roadmaps you could [previously] add [to Jira Classic] were a nice visual, but a pain to update, so I'm looking forward to implementing the new roadmaps," she said. "My teams have 20 to 30 projects going on, and [they offer] a way for management to say, 'Here's what's going on right now'… This will be so much easier than having to manually update with the Confluence plugin."

Lang said she looks forward to trying out the new incident investigation dashboard, which can link software updates recorded in Jira to incident management in Opsgenie.

She'd also like to see a Confluence macro that can generate automated Slack or Outlook notifications when task due dates are created in Confluence documents, without the need to generate a separate Confluence task report. There is an integration available now that creates Jira tickets based on Confluence task due dates, but Lang said she'd prefer not to clog up the Jira system with tickets for every Confluence action item.

This macro isn't on the Atlassian roadmap yet, but the company is open to considering it if it sees enough demand, a spokesperson said.

Bitbucket Cloud updates draw developer attention

Nextiva's software engineers took an interest in this week's updates to Bitbucket Cloud and Bitbucket Pipelines, which incorporate DevOps automation triggers based on IP acquired with Code Barrel last year to automatically update Jira tickets when developers check in code.

For now, these triggers are supported only on Bitbucket Pipelines, GitLab and GitHub, while Nextiva uses Jenkins for CI/CD. Nextiva's software engineers may reevaluate Bitbucket Cloud soon, however, Welter said, partly because of the appeal of DevOps automation triggers and partly out of interest in another of this week's new features, called Pull Request Experience. This new dashboard is meant to ease collaboration between developers on code reviews with centralized views of tasks and integrated Jira issue creation.

"Pull Request enhancements are [a step] in the right direction," said Matt Welter, senior software engineer at Nextiva. "The UI provides more information in one area."

Still, there are some more pull request features Welter wants added to the dashboard in the meantime, such as multiple groups of default code reviewers. Welter said he'd like to be able to create multiple levels of code review assignments for senior and mid-level developers, who would be required to sign off on code changes. Junior developers could participate as well, but their approvals wouldn't be binding.

"Bitbucket Server allowed this," Welter said. "I lost this with Bitbucket Cloud, and it was disappointing."

Welter added that he'd also like Bitbucket to allow reviewers to check individual files as "passed" without approving an entire project, and an ability to manage minor merge conflicts quickly within a browser.

Atlassian officials said all the features Welter mentioned are being considered for the Bitbucket long-term roadmap, but that the specific ability to mark individual files for approval is on the roadmap for the next few months.

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