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Error Monitoring Application Bugsnag Releases Assembla Integration

Posted by adam feber on Fri, Apr 18, 2014
  
  

Bugsnag is a web and mobile error monitoring application that detects and diagnose crashes within your applications. They recently informed us about their new Assembla integration that can create Assembla tickets for detected errors allowing your team to quickly start squashing these errors via Assembla tickets.

To set up this integration, you will first need to have a Bugsnag project up and running. To try Bugsnag out, you can sign up here. From your Bugsnag project, visit the Settings > Notifications section to enable the Assembla integration. Once enabled, you will land on the integration configuration page that look like this:

bugsnag assembla integration

  • Determine when an Assembla ticket should be created: when the first exception of a new type (error) occurs, when a previously resolved error re-occurs, and/or when you manually click on “Create Issue” on an error within Bugsnag.

  • Space URL: Such as https://www.assembla.com/spaces/space_name/tickets

  • Your API Key and API Secret: This can be created in your Assembla profile sidebar menu, or by following this link.

  • Tags (optional): This provides a default tag for all Assembla tickets created from Bugsnag such as “Bugsnag Error.” I personally love this part of the integration because with tag filters, you can easily see all errors that are being worked on and where they stand. To learn more about Assembla’s tag feature, check out our release announcement.

To learn more about other companies that have integrated with Assembla or to submit an integration for review, check out www.assembla.com/integrations.

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Improved File Search: What You Need to Know

Posted by adam feber on Thu, Apr 17, 2014
  
  

With the recent file search improvements, it is now easier to find the files you are looking for when you need them. With every file upload, we now index all the following elements: file name, tags, mime-type (media type), and author.
 

  • File Name: We now apply a word delimiter filter that splits words into subwords based on intra-word delimiters such as case transitions ("PowerShot" → "Power", "Shot"), letter to number transitions ("SD500" → "SD", "500"), and characters ("Wi-Fi" → "Wi", "Fi").
     
  • Tags: If you add the optional tags to a file, you can easily include a tag in the search parameters to locate the file.
     
  • Mime Type (Media Type): When a file is uploaded, it will be indexed with a media type such as hello.png will include “image/png” so it can be found with a search for “hello” or “image” or “png” or any combination like “hello image.” Almost all files have a mime type such as word, excel, zip, pdf, etc., and we now index them so you can locate your files easier.
     
  • Author: The author field consists of the user’s first name and last name as displayed in their profile as well as username. Usernames are also use the same word delimiter to split usernames into subwords. So if John Smith with username JohnRocks uploads a file, you can search for that file with “john” or “smith” or “johnrocks” or even just “rocks.”

Most importantly, the default logical search operation has changed to search for words using AND instead of OR when using a combination of words. For example, when you search “john image” it will return back anything that is an image AND that was uploaded by John.

We hope these improvements make file searching more efficient. If you have any other suggested improvements, please let us know on our feedback site.

Check out some other Assembla tips and tricks!

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Assembla's reaction to the SSL security vulnerability "Heartbleed"

Posted by Andy Singleton on Tue, Apr 08, 2014
  
  

heartbleedThe Internet was surprised recently by a bug in the OpenSSL software, called "Heratbleed," that might allow an attacker to see your HTTPS traffic including your password on a Web login form.  You can read about some of the technical details regarding "Heartbleed" here and the OpenSSL 1.0.1g fix here.

We updated the Assembla servers to remove the vulnerability within a few hours of being notified about a fix. Our acceleration provider, Edgecast, had not yet updated their servers with the fix. This extended the time that Assembla users were exposed to the vulnerability for a few more hours. We had turned off Edgecast, causing some pages to render more slowly, until Edgecast's servers were updated. Everything has since returned to normal.

Protect Yourself!

  • It is recommended that you reset your Assembla password. You can do so using the password reset form
     
  • If you use API keys or tokens, we recommend that you reset your API keys or tokens.
     
  • If you use the FTP tool, we recommend that you reset your server login credentials and update these credentials in Assembla's FTP tool.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us

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Assembla Tips and Tricks to Work Smarter and Faster

Posted by adam feber on Thu, Mar 20, 2014
  
  

assembla tips

Assembla has many powerful and hidden capabilities that can help you get your work done more efficiently. In order to get those most out of your Assembla projects, here are a few tips and tricks to help you and your team work smarter and faster. Do you have any tips and tricks you want to share Email tips@assembla.com or tweet your tips with hashtag #AssemblaTips.

Get attention from your team members with @mentions. For extra certainty, add a ! at the end like @adam! or @support! to instantly send an email to that member or group. 

Type @ and start typing a users name virtually anywhere in Assembla to call out users. User get notification alerts in their top bar to signify something needs their attention. Set up labels in the Team tab to mention groups like @support or @admin. 

Focus the attention of your team by setting your project’s default landing page (tool) and arranging the tool tabs so that the most important tools are easy to find. 

Visit the Admin tab of your project > click on the Appearance section > and scroll to the Navigation section. Drag and drop tools to rearrange the order of the tool tabs in the main navigation and select the desired default tool in the “default landing tab is” drop-down. When you have made the desired changed, scroll down and click on ‘Save Changes.’

Illustrate your point by dragging and dropping files on a ticket.

Once a ticket has been created, you can grab any file from your desktop and drop it anywhere on the ticket. This will upload and associate the dropped file to the ticket. 

Edit ticket status values to create custom workflows. Additional status workflows will be displayed on the Cardwall view so you can visually see the status of all work in progress. 

Go to the Tickets tool > Settings sub-tab > Status and Workflows section. You can create new statuses and rearrange the order of your statuses. The order the statuses appear on this page is the order they will appear in the status drop-down on tickets, and the order of the columns from left to right on your Cardwall view.

Get code reviews by setting repository branches as "protected” so only certain team members are able to push commits to a given branch after the code has been reviewed and approved.

Visit the repository’s tab within Assembla > Settings sub-tab > Protected Branches section and define what team members are allowed to perform what action to given branches.

cta tips2

We would love to hear your tips and tricks! Email us at tips@assembla.com or tweet your tips with hashtag #AssemblaTips.

If you do not have an Assembla project, get started for free.

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About Assembla Team Git

Posted by Andy Singleton on Wed, Feb 26, 2014
  
  
Tags: 

Assembla became known as the world's best Subversion host, but during the past four years we have added great Git workflows, and we rely on them for all of our own development.  This article answers some questions that we got recently about where to use Assembla Git, instead of Github or Gerrit or Bitbucket.  Please contact us if you need help getting started.

WHY USE ASSEMBLA?

Assembla is designed to build the “team” in distributed team.  Assembla gives you a team-oriented way to use git. You can put all of the branches and repositories in one workspace, with shared team permissions, one activity stream, and full visibility for new and existing team members.

Assembla is great if you create a lot of new projects, apps, and sites.  The "space" container increases maintainability by putting everything for a project in one place - code, documentation, tickets, history, team, FTP or SSH deploy, and extra tabs that can contain build and monitoring tools.  You get started quickly, you can always come back for enhancements, you never lose anything, and you can hand off to new team members and contractors, or make an extremely complete and professional delivery to clients.

FEATURES and WORKFLOWS

Assembla links code commits and merge requests to a ticket (or issue). You can see a complete history of the changes that affect a ticket.

You can ALSO see a list if the tickets that were affected by a merge request or a list of merges. This gives you automated release notes for a continuous delivery process.

Assembla implements the complete Github-style individual coding workflow. Developers can make an individual branch or repository. They can submit pull requests (called merge requests). They can review, comment, accept, or reject merges. They can use @mention and @mention! to call for reviews or post comments for specific team members.

Assembla also implements a Gerrit-style workflow which is often better for big teams or full-time teams. In the Gerrit-style workflow, team members start from a shared master branch, and they make temporary branches to review specific changes. This unifies the team and removes the work that team members have to do to maintain their own repositories. Assembla has automated this workflow to simplify the Gerrit or “branch per ticket” flow. The master branch can be marked as “protected”. When team members push changes to the master branch, Assembla automatically creates a temporary branch to test and review the change.

Assembla has a full API and Jenkins integration so that you can run continuous integration on review branches, merge requests, and master branches. Jenkins can even be added as an Assembla tab.

GETTING STARTED

If you already have an Assembla project and want to try our Git hosting, visit the Admin tab > Tools section of your project to instantly add a Git repository. If do not have an Assembla project, sign up for free now

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Grab attention with @user! (bang) mentions

Posted by Andy Singleton on Fri, Feb 14, 2014
  
  

@mentions are the thing that make Assembla indispensable for us. They weave together ticket comments and responses into a conversation. Today, we gave them a little bang! to make them even more useful.

In any message, ticket, or ticket comment, create a mention with @, and add a ! at the end. When you add the ! on the end, it sends an email to that person or group.

like:

@<username/group>! such as @andy! or @support!

Use this feature to get feedback from someone who does not log in to Assembla every day and check mentions.  It's useful for working with clients or people in other departments.

We got this from a customer:

We have plenty of users (QA, Designer, CEO), who will not be living in Assembla. They don't need to come check Assembla every day, and they certainly don't need a digest of the conversations happening between devs when 98% of the conversation doesn't concern them. It's a firehose. However, occasionally we want to ping them or give them an opportunity to chime in on a ticket. it's not always appropriate to assign a ticket to them since they don't _need_ to respond. @Mentions looked like the perfect solution ... [but it doesn't send emails].

REVIEW OF MENTIONS

Use mentions to bring other users directly into your conversation.  In any message, merge review, ticket, or ticket comment, type @ and start typing the name of the person that you want to bring in.  Assembla will pop up a user search form and you can select the user you want.  They will receive a notice, in real time, on their start page and in the little red box on the top bar of their Asembla app.  They can click through to your conversation, and respond.

Mention Tip: If your didn't know, you can create labels to mention different teams or groups like @marketing or @support. To setup lables, go to the Team tab and click in the “Label” column for any team member. Once labels have been added, such as support, you can type @support almost anywhere in Assembla to get the support team’s attention. Add a ! to email the entire group with your mention. 

For more information on @mentions, check out these articles introducing mentions and popup user search.

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Apology for network errors on Friday and Saturday

Posted by Andy Singleton on Mon, Feb 10, 2014
  
  
Tags: 

On Friday and Saturday, many of our users experienced 504 error and dropped connections.  We apologize for these annoying events.  We have a plan to make sure that it does not happen again.  Thank you for your patience.

What happened?

 We were overloaded.  We got too many requests for data from Subversion, and our firewall and proxy servers were overloaded.  Load spikes from the repository servers disrupted both repository traffic, and Web traffic.  The load came from game updates.  Some of our users are hosting game content, and on Friday night, when a lot of gamers start up, thousands of them were pulling updates from Assembla Subversion servers.

What are we doing?

  • Rate limiting our repository servers, so that the servers in our private, high-availability datacenter cannot become overloaded in this way.
  • Organizing our proxy servers so that repository problems cannot affect the Web app.
  • Adding a high-throughput server in a public cloud datacenter, so that we can host games and other high-throughput applications.

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Assembla Announces Dropbox Integration

Posted by adam feber on Wed, Feb 05, 2014
  
  

There are now three ways to attach files in Assembla - from your computer, via Google Docs, and now via Dropbox. The new integration conveniently allows you to select and share Dropbox files with fellow team members, and since Dropbox takes care of versioning, the most recent version will always be available to your team.

In this release, the Dropbox functionality is only available in the Files tool and when attaching files to created tickets. We are actively working on expanding the functionality system-wide. Until then, here is how you can start using the current dropbox integration:

1. Select ‘Add Dropbox File’ from the list of file controls to expose the Dropbox ‘Choose File’ button.

dropbox integration 1

2. When you click on ‘Choose File,’ you will get a Dropbox pop-up. If you are logged into Dropbox, you will automatically see your dropbox folders and files. If you are not logged into Dropbox, you will be prompted to login. Once your folders and files are in front of you, select the desired file from the pop-up and click ‘Choose.’

dropbox integration 2

3. The selected file will be displayed. You can optionally add a short description and/or labels. Click ‘Upload File’ and team members will now be able to access the shared Dropbox file.

dropbox integration 3

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below. Stay tuned for more improvements coming your way soon.

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How we Moved 2.3 Million Wiki Pages to Git

Posted by adam feber on Tue, Feb 04, 2014
  
  

After a massive weight loss, our database feels much better and our operations team is happier.

Until recently, Assembla supported 2.3 million wiki pages in our main database. This required about 30GB of data, prevented the database from fitting in the memory of the database server, and frequently affected the performance of all database transactions.

The arrangement was also extremely wasteful, because every page was included in full, even if it had only minor differences from a previous version. If a user changed a one character on a 1,000-byte page, the revised version would also require 1,000 bytes of storage, for a total of 2,000 bytes.

We realized that migrating the wiki pages to Git repositories would free up the 30GB in the database and speed up performance.

First try

Since we already have an established process for communicating with remote Git repositories from our web app using the BERT-RPC (http://bert-rpc.org), we decided to see if that would be a good way to carry out the migration.

However, initial results were not promising. The process was very slow, because every Ruby worker is single threaded. Also, every commit to a bare Git repository, and every blob retrieved from a repository, required about 5 calls to a Git binary, which slowed performance even more.

Git-ting it right

Our revised plan was to write our own RPC server using the Go programming language (http://golang.org), Git to go (https://github.com/libgit2/git2go) and libgit2 (http://libgit2.github.com). We also used MessagePack (http://msgpack.org) serialization format and its RPC capabilities.

With this RPC server on our development machine, the Go daemon was able to handle thousands of requests per second using a single OS thread (the default value for GOMAXPROCS). Increasing the value of GOMAXPROCS increased throughput even more.

The migration process

We started by migrating the biggest wikis, some of which had hundreds of thousands of versions of the same page, and which totaled gigabytes of information. After running “git gc” compression, the biggest wiki was down to 98 MB.

However, InnoDB doesn’t release space after content is deleted. Therefore we did a complete database reload by dumping the database, removing the InnoDB data files, then restoring everything back. Our operations team was able to do this without any downtime.

Healthier and happier

After this weight loss program our database is healthier and the Assembla operations team is happier. The new RPC Go daemon is a success, the database is no longer a resource hog, CPU and RAM consumption are much better, the team receives much less alerts than before, and our customers have fast access to their wiki pages.

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TimeCamp Integrates with Assembla

Posted by adam feber on Wed, Jan 29, 2014
  
  
Tags: 

TimeCamp provides fully automated time tracking and invoicing software as a service for individuals and companies. When they recently reached out to me about their new Assembla integration, I figured I would give it a whirl. Below shows how to setup and use this integration based on my experience.

It is important to note that this is a one-way integration meaning once you enable the Assembla integration, you can begin tracking time expenditures for Assembla tasks in TimeCamp, but these time expenditures do not post back to your tasks inside of Assembla.

To get started, you will need to create a TimeCamp account, login, and visit ‘Settings’ > ‘Add-ons & Integrations.’

settings timecamp

Scroll down and click on the Assembla option. Select ‘Enable the Integration’ and you will be directed to Assembla to ‘Allow’ TimeCamp to access your projects and pull your tasks. You will then be redirected back to TimeCamp where you can select the projects you would like to import and optionally invite Assembla team members to your TimeCamp account.

import projects timecamp

Once the integration is setup, you can begin tracking time to Assembla tasks. From the main dashboard, you will select ‘Track time for [day]’ and be able to see and select tasks from your Assembla projects.

select assembla task timecamp

When you select a task, you can either manually enter time or click the play button to start the timer.

track time timecamp

TimeCamp also has a desktop application that when installed, allows you track time to tasks from your desktop. By default, the desktop application is set with Tracking Mode on Auto which is supposed to automatically search for keywords in window titles, urls and application names and track time accordingly. For complete accuracy and control, I personally prefered switching the Tracking Mode to Manual so I could manually select the desired task.

After you start tracking time with TimpCamp, you can explore additional features such as computer activity tracking, reporting, and invoicing. To learn more about TimeCamp and sign up for a free trial, visit their website at www.TimeCamp.com.

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