Pete Curley

HipChat is now free for unlimited users

By Pete Curley | 4 months ago | 81 Comments

A year ago we made HipChat free for teams of five, and since then thousands of teams have learned how great chat can be. But we believe that teams of every size deserve the power of HipChat.

So today, we’re excited to announce a new subscription plan that gives you unlimited HipChat users – for free.

Here are the two ways to use HipChat:

  • HipChat Basic (free): Group chat and 1-to-1 messaging for every person on your team, regardless of team size.
  • HipChat Plus ($2/user/month): All of the features of HipChat Basic, plus video calling and unlimited, searchable message history.

You can check out the full pricing page for details.

What if I’m currently paying for HipChat?

You’ll get HipChat Plus automatically. Your features and price will stay exactly the same.

What if my team is currently using HipChat for free?

Starting today, you can add as many users as you want for free. Now there’s nothing stopping you from inviting every person in your company to HipChat.

In order to make HipChat Basic free for larger teams, we’ve added some new constraints. We worked hard to make sure they would work for small teams while showing larger teams the value of HipChat Plus. The new constraints are: file storage is capped at 5 GB (far more than the average team uses) and you can search the last 25,000 messages (about six months of messages for the average team of five).

We’ve also given current free users access to HipChat Plus features for the next 30 days.

Enjoy the free-for-all

We think every team in the world will benefit from HipChat. We’re introducing free HipChat Basic today so that every team can.

A lot of teams are using consumer chat services simply because they’re free. We want to show them how good chat can be when it’s actually designed for teams. And we want to make it easy for teams to start using HipChat without worrying about credit cards, invoicing, or expense reports.

If you’re still using consumer IM tools for work, “it’s free” is no longer an excuse. Get chat that’s built for your team.

Sign up for HipChat

 

Michael Benner

Our Mac, iOS, and Android clients are better than ever!

By Michael Benner | 4 months ago | 1 Comment

There’s nothing more annoying that having HipChat crash in the middle of a call or when you’re chatting with a coworker, right? It pisses us off, too. Well, you may have noticed that our Mac, iOS, and Android clients are working a lot better lately. Now that we’ve launched video (phew!) we’ve been able to focus more time addressing issues causing random bugs and crashes. We’ve reduced the number of crashes/day by almost 95% on our Mac app, 75% on our Android app, and 25% on our iOS app. In addition we’ve resolved dozens of bugs reported by you (thanks again!).

 

What We’ve Been Doing

We’ve made a lot of changes in code and process over the past few months. Here are some highlights:

  • Aggressively monitoring crash reports in HockeyApp and quickly triaging the worst offenders
  • Use Kanban to optimize our development workflow
  • Focus on a 2-3 week release cadence, so fixes get to you sooner than later
  • Major changes to thread handling and concurrency:
    • Switch from using Key Value Observers to GCDMulticastDelegate (part of the XMPPFramework) – KVO didn’t work well in our multithreaded environment
    • Encapsulate classes to use a single queue to manage all their behaviors
    • Fix every place we were accidentally trying to modify an immutable collection 
    • Better error handling – errors happen and the client should be able to absorb them gracefully without a complete meltdown

What’s Next?

We’re not done yet and there are many more improvements on our list. Here are a few:

  • Give our Windows and Linux apps some well deserved love
  • Performance and usability improvements!
  • Continued bug fixing on Mac, iOS, and Android

What You Can Do

If you see something funky or want to request a new feature, just let us know at http://help.hipchat.com. Also, make sure you’re using our latest clients to take advantage of all the improvements we’ve been making. You can download our Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, or Linux clients from https://www.hipchat.com/downloads.

We’re Hiring

Oh, by the way, we’re hiring! One of our core values at Atlassian is “Be the change you seek”. Want to be part of making our clients even better? Great, come join us! Apply at http://hipchat.com/jobs/.

Elena Gorman

Guest Post: Server Density’s Ops War Room

By Elena Gorman | 4 months ago | 2 Comments

This is a guest post by David Mytton, founder of server and website monitoring product, Server Density. He has been programming for over 10 years and has grown Server Density to now processing over 30TB of incoming data per month. You an email him on david@serverdensity.com or follow @davidmytton

Whether your company works entirely from an office, are all remote or a combination of the two, using HipChat to help run infrastructure operations is a common way to organize and coordinate teams.

At Server Density - a server and website monitoring service, where the majority of the team work remotely from the UK and Europe, we use HipChat extensively.

For us, HipChat acts as a news feed with events being piped in from all the services we use - GitHub, ZenDesk, JIRA, deploys, new signups and ops alerts. It’s this final one that I want to focus on in this post.

The ops war room

There is a lot of activity going on during each day and so our main room gets quite noisy with commits, builds, customer upgrades, etc.

This works well for staying up to date with what is going on but when there’s an infrastructure incident e.g. an outage, the response team immediately switch to sterile cockpit rules -  only essential communication is allowed.

To achieve this, we have a dedicated HipChat room which is used only to discuss ongoing incidents. Only critical information from our alerting system gets piped into this room, which is combination of Server Density’s own HipChat integration and alerts handled by PagerDuty. This has a number of advantages:

  1.  We have an easy way to see chronological timeline of exactly what has been happening for the first responder to triage and additional responders to review to get up to speed.
  2.  We have a single place to communicate for the responders.
  3. We have a permanent record of what happened for the followup post-mortem.

This seems to be a similar pattern amongst other companies. The privacy oriented search engine DuckDuckGo, users of both Server Density and HipChat, also have alerts piped into a single Ops room which is used to help increase sysops transparency across the whole team.

Communicating during outages

Every incident starts with a first responder doing some initial investigation to diagnose the issue. This involves them joining the Ops War Room, triaging the alerts and then generating a new incident tracking ticket in JIRA.
The most important thing is to keep a close-to-real-time record of what is being done and who is doing it. This helps any additional people who might join later, it helps to review what has already been done and really helps with the post-mortem analysis so you can review how to improve responses in the future.

We record events in several ways:

  1. Quick communication and initial investigation is done through HipChat text chat in the Ops War Room.
  2.  Actions performed e.g. commands run, failover scripts executed, etc are logged in JIRA with the command line and output. It’s important to know what commands were run so there’s no duplication, they can be considered for automation next time, and we have a history for review.
  3.  If there is a long running incident or there is some complexity, text based chat can become time consuming. Instead, we often switch to video conferencing so we can talk through what’s happening and coordinate individual responders. Even when there’s not much to say and it’s mostly silence when people are working, video is a good way to work with people remotely. We have been using Google Hangouts for this but are now testing the HipChat Video features.

A gathering place

The linking factor between many users of HipChat is how it acts as a gathering place for all teams. At idio, they are also using HipChat to help fight fires with the use of Airbrake to make them aware of code level exceptions, but it also brings together the dev teams with build events from Janky and Hubot.

The combination of developer and operations teams, with the ability to pipe events in real time and access crucial tools like video chat in a single location helps to improve ops response times, which all leads to better uptime – something which customers really notice!

Pete Curley

New HipChat app icons, take two!

By Pete Curley | 4 months ago | 23 Comments

After months of hard work, our team was really excited to announce 1-1 video chat and screen sharing for all of the apps. However, that news was completely overshadowed by another change: a new logo and app icon.

This is our new logo and the controversial OS X app icon we released a few days ago:

New logo Controversial OS X icon

The feedback was as plentiful as it was negative. 

There were hundreds of tweets about how ugly the icon was. Hundreds.

The weird thing is, we agree. So how did this happen?

The original goal of the new logo was to align it with the rest of the Atlassian tools. I think we achieved that and came up with a solid logo. The problem came with the implementation of the app icons themselves.

You could look at the feedback and say “people hate change” which is often true. But the problem here was that a large part of our team feels the exact same way as our users. There were two schools of thought when it came to the icon:

School #1 – “Consistency means the icon is the same on every device.”

School #2 – “Consistency means it pays homage to the style/design while respecting the look and feel of each OS.”

We fought. We argued. We gave each other the silent treatment, then argued some more. In the end, we chose option #1. But hey, if it sucks, we can fix it. We have zero problem admitting we made a mistake.

We made a mistake. The app icon sucks. Today we’re fixing it.

Lesson learned: respect the design guidelines and recommendations put forth by each operating system, even if you have to sacrifice your own internal guidelines. No one wants to see an OS X icon that looks like it belongs on iPhone, and people certainly don’t want to see an Android app with an iOS style icon. The part that made me both happy and sad was that people on Twitter proposed an alternative design, and it’s almost the exact app icon that we decided not to use in the first place (and I have the PSD’s to prove it!).

Here’s the the new app icon we’re releasing today for the desktop apps:

The new NEW OS X icon

It may seem that having hundreds of tweets shitting on your icon is a bad thing. Sure – it bummed us out, but it means our customers are passionate and they fucking care. It also means our team members that argued for the ugly icon have to buy the rest of the team a big box of apology donuts.

So let us know what you think of the new icons. I can’t promise we won’t make mistakes in the future, but I can guarantee we’ll own up to them and make things right.

Jeff Park

HipChat video and screen sharing are here

By Jeff Park | 4 months ago | 71 Comments

HipChat 1-to-1 video chat and screen sharing are now available on all of our apps. Start a video chat and share your screen with anyone on your team.

HipChat Video

Here’s what we’ve got waiting for you in our latest release:

  • Start and receive 1-to-1 video or audio calls
  • Share your screen with co-workers
  • A sweet new logo

Please note: If you’re currently using HipChat under our Free for 5 plan, you’ll be able to try video and screen sharing free for 30 days. After that, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account to keep using the new features.

If you’re already on a paid account, HipChat video and screen sharing will be available at no extra cost.

Voice or video – it’s your call

Sometimes video is worth a thousand words. To start a video chat, open up a 1-to-1 chat with a co-worker and click the video icon. Want to start an audio call instead? Just click the phone icon. Easy.

Sync up with screen sharing

Get on the same page (literally) by sharing your screen so you can work together on any project. Just click the screen share button in any video chat and build genuine consensus to get your work done quicker.
HipChat Screen Sharing

Upgrade your app

HipChat video and screen sharing run natively on all our apps. Make sure you update your HipChat to the latest version. Check here to find which app versions support video.

Thanks!

Lastly, thanks for being dedicated HipChat users, and enjoy! We could not do this without you guys. awthanks

If you run into any issues or have feedback, don’t hesitate to let us know.