Scrumy blog

Twitter

    It's a new month, and now there is a new Scrumy feature for Pro users: The Scrumy API. Pretty much anyone who has asked us if we have an API recently has already been directed to that page and has been able to access it, but now we're sharing our secrets with the world.

    For the uninitiated, an API is an interface that we give to you in order to access the data that we've stored for you in a convenient way. Essentially, it allows you to write your own programs that interact with your Scrumy projects. If, for example, you wanted a big red button that moves all your unfinished tasks into the 'Done' column, you could build that yourself with a few clever API calls.

    The Scrumy API is divided into two separate parts: REST and Webhooks.

    The REST API allows you to get data from your projects in XML or JSON form using simple URLs. You can also manipulate your data by POSTing or PUTing data to those URLs. You can read all about it at the REST API documentation page.

    Webhooks are very different. A Webhook is a URL for an application that you have running on your own server which receives data from us. This means that any time you create or change a task, for example, we will send a piece of data representing the change on your project to that URL. A simple thing you could do with this would be to send a tweet any time you finish a task. Read more at the Webhooks documentation page. Also, the demo is set up to use webhooks, but it works a bit differently than your projects. The demo will allow you to enter 5 webhooks, but none of them will be active for more than 5 minutes. So, if you just want to see how webhooks work, feel free to use the demo, but unless you want to be a jerk, use an empty slot. Then you have 5 minutes to test your heart out.

    So those are the big updates for now. If you find errors while reading the apidocs or feel that you could clarify something, feel free to update the documentation. It's a wiki for a reason. If you have any other questions or comments, feel free to contact us at support@scrumy.com.

    Mike

    First, let's pour some on the ground for our old server—467 days uptime. Kinda hurts to see it go, but it's for the best. Before we tell you what's new today, let me run through what's changed since our last blog post in May, in true picture book fashion.

    Billing system

    One of the major changes on our end is our new billing system. It gives us greater flexibility with how to bill should we ever explore new project plans. And it has allowed us to improve your experience when it comes to receipts.

    If you've been around a while, you may remember our original receipts:

    Those have been replaced by a separate HTML welcome email and receipt, which some people really needed.

    If you ever need any extra fields in your receipt, like your business address, your tax ID, or anything else, just email us at support@scrumy.com and we'll make sure all of your future receipts have it.

    We have a new section in our settings called "Receipt history". Here, you can see your full billing history and your next billing date. You can also re-send an old receipt that was sent after we switched to the new billing system.

    Error handling

    Another important change since May: improved error handling when something goes wrong editing or moving a story or task. This can help if you experience a network connectivity issue or there is an odd bug. Whatever happens, we make sure to bring back up your editor so you can try saving again, and give you an easy way to report the error to us if need be. This eliminates the possibility that something didn't save successfully when you thought it did.

    It looks like our task editor has changed since our last post as well.

    Of course, the most important additions to the Scrumy codebase have probably been the things that aren't newsworthy- the bug fixes. Without these, many of you probably wouldn't still be here. So before we move on to what's new today, let's just take a moment and say: thanks for the memories, bugs. Now here's Mike with the meaty bits.

    Finally, the new server (gets a little technical)

    As any site grows, its server will eventually need to grow with it. Recently some of you have been noticing a few performance issues here and there, especially with the live updating. We are confident that these changes will fix those problems.

    First of all, we got a beefy new server, twice the size of the old one, because who are we kidding? Of course size matters.

    But, as we all know, size isn't everything; it also matters how you use it. On the software side, we decided to switch from Apache to nginx, a lightweight yet high performance webserver. Because the team at Phusion released a Passenger module for nginx, we were also able to keep using their Ruby Enterprise Edition, which boasts a much smaller memory footprint than the standard release.

    The switch to nginx also enabled us to use the nginx_http_push_module for our live updating. This means that we are dropping our old push server, Orbited*. The NHPM greatly simplifies our server setup, as Orbited required 3 separate servers to run (the Orbited server, a stomp server, and the webserver). NHPM compresses all of that into just the webserver. One big difference this creates is that the push server now runs on the same port as the webserver, so people behind firewalls at work can finally use the live updating feature. This should be very exciting to a the people who have contacted us about this issue.

    One last thing to note is that since we have changed servers, it may take a day or two for everyone's DNS cache to update. This means that some of your team may be on the new server, while others are on the old. Don't worry, the data is fine, but live updating will not work between the old server and the new server. Most people should be on the new server by the time they read this, but it is worth noting that some may not. If this happens, you could either wait a couple days or have your team flush their DNS cache.

    * If you are setting up a push server of your own but don't have nginx, I would continue to recommend Orbited. Also, if you are using rails, check out my Orbited on Rails plugin to make it as simple as possible to set up.

    Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for another blog post all about our new API!

    Dan and Mike

    Scrumy distributed teams

    As we've said before, we're impatient at Scrumy. One thing we've always found takes a painfully long time is refreshing web pages. So, we made it a goal at Scrumy to never force users to reload their page. And I think we've been pretty successful. Tasks and stories are added instantly with no page refresh. You can even navigate to future sprints and snapshots without refreshing the page, and without breaking your browser's back button.

    One thing that always bothered us, though, was that any time two or more people worked on a project, they'd have to refresh the page in order to see what changes other people had made.

    No more!

    Now, any change made to a Scrumy project can be seen instantly by anyone who is viewing the project. And just to make sure you don't miss it, the tasks and stories glow green when they change.

    So if you're sitting around in Auckland waiting for your friend in Seville to finish a task that's blocking your work, give your pointer finger a rest. No need to hit refresh, you can now use your free hand for other things like impatient finger tapping or pulling your hair out. And then, staring at your screen late into the night, you can breathe a sigh of relief as his task glows green and moves to the done column. You can finally get to work.

    If your window is out of focus, you'll also get a numerical indicator of the number of changes you missed. The glowing tasks should stay glowing until you see them.

    Live Updating is available right now to Scrumy Pro users everywhere. If you don't have a Pro account of your own, hop on over to the demo at scrumy.com/demo and watch people do stuff.

    Read-only mode

    Do you want to show the world what you're doing without giving them the keys to the castle?

    Now you have the option to display a read-only version of your board to unauthenticated visitors. They'll get the glowy new Live Updates too.

    Mike

    Better, faster, stronger

    December 30, 2008

    If you keep tabs on our twitter feed, you've seen our weekly releases and all the goodies contained within. Here are some of the updates Scrumy has seen in December.

    Scrumy got an official icon for Fluid, the Mac single site browser.

    If you're on a Mac, I highly recommend checking it out.

    The task editor style and animation got tweaked to make it feel more like a zoomed up task.

    Pro users can now delete assignees and decide who gets stuck with Pink:

    -We did major Javascript cleanup and optimization; Javascript execution is now more than twice as fast.

    -We simplified our markup and reduced requests, which means interactions with the server now complete more quickly.

    -There is no more Flash in project titles. We made the switch from sIFR to typeface.js, and we're happy we did.

    -We moved to Rails 2.2.

    And there were plenty of random bug fixes along the way. (IE7 is now fully up to speed.)

    We hope you enjoy these improvements. Look for more to come in the new year!

    Dan

    Good news for the impatient

    November 20, 2008

    "I wanna go fast" -Ricky Bobby

    What a society we live in. We want to get what we want, and we want to get it NOW. From fast food and microwave dinners to on demand movies and internet television, we live in an impatient world. But I'm not one to judge, I often find myself looking for something else to do during the eternal 45 seconds that it takes to boot my laptop.

    We at Scrumy understand your need for speed, and for that reason, for the past few weeks we've been concentrating on making things faster and optimizing our code.

    One thing you may have noticed already is that stories are now fully draggable. Pro users may know that they no longer have to select stories, press a button, and wait for them to show up in their backlog, now they can just drag a story to the backlog and have it show up instantly!

    But we're not only speeding things up for Scrumy Pro users. A little speed boost that everyone might notice is in task editing. Adding and editing tasks is one of the most common functions, and some people think it should be instant. We agree, and now it is!

    Other optimizations we've been working on are a bit more subtle but just as important. We've simplified a lot of the HTML by deleting superfluous attributes and unnecessary container elements. We've also moved more javascript calls to external files. What this means to you is that there is less code for you to download, making pages load a little bit quicker.

    In addition to optimization, we've also put a little work into clarification. Now the "Loading..." indicator is quite a bit more descriptive, and selecting a story or task to move to another sprint more clearly displays what exactly will be moved or copied with it.

    Hope you love the new optimizations and keep your feedback coming!

    Mike

    Slicehost!

    November 05, 2008

    If you were visiting the site at 9PM CST today, you may have noticed this face instead of the usual Scrumy. That's just Carlton, helping us finish switching over to our new host!

    After recent problems at Dreamhost causing frustration to us and our users, we've switched to Slicehost. This means the end of random outages. Additionally, since Slicehost gives us full control over our machines, we were able to further optimize things, and you should notice a performance increase. That and the new servers are just crazy fast.

    Some of the things that snuck into this release:

    Pro users:

    -Limited access password: Set a password to give your colleagues access to your project without giving them access to the settings. (Settings -> Limited password)

    -XML Snapshots: You can view an xml version of your snapshot by adding a .xml to the end of the url -The sign-in background kicked it up a notch. Try it as your desktop background, it does the job!

    Everyone:

    -Dragging tasks vertically scrolls the page to accommodate you.

    -Various other things were tweaked, prodded, and slammed into betterness.

    Let us know if you notice!

    Dan

    "Scrumy's great, but where's the product backlog?" -Certified ScrumMasters everywhere

    In the Backlog, you create stories independent of sprints. Some people use a product backlog as a master list of stories, and then pull a selection of those stories into a new sprint. If you can think of another creative use for it, go for it!

    There are three priority levels for backlog stories: Low, Medium, and High. To move stories to a lower or higher priority, simply drag them up or down. The idea here is that you drag stories lower and lower until they eventually end up on the live board. Certified ScrumMasters everywhere like to prioritize their stories to see what should be done next. I like to call this implementation The Technicolor Waterfall (sorry if the "waterfall" word still makes you shudder...).

    In the real world, you're probably going to be moving more than one story at a time. To move multiple stories from the Backlog into a sprint, click them to select them, just like you already do with tasks in the Dashboard. From there you can move the stories with the blue "Move" buttons that will appear, or you can click the "New sprint" button and start a new sprint with the selected stories.

    As usual, you can enter in time estimates into your stories if you'd like, via the same mechanism as usual. Once those stories make it into a sprint, the time estimates will be reflected in the Burndown Chart.

    If you don't have a Pro account, you can always play with the latest Pro stuff in the demo account, http://scrumy.com/demo.

    We hope you like it!

    Dan

    Welcome to the Scrumy blog!

    September 24, 2008

    Hey everybody. This is the first post in our blog.

    Since this is the first post, there really isn't much to see here. However, there will hopefully be plenty to see in the future when we tell you about all the sweet new features we're adding to Scrumy. But for now, since Scrumy just launched and every feature is brand new, we'll just point you in the right direction to learn all about them.

    If you wanna see what Scrumy is, check out our colorful about page. Be sure to watch our infomercial, we spared no expense making it very professional.

    If you aren't sure how to use Scrumy and don't feel like reading the entire about page, just start an empty project using the "I'm Feeling Scrumy!" or "Generate URL" buttons on the Scrumy front page. A fun little tutorial will guide you through the basics.

    Do you want to give us money? We'll gladly take it if you sign up for a pro account. But if you really need to see what you will get for your money, you can check out the demo at scrumy.com/demo.

    I think that's all for now. Please feel free to leave feedback or suggest new features in the comments, or email us at one of the addresses on our contact page.

    Have fun using Scrumy!

    Mike