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Time tracking in Bitbucket

Hi everyone, my name is Courtney and I am a Junior Developer at TechTime Initiative Group. We're based in Wellington, New Zealand and develop Atlassian apps that are used daily in 32 countries.  

First off, welcome to the brand new series, Courtney Investigates. This is where I dive into the realm of something development related that I haven’t explored before. You may be thinking, Courtney, this could be about anything - the web is literally called the world wide web, and it’s got lots of nooks and crannies. And you’re so right. It’s called the world wide web for a reason, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, and the first article in this series is about EasyTime for Bitbucket

You can read my other articles on LinkedIn that feature Courtney Investigates and my experience of entering the world of tech. 

At the beginning of October, AKA winter 2.0 Ed (CEO and co-founder of TechTime) asked if I was free for a minute and pulled me into a meeting room. There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when your boss pulls you aside after it's taken you a few months to get a feature delivered. With not really having the context about how long features normally take to be released, the scope of the feature changing many times, and my own nerves of being a 'junior' junior - it's safe to say that I was at least a little bit nervous. Ed made a joke about Russian work culture and a dated reference which went well over my head. Disappointed that both of his joke attempts didn't land, he brought up my work from the last little while. Now, Ed isn't one to paint his words pretty especially when it comes to Java, so knowing this didn't really help with the old nerves. But he said he was happy that a bunch of stuff on the backlog had finally been done - so that was a relief!

Then he asked me - well, sort of asked - more of a 'this is something you're going to do now vibe to become the product expert in EasyTime for Bitbucket. EasyTime is one of our products that tracks time as you work which can be added to your timesheet or used to bill a customer. We use EasyTime quite a bit in Jira (Cloud fortified) as it means we don’t have to fill out our timesheets manually. 

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Here’s some info you can skip over if you’re familiar with Jira and Bitbucket, but for those of you who aren’t this is a little bit of context. Jira is an issue-tracking product developed by Atlassian for bug tracking and tracking agile project management. Bitbucket is a Git-based source code repository hosting service owned by Atlassian.

Did I know that we had an EasyTime for Bitbucket? No. When looking up 'EasyTime' in Atlassian Marketplace, it looked like no one else knew either... There was one lonely install. To be honest, this surprised me. Mainly because EasyTime seems like a great app to use. As a developer, you spend quite a lot of time reviewing pull requests, which is the process of merging new code changes with the main project repository. EasyTime for Bitbucket records the time spent reviewing the PR and adds it to your timesheets. This saves you from scratching your head thinking back to when you actually did review this PR and how long it took you when you can’t even remember what you had for breakfast! 

After spending months on our product EasySSO which is a single sign-on app, I was excited to get to know another of our apps. So, there I am on Atlassian Marketplace, looking at the lonely install when I realised I don’t know what hosting option we use, and I’m met with two options. I start with 'Data Center', click 'Start the free trial', follow the steps and download the app. Everything seems pretty straightforward until I'm met with the pop-up of 'There is no application set to open the document'. I am then prompted to search the app store and get an error saying that the app is not available in my country. Not off to a good start. I Google how to download an app from Atlassian and feel embarrassed that I just Googled that, so abandon that attempt fairly quickly.

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So I thought I'd try my luck downloading the server one. I’m given the same set of steps, follow them, download the app and again, have no luck. I’m feeling a bit deflated at this point, but I’m also excited to approach our products as if I were the customer. So I start to troubleshoot. I go back to Atlassian Marketplace and back to the app landing page, go through each tab on the page and find different steps under installation. This is great. What had come up before could have just been generic instructions, so now it’s looking like I'm in the right place! I start reading, excited that I can finally give it a go. Alas, it turns out that you need to be an admin to add the app to Bitbucket and I am not an admin. 

I reach out to my team to see if I could become an admin, and they let me know a way to test this could be through using a stand-alone instance of Jira and Bitbucket. Now I feel like I'm really getting somewhere! So once I’ve both of my instances up and running, I’m feeling pretty good. Then something strange happened. When searching for apps on Bitbucket none of the TechTime apps come up, including EasyTime for Bitbucket. Um, this wasn’t what I expected at all. Maybe this explains why EasyTime Bitbucket had the one install! Like most tech-related things, I assume user error, even when the user is me. I don’t know if this is great, but I don’t want to turn full Karen straight away. But after a range of keyword searches, it turns out that their UPM just isn’t working. So I go to raise a ticket with Atlassian about this and realise that I’m not set up as a vendor on Atlassian Marketplace. Once this is sorted, I raise a ticket and get an automated email confirming that they received my request. I still don’t have a response and who knows how long our apps haven’t been showing up in search results.

 

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Since I had no luck here, I manually uploaded the app onto Bitbucket. For both my Jira and Bitbucket instances, I set up my EasyTime app. Once it is finally installed, I click on ‘Documentation’ and am brought to this page. The steps are pretty easy to follow, and I get my links between Jira and Bitbucket set up. I make a test issue on Jira to tie to a pull request on Bitbucket. After some fiddling around and setting up a PR, I am met with another surprise. Having worked with EasyTime on Jira, I’m relatively familiar with how it works. It pops up with a little window and tells you how much time has been logged on the issue when you’re on it. We have ours connected to Tempo, and it works a treat. However, I’m not seeing the time pop up on Bitbucket. I flick back to Jira and see that the time isn’t being logged there either. I place a test comment on the PR, flick back to Jira, and see that it has been logged this time. Ah, so your time is recorded based on an action rather than time spent on the page. Hmm, this is an interesting choice, as a lot of time spent on a PR doesn’t equal a comment as you’re reading through the code. This must have been released as an MVP.

I’ve been at TechTime for four months now and a lot of that time has been spent on EasySSO(our single sign on app). So I start digging through the backlog of pull requests and find that there is a current feature in the works of continuous tracking. Woohoo! 

Now while I’m looking into EasyTime Bitbucket, Ed’s telling me to document everything, even the bad. Originally I thought this was an interesting decision, but now I can see why. He wanted someone to get excited about what this product can do and maybe light a fire under the team to finish the review of the PR, so it can be merged into master and then released. At this time, Ed also said to me that Zoe, our digital marketing specialist, would be available to help me get this series started. Have I abused this power a little bit? Maybe. Did I also want to jump in on the fun? Yes. How else would I have a little cartoon me investigating, which is the titular role of Courtney Investigates

 

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So watch this space. Atlassian fixed the issue and our apps are back up! Wait and see what I investigate next and keep an eye out for the new release of EasyTime for Bitbucket, hopefully coming very soon.

1 comment

Thanks for sharing. This is a great write-up!

Here is a community category that you can use for apps and integrations: https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Apps-Integrations/ct-p/atlassian-marketplace which is monitored by folks keen to learn about apps.

The 'Bitbucket' category here is as good, but focuses more on core product related articles and questions.

Keep investigating! I'm sure you'll find a plethora of curious things and facts in this ecosystem.

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