Pivotal Tracker Help


Recent Updates


August 5, 2014 - More, better, faster... CSV import/export now with epics!

Though your stories look gorgeous in Tracker, exporting to CSV is handy way to make a backup, share a different view of particular stories, do bulk updates, make a report or create a project template.

To make getting stories into and out of Tracker easier for you, we've improved several aspects of CSV import and export.

Epics


You can now export and import your epics. When the 'Type' column contains 'epic', that indicates that the row is an epic. Just like stories, if the id doesn't match an existing story in the project you're importing into, a new epic will be created. However, if there is a matching epic, it will be updated with any changes you've made in that row.

Faster upload with a much higher story limit

Previously, you could only import 100 stories at a time, due to performance constraints. Now, not only is import performance improved, you can import 500 stories into your projects at once.

Helpful error handling

CSV import can be tricky if your Point Scale or other Project Settings don't match in a source and destination project. Or perhaps you accidentally saved in a different format than CSV or there’s a typo in some editing. We admit it, our old error messages were pretty obtuse. But now we step you through the problem and remedy, so you can get past glitches far more easily. As well as more detail on the problem, the row-by-row breakdown helps you find the rows you need to correct.

CSV Options in the beta

Just as the same as in the original version of Tracker, you can click or shift+click the selection boxes to the right of the story title, to select stories, However in the beta, as soon as one or more story selection boxes are clicked, options for just selected stories appear at the top left.

To select all the stories in a panel, click the cog menu at the very bottom of that panel.

All the options, including those for CSV, that you'd find in the Project menu in original Tracker, can now be found under the cog menu at the top right of the sidebar in any project.

For more on importing and exporting your stories and epics, please see the Import & Export section of the FAQ.


July 10, 2014 - Story Cloning in the Beta

It’s finally here – you can now make copies of your stories with one click story cloning! Break larger stories down more easily, create stories similar to existing ones, or use icebox stories with elaborate tasks as templates for new projects.

This feature is only available in the new Tracker beta, so if you’re not yet using it, now might be a great time to switch. Click that Switch to Beta button at the top of the page when in any project, and while you won’t want to, you can switch back (using the option under your username at the top right) at any time.

Clone one or more selected stories with the bulk action buttons at the top left of the page. You can also expand a story and clone it with the “Clone this story” button to the right of its id number. Cloned stories go to the top of the icebox, and include the original story’s title, description, type, labels, and tasks.

Hint: The bulk actions also allow you to move selected stories to another project, which in conjunction with story cloning can be used to create new projects based on a template, for example. Clone a project’s stories, then move them to a new project to get things started quickly.

Enjoy, and as always, please share your feedback via the in-app feedback button in the beta, or by email.



June 17, 2014 -Manual Planning in Tracker’s UI & API

As promised here, we’ve replaced the old “Commit Mode” feature with a new way to manually plan your current iteration. It’s available now in both the original and beta versions of Tracker.

If you choose not to use Tracker's automatic planning feature, when you plan which stories are in the current iteration yourself, only in-progress stories or those that have been dragged into Current, will go into the current iteration. You can turn off automatic planning in Project Settings.

Unlike the old “Commit Mode”, stories that have been moved by you and your team’s actions, will stay in Current even when the iteration ends. Only accepted stories will move to the Done panel.

Mouse over the MP icon for a reminder of the available modes. Also quick access to Project Settings to return to automatic planning and see where you are based on your velocity.

Note: * Manual planning only applies to the current iteration. * Manual planning is not supported in the iOS app yet. It will only load and display the Planned state (see below) on story previews, for now.

The v5 API has also been updated to change commit mode to manual planning mode.

  • The project resource's automatic_planning attribute determines whether your iterations are automatically planned or manually planned
  • The story resource's current_state attribute can now be set to planned if the project has automatic_planning: false. The planned state means the story is in the current iteration, but not yet started, and only applies in projects using manual planning. Note: Though planned does appear in exported CSV files, it is not selectable in the State dropdown in the UI.
  • The following attributes have been removed:
    • the story resource's planned_iteration_number attribute
    • the project resource's enable_planned_mode attribute
    • the iteration resource's planned attribute


Also in API V3, commit_mode is removed from the project endpoint

As ever, after trying the feature, please send any suggestions via beta in-app feedback or email us!



May 16, 2014 - Upcoming changes to Commit Mode, the API & and recent beta updates

Commit mode and API changes

When a team begins a new project, it can take some time for their velocity to stabilize. Tracker's "Commit Mode" enables scheduling more or fewer stories into the current iteration, sprint or cycle than Tracker would plan automatically. This manual control over the stories included in the current iteration was originally seen as a temporary planning need, so it has only been available on a per-iteration basis.

We continue to recommend that you let Tracker plan for you and focus on achieving a steady velocity. This helps you see what can be done, based on your team’s pace, i.e. the average number of story points completed from your previous iterations. However, we’ve been listening carefully to feedback from those who prefer to always plan the current iteration manually, and have given a great deal of thought to how to evolve this feature. We've also kept in mind the Scrum community's move away from committing to forecasting. So, coming soon in both the original and beta versions of Tracker, commit mode will be reimplemented as “Manual Planning Mode”.

Manually planned projects will be indicated by a “MP” icon at the top of the Current or Current/Backlog panel.


Currently, commit mode only exists in the original version of Tracker and not in the beta. When it returns as manual planning mode, in both the original and beta versions, you’ll be able to do everything you used to with it, with a few key changes:

  • The project will not switch back to automatic planning at the end of each iteration. No more clicking on the “diamond ring” to enable manual planning.
  • In manual mode (auto planning disabled), stories won’t automatically flow into the Current iteration. Only in-progress stories and stories accepted in the Current iteration will appear in the current panel (or first iteration in a combined Current/Backlog).
  • Any planned stories that are not accepted when the next iteration starts will remain in Current. Accepted stories will move to the Done panel for the newly completed iteration.
  • Manual planning will be enabled (by deselecting automatic planning) under Project Settings only. There will no longer be an additional step to turn on manual planning in the project itself.


This update also requires some changes to both API v3 and API v5:

  • The "enable_commit_mode" project attribute and "planned_iteration_number" story attribute will be removed from API v5
  • The "planned" attributes/parameters will be removed from API v5
  • The V5 story endpoints and resource will include a new attribute, manually_planned. This will only be returned in API responses for stories that are in manually planned projects
  • A new "automatic_planning" project attribute will be added to all project endpoints in API V5
  • In API V3, commit_mode will be removed from the project endpoint


We’ll be looking at more of your requests and suggestions for manual planning in future beta updates. But for now, we hope teams that require manual planning of the current iteration will find these changes go a long way toward meeting your needs.

Recent Beta Updates

If you haven't switched to the beta yet, here are some of the recent improvements in case they tempt you to give it a try:

Auto panel resizing option
You asked, we agreed, and you can now click "Fixed" at the bottom left of the side bar to toggle panel resizing to "Auto". This disables the manual options, but just click Auto again to get those back. Mouse over each control for a tool tip to tell you what it does.



This means the "Close all panels" button is now gone - but let us know if you need it and we'll bring it back, perhaps as a keyboard shortcut.

Brighter controls
We didn't want them to be distracting, but panel controls were achieving that a little too well. Thanks for your requests to dial up the contrast. Hopefully you'll now have an easier time discovering what tricks panels have up their sleeves.

Notifications drop down
Selecting a notification to reveal the story for it, now closes the notifications drop down for you. One less click.

Release burndown chart default
The Release Burndown chart now defaults to the first unfinished release, or if there are none, the the last finished release.

Browser support
IE 10 and IE 11 are now supported in the beta, now we've completed a full pass of testing. There are still a few issues, but in general you can use these browsers for your projects. Please note: IE 9 will not be supported in the new UI.

Scrolling, adding stories and more
- Automatic horizontal scrolling of stories and panels when dragging should make viewing them easier.
- When adding a new story it now appears the first unstarted story, rather than at the bottom of the backlog.
- The 'Search Improvements' section in the Beta Overview now includes how to remove a saved search.
- Last but not least, when you are kind enough to give feedback, hitting ESC with text in the feedback widget no longer loses what you've typed.


Please see below for how to access the beta, switch back from it, find the Beta Updates panel and give beta feedback!

April 4, 2014 - All Tracker users have access to Beta, Notification email updates

Exciting news! All users now have access to the redesigned Pivotal Tracker, which includes an improved UI, multi-project workspace, cross-project search, in-app notifications and so much more. Read more about the Tracker Beta below.

Activate the Beta by clicking the “Switch to Beta” button toward the top-right of the Tracker page:

Once you’ve switched, please check out the Beta Overview panel to learn about all of the new features. Please send us Beta feedback through the Provide Feedback button in the Tracker Help & Updates menu and side bar.

Note: You can switch back with the option under your username at the top right of the Tracker page.

Email notifications updates

We’ve been listening to your feedback about our recent email notifications updates. Many of you appreciate the new email threading capabilities, but some of you asked to have the old workflow actions-in-title back. You can now enable emails to include workflow actions by turning them on in your Profile > Notifications Settings:

Along with this, we’ve also tweaked email notification content to make comments, commit messages and story links more readable. We’ve also re-introduced the story ID to URLs in the footer of the notification:

Feedback

Please continue to send us beta-specific feedback through the Provide Feedback button in the beta or general feedback through tracker@pivotallabs.com. This feedback greatly contributes to future product improvements.

As always, follow us on Twitter for the latest Tracker updates.

March 24, 2014 - Threaded emails, improved notifications options

We've streamlined the way email Notifications are sent from Tracker, reducing inbox noise and improving email readability. We’ve also given you more control over which Notifications you see in email.

Email improvements

You can now view email Notifications as threads of updates. In the past, Tracker emails would send you an email with distinct title for each state changes. This had the result of potentially flooding a person’s inbox with story updates if that person followed a number of stories.

Messages from Tracker are now threaded by story/epic title (in most modern email clients). This results in a far more manageable inbox. We’ve also improved the readability of emails by highlighting mentions directed at you, comments, state changes and code commits.

Project notification muting

In our last update, we gave you the ability to turn on/off certain notifications to give you more control over the messages you receive. In this release, we’ve improved the usability of these Notification settings. On top of this, you can now mute notifications from certain projects, which is particularly handy if you subscribe to a number of projects. You will still receive @mentions for these projects unless you turn these off globally. You can find these settings under your Profile in Notifications Settings:


P.S. The above also applies to in-app notifications in the beta. If you don’t yet have access to the new Tracker beta, please be patient just a little longer. We’re still rolling it out to everyone gradually.

March 17, 2014 - Take Control of Your Notifications

Email notifications allow you to stay connected with your project when away from Tracker, and respond quickly when needed, for example to answer questions in story comments or accept delivered stories.

On busy projects, though, the volume of notifications can be a little overwhelming. And with in-app notifications, introduced in the new Tracker beta, you may be interested in different types of notifications in the app vs those you get in email. If you're a product manager, who spends much of your day in your email inbox, you may want to see most or all notifications in email, but only direct @mentions when in Tracker.

Today's update introduces the ability to turn on or off certain in-app and email notifications. These new notification settings provide you with more granular control of the types of notifications you receive, and where you receive them.

To access your new notification settings, go to your Profile, then Notification Settings.

If you’ve never changed your notification settings, by default you’ll get notifications in email for:

  • new comments on stories and epics that you follow
  • when a story you’ve requested is delivered, or when a story you own is accepted or rejected
  • stories getting assigned to you


For in-app notifications, in the beta, by default you’ll only see notifications for comments you’re explicitly @mentioned in, or when someone makes you an owner of a story (assigns it to you).

The various other notifications that you can choose to receive, in email or in-app, include:

  • new stories or epics created in your projects
  • comments on all stories and epics in your projects
  • all state changes on stories you follow, or all stories in your projects
  • source commits on stories you follow, or all stories


You can also disable email or in-app notifications completely, with the checkbox at the top of the relevant section (after you click the Edit button).

More improvements to notifications are on the way. We’re changing the format of email notifications, so all notifications related to a particular story thread together (they’ll all have the same subject and appropriate threading headers), and you’ll soon be able to opt out of notifications for specific projects.

P.S. If you don’t yet have access to the new Tracker beta, you should soon. We’re rolling it out to everyone gradually.



March 5, 2014 - Public Beta starting for redesigned new Pivotal Tracker

The rumors are true, there is a major redesign of Pivotal Tracker in the works, with a long list of new features. For those of you already using it as part of the private beta - thanks for all the feedback so far! Today, we’re excited to start a gradual rollout of the beta to everyone.

With this redesign, we want to make using Tracker more of a delight, day in and day out. But most importantly, we’re aiming for Tracker to be a better collaboration platform for software development teams, and make it easier to stay organized and focused as your projects and companies grow.

The beta is work in progress, but you’ll find a long list of new features available now, ready to make working with your projects easier.

Multi-project workspaces allow you to see and work with multiple projects side-by-side, with cross-project search and My Work across your projects. Multiple story owners, editable comments, and in-app notifications make collaboration on larger projects much easier.

Markdown in comments and descriptions should make for clearer, richer stories. You can now add rich text elements like code blocks, bullet points, numbered lists and emphasis.

Finding the right stories is easier, with the much improved search syntax, and more usable saved searches. You also have more control over the interface, with the ability to reorder panels via drag and drop, and adjust panel width manually (hint - double click panel headers to auto-resize).

We’re rolling out the new Tracker UI gradually, starting today, and expect to have it available for everyone over the next few weeks. For now, the beta is opt-in, so look for the Switch to Beta button in the header when in your project. You can switch back to the original user interface at any time, via the dropdown menu under your username in the top right corner.

When you first jump in, you’ll see a Beta Overview panel, with a tour of all that’s new in the beta. Follow along as we roll out new features with the Recent Updates panel, both of these panels are accessible at any time via Help and Updates menu.

Note: We're redesigning a solution to improve on Tracker's commit mode feature. Currently, commit mode is not supported in the beta, and projects with commit mode will be read only. If you're using commit mode to manually plan your sprints, we'd love to hear from you so we can better understand your workflow. Also, for now, browser support is limited to recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

We’re relying on your continued feedback to make Tracker really amazing. You can share your thoughts right from within the beta, via the feedback button in the navigation sidebar.

And, if you’re not already, please follow us on Twitter for all the latest Tracker news!



Dec. 18, 2013 - Boolean Search: AND, OR & more

To finish our recent round of Search updates, you can now refine searches, using AND, OR, a minus sign to exclude items, and use combinations of all search options in Tracker.

Full details of all the ways you can search are in the FAQ, but here are a few examples:

Want to find everything with one label or another that haven’t yet been started?

(label:design OR label:”needs discussion”) AND (state:unstarted OR state:unscheduled)

Perhaps you’d like to find all stories without attachments and with particular words in their titles:

-has:attachment (name:browsing OR name:search)

As well as using the search field in Tracker’s UI, all of the recently added advanced search syntax, including boolean expressions, is available using the API, via the Search endpoint.

Hope you enjoy all the new ways you can find your stories in Tracker!



Dec. 12, 2013 - Manage account members via API V5

New /accounts and /accounts/{account_id}/memberships endpoints, to allow you fetch all of the accounts you are a member of, and manage account members. These endpoints are mostly limited to account owners and administrators.

Also, the /projects/{project_id}/memberships endpoint now allows inviting new users to projects, via name/initials/email, just like in API V3.



Nov 14, 2013 - Find stories using date ranges, relative dates, wildcards

We’ve been continuing work to bring you a few more of the search options you’ve been asking for. As well as a few fixes, we’ve extended the ability to search on created:, updated:, accepted:

  • using before/on/after criteria, e.g. created_before: 11/19/2012
  • specifying a date range, e.g. created: 10/19/2013..11/15/2013
  • using relative dates, weeks, days, and hours, e.g. accepted:-1w updated:yesterday created:-1d


We’ve also added the ability to search with regular expressions (including simple wildcards), e.g. label:needs_*

The full details of all search options are in the FAQ.

We hope this massively improves your ability to filter and find the stories you’re looking for.

And, of course, all this is supported in the API.



Nov 8, 2013 - Pivotal Tracker for iOS 1.8 now with following, mentions, and push notifications

Pivotal Tracker for iOS 1.8 is now available in the App Store with some great new features to keep you in the loop with your team.

Following and @mentions

Just like in the web version of Tracker, you can now follow stories and epics, so you'll always be a part of the conversation. If you need someone else's attention, bring them into the discussion by @mentioning them. You've been able to do this since we added it to the web version, but now Tracker for iOS will suggest team members as you type. Just tap a person's name to fill in their username and keep writing!

You saw it here first: in-app notifications

Tracker has been sending email notifications for some time, but if you got one from your iOS device, you couldn't do much with it. Now you can see all of your Tracker notifications from within the app!

Tap to see all of your notifications from all of your projects, no matter which project you're viewing. You can easily see the Tracker activity that matters to you. If you need to see some more context for what your teammate said, tap the notification to see the relevant story or epic. The icon will show a badge when you have unread notifications.

This is great for when you're actively using Tracker, but if you're not checking, you may miss an important notification. If someone @mentions you, they probably need your attention soon. In Tracker for iOS, you now have the option to receive push notifications when a teammate @mentions you. Even if you're not using Tracker at the time, you'll see a notification and be able to decide if you need to take action.

While beta testing this features, we on the Tracker team were surprised how much of a difference this feature made. Our project manager, Dan, works remotely from the rest of the Tracker team, but he always has his iPhone with him. Now we can @mention Dan with a question about a story, and get feedback in just minutes!

Head over to the App Store and download the app now!



October 30, 2013 - Search, Webhook, and other improvements

The team has its hands full, with much of our focus on a redesigned interface, with new features for teams working on larger projects. Beta access to that is just around the corner.

We’re also putting the finishing touches on the new API, and making various behind-the-scenes infrastructure upgrades. One of those is an overhaul of the Tracker search engine, rolled out last weekend, which has improved average server-side search performance by a factor of 20.

As part of that update, we’ve expanded the criteria available for advanced searches, and made it possible to do negative searches. You can also now hide accepted stories in the current iteration, as well as mention people when rejecting stories. And finally, it’s now possible to set up multiple activity webhooks per project, and manage them via the API. Keep reading for the details.

Search Improvements

Searching should be noticeably faster, and we’ve added support for the following advanced search criteria:

  • following: (stories you’re currently following)
  • owner: “” (stories without an owner)
  • owner:username (stories owned by user with given username)
  • name: ”shopping cart” (stories with the given term in the story name only)
  • estimate: 2 (stories with given estimate)
  • estimate: -1 (un-estimated stories)
  • -label: ”in testing” (stories that do NOT have the given label)
  • -owner: bob (stories NOT owned by the given person)


The complete list of supported search criteria can be found here, and this search syntax can be used in the UI as well as to filter API requests for stories.

We’ve also made the error messages that appear with invalid search syntax clearer, and certain special characters like colons (in quotes) should now work in search terms.

More search improvements are on the way, including support for date ranges and relative dates (e.g. “yesterday”), as well as support for boolean OR expressions. And, the redesigned, new interface will support cross-project search!


Hide Accepted Stories in Current Iteration

It’s always great to see lots of accepted stories in the current iteration. But, on large projects, it can be a pain to always have to scroll past that sea of green to see what’s going on now, in terms of in-progress stories or stories waiting for acceptance. We’ve made it easy to hide these accepted stories, and toggle to reveal them, with one click.


Mention people when rejecting stories

Having your story rejected can be harsh, but at least now your product owner can make it more personal, by @mentioning you directly.


Multiple Webhooks per Project, Managed via API

Activity webhooks are simply URLs that you specify in project settings, that Tracker sends JSON or XML requests to for every action in the project, for example story comments, state changes, new stories, etc. You can use that to build applications that “listen” for Tracker activity, and do amazing things with that.

Previously, a project could only have one webhook, and it had to be set up via the settings UI in Tracker. Now, projects can have as many as you like, and you can create, update, and delete them via the API or UI.

Webhooks are managed on your project’s integration settings page (Project -> Configure Integrations), or via the Project Webhook API endpoints.

P.S. You can also access project or story activity directly, via the API and the Activity endpoints. Webhooks sends you that same activity in real time, as it occurs.



August 16, 2013 - New Developer API Now In Public Beta

The new Pivotal Tracker developer API (V5) is now open to everyone! It’s completely new, all-JSON, much more comprehensive, and full of goodies. Keep reading for highlights and an example to get started.

The recently rewritten Tracker application has been running against this new API since earlier in the year, and some of you may have already started developing against it as part of the private beta. The new API is quite stable, but officially it’s in beta status, meaning there may still be some changes based on your feedback.

Documentation for the new API can be found here, or via the Developer API link at the top of the Tracker Help page. To get started, you’ll need your API token, which can be found on your Profile page.

Here’s an example of a simple cURL request that fetches a single story:

export TOKEN='your API token'
export STORY_ID='your story ID'
curl -X GET -H "X-TrackerToken: $TOKEN" "https://www.pivotaltracker.com/services/v5/stories/$STORY_ID?fields=name,description,estimate,owned_by(name)"


Since the request specified the story name, description, estimate, and owner name fields only, the response contains only those fields, as well as the story and person IDs:

{
  "id": 12345,
  "name": "All exhaust ports should be shielded",
  "description": "ray shielded, that is.",
  "estimate": 3,
  "owned_by": {
    "id": 1,
    "name": "Clone TK421", 
  },
}


Updating a story (to change it's name, for example) would look like this:

export TOKEN='your API token'
export STORY_ID='your story ID'
export PROJECT_ID='your project ID'
curl -H "X-TrackerToken: $TOKEN" -X PUT -H "Content-type: application/json" -d "{\"name\": \"That's no moon...\" }" https://www.pivotaltracker.com/services/v5/projects/$PROJECT_ID/stories/$STORY_ID


API Highlights

Dive right into the developer documentation for all the gory details, but here are some noteworthy features:

  • All project data is available via the API, including epics
  • All JSON, all the time
  • Consistent pagination control and response format for endpoints that can return a large amount of data (via offset and limit parameters)
  • Fine grained control of which fields and nested resources the API returns
  • Support for cross-origin (CORS) requests, allowing JavaScript applications to make requests to the API directly, without a server proxy
  • Access to historical project activity, with full details about what changed as part of a given user activity
  • Optional “envelope” metadata structure as part of the JSON response, instead of the metadata returned in the response header
  • Much more informative and consistent error responses
  • Support for new features (for example story following) available immediately when feature launches or enters beta


There are a number of things still in the works for API V5, including the ability to have multiple activity web hooks per project (manageable via the API, of course), an interactive API console, a request “aggregator”, and more. To keep up with changes to the API, follow our blog, or keep an eye on the change log section in the API documentation.

We hope you find these features useful, and are looking forward to seeing what you end up building! We'll soon be launching a new “App Bazaar” to showcase all of the apps/tools/integrations developed by the community (for now you can find them on the third party tools page).

Please send any questions, or feedback you might have on the new API to tracker@pivotallabs.com. And if you’re not already, follow us on Twitter!




June 26, 2013 - New in Pivotal Tracker – Story following and user @mentions

It’s now even easier to collaborate with your teammates and keep the right people up to date. We’re very excited to announce story following and @mentioning.

Get people’s attention with @mentions

Ever wanted to include someone on epic comments or a story discussion, even if they’re not a requester or owner? @mentions allow you to do exactly that. Once you add them, they’ll be alerted by a NEW MENTION email with a link to the story or epic. They will also be included on any future updates.

To add someone as a follower, simply type @ in a story comment, then their initials or a few characters of a name or username will filter the list.

@mentioning someone in a comment every time you want their attention can also help your team filter their emails so they see those first.


Follow stories and epics

Story following allows you to receive updates on stories and epics relevant to you. Check the “follow this story” box under any story or epic to follow it, then any changes will be sent to you via email.

You can see how many people are following at a glance - just mouse-over to see who they are.

Following stories that you requested or own is automatic, and by default you follow any story or epic on which you've commented. Including someone in a story or epic using @mentions will automatically add them as a follower too.


Email notification settings & unfollowing

You still have control over the email notifications you receive. Check the Email Preferences section under your Profile to be sure you are getting the emails you want.

You can see if someone you want to follow a story or epic has their email notifications turned off, by the “no-email” icon next to their name when you start typing it after the @ symbol.

Also, if you’re getting too much of a good thing, you can uncheck the “follow this story” box.


Your username

Finally, following requires you to have a username now, and we’ve auto-generated one if you didn’t have one previously (as covered in this blog post). Your Profile is also where you can change your username assuming someone else hasn’t already snagged the one you want. Usernames do currently have to be unique in all of Tracker, not just the people in all the projects under the same Tracker account.




June 20, 2013 - The Pivotal Tracker Rewrite, And a New Feature - Improved Story Linking

If you’re a long time Pivotal Tracker user, you’ve probably noticed that for the last year or so, things have been fairly quiet, in terms of new features. That’s because we spent that time on a complete, but focused rewrite of the core of the Tracker web application, as well building a soon to be public, brand new API.

A year is a long time to hit the pause button, but we think it was a necessary investment given that Tracker has been around for almost eight years, starting as mostly a training project during the early days of Pivotal Labs. And while deceptively simple on the surface, Tracker is actually quite an amazingly complex application under the hood, as we humbly re-discovered over the course of this rewrite.

The Tracker team worked hard to get this done, and we now have a clean, modern codebase, ready for new features, as well as a comprehensive new API that’s about to go into beta. Keep reading for some highlights about the rewrite, as well as the first new feature that we’ve just released!

A Ground Up Rewrite

We completely rewrote the important part of Tracker - the project page, where you spend most of your time.

The rewrite took us from a home grown, OO-based client MVC framework, that used older Prototype and YUI libraries, and many experimental patterns, to a clean and mostly functional, event based client codebase, built on top of Backbone.js and JQuery (that runs exclusively against the new API, of course). We now have almost 40% less JavaScript code (around 18K lines now), with over 2:1 (Jasmine) test to production code ratio. We also reduced the number of project load time requests by 90% by using sprites for all image assets.

This new client and API architecture has made it possible to improve a few things that were quite difficult before. For example, we can now deploy our API and client application independently, with strict versioning and automated integration testing, allowing us to deploy application updates without any disruption (via the new yellow popup messages asking you to reload at your convenience).

Another example is that you no longer lose story changes you might be in the middle of, when someone else moves that story to a different panel, directly or indirectly. Your story simply moves to it’s new place, but stays open and keeps your changes intact.

The new client is mostly identical to the old one (for now), but there is more polish. The charts in the app are now done via HighCharts (and more of them on the way).

Finally, everything that Tracker does is fully supported in the new API, for which beta access begins shortly. Anything that you can do via Tracker’s UI will be available in this new API, including epics and full access to historical project and story activity. It will be JSON based, with cross-domain request capability to allow you to build browser widgets that access Tracker data.

And because Tracker’s own UI runs against this new API, going forward, the API will no longer lag behind new features - support for them in the API will be available immediately.

First New Feature - Improved Story Linking

We’re busy working on a number of new features, including a fairly major redesign - which this new codebase and architecture has allowed us to make amazing progress on so far. The first of these improvements - improved story linking, is now available for all projects.

This feature makes it easier to embed story or epic links within story or epic description, tasks, and comments, which can be useful with cross-project story dependencies. For example when you want to indicate that a given story is blocked by another, because the API endpoint that the story depends on is not complete yet.

Copying and pasting a story or epic URL into the description, task, or comment of another story will show a short form link to that story or epic, with a colored background (blue for stories, purple for epics). Hovering over the link will allow you to see a preview of that linked story, so you can tell whether that story has been accepted yet, for example, without having to load that story's project.

This works with stories in the same project, as well as with stories from other projects. And clicking on the link will either reveal the story in the current project, or open it in a new tab if it’s from a different project.

Instead of copying and pasting the full story or epic URL, you can also just type # and the story ID (e.g. #123456789), or ## and ID for epics. To get the URL or ID of a story or epic, just click on the “link” or ID button to the left of the ID number, in the expanded story or epic view.

More to come soon! Please let us know what you think of this improved story linking feature, in the comments below or by email to tracker@pivotallabs.com.



September 5, 2012

We’ve made a few UI changes that make it easier to navigate the world of Pivotal Tracker accounts, update your profile and preferences, and work with all of your projects.

Navigation Links

We’ve moved all of the more administrative navigation links to a new dropdown in the top right corner. This is where you’ll find links to your Profile (where you can do things like change your password, update email preferences, etc) as well as to the new Accounts page, and Sign Out. If you’re using Tracker’s simple time tracking functionality, you’ll find the Time link here as well.

New Accounts Page

First, what exactly is an account, versus a user login? Let’s ask the Tracker FAQ:

Accounts in Tracker are separate things from personal user logins. A user's login is always associated with an individual--their email address, an optional username and their private password. That login can own or be a member of one or more accounts, and accounts are, effectively, containers for projects.

Accounts allow you to group projects. For example, you might create, or be a member of, an account for your company projects, and have a separate one for your personal work. Every project belongs to an account. You can create as many accounts as you'd like....(read more).

The new accounts page, accessible via the Accounts link the new dropdown in the top right corner of the page, shows you all of the accounts that you are associated with, along with projects in the accounts that you have access to.

For each account, you can see what subscription plan it’s on, as well as how many private projects and collaborators there are in the account. Accounts on this page are grouped as follows:

Accounts that you own - these are accounts that you own, including the one automatically created for you when you signed up for Tracker.

Accounts that you administer - these are accounts that someone else owns, but added you as an administrator to (more on roles here).

Accounts you’re a member of - if you’re a member of projects in someone else’s account, or your company’s account, you’ll see that account listed here, and you can see who owns and administers it (hover over the admins link to see those). The owner or administrator of these accounts may have given you permission to create projects, in which case you’ll see a Create Project button.

Clicking on the Manage Account button for an account that you own or administer allows you to see and change the subscription plan (if you're the owner), change settings, work with account members, etc.

All Projects Page

Previously, projects were grouped by account here, but that made finding the right project(s) hard sometimes. That account grouping is now on the Accounts page, when you need to think about how projects are organized administratively, and the Projects page becomes a simple list of all active projects that you are a member of.

By default, projects are shown in most recently accessed order, so the ones you work with the most should always appear near the top. You can change the sort order to show projects in alphabetical order, by account, or by created date (newest first).

Hover over the cogwheel for various actions including changing project settings, archiving, and deleting.

Clicking the “Show archived projects” checkbox at the top of the page will do, well, just that - show all archived projects.

Creating projects can be done on this page, via the big button, or anywhere else now via the new Create Project option in the Projects drop-down at the top.

Updated Profile Page

There aren’t any functional changes here, but your Profile page looks a bit better now, and allows you to make changes to individual sections without having to scroll up and down to get to the save button.

We hope these changes make it at least a little bit easier to do the more administrative things in Tracker and stay organized. We’d love your feedback on what else we can do, and if you need any help at all, just visit our help and support page.

Stay tuned for what else we’re up to, and what you can expect over the next few months!



Jun 6, 2012

One of the goals of Pivotal Tracker is to give everyone on your team the same view of your project, and allow people to work with individual stories but without losing sight of the big picture.

Some stories, though, and especially epics, can accumulate quite a bit content, including comments, source commits, and mockups. It can be hard to read all this, sometimes, so to make it easier, we've added the ability to zoom in, and expand stories to full page mode.

This feature also lets you get to individual stories much faster, when clicking on a link to a story, for example in an email.

To toggle between a normal size story to full page mode, click on the arrow button to the right of the story title. To shrink a full page story, and see it the context of the project, click the arrow button in the top right corner, next to the 'x', which closes the story.

Any changes you might be in the middle of making on the story get preserved as you zoom in or out.



Apr 11, 2012

We've launched the Epics feature, it's available for use on all of your projects now. Thanks to everyone who helped us test and evolve it!

Epics allow your team to plan, discuss, and keep track of progress of coarse-grained features or themes, at a level higher than individual stories.

Epics are similar to stories, but they live in their own panel, and can be ordered independent of stories in the backlog, to make the project's big picture priorities obvious to the whole team. You can also use epics for design collaboration of big features, and make it easy for developers to find assets (such as mockups) for a big feature that spans many stories.

Epics are tied to stories via a special label, called the linked label. Apply this label to stories to make them part of the epic. Labels linked to epics are purple, instead of the usual green.

Click on the EPICS button at the top of the project page to show the epics panel, or just type shift-e. The + button at the top of the epics panel creates a new epic. You can also convert existing labels to epics, in the Labels and Searches panel.

Epics allow you to see "where you are" with big features at a glance. As you prioritize and work on stories associated with an epic (via the linked label), a multi-color progress bar will appear on the epic, allowing you to see how big the given epic is, relative to other epics, and easily see how much of the epic has been accepted, is in progress, prioritized, or on ice. You can hover over the progress bar with the mouse to see a more detailed breakdown, as well as estimated completion date, which is the last day of the iteration that the epic's last prioritized story appears in, in the backlog. Clicking that progress bar, or the small arrow button to the right of it, reveals all of the epic's stories.

Drag and drop stories within an epic's story list to re-prioritize them relative to each other. Dragging a story from the icebox or backlog to an epic's story list panel will move that story to that position and associate the story with the epic. Dragging and dropping stories on the epic itself, in the epics panel, just associates the stories with that epic, without moving them to a new position.

For more about epics, please watch this 2 minute video, check out the FAQ, and download this quick start guide.



Feb 17, 2012

As posted to the Tracker blog yesterday, we've made a number of changes to the redesigned story interface based on your feedback, and added some new features:

  • You can now navigate through all of the drop-downs and select values with the keyboard.
  • When adding a new story, in addition to being able to move through the story types and point estimates with your left/right cursor, you can also choose values with a single key. Use F/B/C/R for Feature/Bug/Chore/Release, and the number keys to pick an estimate.
  • CTRL + S (or CMD + S on a Mac) now save stories.
  • Enter and escape work everywhere again, to save changes or cancel.
  • The overall visual design has been adjusted to improve contrast and scannability, especially in the top section.
  • There's now a save button at the top of new stories, for more consistency between creating and editing.
  • We've adjusted the gray background to a warmer color.
  • Clicking on a file attachment thumbnail or file name should open the file inline in the browser, at least for most file types. To download a file, use the cogwheel menu next to file attachments.
  • The 'view all images' page now shows upload date/times.
  • The Flash-based 'click-to-copy' feature for story ID and URL can ow be explicitly disabled on the Profile page, for those having trouble with Flash. When disabled, your stories will show a text field for both story ID and URL, which should auto-select when clicked into for easy copy and paste.
  • Story tasks can once again be disabled in project settings, if you're not using them.


Note: We're aware of some performance issues related to opening and closing of stories, as well as drag and drop in large projects. We're working on this, and plan to roll out improvements over the next few weeks.

Feb 4, 2012

Stories have been given a serious upgrade. For the most part it’s all pretty self explanatory - the functionality you’re used to is all there, just in a format that’s more intuitive, user friendly and hopefully you’ll agree, more appealing.

One of the goals of Tracker has always been to make collaboration around your story backlog as easy as possible, so that your team spends less time managing your project and more of it actually building things. We think there’s room to make that not just easier, but more enjoyable, even fun! So to that end, great usability and user experience are major themes in our backlog for 2012, starting with this story redesign.

New Look and Feel

Like we said, stories look different, and are hopefully a lot easier to work with now. It's a complete redesign, with a color scheme that fits better with the rest of the Tracker UI, and that's intended to make the important information in a story stand out more - such as the story title, description, comments, code commits, and file attachments.

Besides visual appeal, we’re aiming to reduce clicks - for example, when creating a new story, it only takes one click to choose a story type or point estimate value. And, you can now start, finish, deliver, or accept/reject an expanded story with one click, with the familiar buttons.

Click to Copy ID and Story URL

We heard your feedback about having to scroll down in stories to find their IDs, to copy them to your commit messages (you are using the source commit integration, right?). So, we've moved the ID to the top of stories, and made it so that you can copy the ID to the clipboard with one click (on the ID button).

The same is true for the story URL, for when you need to send someone a link to the story. Just click the link button in the top left corner, and the story's full URL will be copied to the clipboard. Note - you’ll need Flash enabled in your browser for these to work. If you don’t have Flash, you’ll see the full URL on a separate line, so you can copy it the old way.

Less commonly used actions, including delete and view history, have been moved to the “More” menu, which is where we’ll be adding some other convenience actions soon.

File Attachments on Comments

One big change in this redesign is that files are now attached to stories as part of posting a comment, rather than as a separate list. This is because files are commonly uploaded and shared in the context of an on-going conversation, and it’s so much easier to refer to a file that’s actually part of that comment (e.g. “Here’s that icon”) rather than having to say “see the file named foo.gif at the bottom of the story”.

You can still drag and drop files from your desktop to stories, and entering an actual comment when adding files is optional - just drop your files on a story and close it.

View All Images and Comment Filtering

The truth is, thumbnails of mockups attached to a story can be indistinguishable from one another. Sometimes you just need to see them all full sized, on one page. Now, with just one click of the View All Images link above the Activity section, you can.

We’ve also made it easier to find what you need in a long-winded (all of it beautifully clear and vital) comment conversation - just use the filter dropdown menu at the top right of the Activity section to show just file attachments, just source commits, or all comments without commits.

Feedback

This redesign of stories is the first step in an on-going usability overhaul. We’ve got much more coming over the course of this year, but we’d like to incorporate your feedback at every step, so please let us know what you think so far, by email to tracker@pivotallabs.com.



Jan 5, 2012 - API V2 Removal on Jan 27

We're working on a new version of the developer API, with a long list of improvements. The release of this is a few months away, but to prepare for it, we're removing the old version (V2) of the API. This change (removal of V2) is tentatively planned for January 27, 2012, just over three weeks from today.

If you're using the API, please make sure that you're using the current version (V3), as requests to V2 will no longer work.

To see which version you're using, look at the URLs of the requests you're sending. If you see "v2" in the path, for example /services/v2/projects, you're using the old version, and will need to upgrade to the current API version.

If you have any questions, or could use help figuring out how to make your code work with the V3 version of the API, please send an email to tracker@pivotallabs.com.

Sept. 20, 2011

Tracker now integrates with Google Apps, and is available for your domain in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Provisioning Tracker for your Apps Domain

The first step is provisioning Pivotal Tracker for your Google Apps domain. You’ll need to be a domain administrator to do this, or a user with the Domain Settings privilege enabled (more on that here). Click the button above, or go to the Pivotal Tracker listing in the Marketplace, click the Add it Now button, and follow all the steps.

Once provisioned, you should see Pivotal Tracker on your Google Apps Dashboard. This is where you can make any provisioning changes, or remove apps from your domain.

Integration between Tracker and a Google Apps domain is at the level of the Tracker account (more on those here). Only one account can be associated with a Google Apps domain, so normally this should be the account that holds all of your company's projects.

Universal Navigation and Single-Sign-On

It may take a few hours after provisioning, but all users in your Google Apps domain should see a Pivotal Tracker link in the more menu (in the various Google services like Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, etc.). Clicking that link will sign you into Tracker via OpenID, using your Google Apps identity.

If you access Tracker by going to the Tracker sign in page directly, click on the Google Apps link (the one at bottom right), and type the name of your Google Apps domain (for example "pivotallabs.com").

Note: If you run into problems with multiple Google OpenID identities (for example because you used to sign in via Google Accounts), please read this.

Inviting Google Users to Account and Projects

We’ve made it easy to invite co-workers from your domain to your linked Tracker account and/or projects within it.

To invite people to your Tracker account, for example to delegate administrative or project creation rights, go to the Account Members page for the account, click the Add Member button, then the Add Members from List link at the bottom.

You’ll see a list of everyone in your Google Apps domain. Choose the people you’d like to invite to the account, as well as their desired roles.

To invite users from your domain directly to your Tracker project, go to the Project Members page, and click the Add Members from List button. Again, you’ll see a list of all users in your Google domain, and can select multiple users along with their desired project roles. The drop-down menu at the top allows you to toggle between showing Google domain users only (who are not yet on the proje