Dan Podsedly

2013 Tracker Update: New Features, New API, New Design


January has gone by quickly! Hopefully the new year is already off to a great start for you and your entire team. I’d like to share what we’ve been up to recently, and give you a preview of what to expect in 2013.

The big picture

To put our plans in context, it’s important to understand our ultimate goal. We want Pivotal Tracker to be a fun, yet indispensable and transformative tool for software development teams everywhere; from the startup next door to the global enterprise, for small single backlog teams as well as larger, multi-team projects.

We believe we’re on the right path. In the last 8 years Tracker has grown organically to over 500K users around the globe, and is now an integral part of a thriving and growing software development ecosystem. But this goal is no small task for an app that began as an internal tool and an exercise in learning a promising new web development framework at the time: Ruby on Rails. So instead of simply charging ahead and piling on feature after feature we took a hard look at ourselves and acknowledged that we had accumulated a certain amount of “drag” and decided to make some long term, foundational investments.

Slimmer, faster

Our first mission: modernize things under the hood. Last year we undertook a complete, but very focused rewrite of the Tracker web application, using modern, slimmer Javascript patterns and frameworks (including Backbone.js), exclusively against a brand new public API. Not only will this “refresh” lead to easier and faster feature development, we now also have a new, richer, REST-ier API, laying the groundwork for other great Tracker clients (on other platforms, for example).

This took some time, but the good news is, we’re almost done and have already started rolling it out to some of our projects here at Pivotal Labs. While you may notice some minor UI improvements and polish when it’s rolled out fully, it will be the same Tracker you already know, but on a better foundation, ready for the future. And shortly after, we’ll be opening up that brand new API, with more endpoints, support for epics, fine-grained access to all project activity, JSON, cross-origin resource sharing support, improved webhooks, much better documentation, even an interactive console!

New design, new features

While all this has been going on, we’ve been busy planning the main attraction, a redesigned “next generation” of Pivotal Tracker, to be rolled out gradually over the course of 2013, starting with some long-awaited features including story following, historical project analytics, and improved icebox management. In addition, we’re looking to improve how you collaborate and plan in Tracker with features like better search and filtering, in-app notifications, cross-project visibility, new integrations, and more.

While we’re not quite ready to share details yet, the next generation of Tracker will be a major step forward in terms of overall usability, and help your teams with the various challenges that arise as projects grow beyond a single backlog.

We’ve got a number of other things in the works for 2013, for example a shiny and more organized directory of 3rd party tools and extensions for Tracker, as well as special programs for consultancies and universities. Stay tuned for more news, including information about the new API and how to request early access to the Tracker next-generation beta. If you’re not already, please follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook!