Assembla expands its online agile road map

Alex Handy
April 13, 2009 —  The Web’s current wave of collaboration and social sites has connected people around the world. Now, online workspace company Assembla is hoping that collaboration can be fostered with its Web-based agile development tools. Assembla began charging for access to its online workspaces last October, and now the company is expanding the road map for its hosted ALM tools.

Andy Singleton, CEO of Assembla, admitted outright that his company will soon have to raise the price it charges for workspaces. The Assembla tool set is hosted entirely within Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, and access currently costs a paltry US$2 per user per month. With that price, users get access to a ticketing system, a hosted repository (Git, Mercurial or Subversion), time-tracking tools, collaboration tools like wikis and instant messaging, and a management console to observe the activities of coders using the system. While most users use the hosted repository, Singleton said Assembla can be used with externally hosted repositories as well.

Singleton said that the next big target on the Assembla road map is build. “We’ll be adding a build manager. It’s extremely important to have your daily builds for continuous integration. Whatever your machinery for setting up your build, you have to have an automated build process. That’s the thing that takes people the longest. It’s the hardest to set up. We don’t have this product now, but in the next month we’re going to solve this problem with template spaces.”

He continued: “There will be full tools plus code in the repository: for example Ruby-on-Rails or Django or PHP, or something commercial. You can get that in the hosted repository, and we’re going to be partnering with cloud hosting providers so there’s a tab in there that says ‘server,’ and you can go to that cloud server and deploy that template server. We’ll support the build systems that are already out there, like Capistrano for Ruby, or in Java, Cruise Control or Hudson. We won’t get involved in those platform wars, but we will make it possible for any team to setup a very professional build and integration process.”

In the future, Assembla plants to accommodate larger teams. Singleton said the service is currently more suited to smaller, nimbler teams and consultants.

“We have a very sophisticated product; we’ve been working on it for three years. It’s fine-tuned to run 20-person teams, but we haven’t bundled it up for enterprise use, which is what we’re doing now,” said Singleton.

To that end, Assembla now offers a standalone version of its workspaces for internal hosting at enterprises. This version runs anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 for an installation. Singleton said that further accommodations for enterprise developers will be arriving in the workspace hosting environment soon.

Related Search Term(s): agile, Assembla

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