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Developers often use email as their primary mode of communication. Be it downtime alerts, 500 errors or repository commits — all of them are redirected to your email account so that everything can be found in a single place.
But email isn’t really suited to this kind of task. Email makes real-time communication difficult, and conversations can easily become unwieldy, with long delays and a lack of immediacy, particularly when you’re communicating with people in different timezones.
Chat, on the other hand, offers a more immediate way to resolve an issue. You can see who is online at a particular moment, you can share information with multiple people to receive feedback quickly, and you can even perform actions from right within the chat client, via integrations with services like GitHub’s Hubot.
We’ve come a long way from the days of Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft Messenger. Chat is no longer just a text-based interaction between two people — it’s developed into something more, something productive.
This article will cover the emerging trend of ChatOps, outlining some popular uses of chat in a devops setting, and then explain how you can take your ChatOps further with advanced integrations with VictorOps.
Popularized by GitHub, ChatOps is putting tools in the middle of the conversation. With development teams often distributed globally, there is a need for a centralized communication system which also automates certain processes like continuous deployment. GitHub started the trend with their bot, Hubot.
There are many popular chat applications in use in the tech industry. I recently wrote about using Slack for workplace collaboration, but HipChat is also popular. Most of the best chat clients offer direct messaging, multiple channels for different subjects or areas, and advanced file-sharing and integration abilities.
These apps are capable of making a world of difference to the development cycle. There are different chat-based tools and commands for different tasks, such as starting new instances of virtual machines, sending newsletters or deploying code to your main server. Traditionally, each of these tasks would involve working on different tools but with programmable chat bots these tasks can be performed by simple commands run on the chat application.
Imagine connecting with Amazon Web Services to spring up instances with just a single chat command, or deploying your latest commit to the server with the help of GitHub integrations. Or how about checking how many visitors your website has through an analytics system? Perhaps you’re just happy checking your team’s progress through Trello or Asana within your chat application of choice?
ChatOps can increase the efficiency of your team, saving time that would otherwise be wasted on redundant processes.
A standard chat app is certainly useful in improving developer communications. But when it comes to helping developer teams manage incidents, an integration with an on-call alert and management platform like VictorOps is even better.
Continue reading %An Introduction to ChatOps: Devops Meets IM%
via Reme Le Hane