A social tool for GitLab

Hi, fellow GitLab users! I’ve just finished developing an open-source tool for GitLab. It’s called Trambar. It basically turns your repo’s activity log into sort of a mini-Facebook. A story pops up in the news feed whenever someone does a push. Or when someones create an issue in the bug tracker. And so on. You can also post messages, simple surveys, task lists, photos, and video.

You can see Trambar in action here: https://live.trambar.io/. You can sign in as a guest using your GitHub account. The mobile client is available on Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile. You can find it in the respected app store.

The project page is here: https://trambar.io. The server component of Trambar is a Docker app. There’s a CLI utility that helps install it. I tried to make the process as easy as possible.

Trambar is meant to create a social space centered on git that nonetheless is inclusive of non-programmers. Even though they don’t code, they often need to know what programmers are doing in order to do their jobs. A QA tester, for instance, needs to know what’s being changed to plan test coverage. A client representative overseeing the contact, meanwhile, needs to see that the team hasn’t veered off course. Trambar is designed to help keep these people in the loop without burdening programmers with endless status reports.

Programmers themselves can benefit from being more aware of what their fellow programmers are doing. Trambar is built on the premise that people will only look at the activity log if it’s super easy to do so. The usage scenario I had in mind is someone standing on the train platform with 30 seconds to spare. The information has to come up quickly and it must be presented in a format that lends itself to rapid flicking through on a touch screen.

Let me know what you think of the app. If you like it, a star at GitHub would be much appreciated :slight_smile:


I posted a link to this project some months ago. I didn’t have a website explaining what the software does back then. Creating that turned out to be a major struggle. It was hard to write promotional materials for a tool that doesn’t solve any particular problem. “A place for programmers to hang out when they got nothing better to do” isn’t much of a pitch. But that’s what Trambar basically is. It combines the GitLab activity log with—well, random stuff that users submit.

Here’s how I imagine the typical usage scenario: A programmer is on a train, returning home after a hard day at work. He opens the Trambar app on his phone and quickly flips through the events of the day…

“I check these fixes into git. Yay me.”
“Tom did something to the backend code. Okay.”
“Oh, my manager liked my push! That’s nice.”
“Look what Kate had for lunch…”
“Here’s the TODO list I made this morning. Let’s see…check…check…”

Trambar is sort of modeled after Facebook. The critical difference is that you run the software. You’re in control of your data. No one’s going to monitor what your team is saying and then bombard with targeted adverts.

The aim of Trambar is modest: to make the lives of programmers slightly happier. For the price of a pizza (the cost of hosting the app at a cloud provider), you can raise your work morale by just a little bit. That’s the bottom line.

The website is rather oddball, admittedly. I hope no one is put off by my strange sense of humor.