Trambar is a companion software for GitLab. It lets you maintain a Facebook-like newsfeed chronicling your development effort. It's designed to run in the cloud. Besides a web interface, it also comes with apps on multiple mobile platforms.
Trambar automatically extracts stories from GitLab activity logs. It also accepts user-submitted contents. The presence of the latter in the newsfeed makes it more likely people will see the former.
GitLab log entries are a little like ads. They're boring and repetitive. People don't go out of their way to look at them. On ocassions though they do provide invaluable information. And cumulative exposure can build a certain awareness in the back of people's mind.
Trambar features a simple descriptive system that helps people understand quickly the practical implications of a push or a merge. It's designed with non-programmers in mind. Information is presented visually in such a way that people will catch a gist as they rapidly flip through stories.
Trambar helps keep all stakeholders of a project “in the loop.” It gives people who don't program a view into the software development process. They'll see that improvements are being made and their concerns are being addressed. Hopefully, they'll be less anxious. Hopefully, they'll feel less strong a need to call a meeting...
Computer programming requires deep concentration. When programmers are dragged into frequent meetings, their productivity drops like a stone. Yet like everyone else, programmers enjoy talking about their work. It just needs to happen at the right time.
Trambar is designed to be used outside of working hours. When people aren't focused on immediate tasks at hand, they tend to more communicative. They're more receptive to information that's only marginally useful. Just about anything beats boredom, basically.
User-contributed contents function as a bait of sort for Trambar's bot-generated stories. The latter, meanwhile, help us avoid the chicken-or-the-egg trap, a situation where people don't come because there's nothing to see and people don't post things because the place is a ghost town.
If GitLab is a lab, then Trambar is the nearby bar where people can talk about work in a laid-back environment. It's a fun, social place. It's a place to which outsiders can be regularly invited. There's nothing for them to break and no secrets to conceal.