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About this time last year, I began writing ChatOps For Dummies, which was released in early 2015. The concept of ChatOps was one that fascinated me and I’ve spent a great deal of time writing, talking, and presenting on it all over the country.

ChatOps is simply the practice of moving context or actions (or both) into a group chat tool. By doing so, teams across an entire organization can share the ingestion of critical information, actions, and their related conversations. By bringing all of this together into a single interface, a greater awareness regarding what is taking place across the entire organization is achieved.

Born out of the DevOps movement, ChatOps originated as Ops teams found ways to automate, simplify, and share many of their day-to-day tasks. This facilitated shortened feedback loops, quicker delivery of software, safety, and perhaps most importantly, more time for teams to learn and innovate.

Developers now share what’s going on with the codebase throughout it’s entire delivery lifecycle. Support collaborates with backend engineers to chase down issues. Sales and Marketing openly share everything that’s going on in campaigns and closed deals. All of this creates the continuous level of transparency and improvement required to maintain an operational advantage.

The main reason we talk so much about ChatOps here at VictorOps is because it makes perfect sense for managing incidents and outages. DevOps teams around the world are turning to VictorOps to have complete situational awareness regarding their codebase and infrastructure.

Those who are first to respond to an incident deserve a number of things for taking the critical responsibility of being on-call. They deserve to know that the alerts are actionable. They deserve to know that they have everything available to them to actually do something about the problem. They deserve to know that they aren’t alone during this problem.

Many of these ideas are baked directly into the VictorOps solution. The core functionality of our product provides valuable context, collaboration, insight, and actions right with the alert. Making sure the alerts are not only actionable, but also provided to the correct person or team means a huge reduction in Mean Time to Repair (MTTR).

Chatbots

Still, many teams have fully adopted the ChatOps method and prefer to use their own favorite group chat tool, such as HipChat or Slack. By leveraging the API functionality of tools and services that are used daily, teams have developed ways to interact with those tools directly from within group chat. Interactions with a chatbot like Lita, Hubot or Err increase the possibilities of what can be accomplished beyond typical group chat functionality.

With the release of the VictorOps API, teams are now able to take full advantage of ChatOps interactions with VictorOps. We’ve been hard at work building out a suite of API calls to allow users to take a number of actions with VictorOps. The most widely asked for API calls are being rolled out first.

With this first round, users will be able to do the following:

— ACK incidents (by incident number)

— ACK incidents (by user)

— RESOLVE incidents (by incident number)

— RESOLVE incidents (by user)

— VIEW on-call schedules (by team)

— VIEW on-call schedules (by user)

— CHANGE on-call schedule for a user (by team)

— GET (active incidents)

— GET (historical incidents)

Teams are now armed with the ability to develop their own ChatOps functionality with VictorOps, fully enabling everyone to be able to interact with incidents quicker than ever. Not only that, but being able to query on-call schedules and incidents will open the door for many teams to create the custom ChatOps experience that works best for them.

We look forward to seeing what creative ideas come from the release of these APIs as well as the rollout of scripts and interactions through chatbots. Should you have any questions regarding the API calls, check out our documentation hub. If you have suggestions and requests for additional functionality, please reach out to us at product@victorops.com.