6 Bitbucket secrets

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At Atlassian, one of our design principles is to gracefully reveal depth. As we’ve iterated on our UX, certain Bitbucket power user features that strayed too far from the happy path have been hidden away behind a dropdown or keyboard shortcut. There they bide their time until an adventurous user stumbles upon it through a capricious key press or mouse click (or someone reads the docs). Here’s six of my favourite Bitbucket Cloud features, that you’ve possibly never heard of:

  1. Omnibar
  2. Keyboard shortcuts
  3. Binary snippets
  4. Download a zip or tar of any commit
  5. Customize the UI
  6. Enable pre-release features


Bitbucket‘s omnibar is a quick actions bar, similar to Jetbrains’ ⇧⇧ or Sublime Text’s ⌘+P. From any page, you can launch the omnibar by pressing the . key.

By default, it shows you a set of context-sensitive actions:

Once you start typing, it matches on the names of repositories owned by you and your team:


Plus the titles of your issues and pull requests (across all of your repositories):

issues and pull requests

And even filenames within the current repository:


If you happen to be a JIRA user as well, try hitting . the next time you’re viewing a JIRA issue.

Keyboard shortcuts

Using . to trigger the omnibar is just one of the many keyboard shortcuts available. You can hit ⇧+? on any page to see a context-sensitive list of shortcuts. Some of the ones we use daily on the Bitbucket team are:

  • / to focus the site search
  • [ to collapse the sidebar
  • CTRL+↵ to submit a comment

The modifiers for keys vary by browser and platform — the above are Chrome on OS X — so bring up the shortcut list (⇧+?) in your own browser to check!

Binary snippets

You might’ve used Bitbucket’s Snippets to share code in the past, but you might not be aware that you can also share other types of files with them. Just drag any file onto the Snippet:

This can include binary files like images, videos, or even compiled code! There is a limit of 10 MB per file. There’s also a handy command-line tool for uploading files from your shell.

Download a zip or tar of any commit

The repository downloads page lets you download an archive of your code at a particular commit with your choice of compression (zip, tar.gz or tar.bz2):

The URL that backs these links looks something like:


Or more generally:


It turns out that you can replace <revision> with any non-ambiguous commit identifier. So you could download a commit by specifying its short SHA-1:


Or use ancestry references to find, for example, the second great-grandparent of the tip of your master branch:


This can be quite handy for continuous integration and deployment scripts that need to download a snapshot of your repository at a particular commit. There are all sorts of cool ways to specify commits in Git, and the /get end-point works for Mercurial repositories too!

Customize the UI

Last June we launched the Bitbucket Connect framework, which allows you to augment the Bitbucket UI. You may have used some of the third party developer tools that have since launched Bitbucket integrations using the framework. However you might not be aware that you can use Bitbucket Connect to customize your own Bitbucket experience.

For example, this hunk of JSON is actually a freestanding Bitbucket Connect add-on:

    "key": "download-commit-as-zip",
    "name": "Download commit as ZIP",
    "description": "Adds a "Download as ZIP" link to the commits page on Bitbucket",
    "baseUrl": "https://bitbucket.org",
    "modules": {
        "webItems": [{
            "key": "download-link",
            "url": "https://bitbucket.org/{repo_path}/get/{commit_hash}.zip",
            "name": {
                "value": "Download as ZIP"
            "location": "org.bitbucket.commit.summary.actions",
            "params": {
                "auiIcon": "aui-iconfont-down"
        "oauthConsumer": {
            "clientId": "WaLh6mhKdRUDpVcXAH"
    "scopes": ["team"],
    "contexts": ["personal"]

Once installed, a Download as ZIP link is added to the Bitbucket commit page, using the /get/<revision>.zip end-point we looked at above:

The add-on is hosted as a Snippet and can be installed using this button:

<a class=”aui-button aui-button-primary install-button”


Install Download as Zip

You can use this technique to add links to your repositories, build visualizations for your code, or whole new features on top of Bitbucket. For more information on building Bitbucket add-ons, check out the developer docs or this 30 minute video tutorial. Or feel free to bounce ideas off me.

Enable pre-release features

If you’ve read this far, you’re likely one of those special types who enjoy living on the bleeding edge. If that sounds like you, head to Bitbucket Settings and click Manage features in the left hand menu to enable some pre-release features. This week, a slick new pull request experience awaits!

If early adoption is your thing, make sure you check back from time to time as the Bitbucket team often put out teasers and betas well ahead of the official release.

That’s it! For now.

Thanks for reading! If you have your own Bitbucket secrets you’d like to share — or a nifty idea for a Bitbucket add-on — please leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! I’m @kannonboy.