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How Forge helped scale Smart Links

Hi Community!

Forge is our new cloud app development platform – now, developers can build trusted, scalable apps in minutes without the need to manage infrastructure or security. Forge is currently available in beta for customers building in-house apps and integrations for their teams, and Forge apps will come to Marketplace later. Internally, teams have already been relying on Forge and its robust capabilities to quickly ship meaningful features to our users.

One example is Smart Links. An explosion of SaaS tools has led to content creation across a variety of sources, with the synthesis of that content in one place becoming more and more important. Smart Links are a feature set aimed to help users do one thing: reduce the amount of context switching that occurs when you are working in Atlassian tools. Introduced to Jira, Bitbucket, and Confluence in the last year, Smart Links is a richer, contextual treatment of links that supports first and third-party integrations with external providers, including Dropbox, GitHub, Google Drive, and more.

Keep reading to see how they look. 👀

Build once, ship everywhere

Initially, our team maintained code which transformed the representation of third-party data into an internal data format. This approach was sufficient in helping us get started, but posed a few issues as we began to scale:

  • We found adding new resolvers to be time-consuming and difficult. Adding new third-party Smart Links required us to build and maintain transformations for each third-party.

  • We didn’t have an approach for external integrators and vendors to build rich link experiences. Interested integrators and partners would have to “handroll” their own UI and were limited to Confluence only.

We wanted third parties to build Smart Links which provided a consistent view on externally linked content. This is where we discovered that Smart Links and Forge were made for each other.

Forge would help make Smart Links extensible to external vendors, and help us control time spent on maintenance and cost spent on infrastructure. Plus, this was an opportunity for the Forge team to test their infrastructure with a higher load before opening it up for external developers.

Here are the first Smart Links we resolved on Forge ~1 year ago. See how the raw URLs become more rich and readable? (note: they even looked different back then and Forge was known as Xen internally):



Each of our third party integrations have been moved to Forge, and these days, we resolve over 1M links per day. One of the success criteria for us was to ensure that nothing we did affected customer experience. And we rolled out Smart Links on Forge with zero disruption – with most of the resolvers' functions having a reliability of 99.9%.

In order to minimize customer impact, we defined a careful, controlled rollout approach, which was easy to achieve thanks to the flexibility of the Forge platform.


Forge and Smart Links, in action

The results of this process have been, in short, fantastic. We are extremely excited by what the Forge infrastructure has helped us achieve.



Some highlights include:

  •  All our Forge Resolvers rewritten to be consistent with our TypeScript stack. This brought us to parity with the rest of the components and services we maintain, and helped us fix and avoid a whole host of bugs we’ve had in the past. Third-party typings packages are now used where possible for API types.

  •   Decommissioning of prior solution. This greatly reduced the maintenance footprint on our team.

  •   Trust in Forge infrastructure. This project was a huge exercise in understanding the scalability and robustness of Forge. It should be no surprise that we’re continuing to invest heavily in Forge!

  •   Infrastructure cost reduction by 30%. Our previous solution relied on the maintenance of a microservice based solution, hosted on Cloud providers. Now, by leveraging Forge’s Lambda-based architecture, we have a more on-demand model which aligns with the use of links.

Take Forge for a spin

Want to check out Forge? It’s currently in beta, and we’re actively looking for members of our developer community to build trusted, scalable cloud apps and tell us about their experience.




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