Codegeist 2021 is coming to an end. If you aren’t aware of what it is/was, Atlassian Sponsored a Forge development competition. I had planned on participating last year, but I had work-life balance issues that prevented me from being able to submit something I would be proud of. However, it’s a new year and I’m working for a new company that does a much better job at work-life balance for employees. I was determined to redeem myself this year!
So, I saw the announcement on the Online Community by @Bridget, I signed up, now I just needed an idea. My best thinking comes when I’m walking the dogs in the morning, and sure enough before the end of the walk, I had an amazing idea! However, I needed to check with someone on the Community Team who would be able to validate if what I was thinking was possible or not. After speaking with @Monique vdB she pointed me at this post: https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Feedback-Forum-articles/Use-the-Community-API-to-query-tags/ba-p/618155
which proved there are a limited set of publicly exposed REST APIs for the Online Community platform.
I dove head first into this project. I decided to go all in on the Atlassian tooling.
Confluence - for all of my documentation and weekly sprint reports.
Jira - A dedicated project, with a roadmap, epics broken down into tasks and weekly sprints (I also used Jira Software Insights in between sprints which is an awesome new feature)
Bitbucket - As my source code repository and also pipelines because, why not?
My plan was to build an Atlassian Forge app that would allow users to search the Atlassian Online Community for answers to questions from within Jira or Confluence. It took me a little bit to get comfortable with the Forge platform. The reference documentation is fantastic, especially the UI kit components.
I decided to do one week sprints and I tried to break up the work into what I thought would be manageable chunks for part time work in the evenings and weekends. I also wanted to give myself plenty of buffer time in case “something came up“ or I ran into unexpected issues. Within the first couple of weeks I had something almost 100% functional. By the end of the first month I had something I was extremely happy with!
Where I hadn’t allocated enough time (and I was glad I had some buffer time) was around how much time it would take to fill in the project details for the Codegeist submission.
I needed a short elevator pitch
I needed some documentation about how to use the app
I needed to create a demo video
I needed to include anything else I wanted the judges to review as a part of my submission.
While I was filling in the project details (and this is where the title of the article comes in) it asked if I intended to publish my app on the Atlassian Marketplace. At this point, I hadn’t really put any thought into doing that. I simply selected “not sure“ and moved on. When completed my submission, I was over the moon that I had actually redeemed myself! It didn’t matter to me if my app won any of the prizes or not, I had already won simply by proving to myself that I could take a project from idea to execution. I also have a much greater appreciation for the Atlassian tooling from a developer perspective. I’m an Atlassian Administrator by profession, but as a user I live in a Jira Service Management project so I don’t regularly get to see the end user experience from the developer seat.
The next day, I’m walking the dogs again, and the thought pops in my head. “Could it really hurt to 'try' submitting my forge app to the Atlassian Marketplace?“ That weekend, I learned a TON about what all is involved in setting up a marketplace vendor account, and then preparing an app for approval. However, after a bit of effort (much of what was already required for my submission to Codegeist 2021). I submitted the Jira app for approval by the Atlassian team. It took a couple of weeks, but it got approved?! I was a little stunned at first, then I was filled with joy as this was additional validation that my app is working the way I intended it to.
I can’t express enough how happy I am that I made the time and effort to participate in Codegeist 2021. I would absolutely do it again and I feel like I learned so much from this experience!
Jimmy SeddonCommunity Leader
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