Now that we are a licensed commercial user of JIRA, we have been completely unable to try any plugins. We have made an investment with JIRA itself. But if we only want to try a plugin, or use it for a smaller number of users, we cannot. A plugin must have the same license and the JIRA it is in. And we cannot make that commitment without trying it. So, no plugins. I assume that this was not the intended result.
And it seems odd that some small plugins and some large plugins all have the same pricing structure. A 50-user license is often $200, no matter how big the plugin is. Is $200 just the "99 cent from the app store' price? Really?
Again, I cannot determine if the price is going to be worth it unless i try it out, but I cannot because we have a commercial and I can only have an evaluation license for a plugin when the JIRA server has an evaluation license and around and around we go....
Oh, and that new feature I want to see in JIRA? Atlassian does not have to put it in JIRA itself, because you can get a plugin in for that....
For Paid-via-Atlassian plugins, you can obtain evaluation licenses through UPM in the application's administration panel or through Atlassian Marketplace (marketplace.atlassian.com). These evaluation licenses are valid for 30 days and do not require that your JIRA installation have an evaluation license. This may be the best way to evaluate the plugin because it also allows other users of your JIRA installation to try out the plugin as part of their regular workflow.
As others said, you can generate trials licenses for most plug-ins.
Regarding the pricing:
Does exist an objective price for any plug-in? If the plug-in has many sales then the price was right. If not, the developer has two alternatives only: decrease the price or add more features to make it more appeal for customers. This is not an inmediate process. It requires many months to allow developers get the enough feedback to make the right decissions. For sure, many plug-ins will readjust their price along the time.
As is just happening with the Apple App Store, few best-seller plugins will generate most benefits, others will achieve a decent revenue and most will become zoombies regardless whether they were free or commercial. It cannot be avoided. A perfect marketplace with all the applications worth being buyed at the right price is a dream.
Indeed it is a workaround. You need to balance the advantages and disadvantages.
Purely on the plugin evaluation side, you have to weigh up having current/real data against the cost of maintaining a separate system which you and the users can try all sorts of stuff isolated from production and hence, safe.
Having a test system really is immensely helpful because you can test other things, not just plugins. We use ours for plugins, development, testing integrations, upgrades, training, demonstrations and so-on. A lot of places use Jira for more than just development tracking, which elevates it to a tier-1 system - as critical as the trading/transmission/control systems that must be kept running. In two cases I can think of, it would actually be illegal to test in production - an audit would have to show that testing of new things had been confirmed in test before going live! Extreme cases of course. I just find the effort of creating a test system is almost always worth it for medium to large Jira installs.
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