DISCLAIMER: I am writing this article as a user and I don’t have any commercial affiliation with the developers of the products mentioned below and it is just my personal perspective about the topic.
This month we were asked to mention some Atlassian Apps (previously known as plugins or add-ons) that caused an impact in the use of the Atlassian products. However, to mention just one is really hard, so I wrote few of them on my response and I will address a couple in upcoming articles, but before jumping into the topic I would like to address the question from @Andy - PTC Redundant "Why your life sucks without Apps!". I am not sure I will meet his expectations but I will try and expand in the concept of using apps.
I will use as analogy the purchase of a vehicle. I am sure that before closing your purchase you did your due diligence about your needs and the car to acquire, you probably got what you like and enough to fulfill your “initial” needs. As a matter of fact, you are happy with your selection process and final purchase.
The car you purchased was good enough to fulfill your initial requirements. As your initial Atlassian Platform.
However, there is a moment when you discover additional needs, like you would like to start using your bike or kayaks or tow your vacation trailer. Surely, those items were not part of the initial requirements and you don’t want to start a new selection process for a new car, on the contrary, the only objective here is to add just the accessories needed (tow hitch, electrical break, bike rack and roof rack), enough to continue using your vehicle with valued added that will increase the Return On Investment (ROI).
With few accessories you can maximize the Return on Investment. As with few apps from Marketplace
In other words, the Atlassian platform that you already have provides most of the features that you initially need, (as in your car), however, there are some of your specific aspects that are no part of the main Atlassian Roadmap and probably low priority for the whole ecosystem. The good news is that those specific items are also the requirement of other users and some of them decided to develop an app to address them and therefore commercialize it to the rest of the ecosystem.
As consequence of the Atlassian openness, while they were developing a set of products, they were establishing a collaboration ecosystem, a platform that would embrace entrepreneurship and foster collaboration. I still remember my first years using Confluence and Jira (2009) and the meetings with some individuals developing exquisite apps (like @RobertoC, @Chris Kohlhardtfrom Gliffy, @Tobias Anstett _K15t_and @Stefan Kleineikenscheidt _K15t_from K15t Software and @Igor Sereda _ALM Works_), today and thanks to the users’ community they have their own companies with a good number of members that are changing and empowering the whole Atlassian stack and the user experience.
So, my invitation to you when you think about apps for your platform and need to explain why they are required is to do the following:
In this article I will provide some considerations based on my experience. To be fair, I need to mention that, because we were supporting an Open Source Electronic Health Records Community (www.vxvista.org), we were entitled to free community license for Atlassian products and Marketplace participants, it is a privileged position when you visit the marketplace, and at the same time an opportunity to explore new applications and apps. The marketplace to me was like a Theme Park.
Here are some recommendations grouped by the phase in the process
FAQ 10. Can apps make my product slower?
Sometimes, yes. It's possible for an app to cause performance problems. For this reason, we recommend learning all you can about an app.
You can evaluate an app in a staging environment before deploying it in production. You can also use the customer reviews to learn what other users have to say. Visit the website of the app vendor and review any support materials they have.
If you suspect an app is causing a problem in your Atlassian product, try disabling the app to see if the problem goes away.
FAQ 6. Can I trust third-party apps?
The Marketplace gives you visibility to see if an app is reliable. We provide resources like the following so you can make informed decisions about the apps you use.
From the app details page:
- Look for the Top Vendor icon, which indicates that the app vendor meets Atlassian benchmarks for app traction, timely support, and vendor reliability.
- Read reviews and ratings on the Marketplace.
- Check the number of active installations to assess popularity.
The Marketplace is like a candy store, please avoid the "sugar" overdose and keep your instance of Atlassian products healthy.
Bottom line, be cautious, complete due diligence and take a good time, don’t rush the purchase without evaluating alternatives with what you already have. Trust your own experts and their workarounds to address similar business needs. Document any customization or app configuration. Have fun and enjoy the Atlassian Marketplace treasure hunt!
If you go to the Summit, contact the Marketplace vendors share your experiences and provide feedback. They want to be sure you have a good experience with their products , and if you get a good swag, enjoy it as well! (Don't mention to them that I told you about the swags , but they are very good, keep empty space in your luggage if you are attending to the Atlassian Summit!)
Here is the Lucid backpack with us on the Palm Spring Tour, our first 51 miles bike ride. The goal that my wife and I had for this year ;). The bike rack and this swag were the perfect "app" for our ride. lol (BTW... I am not a professional rider and we are just discovering this amazing sport)
Fabian A_ Lopez _Community Leader - Argentina_ Florida_ California_Community Leader