“I forgot my mantra”
This blog post began as a list of some of the latest third-party JIRA plugins, but turned into more of discussion about the success of JIRA as a platform. It seems like every software or SaaS company is out to not only build end-user applications, but also software platforms. The mantra goes: He (or She) who builds the biggest “ecosystem” wins. I’m not sure Atlassian ever consciously tried to become a big platform, yet our products have evolved into just that.
One of the most memorable points that arose from our Palo Alto user group event last June was the fact that many businesses have been built around Atlassian products; Consulting Toolsmiths is one such success. There are many good reasons to feel pride for working at Atlassian, but this is one has gone to the top of my list. Several of the developers in the Atlassian Developer Network also work for companies built entirely around Atlassian.
JIRA has been an exceptionally successful platform for developers that wish to build useful extensions for other users. While many companies are pushing their products along to be the next great platform superstar, JIRA has quietly gone about its business as a bug & issue tracker and platform for project management, business process management, and more.
In fact, there are now over 100 free plugins for JIRA, many developed by Atlassian and many others by the user community. A good number of these plugins offer small, incremental improvements or features, but some are fully fledged products in their own right; in fact, it seems to be a new trend—shiny, polished commercial plugins that deliver great value. These are a few that recently came to my attention:
- Ecliptic Technologies has produced The Connector, a Microsoft Project Extension Plugin for JIRA. There’s a discussion thread about it on The ServerSide.
- In the thread, Michel Nehme at e-Core Desenvolvimento de Software mentions that they’ve also built a JIRA Project View Plugin that “allow the Planning and Time Management of the project from a single screen.”
- Allen Barksdale at 6th Sense Analytics sent me an email the other day about a JIRA integration they built because of considerable demand from their customer base. “By integrating with JIRA, we deliver real-time in-flight project status, including time on task, planned-to-actual deltas and a burn-up chart that shows all of the tickets within JIRA.”
- GreenPepper Software offers a number of tools, including the recently announced GreenHopper, a project management software for JIRA.
All of these plugins are sold directly by their producers. One plugin that Atlassian had built, supported, and continues to sell is the JIRA Perforce plugin that allows users to view their source control commit information from within JIRA.
For another blog post for another day, there’s all the Confluence plugins to discuss, including the commercially successful Gliffy.
The total number?
The appearance of these plugins in the marketplace says that the JIRA user base is attractive as a market to build applications for, and that the product has broad enough applicability to fit in different niches.
Likely, there are many other custom plugins that customers have made to augment their unique needs that have not been checked into the plugin repository or open sourced. That makes it difficult to gauge the true number of plugins developed so far. However, I think it’s safe to say that the plugin program is an unequivocal success.
If your company has already built a JIRA plugin, or other product plugin, we hope you consider adding it to the Atlassian plugin directories. And if you’re looking to build a business around Atlassian products, you’re in great company.