I’ve always thought of software development as a creative process. It’s much more than just using tools and pushing bits and bytes around. However, without the right tools and knowledge to use them, crafting software becomes very difficult.

Atlassian’s plugin framework is a powerful tool for developers looking to build on top of our products. It allows you to apply one of our core values, “be the change you seek,” directly to our software. However, the power this framework provides is often challenging to harness without proper guidance.

Matt Doar is a great candidate for providing that guidance. He has worked on Atlassian products and have developed JIRA plugins for well over five years. Now he is the “Chief Toolsmith” at CustomWare.

First Impressions

Matt Doar’s “Practical JIRA Plugins” provides new plugin developers guidance without the downside of feeling overwhelmed. He introduces the framework in a way that allows developers to get immersed in the most common type of plugins: the introduction of custom field types.

Practical JIRA Plugins starts by guiding the user through an overview of Atlassian’s Plugin SDK (the command line tool, generated files, what plugins can do, etc.). It’s a clear and concise introduction for those who haven’t used the framework before.

After the overview, Matt guides the reader in building a plugin that introduces a custom field type to JIRA. Through this plugin, the reader is introduced to Velocity templates, logging, the configuration system, WebWork actions, searchers, workflow, and data storage.

After this exercise, Matt introduces the reader to the process of publishing a plugin on the Atlassian Plugin Exchange (plugins.atlassian.com). He also touches on how to handle upgrading a plugin for newer versions of JIRA.

Summary

Practical JIRA Plugins is a great introduction to JIRA’s plugin framework. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s just starting out with the Atlassian plugin framework on JIRA. The current version of the book targets JIRA 4.2.4.

Book Details

Practical JIRA Plugins, by Matthew B. Doar, published by O’Reilly Media in July 2011. ISBN 978-1-449-30827-8. You can get it at Amazon.com.

Congratulations and great job, Matt!

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