When I first heard about Atlassian some years ago, one description kept coming up–”the power of Atlassian applications is that you can make them do whatever you want”. Enterprise software normally comes with a lot of constraints–it’s costly, it has a strictly defined set of features, the APIs may be limited or non-existent, and integration is often a matter of expensive experts with special tools and knowledge of each system.
The importance of open
At Atlassian we do things differently–we’re about democratizing enterprise software. Back in 2003 when our founders started the company, they took a risky bet and made our applications open and fully extensible from day one, on a hunch that a new model would pay dividends for enterprise customers.
When I first attended Summit in 2012, the company was just launching Atlassian Marketplace–a platform where hundreds of developers have now sold well over $10 million dollars in third-party add-ons for Atlassian applications, way beyond even our expectations. I spent an afternoon walking the floors talking to developers about plugins and add-ons, and the value of them quickly became clear. Every single person I talked to had either written or employed at least one add-on, and to me that was astonishing. The enthusiasm for our add-on ecosystem was and still is amazing–and I was so enthused I later joined the company to manage the Marketplace.
As Summit shows, that early hunch paid off. Big time.
A strategic investment in plugins
Extensibility is a central tenet of development at Atlassian. Our product teams build with developers in mind. It’s not enough to just build a feature–we allow anyone to extend it. We even make the source code available to our customers. We released the first version of the Atlassian Plugin SDK seven years ago. And we’ve been introducing RESTful APIs for our applications.
This belief in unshackling our applications is fundamental to our model. We put all the information and flexibility our customers need into customers hands immediately, and we sell our enterprise software only on the internet. There’s no sales person holding premium features or pricing information back, and there’s no limit to the things you can make your own systems do. We talk about these things in depth at Summit every year and the audience interest grows every year.
Atlassian now has over 2,000 registered developers and more than 1,500 public add-ons (plugins) built for Jira, Confluence, Stash, and our other developer tools. Many developers want to do the same things we do. To reduce friction between developers and customers, we built the Atlassian Marketplace. Atlassian customers pay one invoice for all their applications and add-ons, and developers can easily list and market their products while focusing on what they do best – building great extensions. That’s just public add-ons–it doesn’t even capture the thousands of add-ons built by our customers for their internal use!
Taking add-ons to the cloud
But the Atlassian ecosystem continues to expand. In late 2011 we introduced Atlassian OnDemand–a modern solution to deliver our applications as a subscription service in the cloud. Teams can start using our applications in minutes, without needing a dedicated server, starting at $10 a month.
SaaS has different requirements for security and system stability. Our existing in-process plugin system is not the best architecture for a world where customers share infrastructure including process and memory space. So we’ve built the next evolution for extending our applications–Atlassian Connect (in beta).
We’ve extended our REST APIs and Webhooks, and provided new methods for third-party services to securely extend our application UIs. It’s a new platform for cloud-based extensions, the future of rich integration between web services. Applications run in one cloud platform, add-ons run in another, and Atlassian Connect Beta makes it seamless for any user.
You can write and run Atlassian add-ons regardless of how you choose to deploy Jira, Confluence or any other Atlassian application. For developers it gets even better–you can now choose whatever language and whichever stack you like for your add-on, and it will work with your Atlassian application. For vendors of commercial add-ons, the growing number of Atlassian instances in the cloud are now directly available to your business.
Our lead Atlassian Connect developer will kick-start a series of in-depth sessions about how to get started extending Atlassian OnDemand, at Summit 2013. We’ll highlight examples of new add-ons written in node.js and Scala, running in Amazon and Heroku. We’ll detail how to get the best out of Jira through the REST API and Webhooks. We’ll have a panel discussion with developers who’ve worked with the new system already. And of course, we’ll launch new add-ons for Atlassian’s OnDemand applications right on Atlassian Marketplace.
Ready to learn about the exciting future of add-ons designed for the next decade? Sign-up for Atlassian Summit today!