Using Atlassian products can bring even more benefits due to the availability of apps (previously known as plugins or add-ons). Apps are available at the Atlassian Marketplace and offer functionality which is not available in the standard product. Two examples are apps for software testing and apps for requirements gathering. Apps are available for all products, but most Apps are available for JIRA and Confluence. With the big variety of Apps and App vendors, which one to choose and what are the risks? Atlassian created some standards which can be recognised with the following logos:
- When this logo is found while searching for an App, then it can be ensured that the App has an certain minimum installed base. It also ensures that support is offered at least eight hours a day, five days a week and the vendor adheres to this. The vendors are also screened by Atlassian routinely to ensure they offer a great customer experience.
- Add-ons. This ensures the vendor supports this specific App. This badge can be available together with the “Atlassian Verified” logo. However, by having only this batch, the vendor is not screened by Atlassian.
- add-ons. This verifies the App can also be used in Data Center products which have clustering and high-availability enabled.
- This identifies whether the add-on supplier offers a solution for a Cloud and/or Server deployment. Having both ensures it is possible to switch from cloud to server and vice versa.
- Last but not least, check the reviews. Users can leave their findings about the App.
In general, adding apps to a product means that the available resources are shared between the standard product and the added functionality. It is likely that is has an effect on the overall performance. Some Apps even will store additional data in the database. It is wise to first test the App before installing it at the production environment. Uninstalling an App will not remove the additional data stored in the database.
Using apps can enrich the feature set of the Atlassian applications. Often this is required to adhere to the required support from a (business) process point of view. When choosing a specific app be very aware of the different (non-visible and tangible) costs that are associated with an app. Besides the licence cost, costs for maintenance, upgrades etc. should also be taken into account. Depending on the app, the complexity of the configuration grows which makes the maintenance of the application more complex for example.
It is easy to just press the install button. However, bottom line, it is important to know what you are doing. When investigating possible apps please invest some time in setting up a business case that also addresses the less tangible implications of installing an app (such as impact on performance or impact of the App on the TCO of the Atlassian product the App is installed on). Determine the size of the vendor, and the level of support the vendor offers but also look at the number of times an app is already installed, and for how long the app is already around. The professionals of TMC ALM have years of experience in selecting, testing and implementing Atlassian apps and are happy to assist you in the selection or implementation process.
Author: Bert van Dijk