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Devinitive guide to choosing the Atlassian Marketplace Apps


Alina Urbaniak - 31 October 2019 - 0 comments

Devinitive guide to choosing the Atlassian Marketplace Apps_cover image

No matter if you’re looking for the next app to enhance your Jira or happened upon this article because you’re searching for the first extension in your life and you have no idea how to choose a perfect solution from loads of apps. We’re sure that in both cases there are aspects you may need some help with since there are over 4000 apps available in the store. That’s why we’d like to show you around the Atlassian Marketplace, which we’ve been a part of since its launch. Don’t worry, we won’t be stopping by every exhibit. We’re taking you on an educational path that includes only specific information about apps’ selection factors, apps’ categories, vendors and listings. Will you join along?

Point Zero: What is the Atlassian Marketplace?

The Atlassian Marketplace is a platform where you can find, download and buy apps for Atlassian products like Jira Software, Jira Service Desk, Confluence, Bitbucket, Crucible, Fisheye, Bamboo, Crowd and Trello. The apps have been developed by different vendors from all over the world. The name “app” is used in the Ecosystem for the solutions which extend Atlassian software with new features to meet different businesses’ specific needs. Within the Ecosystem’s history, different names were used (like add-ons, plugins, and extensions), and now apps are the official name (but in this text, we’re using all of them interchangeably).

The Atlassian’s solutions include loads of useful functions which may be enough for many companies. However, if your requirements go beyond them, you don’t have to switch to another tool. You can just choose an app for one of the products and increase your return on investment for the whole toolset. It’s as simple as that.

First station: Jira Marketplace history

Time for history. Add-ons were part of Atlassian’s identity even before the Marketplace launch. Back then, the extensions existed on the Atlassian’s page called Plugins. The first one we published there was Conditions Validator, now known as Help (a.k.a. Conditions Validator). Everyone could add an app on that platform, and the majority of them were free. In case of paid extensions, the payment had to be done separately through the particular partner’s site.

In May 2012, Atlassian made users’ life easier by introducing a platform where you could browse all apps, start a free trial and make a purchase – all through the same website! Paid via Atlassian option enabled customers to get an app through the official sales platform as easily as the Atlassian software itself. The users also got the opportunity to search for add-ons inside the products like Jira, thanks to the Universal Plugin Manager. It’s a tool for managing apps in Atlassian applications, which allows you not only to find the apps but also install, manage, and configure them. To use the UPM you need to have the Jira admin’s permissions. If you do, you can access the tool going to Jira Settings → Find new apps or Manage apps in Jira Cloud or clicking Jira Administration  →  Manage apps in Jira Server. Note that the search results are filtered by the apps compatible with your Jira version. 

With the Universal Plugin Manager, you can browse Marketplace apps both inside Jira Server and Jira Cloud

With the Universal Plugin Manager, you can browse Marketplace apps both inside Jira Server and Jira Cloud

Other positive changes that the new platform brought were better layout and clearer listings. On the vendor’s part, Marketplace increased interest in the add-ons and provided more visibility to the extensions. Moreover, it also gave their creators a chance to spread their ideas to the world.

In the year of the Marketplace launch, we released there Dynamic Forms for Jira and Issue Templates for Jira.

 The Atlassian’s decision to build an ecosystem of partners and vendors was a driving force for many companies all over the world. They started thinking about what to add to Atlassian software to adjust it to the needs of different industries.

Even the smallest features can convince companies to implement a particular extension or the Atlassian toolset.

Second station: Homepage

Welcome at the heart of the Atlassian Marketplace. Here you get a lot of useful tools for your apps’ search. Generally, the homepage is divided into five sections which give you different ways of exploring the platform. You can take the Discover new apps path and browse the category pages featured from the Categories section (located on the left side panel). On every page, the add-ons are ranked automatically based on a number of active installs, star rating, and recency of publication.

Other trails that you can walk into are:

  • Top-selling apps route leads you through the add-ons which had the highest total dollar sales in the last 30 days;
  • Newest apps trail features most recently published extensions (counted from the approval date);
  • Trending apps trail presents you with the add-ons which got the most active installations in the past week. 

You can also see the Staff picks section with the apps highlighted by the ecosystem’s team. Here only a few apps are visible, but browsing different categories and sections you’ll notice the label Staff pick next to different apps on the results’ list.

All featured add-ons meet requirements specified by Atlassian. It means that these apps are free or offer paid via Atlassian option, are supported, have a strong overall rating as well as a big number of installs. The extensions’ vendors also have an established track record of success with customers. The apps with the Staff pick label not only fulfill the mentioned requirements but also are available on multiple hosting options.

Now let’s take a look at the left side panel which contains very useful filters. By using them, you can narrow the results visible on the homepage. For example, imagine you’re looking for top-rated Jira Cloud extension which deals with reports and is free. When you’re choosing the needed filters, the results change dynamically. 

As you’ve probably already noticed in the example, you can filter the results by the product. Jira Service Desk, Confluence and Jira Software add-ons dominate here, but there are quite a few solutions for other Atlassian software too. Then you have a significant filter – the hosting options, and the real treasure – categories. You have around 40 different groups of apps to choose from. Remember also to click on more filters to display some other options like Top Vendor. It is a program created for helping users buy extensions with confidence. The vendors selected to it have to meet Atlassian benchmark for app traction, timely support and vendor reliability. You can recognize such vendors by the Top Vendor badge which is located on the right corner of their app logo (on the results page) or next to their companies’ names (on the app’s listing).

Third station: Listings

Now that we know the heart of the Marketplace, let’s take a closer look at its soul – the apps’ listing pages. They include a lot of helpful information, which we’d like to elaborate a little bit more on.

Overview

Before we start our journey through the different tabs of the app’s page, we’ll decipher its upper part. The stars under the add-on’s logo (1) tell you how other users rated it and the number located next to them means the number of reviews (3). Also, don’t skip over the number of active installs (2) which you’ll find below, because it helps you gauge the extension’s popularity. Right under the app’s name, you can see the Top Vendor badge (4) and the Atlassian product and its versions the add-on matches with. Another useful information is whether it’s supported by the vendor. This may be important for you if you plan to use the chosen extensions for your crucial business processes.

On the app listing page on the Atlassian Marketplace, you can get a sneak peek of its usability and core features.

We’re sure that opening the app’s listing your sight stopped at the screenshots (6). However, their presence is not enough to attract somebody’s attention. The best visuals should stand out with their aesthetics and quality. They should also present the add-on in action, give you a sneak peek of its usability and core features, as well as answer the question: How does this extension work with Jira? Screenshots aren’t the only graphic materials you can find in the Overview tab. Some vendors place there also the app’s tutorials as well as additional screen captures from the add-on in the Media section (7). 

More details

This section provides you with additional information about the app and its features. You can also find here useful links to articles, case studies, or the app’s documentation. 

Privacy and security

In this part of the Overview tab, you can find a link to the vendor’s privacy policy. Additionally, cloud apps’ pages contain also Security section, which shows whether the vendor completed the security self-assessment and shared the results with Atlassian.

Resources

Although this section is located almost at the bottom of the Overview tab, it’s very important for the users. Here you can download the app, access Version historyDocumentation or EULA. The last one stands for the End User License Agreement and by clicking on it, you get to the place with the vendor’s legal documentation. It can contain the app license details, terms of purchase, and the Service Level Agreement (what the support does and doesn’t include).

Watch app, the last link in the Resources section, lets you sign up for email alerts, which include release notes. This is a perfect option when you’re interested in some extension but don’t need it in the particular moment, or when you’re waiting for some features which are necessary for your business process. 

Reviews

Reading the reviews, not only can you check what other users think about a particular extension but also how its support team answers the comments. Look especially at the negative feedback and new feature suggestions. It will show you if the vendor cares about the users’ opinions, replies to them quickly, adjusts the product to their needs, and encourages further contact through email or support pages.

Pricing

Prices for the app are set by the vendors and are different for Cloud and Server versions. Buying an add-on for Jira Cloud, you can select the monthly or annual subscription. Server apps are sold as a perpetual license and the purchase price includes 12 months of maintenance (support and version updates). You can learn more about the cost in the Pricing FAQ located in the Pricing tab of every extension page. 

Please note that the apps are billed based on the user tier of your Jira (the maximum amount of user you’ve paid for when purchasing a license), not on the number of Jira Service Desk agents or the amount of the real users of a particular app.

Support

Here you can see the support hours and the vendor’s contact details. You can contact the company to ask questions about the app. To get more information, you can also click on Documentation. Some vendors have the contact support widget visible as a button in the lower-left corner of their apps’ pages. When you click on it, a request form, powered by Jira Service Desk, appears. It facilitates asking questions to the support team and shows that the vendor comes up to the clients’ expectations like a need for fast and easy to find contact options.

Versions

In this tab, you can see supported Atlassian products’ versions and latest releases’ details. By clicking on See all versions, you’ll get the releases’ details. It’s important to visit this page to know if your Atlassian software is compatible with the app. Some vendors (including ourselves) offer separate release packages for different Jira versions and hostings. When downloading the app, take notice if you have the right installation package chosen.

See all versions option also shows you the frequency of new releases and bug fixes. This way you’ll know if the app is updated and still developed. 

Hosting options switcher

The app you found can be available for different hosting options. Note that the versions for Cloud, Server and Data Center can vary. To switch between the versions, use the select bar (5) located in the upper left part of the app page. 

Final station: choosing an app from Atlassian Marketplace 

On different stations of our educational path, you got some tips on what to look at while selecting the best Jira add-ons from Atlassian Marketplace. However, there are still a few more things that will make your research easier. We prepared graphics together with the explanations (where needed) so you could come back to this part of our guide every time you want to buy an extension from the Jira plugins marketplace.

Read the app’s documentation

Documentation, tutorials and other educational content created by the vendor should be one of the key parameters you check before purchasing an app. Look for the place where the vendor stores the documentation – it may be a Confluence space, the company’s website, or another form of a knowledge base. Check if the instructions are clear to you, all plugin functionalities are covered, and the content is regularly updated.

Check other apps developed by the vendor

Browsing other vendor’s apps can give you more information about the company and users’ satisfaction of their products. This can build up your trust toward the vendor and the confidence for purchase.

Watch product demos

It’s crucial to see the app in action before buying it. Some vendors give a possibility to sign up for a demo session, whereas the others have the demo videos on their YouTube channels. Also, don’t forget to visit the vendors’ blogs which usually contain educational content, tips and tricks as well as articles that compare specific apps.

Start a free trial

Use the possibility to evaluate the app. Most of the Atlassian store vendors offer a fully functional trial license. You have 30 days to test the plugin on your test instances (so that you don’t have to do risky experiments on the production instances).

Evaluate support service provided by the vendor

You can contact a support team through email or Service Desk to see how fast they answer and how their assistance process works. A good support agent should:

  • provide you with comprehensive information,
  • communicate in a “human” way (so that you won’t have a feeling that you’re talking with a bot),
  • try to build a relationship with you,
  • show interest in your experience with the product,
  • be open to receive new features’ suggestions.

Ask Atlassian Community and your local solution partner

The Atlassian Community is huge (it has grown from zero users to three million in three years) and gathers the users who want to help each other. You can search there for apps’ reviews and case studies using keywords, post your question about the add-on, or start a discussion.

Gal Fatal, DevOps team manager in HP and Tel-Aviv Atlassian User Group leader, recommends engaging with a local community as well. You can talk about the solution you need with a local Solution Partner. They can help you with everything from the license management, through complete implementation of the Atlassian products and apps, up to different integrations and migrations. The Solution Partner is also able to create a custom plugin for you if there’s no solution on the Marketplace that meets your needs or requirements.

Join Atlassian User Group meetings

Gal Fatal also encourages to check if there’s an Atlassian User Group (the name has recently changed to Atlassian Community) in your city and join one of their meetings. This way you’ll gain more information about Atlassian products and Marketplace apps, as well as have a chance to ask your questions. All attendees of AUG meetings are happy to share their knowledge.

Meet vendors at the events like the Atlassian Summit

Live events are perfect occasions to talk with vendors about your business needs and schedule product sessions. Atlassian host the Summit once a year (you can already check the Summit 2020 page), and in 2019 a new event series has also started, called Atlassian Open. Visit the local partners’ websites as well, because they organize own events in their countries. And definitely don’t miss Jira Day – the largest Atlassian conference in Central Europe, which will take place from May 27th to 28th 2020 in Poland. 

There is a plugin for that

Our journey through the Jira Marketplace comes to the end, but your adventure with the apps just begins! Please don’t rush though. Take your time to check if any apps that you have can’t meet your needs. If the answer is “no”, write down the requirements you have toward the future plugin and start browsing the Atlassian store. Enjoy your trip!

As an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner Enterprise, we’d be happy to talk about your business needs. Ask us any questions you have on this page. Also, we’re Platinum Top Vendor in the Ecosystem and we’ve been working hard on helping improve Jira Software and Service Desk by adding useful functionalities for over 5000 teams around the world. We’re developing apps on the Atlassian Marketplace, providing expert services and sharing knowledge on the subject with useful tutorials and guides. Read on to learn more:

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