Atlassian’s collaboration tools are famous for their flexibility. Right from project management in JIRA to documentation in Confluence. Teams across different verticals rely on them. Be it managing Aircraft maintenance in Airbus or developing a software in Amdocs, these tools are key contributors.
One of the reasons for this flexibility is a burgeoning ecosystem of addons (aka plugins/extensions), the Atlassian Marketplace. The marketplace has grown from strength to strength since its launch. And the indications are, it will continue to be a key driver in growth of Atlassian’s team collaboration tools.
In this post, we share a few tips that’ll help you while purchasing an addon from the Atlassian marketplace. Know that, this is not an exhaustive list of items one should verify before buying an addon. Depending on your end purpose, you may have a few different needs. In majority of the cases though, this list will be handy.
Compatibility with your host
The on-demand or cloud versions of JIRA & Confluence are recent additions. Number of teams using cloud versions is growing rapidly. But the number of addons that are compatible with cloud versions is still low as compared to the on-premise or server versions.
Thus first & foremost, you should ensure that the addon being considered is compatible with your host application.
One quick way to find out if your application is cloud version is to look at the URL. If it is a subdomain of atlassian.net, you are on the cloud version. e.g. https://upraise.atlassian.net, https://amoeboids.atlassian.net etc.
Addon listing on the atlassian marketplace also clearly tells you whether the addon is compatible with your host version. (Refer to the image) both the values, Cloud & Server are available which means selected addon is compatible with both versions. In case of server hosts, you may want to make sure that your version is mentioned on the addon.
Atlassian marketplace allows listing of addons that are not vendor supported. If you intend to use the addon for a critical business use case, it is important to know what you are getting into.
Rarely you would find an addon that is paid but not supported by vendor. Look at ‘Supported’ badge on the listing.
Ratings & Reviews
Like the Google play store or Apple iTunes, Atlassian marketplace lets users rate & review the addons. As a way to prevent abuse of the system, it also lets you see if the reviewer is associated with any addon vendor.
Ratings & reviews cannot be solely helpful on their own. They can certainly give you a direction though.
Atlassian marketplace displays number of active installs or downloads for every addon listing. This helps you gauge popularity of the addon. Like the reviews, number of active installs do not necessarily make a decisive criterion.
One thing to keep in mind is to consider launch date of the addon while comparing number of active installations. i.e. number of active installations will be less if the addon is recently launched.
Documentation, tutorials are key factors as you consider making a purchase. Addons with enough documentation tend to be well maintained over a longer period of time. Documentation when maintained in Confluence or any other knowledge base is a sign of sincerity on the part of addon vendors.
Frequency of Upgrades
If the addon you are looking for is server/on-premise, you can easily look at all the versions until now. The frequency of upgrades should give you a good idea of what you can expect. Naturally, if the last upgrade was say one year back – it’d be wise to connect with the vendor to check if addon is being actively developed.
Another small but important point you may want to look at is whether all the reported issues are being properly tracked by the addon vendor. This helps you understand if there are processes in place, in case something goes wrong with your addon experience.
Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments.