Atlassian unveils Forge, its serverless app development platform

Atlassian unveils Forge, its serverless app development platform

Forge is built with Amazon Web Services' Lambda function as a cloud-based service platform, allowing developers to build and deploy their own apps for Atlassian products

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Atlassian has created a new development platform, Forge, to simplify creation of third-party apps  that connect to its suite of productivity tools.

The Australian firm offers a variety of project management and collaboration apps, including Jira Software, Confluence, Trello and Bitbucket.

It also claims one of the biggest developer ecosystems among software-as-a-service vendors: the Atlassian Marketplace has more than 4,000 apps and accounts for more than $1 billion in total sales since its launch in 2012; thousands more apps have been created by in-house developers for internal use at customer organisations.

With Forge, currently available in private beta, Atlassian wants to make it easier for all developers to create apps.

A key element is that the Forge is built on Amazon Web Services' Lambda serverless function-as-a-service (FaaS) platform. This means that developers can build software without worrying about managing infrastructure and elements such as authentication, identity and scaling.

It also requires significantly less code to be written, making the platform more accessible to a range of users.

“We are lowering the bar for building apps on Atlassian, [requiring] 10 times less code,” said Mike Tria, head of infrastructure at Atlassian. “We’re not requiring the kind of deep domain expertise of being able to build your own SaaS product, which is what it takes today to build a cloud app.”

Atlassian has also introduced the Forge UI, a declarative mark-up language that will let developers build and customise apps in “minutes,” Atlassian said.

In addition, a command line interface (CLI) tool will make it easier to manage apps; the creation, testing and deployment of Forge apps is part of a DevOps toolchain with continuous delivery powered by Bitbucket Pipelines.

“I see Atlassian Forge as the next step in Atlassian’s journey to create a complete cloud development platform that now incorporates FaaS,” said Chris Condo, a principal analyst at Forrester. “I like the fact that using Forge, FaaS developers have a UI authoring tool, a place to test, and a pipeline for releasing their functions, something they might not have had previously. So I think it’s a great move.

“What I’d like to see next is for Atlassian to offer a complete end-to-end solution, starting perhaps with Jira Cloud all the way through BitBucket Pipelines + Forge out to Ops Genie.

"Those are all separate pieces, but creating one integrated offering would be very compelling for many companies that want to simply focus on delivering value."

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