Dec 20, 2019

Forging ahead with developer-led growth

Atlassian Forge

Atlassian—the company behind Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket and Trello—announced Forge, a new serverless app development platform for developers to build and deploy their own apps for Atlassian products.

From Atlassian: "Forge is our new cloud development platform that will empower developers to more easily build and run enterprise-ready cloud apps that integrate with Atlassian products."

What’s in Forge? At its core, Forge is a serverless function-as-a-service (FaaS) tool built on top of AWS Lambda. That lets developers build apps for Atlassian without needing to manage or scale any infrastructure.

On top of its serverless platform, Forge offers a few developer tools to simplify the app creation process. For example, Forge UI is a new markup language that makes it easy to quickly build user interfaces. And the new Forge CLI helps developers manage the creation, testing, and deployment of their Forge apps from the command line.

What’s the goal? Atlassian is leaning into the Salesforce model: entrench your software around the world by building a rich third-party app ecosystem driven by developers.

Salesforce’s developer platform has helped solidify the company as a juggernaut, supporting hundreds of thousands of developers and luring in customers that need greater functionality and integrations on top of its core products.

Atlassian hopes to similarly attract developers to its platform by abstracting away—through serverless architecture, powerful frameworks, and pipeline management tools—much of the complexity of building an Atlassian app. More apps lead to more customers and platform lock-in.

Will it work? The Atlassian Marketplace offers more than 4,000 apps. There are more than 25,000 developers involved in building the Atlassian Ecosystem.

Since 2012, the marketplace has done more than $1B in lifetime sales. Last fiscal year alone, the marketplace generated $300M in app sales, with $225M of that total going to app developers.

Atlassian has all the pieces: interested developers, a proven market, and—with Forge—a more robust development toolset.

If its developer platform is actually as powerful as it claims to be, Atlassian can rely heavily on its developer community to unleash developer-led virality and boost growth to become a truly dominant suite of productivity tools.

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