I was lucky enough to be able to attend the annual AtlasCamp developer conference hosted by Atlassian in Prague, Czech Republic on 10-11 June, 2015.
For those who don’t know, AtlasCamp is an annual event where software developers and Atlassian Experts (platinum and enterprise) from all around the world gather around for presentations from various Atlassian key personnel about Atlassian eco-system state of the unions and add-on development to be precise. The conference as a whole was a very insightful glimpse into the future plans of Atlassian with major changes announced on both days of the conference. One of those was JIRA7, the revolution.
The eco-system is evolving rapidly, or as Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes called it in his AtlasCamp keynote speech, the eco-system is going through a revolution. With the release of JIRA7 in the fall of 2015, the system has undergone a complete overhaul. The issue management software is splitting into 3 different products; JIRA Core, JIRA Agile and JIRA Service Desk. Each package is specifically designed for a purpose and with a specific target audience in mind.
JIRA Core, the so called basic version of JIRA, is designed for business management projects where all software development related concepts are completely removed. No longer will marketing departments or HR be confused about fields such as “Affects Version” or “Components” and wonder “What am I supposed to type in here?” By installing JIRA core, the administrators can create projects in the same manner as before but this time around the project summary and all relevant pages are stripped of unnecessary software concepts, making it easier for business management end users (i.e. non-technical users) to use the system effectively and easily.
JIRA Agile is for your classic software development projects where all the familiar software concepts are available for use. However, even this package looks totally different with the familiar “Agile” -tab now incorporated in the project summary pages itself and the interface completely overhauled more logical placeholders. The only drawback seems to be, that the Agile -way of working is only available in the JIRA Agile package, which means that business projects are no longer able to handle their issues via the agile methods. I personally believe that business management related projects also need agile methodologies to handle issue management. Hopefully Atlassian fixes the drawback before releasing JIRA7.
JIRA Service Desk is as before with the same stripping as JIRA Core. JIRA Service Desk also does not need software versioning concepts with the agent views being removed of unnecessary concepts and then feature additions made that will make Service Desk agents more effective in providing good quality service to their customers.
All 3 packages can be installed and used independent from each other. This means that no matter what package is purchased and used, all instances will have the same JIRA core system (not to be confused with the brand “JIRA Core”) underneath with easy extendibility into other JIRA packages (most likely via the Atlassian Marketplace). JIRA7 will have a completely renewed project creation pages that is dependent upon which JIRA packages are installed and licensed. The project creation is done via wizards with tracks for each package, which in turn creates the desired project type with the features automatically enabled suited to that package.
The other important announcement was the developmental importance of Atlassian Connect to Atlassian. From now on, Atlassian will be concentrating on developing and improving Atlassian Connect to provide a solid platform for plugin developers to develop software (in the form of add-ons) for Atlassian Cloud customers as well. More and more plugins are becoming Atlassian Cloud (or Atlassian Connect) compatible, which in turn will assist Atlassian in their ultimate goal to drive more customers into the Atlassian Cloud environment. By driving the plugin developers to develop for Atlassian Connect, Atlassian is making sure more and more features are available on Atlassian Cloud as well.
The announcement by Mike (followed by the plugin2 -framework product managers) was the first wakeup call for a lot of developers to start concentrating on Atlassian Connect, as the old plugin2 framework (for server instances) will not have any developmental effort placed into it in the future.