Inspiration

This started from me wanting redemption from not making a submission for Codegeist 2020. When I heard from Bridget on the Atlassian Community team that Codegeist was returning for 2021, I knew I wanted to actually make a submission this time.

While walking the dogs in the morning, I was thinking about what business challenge or need I could solve, and it hit me. One of the most powerful resources Admins and End users have at their disposal is the Atlassian Online Community. There are tons of people asking and answering questions every day. "What if I could write an app that would bring the Online Community closer to the tools people are already using?" After a brief conversation with one of the Community managers to see if there were public APIs I could access (which there are), I had my idea!

I also summarized this in an intro video I posted on youtube for this project: link

What it does

What I have created is a "more actions" menu option from either a Jira issue, or a Confluence page that will display a modal dialog box. From here you can input a search term for an issue you are having and click a search button to have it return the top 25 results from the Atlassian Community, with a short snippet from each article relevant to your search. The article titles are hyperlinked so you can go to the article on the Community to read more.

How we built it

I started by following the Atlassian Forge UI kit templates. Once I had a skeleton template I made heavy use of the Atlassian Forge resource guide to find the visual elements I wanted to use. From there build the app was about putting the pieces in place until I was happy with them. As for the API call itself. This took a bit of investigation as I needed to use a generic node "fetch" since I wasn't accessing information form one of the Atlassian products.

Challenges we ran into

I ran into a number of challenges throughout this process. From the beginning, I had it in my head that I wanted a top level menu, not a "more actions" menu. But, I discovered through the developer community that top level menus are not yet supported in Forge. Also, when I was using the node "fetch" api command. I ran into permissions issues that aren't very well documented. This took a significant amount of trial and error before I was able to figure out not only the permissions I needed to grant but also where I needed to define this. The last challenge I had was that I would have liked to generate a dynamic list of tags to include in the search instead of the static list I ended up using. However, I don't have access to the APIs that would allow me to search for and generate a checkbox list of tags.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The most important accomplishment for me is actually finishing and submitting this time. I'm also really happy with the end product. It isn't very flashy, but I think it will be something very useful. I was also really proud that even though I had a full time job and other life commitments, I still managed to stay relatively on track while completing this project.

What we learned

I learned SO MANY things! First, I got to dive into the Khoros platform APIs (this is the product powering the Atlassian Online Community). While one of the Atlassian Community Developers posted a nice article about some simple search api calls you can make, my deep dive helped me discover that "search snippets" are something the platform supports. Up until now I have dabbled a bit with Atlassian Forge for work, but my setup is on a MAC. My home computer is on windows, so I needed to re-learn how to setup my forge development environment. My previous experience with BitBucket is using the server version as well as Bamboo. So it was also really cool to have the opportunity to experiment with YAML build files and BitBucket Pipelines.

What's next for Community Help for Jira & Confluence

First, I will be writing an article on the Atlassian Community to share my experiences with Codegeist 2021 and the app I developed. I'm part way through submitting it as a free app in the marketplace, and as long as it doesn't get rejected in a way that will cause me too much effort to resolve, this will likely be available for free to anyone that would like to have easier access to the Atlassian Online Community.

I also included/posted a "final thoughts" video on youtube documenting how I felt about this wonderful process: link

Finally, I also took this entire experience and summarized it in an article on the Atlassian Community, titled: How I Accidently Became a Marketplace Vendor link

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Updates

posted an update

I've been feeling really good about things this week. As you will be able to notice I have much more of this submission filled out. I have only a couple of minor things to finish off before I will be able to submit this one. Super excited!

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posted an update

I've been terrible about providing updates here. Thing have been going very well! I have been tracking everything in Jira, Confluence & BitBucket and I have been tracking ahead of progress for completing this project before the deadline.

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posted an update

I have successfully started this project! I have a solid idea to start working on, and I have started by planning epics & tasks (in Jira) and setting estimates and 1 week sprints to make sure I have enough time to complete everything I want to accomplish. This is going to be fun!

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