Last updatedDec 11, 2019

Getting started

This tutorial will teach you the basics of developing apps for Confluence Cloud using Atlassian Connect. The Atlassian Connect framework handles discovery, installation, authentication, and seamless integration into the Confluence user interface.

By the end of this tutorial, you'll have done everything you need to start developing apps, including:

  • setting up a cloud development site
  • installing Atlassian Connect Express (ACE), a Node.js toolkit for building Atlassian Connect apps
  • validating your setup by deploying a basic hello world app

Before you begin

To complete this tutorial, you'll need a basic understanding of Confluence and the following:

  • IDE or text editor
  • Node.js version 12.1.0 or later
  • npm (bundled with Node.js)
  • Git

Step 1: Cloud development site

We'll start by getting a free Confluence Cloud development site that you can use for building and testing apps.

  1. Go to go.atlassian.com/cloud-dev to sign up. It may take several minutes to provision your site.
  2. Once your site is ready, sign in, and complete the setup wizard.

Your cloud development site has Confluence and all of the Jira products installed. Note that Atlassian Cloud development sites have limits on the number of users.

Step 2: Enable development mode in your site

Development mode allows you to install app descriptors from any public URL in your development site. This means that you do not need to list the app in the Atlassian Marketplace before installing it.

  1. In the left-hand navigation menu, click Settings. settings
  2. Scroll to the Atlassian Marketplace section, and then click Manage apps. settings
  3. Under User-installed apps, click Settings.
  4. Select Enable development mode, and then click Apply. settings

After the page refreshes, you'll see the Upload app link. This allows you to install apps while you're developing them.

Step 3: Install ACE

Atlassian Connect Express (ACE) is a Node.js toolkit for building Atlassian Connect apps. It uses the Node.js Express framework, allowing you to leverage routing, middleware, and templating within a Node.js environment.

  1. Verify that you have Node.js and npm installed correctly (the version numbers returned may vary):

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    $ node -v
    v12.12.0
    $ npm -v
    6.11.3
  2. Install atlas-connect by running:

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    npm install -g atlas-connect
  3. Verify the installation by running:

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    atlas-connect --help

If ACE installed successfully, you'll see the following:

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 Usage: atlas-connect [options] [command]


 Commands:

  new [name]  create a new Atlassian app
  help [cmd]  display help for [cmd]

 Options:

  -h, --help     output usage information
  -V, --version  output the version number

Step 4: Create a basic app

Now, we're ready to create a basic app. The app is a macro that prints Hello World on Confluence pages.

First, we'll clone a repository that contains the source code for the Hello World app:

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git clone https://bitbucket.org/atlassian/confluence-helloworld-addon.git

Now that we have the source code, we're ready to get to work:

  1. Switch to the app directory:
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    cd confluence-helloworld-addon
  2. Install dependencies for the app using npm:
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    npm install
  3. Add a credentials.json file in your app directory with your information:
    • your-confluence-domain: Use the domain of your cloud development site (for example, https://your-domain.atlassian.net).
    • username: Use the email address of your Atlassian account.
    • password: Specify the API token.
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      {
         "hosts" : {
            "<your-confluence-domain>": {
               "product" : "confluence",
               "username" : "<user@example.com>",
               "password" : "<api_token>"
            }
         }
      }
  4. Start the server:

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    npm start

    You should see something similar to the following:

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    > helloworld-app@0.0.1 start /Users/user/repos/confluence-helloworld-addon
    > node app.js
    
    Watching atlassian-connect.json for changes
    Add-on server running at http://<your-local-machine>:<port>
    Executing (default): CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `AddonSettings` (`id` INTEGER PRIMARY KEY AUTOINCREMENT, `clientKey` VARCHAR(255), `key` VARCHAR(255), `val` JSON); {
      plain: false,
      raw: true,
      logging: [Function],
      timestamps: false,
      validate: {},
      freezeTableName: false,
      underscored: false,
      paranoid: false,
      rejectOnEmpty: false,
      whereCollection: null,
      schema: null,
      schemaDelimiter: '',
      defaultScope: {},
      scopes: {},
      indexes: [
        {
          fields: [Array],
          type: '',
          parser: null,
          name: 'addon_settings_client_key_key'
        }
      ],
      name: { plural: 'AddonSettings', singular: 'AddonSetting' },
      
      ...
    
    }
    GET /macro?xdm_e=https%3A%2F%2F<your-confluence-domain>&xdm_c=channel-confluence-helloworld-addon__helloworld-macro5506103820156894572&cp=%2Fwiki&xdm_ deprecated_addon_key_do_not_use=confluence-helloworld-addon&lic=none&cv=1.472.0&jwt=<token>
    GET /css/81ea9e595fa00bf1f5f0cf9afe2a37e1-addon.css 200 3.242 ms - 277
    GET /js/69447ddc6badcb86e100e45c08d3f8b2-addon.js 200 2.649 ms - 19

Starting the service causes the app to be installed in the Confluence instance described in the credentials.json file.

Step 5: Test your app

Now that the sample app is installed, let's see the macro in action:

  1. Edit any page, and type /hello (or {hello):

    type {hello

  2. Select Hello World Macro, and save the page. You should see the following content:

    hello world macro

Next steps

Now that you have set up your cloud development site, you're ready to get started building apps. Check out the other tutorials, or take a look at the REST API docs.