Atlassian DeveloperAtlassian Developer

Atlassian DeveloperAtlassian Developer

Last updatedAug 26, 2020

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Cloud development platform overview

When building apps for Atlassian cloud products, you have platform and framework options to help you develop secure, full-featured apps quickly. There are three main ways to develop cloud apps and integrations with Atlassian:

  • Atlassian Connect frameworks
  • Forge platform
  • External integrations with OAuth 2.0 (3LO) or other authentication methods

Read this overview to determine which option is right for your project.

If you are migrating a server or Data Center app to cloud, see our Deployment overview and App data migration guide for more information.

Platform feature comparison

This table compares the capabilities of Connect, Forge, and external apps and integrations.

Atlassian ConnectForge (beta)External apps and integrations
App hostingHosted by youHosted by AtlassianHosted by you
UI extensionIn-product UI modulesIn-product UI modulesNo in-product UI elements
Product APIsREST and JS APIsManaged REST and
JS APIs
REST APIs
App languagesAny language
(optional frameworks for Node.js and Java)
Serverless Node JS functionsAny language compatible with your auth method
Auth and data implementationYou have complete control over auth and data implementation (or use JWT token by default)Use built-in authentication, sandboxing, and development environmentsOAuth 2.0 and basic auth available
DistributionMake apps for your team or sell in the MarketplaceMake apps for yourself or your teamMake apps for yourself or your team
CompatibilityJira, Confluence, and Bitbucket compatibleJira and Confluence compatibleOAuth 2.0 apps are Jira Platform, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence compatible.
Other product REST APIs available through other auth implementations.

Atlassian Connect

Atlassian Connect is a framework that enables developers to build apps and integrations on top of Jira, Confluence, and Bitbucket Cloud products.

Connect gives you complete control over the tech stack, infrastructure, and integration with Atlassian cloud products. You determine your security implementation and authentication with external cloud providers such as AWS, Google Cloud, or Heroku.

You can write the app in any language, but we provide frameworks for Node.js and Java to help you test things out and get started with JWT token authentication.

Connect is recommended for developers who need to sell their cloud app or integration in the Atlassian Marketplace now or in the near future. Connect is also a good option for projects that require more control over storage or compute hosting.

See more on building Connect apps with Jira, Confluence, or Bitbucket Cloud.

Forge (beta)

Forge is our new development platform that makes it possible to build secure Jira and Confluence Cloud apps with less overhead.

Forge provides built-in security, Atlassian-hosted infrastructure, and UI customization through a declarative UI language. Forge also offers a streamlined DevOps experience with development, staging, and production environments.

You'll write your app with serverless Node.js functions, manage the app with the Forge CLI, and create the front end with Forge UI. Forge is currently available for Jira or Confluence Cloud development.

We recommend Forge if you plan on building apps for use within your organization. Forge is also recommended for developers building their first Atlassian cloud app, or any developers who want less infrastructure and hosting overhead. Note that Marketplace distribution is not yet available for Forge apps.

See the Forge documentation for more on getting started with Forge.

Forge is currently in beta, but we encourage you to explore the platform to discover what's possible for your projects. See our blog post for more on the future of Connect and Forge working together.

External apps, scripts, and integrations

Apps built without Atlassian Connect or Forge can still access data and create content through the cloud product APIs.

For external app security, you can use OAuth 2.0 (3LO) to pass information between your app and Jira Platform, Jira Service Desk, or Confluence, depending on your security needs. See the Authentication and authorization overview for more.

OAuth 2.0 apps are best suited for integrations that need to access product data on behalf of a user, but don’t need any in-product UI elements. Be aware that OAuth 2.0 apps cannot be listed in the Atlassian Marketplace, so if you eventually want to list your app, consider building a Connect app with user impersonation instead.

For more on OAuth 2.0 apps and how to implement them, see our guides on OAuth 2.0 for Jira or OAuth 2.0 for Confluence. For all our cloud product APIs, see the cloud API documentation.

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