Last updated Dec 8, 2017

Developing standalone or plugin gadgets

How feasible is it to create an Atlassian gadget that consists purely of HTML, CSS and Javascript? Assuming that the Confluence or JIRA (or whatever) REST API could do everything that the gadget needs, can you bypass the plugin side of things altogether? You can choose to write a standalone gadget or a gadget embedded in a plugin.

  • A standalone gadget consists entirely of HTML, CSS and Javascript, all contained within the gadget XML file. To retrieve data from an application, you can use a REST API, for example.
  • Alternatively you can write a gadget and a plugin, and embed the gadget into the plugin XML using the gadget plugin module. The plugin needs to be installed into the Atlassian application, such as JIRA or Confluence.

Limitations if you do not embed your gadget in a plugin:

  • You will not be able to use #-directives. This means that, if your gadget is requesting data from an Atlassian application, the gadget can only access a single, specific instance of that application because you will need to hard-code the base URL.
  • It is significantly more difficult to use the Atlassian Gadget JavaScript Framework, because you will need to code everything that is normally automatically generated by the #supportedLocales and #includeResources directives.

That said, there are two main reasons why you may be interested in writing standalone gadgets:

  • It is a much simpler way to write very basic gadgets. This provides an easier way to learn how to write gadgets.
  • A non-plugin gadget may be sufficient if your gadget is for your own company's internal use with a single Atlassian application/site.
  • You may want to write gadgets that request data from some non-Atlassian system or web service, in order to integrate that data into an Atlassian application such as JIRA or Confluence.

Packaging your Gadget as an Atlassian Plugin

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