Atlas Camp is an event dedicated to people engaged in creating products for the Atlassian Marketplace. It provides a space for developers to learn, share, and discuss. This year, Atlas Camp came back after a hiatus, and we were thrilled to participate!
The event took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 4-8 December 2023, with 2 days of conference, and 3 days of the app accelerator workshop.
SolDevelo Product Department
We have participated in the Atlas Camp once before, in 2018. Back then, we were only just beginning our journey as the Atlassian Marketplace vendor. We showed up at the event in a small group of 5 people, inexperienced and, frankly speaking, quite starstrucked. We grew a lot since then, and it was astonishing to see how much we’ve changed and how far we’ve come.
This year, SolDevelo showed up at the Atlas Camp in a group of 15 people – experts in different areas of product development, excited to learn the latest news from the Atlassian ecosystem, compare experiences with other vendors, and learn tips and tricks that would help us refine SolDevelo products to bring even more value to our customers.
Altas Camp 2023: The agenda
We took part in the first 2 days of the event, and listened to multiple presentations from both Atlassian members and the Marketplace vendors. The mission of this year’s edition was: Accelerate. The agenda was focused around a few main topics, covered from many different angles:
- Cloud transformation, including insights and advice on cloud migration.
- Platform power, mainly promoting Forge – Atlassian’s cloud app development platform.
- Tech innovation such as implementing AI in your app development.
- Marketplace growth, e.g. success stories from various vendors.
Apart from the presentations, there were multiple occasions for networking. The organizers provided all the attendees with a rich choice of food and drinks. Additionally, there were booths run by Atlassian specialists ready for discussion on the topics of our interest. They offered help and advice regarding the issues that vendors encountered while building apps for the Atlassian ecosystem.
Atlas Camp from our perspective
Since most of us attended Atlas Camp for the first time, it was a fresh and exciting experience. Naturally, we came out of this with plenty of thoughts and ideas, and we would like to share our insights!
A positive surprise
We were not sure what to expect, but grew to be positively surprised at the scale and quality of the event. It was well-organized, and contained multiple interesting speeches from many different people, while staying on schedule for the whole duration of the conference.
Our surprise might come from the fact that the conference was free of charge for all attendees. We could see that Atlassian put effort into this event to make sure that it is going to be remembered.
Atlas Camp is, first and foremost, all about learning new things and exchanging experiences. Two days of the conference were packed up with interesting and informative prelections. We’ve learned some facts about Atlassian’s current directions of development as well as their future plans. Not only that, we also got to know the stories of other vendors, including both their successes and struggles.
Forge – pros and cons
One of the most prevalent topics currently promoted is Forge, a cloud app development platform built by Atlassian to provide a fully secure hosting option for the Marketplace vendors. There were multiple talks and presentations about this solution, showcasing its value and exploring unique features that it has to offer.
Since we were researching Forge in the past, but have not yet decided to build on this platform, it was interesting to learn what it can bring to the table. The main advantage of Forge is its safety – customer data is kept by the Atlassian, and protected by high security measures. Another useful aspect of Forge is the access to the UI kit, allowing more elaborate UI development that might improve the user experience.
While in some aspects Forge certainly is an interesting solution, what we found most valuable is the perspective of the other Marketplace vendors. Their presentations highlighted both pros and cons of building apps with Forge, and they were very transparent with some of their struggles.
All in all, we are excited for all the new possibilities that Forge brings, but also careful, since we know about some of its shortcomings and limitations. It was a great learning experience that helped us figure out what to expect if we decide to build on Forge in the future.
Migrations to Cloud
Another hot topic was centered around migrations from Data Center and Server to Cloud. We were provided with high-level explanations, tips on how to effectively conduct migration with the most benefit for the client, and news about upcoming changes.
We were specifically intrigued by the fact that, according to the Atlasssian, after vendors migrate to Cloud, the number of their apps grows by 25%. It was also interesting to learn that there is a growing demand for Cloud apps among enterprise customers.
Some of the presentations left us brimming with new ideas on how to combine apps with other tools and solutions. Among the most interesting topics were: Forge UI builder Figma plugin, ChatGPT and Jira integration, and the importance of prompt design in the context of AI.
We especially enjoyed the practical presentations and step-by-step instructions on how to apply a certain tool or technology in your app, as well as the talks on everything that can go wrong and how to prevent issues from happening (or how to deal with them once they happen).
The event was created mostly for developers so the vast majority of the topics circled around technical solutions. There was, however, one speech exploring the ways in which vendors can boost their success with the help of the Atlassian Community. The non-technical part of our team found this presentation especially helpful and inspiring.
One of the most positively surprising things was how valuable individual consultations in the Atlas Camp booths turned out to be. Atlassian employees specialized in various areas were available for the entire duration of the conference, ready to answer any questions, and provide help with our issues.
Talking to them was really eye-opening and provided us with some important insights on the upcoming changes in the Data Center. We’ve also received guidance with UI issues that we’ve encountered, and some ideas on how to solve them.
Our experience with these consultations was so positive that we’ve already decided the next time we attend the Atlas Camp, we will come prepared with a list of questions that we would like to discuss with the Atlassian specialists.
In a sense, participating in the Atlas Camp helped us connect with the community of vendors, and realize they deal with similar issues and struggles as we do. One of the great pain points for most of us is reaching the end users, and acquiring their feedback. It’s comforting to know that we are not alone in this struggle. It also points at the imperfection of the feedback gathering system in general, and the need for new solutions in this area.
The part we found refreshing was how open other vendors were, and how willingly they shared their problems as well as their solutions. Although in a day to day life we see each other as competitors, during the event a sense of fellowship could be felt.
Surge of inspiration
We came out of the Atlas Camp inspired and full of motivation for the new challenges. We’re excited to put some of this newly acquired energy into action!
Many roads to success
Stories have the power to ignite the imagination. And there were lots of great stories told during these two days of the conference. Many different vendors presented their journeys of building solutions for the Atlassian Marketplace, and providing them to the customers. Each journey was unique, and some of them quite surprising. It was inspiring to realize that sometimes success can happen against all odds, and it’s important to stay open to risks, and never stop trying new things.
Brand recognition matters
One of the things we’ve noticed during the event was that some companies choose to mark their presence with matching outfits, promoting their brand. It might be a good idea to follow their lead, and show up at the next Atlas Camp dressed in SolDevelo gear so that we’re all recognizable at a glance.
Another idea we brought home is that in the future we would love to share our story at the Atlas Camp as well. It was great to attend speeches given by big companies, but we resonated much more with the ones performed by smaller vendors. There are plenty of things we could share, to both increase our visibility among other companies, and use our experience to help others with their struggles.
New things to try
Listening to others talking about innovative technologies and creative solutions made us excited to try many new things ourselves. Despite all its limitations, we’re quite curious about Forge, and its applicability in our context. We’re also intrigued by the new Atlassian product – Compass. Another topic we want to explore is the potential implementation of AI in our apps, since we now have more information on how to do it correctly.
Additionally, the event helped us come up with a few ideas on how to tackle some of our current challenges such as migrations to Cloud.
Shortly speaking, we’re brimming with inspiration for the new apps and new directions of development, and can’t wait to put it all into practice.
On the lighter note – we were really impressed with the quantity and diversity of the food provided at the Atlas Camp. Everyone could find something for themselves, no matter what dietary requirements they had. All the dishes and snacks were delicious, and the service was great. Breakfast and lunch breaks created a perfect chance for talking to the developers from other companies, and exchanging experiences.
At the end of the second day there was a happy hour with various drinks, and it served as a satisfying and enjoyable ending to the conference.
The beautiful city of Copenhagen
Our visit to the Atlas Camp gave us a great opportunity to see the capital of Denmark in its charming winter attire. We strolled through the city, glowing with colorful lights, enjoyed local food and drinks, and even visited a beautiful Christmas market. Although the weather was cold and the time was limited, it was a wonderful experience, and we came back home rich with fond memories of Copenhagen.
Atlas Camp 2023 was an exciting and valuable learning experience, and if there is a chance, we’re definitely coming back next year!