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InfoQ Homepage News Atlassian Introduces Forge, a New Way to Build Serverless Cloud Apps

Atlassian Introduces Forge, a New Way to Build Serverless Cloud Apps

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In a recent blog post, Atlassian announced a new serverless cloud platform called Forge that allows developers to build Functions-as-a Service (FaaS)-based applications that are hosted and operated by Atlassian. Forge UI, a flexible and declarative UI language, will be used by developers to build interactive experiences across web and mobile devices using a low-code approach. In addition, Atlassian provides a DevOps toolchain which is supported by the Forge Command Line Interface (CLI).

Atlassian, traditionally known for building products and services like Bitbucket, Jira and Confluence, have introduced a new serverless platform offering using a new hosted app model. Mike Tria, head of platform at Atlassian, explains why they decided to build Forge:

Forge solves very real problems for developers by removing some of the complexity (and cost!) associated with cloud app development. Creating apps for most cloud ecosystem platforms holds developers responsible for building, hosting, and operating an entirely independent web service, which requires expertise in cloud architecture and management.

With Forge, Atlassian will operate compute and storage for app developers that is powered by AWS Lambda. One of the goals of the platform is to allow developers to spend more time solving the targeted business problem by abstracting some of the complexities involved in managing a FaaS platform yourself. 

Atlassian did consider using containers as a runtime environment, but opted for a FaaS approach instead. Tim Pettersen, Forge engineering team lead, explains:

Container-based systems give you a lot of flexibility in how you build your applications, but they also give you slightly more of the stack that you have to manage. Lambdas give you a little bit less flexibility, but they do reduce the number of lines of code that you have to write to get your work done. It is much lower, like orders of magnitude lower.

Image source: (screenshot) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sntWyh2w_rc

One of the core components of the new platform is Forge UI, which is a cross-platform language used to build user interfaces for apps. Tria explains some of the benefits that Forge UI provides:

It’s a declarative language, making it easy to quickly build native, flexible, and trusted UI interfaces for apps. By building on the Atlassian infrastructure, an app’s user experience becomes more consistent with our product’s user experience by consistently running the latest version of Atlaskit – a win for developers and our customers.

Forge UI also provides trust and security benefits by abstracting away the process of rendering the UI layer. By using this approach, Forge makes stronger guarantees on how apps transmit sensitive data, including user generated and personal information.

Integration with Forge Command Line Interface (CLI) simplifies managing Forge apps by including onboarding and template functionalities. This allows developers to include Forge apps in their continuous deployment processes through a toolchain powered by Bitbucket Pipelines.

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