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Atlassian Plugin Best Practices

By Kenna Poulos

Contegix is proud to be an Atlassian Expert Partner and has many customers who rely on our expertise with the Atlassian suite to keep their critical instances of Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, etc. running. We make sure your instances are fast, stable, and up-to-date. With the number of Atlassian instances that we host, we have learned what the most commonly encountered application problems are; plugins.

Plugins are a great feature that can make these powerful tools, even more useful and flexible. Unfortunately, they can also be one of the most common sources of problems. They can cause problems during upgrades and occasionally, during the normal operation of the instance, impacting performance. When you report a plugin issue we will begin with a thorough examination of the logs from the time the issue presented itself. If we can confirm the issue does look to be plugin related, we will generally start with clearing out the plugin cache, forcing it to be rebuilt. This resolves a large number of small issues.

Plugins don’t always leave a great deal of log data, if any, even when they are failing. As such, the issues can be a little difficult to narrow down, and if the logs aren’t providing any specific errors to narrow it down, the next step is to run testing in safe mode. This involves putting the instance in safe mode to disable all of the plugins, then check to see if the problem remains. If not, then we know the issue is with a plugin(s). The next step is to then enable the plugins one by one until the problem reoccurs, narrowing down the plugin at fault. This can be time consuming, depending on the number of plugins installed.

If we have indeed narrowed the problem to a specific plugin, we’ll generally recommend opening a ticket with Atlassian’s support team or the plugin vendor (if the plugin was developed by a 3rd party). This type of situation typically requires debugging by the development team and potentially more invasive fixes like direct database manipulation.

We encourage all our customers to choose their plugins carefully and disable or remove unused or incompatible plugins. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need our expertise with the Atlassian suite, please Contact Us.