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AI / DevOps / Software Development

Open Source Jira Alternative, Plane, Lands

Plane, an open source alternative to Atlassian's Jira work management software has begun to attract the attention of developers.
Jun 2nd, 2023 9:00am by
Featued image for: Open Source Jira Alternative, Plane, Lands

A new(ish) open source Jira alternative called Plane has landed on the scene and has begun generating developer interest.

The open source project hopes to become a viable option to Jira, which by some estimates holds as much as 86.63% of the bug-and-issue-tracking market, according to 6Sense. Jira’s top competitors in the bug-and-issue-tracking category are BugHerd, YouTrack and Trac.

However, Jira is much more than bug and issue tracking; it is a whole suite of work management software, including project management, collaboration, configuration management and more.

Plane Explained

Moreover, the open source Plane tool “helps you track your issues, epics, and product roadmaps in the simplest way possible,” the project’s GitHub description reads. “Meet Plane. An open source software development tool to manage issues, sprints, and product roadmaps with peace of mind.”

Indeed, “Plane is a simple, extensible, open source project and product management tool powered by AI. It allows users to start with a basic task-tracking tool and gradually adopt various project management frameworks like Agile, Waterfall, and many more, wrote Vihar Kurama, co-founder and COO of Plane, in a blog post.

Yet, “Plane is still in its early days, not everything will be perfect yet, and hiccups may happen. Please let us know of any suggestions, ideas, or bugs that you encounter on our Discord or GitHub issues, and we will use your feedback to improve on our upcoming releases,” the description said.

Plane is built using a carefully selected tech stack, comprising Next.js for the frontend and Django for the backend, Kurama said.

“We utilize PostgreSQL as our primary database and Redis to manage background tasks,” he wrote in the post. “Additionally, our architecture includes two microservices, Gateway and Pilot. Gateway serves as a proxy server to our database, preventing the overloading of our primary server, while Pilot provides the interface for building integrations. We have also developed an AI service based on OpenAI, incorporating LangChain as an interface.”

Key Features

Key features of Plane include:

  • Issue Planning and Tracking: Quickly create issues and add details using a powerful rich text editor that supports file uploads. Add sub-properties and references to issues for better organization and tracking.
  • Issue Attachments: Collaborate effectively by attaching files to issues, making it easy for your team to find and share important project-related documents.
  • Layouts: Customize your project view with your preferred layout — choose from List, Kanban, or Calendar to visualize your project in a way that makes sense to you.
  • Cycles: Plan sprints with Cycles to keep your team on track and productive. Gain insights into your project’s progress with burn-down charts and other useful features.
  • Modules: Break down your large projects into smaller, more manageable modules. Assign modules between teams to easily track and plan your project’s progress.
  • Views: Create custom filters to display only the issues that matter to you. Save and share your filters in just a few clicks.
  • Pages: Plane pages function as an AI-powered notepad, allowing you to easily document issues, cycle plans, and module details, and then synchronize them with your issues.
  • Command K: Enjoy a better user experience with the new Command + K menu. Easily manage and navigate through your projects from one convenient location.
  • GitHub Sync: Streamline your planning process by syncing your GitHub issues with Plane. Keep all your issues in one place for better tracking and collaboration.

Factors a Developer Could Love

“In looking through their docs, I can see why developers are picking up on this project, as a) it features a nice permissive Apache 2.0 license, b) has some fairly consistent development work, and most importantly, c) plugs into GitHub where Plane can help greatly in imposing some sort of order upon software development efforts,” said Brad Shimmin, an analyst at Omdia. “By the way, it looks like they’re just getting started in plugging in generative AI functionality (used right now just for problem documentation), but I would imagine we’ll see community members extend that aggressively across the product in the coming months.”

Plane Pages

Tough Road Ahead

Plane has a tough road ahead if its goal is to nibble at Atlassian’s market share with Jira.

“It’s too early to tell [how far the project will go]. It’s at version 0.7, and it has two pricing options: ‘$0’ and ‘coming soon,’” said Jason Bloomberg, an analyst at Intellyx. “I’ve seen several similar tools over the years come and go. It’s difficult for a tool to gain traction when it has to connect to so many things and operate at the center of people’s day to work properly. But then again, everybody hates Jira, so you never know!”

According to some estimates, Jira’s overall market share is 42.32% with more than 93,976 companies using this software.

Yet, “There is always room to disrupt the incumbent,” said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research. “Somehow the larger suites always get slower and less innovative, which opens the room for startups and new initiatives. The first thing is they need to do something better, they need to get known — neither is not an issue for Plane. The last is the switching cost, and that is also not too high here. So it will be interesting. If Plane will hurt Jira subscriptions — they will react as well.”

Getting Started with Plane

The easiest way to get started with Plane is by creating a Plane Cloud account. Plane Cloud offers a hosted solution for Plane.

“Currently, Plane Cloud is hosted on Vercel for frontend deployment and on Amazon EC2 for backend services,” Kurama said. “You can self-host your own version of Plane using our Docker images or Docker Compose, which are readily available in our repository.”

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Docker, 6Sense.
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