An infographic on the differences across various JIRA products
We have been spent a lot of time explaining to customers the differences between JIRA Core, JIRA Software and JIRA ServiceDesk. Think this infographic summarises them well.
For those who wants to check out the screenshots and links, it is available at https://www.akeles.com/what-are-the-differences-between-jira-software-jira-service-desk-and-jira-core/
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How to Deploy Changes to JIRA in a Day
Recently, we completed a project for a bank. Their original idea was to build a system for tracking but they decide to leverage on JIRA since they were already using it. The requirements can be met by adding a few new JIRA projects and customised plugins.
However, there was a big challenge to quickly deploy changes on an existing JIRA Production system. The changes had to be replicated across 3 separate environments (DEV, QA and PROD). This meant that the users had to wait a longer time to use the new features. Luckily, we discovered the Configuration Manager Plugin. It is a JIRA add-on that enables automated deployment of configurations across JIRA instances.
With this plugin, we managed to replicate the configuration in 1 environment within 1 day instead of a week. We managed to shave 8 days of effort for QA and PROD environments. It eliminated human errors which could not have been avoided if we took the traditional method. There were just too many steps to replicate with zero errors.
We were very impressed and want to share our experience with fellow JIRA users.
How we did it
Due to confidentiality, the steps are listed using the screenshots taken from the plugin author’s page.
- The initial configuration in DEV had to be done manually. We cheated! Using our in-house Project Creator plugin, we created hundreds of custom fields from a MS Excel file
- After the schemes and workflows were set up, we got ready to create a configuration snapshot for export
- The Configuration Manager can only be accessed by a JIRA Admin under the admin console
- Select the Add Snapshot button (or Create Snapshot for newer version)
- We used System Configuration to capture all the configuration so that we can deploy multiple projects at the same time
- After the snapshot was created, we downloaded the xml file by selecting Download from the gear icon on the right side
- The file was copied to the UAT environment to be deployed
- Similarly, the JIRA Admin had to log into the admin console to access the Configuration Manager page
- To play safe, we did an backup of the UAT environment before applying the changes so that in event of error, we can still restore the UAT environment to the previous setup
- Click on the Deploy link on the left sub-menu to access the Deploy Configuration Snapshot page
- Click on the From Snapshot File button to upload the xml configuration file created from DEV
- The snapshot will be added to the list of snapshots available for deployment
- Click on the Deploy link under the Actions
- The list of configuration changes will be listed. The additions are identified by whereas modifications are identified by
- We spent more time verifying the changes identified with the changes to ensure they do not affect existing configuration.
- When the changes were confirmed, we proceeded with the automated deployment
- Once completed, the changes could be viewed in the Audit logs
Interested users might want to consult the plugin documentation page at https://botronsoft.atlassian.net/wiki/display/CMJ/Configuration+Manager+Documentation for details.
Feedback for Improvement
We were very glad such a plugin is in existence. However, there are some limitations or possible improvements
- The configuration stored using ActiveObjects had to be replicated manually. This is because there is no easy way to differentiate the configuration settings from the issue values
- The selected role for the Issue Alternative Assignee custom field had to be re-configured after it had been added automatically
We recommend Configuration Manager Plugin to JIRA Administrators who need to implement many changes across multiple JIRA environments frequently. It’s a time-saver!
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5 Things to Know for Scaling JIRA Performance
Atlassian’s Five Secrets of JIRA Performance at Scale webinar shared some useful insights on scaling JIRA performance.
Here is a pictorial summary will be useful for those who missed the video.
1) JIRA 6.4 is 30% faster than JIRA 6.3
2) Custom fields have the most influence on the speed especially on creating issues
3) The number of users does not have much impact on the speed
4) JIRA can support more issues without much degradation in the performance
5) Running JIRA on Java 8 is 13% faster than on Java 6
For details, you can check out the video below or the detailed report at https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/ENTERPRISE/Scaling+JIRA
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Getting Git Right 2014
On 22nd September 2014, Atlassian is in Singapore for the 1st time to host Getting Git Right 2014 . Atlassian is well-known for their developer tools such as JIRA, Confluence, etc. The team spent the afternoon in town to talk about how Git together with Stash can help developers work more productively and deliver products faster.
Stash is a Git repository management software to enable users to collaborate on their code better. Revision control and source code management is becoming increasingly essential for development teams big or small. It helps developers to collaborate more efficiently, hence the proliferation of Git adoption for developer teams and increasing interest in products like Stash.
The Atlassian team shared their best practices on development workflows such as how to integrate Git into the system and how to use Git for faster releases. The revision control provides users with records of changes made to projects thereby empowering them in tracking and recovery of source code.
A lucky attendee walked home with our Intel® NUC mini server with Atlassian Git Essentials (JIRA+JIRA Agile+Bamboo+Stash) pre-installed. Our Git Essentials Mini-Server is targeted towards startups and small teams as it is both energy-saving and space-saving.
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Win free copies of the newly published JIRA 6.x Administration Cookbook
Readers would be pleased to know that we have teamed up with Packt Publishing to organize a giveaway of the new JIRA 6.x Administration Cookbook that we have reviewed recently (See Book Review: JIRA 6.x Administration Cookbook).
Three lucky winners stand a chance to win a digital copy of this book each.
How to Enter?
All you need to do is head on over to the book page and look through the product description of the book and drop a line via the comments below this post to let us know what interests you the most about this book. It’s that simple.
The first 3 valid respondents will get an e-copy of the Book.
The contest will close on till 17th Sep 2014. Winners will be contacted by email, so be sure to use your real email address when you comment!
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Book Review: JIRA 6.x Administrator Cookbook
I was excited to receive an invitation from Packt Publishing to do a book review on JIRA 6.x Administrator Cookbook.
Being an Atlassian Expert, it can be scary to see such books coming into the market because the tricks of the trade are being wiki-leaked. However, it also means JIRA has matured and is getting increasing adoption.
I think the tagline for the book “Quick answers to common problems” is quite apt. It contains a lot of recipes to questions that we encounter day-to-day. Some of the answers are similar to what we are doing for ourselves or have done for our customers.
The book is well structured with clearly illustrated steps and notes to highlight salient points. The e-book also contains coloured screenshots that makes it easier to see the highlighted text.
Some interesting topics include:
- How to reset the JIRA administrator password
- Creating custom fields with custom logic
- How to migrate JIRA to another environment
There are also chapters covering:
- JIRA workflows
- JIRA security
- JIRA customizations
- Integration JIRA with other applications
This book has a lot of practical recipes and is useful for those who want to administer their own JIRA instance.
For those who are keen to pick up JIRA add-on development, you can also check out the JIRA 5.x Developer Cookbook
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Deploying Atlassian tools for the Enterprise
seyears, the customer base of Atlassian have evolved from asmall companies who hosted their server under someone’s table to large enterprises. Their tools are being used by NASA for space exploration projects and Rakuten for development of the Japan’s biggest online marketplace.
Many customers have been demanding for improvements for robustness such as clustering, high availability and higher levels of support. So if you are deploying Atlassian products, you might be interested to know their new offerings:
JIRA/Confluence Data Center
- Designed for high availability and performance at scale
- Provides active-active clustering to ensure users have uninterrupted access
- Increases concurrent usage capacity without sacrificing performance
- New nodes can be added without taking the system offline
- Data Center is available at US$24,000 per year for every 1,000 users
- Together withthe introduction of the Data Center, there are 3 flavours available for different types of users
- Server (previously known as Download)
- Cloud (previously known as OnDemand)
- Data Center (new license)
For differences between Server and Cloud editions, check out our Infographic- Atlassian OnDemand vs In-Premise.
Technical Account Management Programme
- Provides 1:1 guidance to help with operational activities, governance and strategic planning to get the most from your Atlassian investment
- A Technical Account Manager (TAM) from Atlassian will be assigned
- Available 1 day per week for US$60,000/year
- Provide access to a dedicated team of senior support engineers with enhanced SLAs and availability
- Has intimate knowledge of your environment to quickly address and manage critical incidents
- Premier support is available for US$35,000/year
For on-site support in Singapore, we have specialised local support plans as well.
For those who are keen on JIRA Data Center, there are some other useful resources:
- Free Data Center Webinars
- Plugin Guide to JIRA High Availability & Clustering
- JIRA Data Center Installation Guide
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How we are using JIRA for Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA)
The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) has come effect from 2nd July 2014
The PDPA establishes a data protection law that comprises various rules governing the collection, use, disclosure and care of personal data. It recognises both the rights of individuals to protect their personal data, including rights of access and correction, and the needs of organisations to collect, use or disclose personal data for legitimate and reasonable purposes.
We recently completed an enhancement for Data Request Tracking with JIRA.
This enhancement tracks all requests and facilitate the approvals that is pertaining to personal data.
Some of the steps required are:
- create a new issue type “Data Request”
- create a new project for Data Request
- add those fields that you need to track
- associate the fields to the screens
- copy the default workflow and change it with the Workflow Designer
- associate the schemes to the project
- If you need reports, you can create a dashboard and add some of the built-in gadgets
By using a centralised application instead of emails to track all the requests, it provides visibility in the handling of all requests and fulfils the audit requirements.
We thought it was useful and adapted it for ourselves. Hence, if you have previously submitted your personal data to us, you know your data is safe.
If you are using JIRA, you can start tracking your Data Requests today!
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4 tools to make life easier for software developers
It is not easy being a software developer today. A software developer needs
- to link code changes to the related features/bugs
- to report to project managers on status updates
- to work and integrate codes for other fellow developers
- to code, test and deploy fast
- to know many software applications for different tasks
Atlassian has been dogfooding their tools to streamline the application development process and has released their first suite of tools – Git Essentials.
The 4 tools (JIRA , JIRA Agile, Bamboo and Stash) can be integrated seamlessly with each other to enable developers from filing the bug, coding the fix till deployment. And because they are from the same company, the integration can be done easily with minimal configuration.
The key benefits of Git Essentials are:
- Integration – All the tools are nicely integrated together easily
- Visibility – Related information are presented in context
- Traceability – All the information are linked automatically
- Time saving – Information is accessible directly
- Faster learning curve – a same look and feel interface as though it is just 1 single application
Check out Atlassian’s infographic on how everything works together
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