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JIRA Improves and Costs Less

by Craig Wickesser on Nov 01, 2009 |

Atlassian has recently released JIRA 4, their issue tracking, agile project management and workflow product that has been widely adopted across the planet. The Atlassian team had worked on this release for over 13 months which resulted in a bountiful set of new features as well as over 1,000 resolved issues (in JIRA of course).

JIRA 4 has a new look and feel with a smarter user interface making it easier to navigate and get access to commonly used features. Activity Streams are a new feature for monitoring any issue, project or user with a more social-esque experience, think Facebook News Feeds. A new advanced search feature, referred to as JIRA Query Language or JQL, makes it simple to create complex searches. They've also added new dashboards, OpenSocial gadgets, and lots more.

InfoQ had the opportunity to touch base with Atlassian to find out what users can expect from the new release and where things are going.

InfoQ: JIRA 4 provides a lot of new features that are "UI rich", which browsers are supported and/or recommended?

The following browsers are recommended for use with JIRA 4:
  • Internet Explorer 7 and 8
  • Firefox 3.x
  • Safari 4.x


InfoQ: The JIRA Query Language (JQL) sounds impressive, what is it built on? (custom code, lucene, etc)?

JQL is custom code that we built on top of the existing Lucene index used by JIRA.


InfoQ: Atlassian acquired GreenHopper a few months ago, are there any other acquisitions planned?

We don't have any acquisitions planned, however, we're always open to exploring good ideas!


InfoQ: Why did Atlassian choose to use the OpenSocial API?

The JIRA dashboard is built on the Java version of Apache Shindig. OpenSocial is the specification while Apache Shindig is an implementation of that specification.


InfoQ: What are your thoughts on other issue tracking tools such as Bugzilla or the "new guy on the block", YouTrack (from JetBrains)? With YouTrack they seem to provide easy/smart searching, easy keyboard navigation, etc.

YouTrack: Looks really slick and though it's still in 1.0 and will take a while to get up to speed we think it's one to watch. Because of their lack of maturity, they're still light on integrations (an area where JIRA excels). JIRA is a significantly more mature product with a much richer feature set and tools for agile developers.

Bugzilla: We are a huge supporter of the Open Source community. Bugzilla provides good basic functionality and a no-frills experience for its users. We built JIRA seven years ago as a response to the lackluster feature set in Bugzilla and for enterprise customers looking for customer support and more enterprise features. From a feature perspective, JIRA Dashboards, search and agile capabilities are three areas that Bugzilla hasn't developed and clearly differentiate the two products. It still remains one of our biggest competitors.


InfoQ: What's on the roadmap for JIRA moving forward?

Future releases of JIRA will continue to improve upon the user experience and our APIs and services for our developer ecosystem.

With all of the updates and improvements made in JIRA 4 Atlassian is making it even easier to get started by offering their starter program. Essentially this allows you to pay $10 for any one of their tools (JIRA, Confluence, GreenHopper, Bamboo, FishEye and Crowd) which gives you 10 users (50 users for Crowd)!

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Hmmm.... by Clint Farleigh

I think my mom warned me against this type of pricing strategy... "hey kid your first hit is only 10 bucks...."

Agile??? by Ilja Preuß

We are using Jira at work, and I cannot see anything particular Agile about it.

Re: Agile??? by Rob de Boer

We are using Jira at work, and I cannot see anything particular Agile about it.

I have used JIRA for several years now (around 5 or 6 I reckon) and I have to admit that it is by far the best issue/project management system. I can understand why it's used by so many respected companies around the world.

However, along the years I found the enormous amount of features and settings to bog down our Agile development process. I was spending too much time registering what needed to be done than actually doing it. It became a chore to maintain a backlog and moreover I couldn't get a clear sense of our progress in the form of a burndown chart for example. Sure, it was possible to get that information, but it was yet another feature, instead of a core concept. They attempted to solve this issue with Greenhopper, but that felt like cramming a tool in a product that wasn't meant to handle it.

In my opinion, JIRA is an amazing product of unique quality, but not the best fit for Agile development processes.

Re: Agile??? by Clint Farleigh

So what software do you use for agile process management?

Re: Agile??? by David karlsen

So what software do you use for agile process management?


The greenhopper plugin...

Re: Agile??? by Rob de Boer

So what software do you use for agile process management?


I use Scrumworks (www.danube.com/scrumworks). It is a very basic tool, but it has everything I need for our Scrum process.

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