New Release

JIRA 5 – a platform for collaborative Software Development


Atlassian JIRA 5 has been released today, pushing the envelope for issue trackers. Jon Stevenson tells us more about what it can do

With the release of JIRA 5, developers get an even greater level of collaboration when it comes to building software. This release focuses on stability of JIRA as a platform, integration with a wide range of apps and social features to make work more inclusive.

JIRA provides a suite of integrated tools to help teams of all sizes, from large organisations that manage a wide portfolio to a two-man lean start-up.  Many customers are opting for the Atlassian OnDemand service so they can focus on whats most valuable to them.

JIRA is much more than an issue tracker

Think of JIRA as a really powerful workflow engine, that helps you route issues (work) between roles and teams with ease – helping ensure that valuable tasks and challenges don’t fall out of sight.  Those issue can represent any activities that are part of the way you work:  if your development team adopts scrum you can define story cards & Epics; for a BDD approach you would manage features & scenarios; testers and QA would raise bugs; the service team can manage helpdesk requests and DevOps provision equipment and services for deploying applications.

JIRA also has some great plugins such as Greenhopper for Agile project management (Scrum / Kanban) and Bonfire for quickly capturing information gathered during exploratory testing.  There is an ever growing marketplace for open source and commercial plugins.

JIRA 5 Overview video          88 Reasons for JIRA – Seibert Media

JIRA 5 goes Social

In JIRA 4 teams were brought together with the visual workflow.  Building on this collaboration, JIRA 5 goes social and adds features that make it easy for adhoc involvement and innovation to happen.

Simply mention someone in an issue comment and they are invited to get involved.  Using the Share button sends an ‘FYI’ to people & teams who might want a heads up, but don’t necessarily need to participate.  You can even share with email addresses outside of your JIRA users!

These features allow you to get people involved when its relevant to them, reducing the information overload.

Integrate JIRA with anything

People do not work in isolation and neither does JIRA.  Being able to link your issues to other applications helps development teams stay connected to the rest of the organisation and to those all important end users.  

Linking Confluence with JIRA also helps you create meaningful documentation for your project, scheduling work so that it fits in with product releases and other important events.  The link with Confluence also supports the so-called “soft skills” activities such as internal communications, marketing, HR, social clubs and technical communities.

Getting a focused view

Using wallboards is a great practice and there are lots of cool examples out there.  Sometimes you want to focus on a specific information, this is where JIRA activity streams come in.

In the Atlassian suite of tools, activity Streams show you real-time updates from Confluence pages, Bamboo builds, and source activity in FishEye, Crucible, and even Bitbucket.

Using the remote issue links in JIRA 5 you can connect your activity stream to tasks in any external systems such as: a discussion topic from Get Satisfaction; a customer record from Salesforce; a document in Box; a support ticket in Zendesk

An off-the-wall example of this integration is using Minecraft to create and resolve issues in JIRA.

JIRA as a development platform

If you can’t find the JIRA plugin you need, or see an opportunity for a new application, you can use JIRA to bootstrap your own development.  With a wide user base of 18,000 active Atlassian customers and a low $10 entry level for JIRA, it is easy to reach a wide market or community when your product is built on JIRA.

The developer experience with the JIRA software development kit (SDK) has evolved rapidly through 2011 and together with a new set of RESTful API’s JIRA development has become stable, future proof and really easy to get start with.

Why not start your plugin development today!  All you need is JIRA 5 and a little imagination!

John is the UK ambassador for Atlassian and active organiser of several communities in London. He runs workshops and speaks on technical topics including open source projects, developer tools, continuous delivery, TDD & BDD practices and declarative (functional) programming (Clojure). John also presents on kanban as a way to help individuals, teams and organisations become more effective. He is a strong advocate of group learning and encourages others to get involved with the community for their own personal growth.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments