What’s New & How It Helps You...
It’s been a busy time for Atlassian with releases of major new versions of their flagship products Jira Software & Service Desk. These new versions have been on the cards for some time, but following the official release on 11th Feb we can provide some commentary around some of the new features.
Atlassian release functionality regularly, almost every month there is a new release of their main products containing features and fixes. Every so often Atlassian need to update the underlying libraries in the product, these updates are called Platform releases, and although these updates probably won’t affect users, they might impact any integrations, bespoke plug-ins, and scripts, so extra care needs to be taken to prepare for these upgrade.
These improvements bring benefits to the product such as performance improvements which we will expand on further below, these enhancements also form the foundation for future feature development, so even though there aren’t too many new exciting features announced in this release, this will be version that all future enhancements will be built on.
Jira Software 8.0.x
Jira Server Mobile App – A native mobile app for Jira Server has been a long time requested feature amongst the Atlassian community. There has been a mobile version for Jira Cloud for several years and now users of Server & Data Center can access their instances via a mobile app. Although Jira has always worked pretty well on mobile devices a dedicated mobile app will enhance the user experience. The app is currently beta and available on Google Play and the App Store.
Batch Email Notifications – This feature will allow you to batch events and receive email updates in a single email. This is a big improvement as currently it’s very easy to get overloaded as you wade through all the separate email notifications that are sent for every individual issue update.
Faster Indexing – In Jira 8.0.x Atlassian have upgraded Jira’s search engine “Lucene”. That’s all very well and good but why is this important?
This is a pretty big change and is something that is below bonnet / hood at the nuts n bolts level of how Jira works so it won’t be immediately visible. Those who administer Jira will know the importance and need for re-indexing. However it can be time consuming operational overhead. Clearvision as always offer a range of support and hosting services to help free teams from infrastructure & administration workloads so they can focus on more value add areas.
Atlassian state (based on their tests) that;
– reindexing will be quicker – 71% faster
– indexes will be smaller – shrunk by 48%
– Jira performance & stability will improve over time
– there was no sign of memory issues caused by intensive search functions like complex JQL’s
Day to Day Performance Improvements – Atlassian also advise that test results saw increased performance in the following areas in Jira 8.0
- Viewing boards improved by 62% (Data Center: 60%)
- Viewing backlogs improved by 87% (Data Center: 87%)
- Searching with JQL improved by 33% (Data Center: 31%)
- Browsing boards improved by 16% (Data Center: 22%)
Enhanced JQL – Jira’s search language will now allow you to search for Issues based on who has updated an Issue, and issues linked by certain link types as well, useful for identifying Issues that block your current sprint for example.
Accessible priority icons – Atlassian have updated priority icons to make them more distinctive, avoiding the confusion that’s existed for a long time distinguishing between dark orange and red arrows.
Jira Service Desk 4.0.x
Administration Performance – Jira Service Desk also includes benefits related to the Lucene upgrade covered above in the Jira Software 8.0.x release so tasks such as indexing should take less time.
Improved Day to Day Performance – Atlassian expect the combination of back end and front end changes to make the whole experience more efficient for admins, agents and customers.
Atlassian’s tests have revealed:
- Viewing queues is twice as fast in 4.0 compared to 3.16.
- Opening the customer page is 36% faster in 4.0 compared to 3.16
- Project creation for an instance with 100 projects, is twice as fast in 4.0 compared to 3.15.
- Project creation for an instance with up to 200 projects, is six times faster in 4.0 compared to 3.15.
Improved Searching – easily find updated incidents and Jira Software backlog items linked to problem records and change requests in Jira Service Desk:
- Find contributors and date ranges (updatedBy) – Search for issues such as incidents that were updated by a specific user, and within a specified date range.
- Find link types (issueLinkType) – Search for backlog items that are linked with change requests or problem records by particular link types, like ‘blocked by’ or ‘relates to’.
New Customer Portal – Atlassian will be proving more ways to customise portals and provide a fresh new look. Although, not immediately available it will likely be released in upcoming minor releases. Below is a screenshot of what’s to come.
At Clearvision – we assist clients customise Service Desk Portals and there are several Marketplace Apps available to support this. However it’s good news that there will soon be better native functionality to facilitate this.
Jira Service Desk 4.0x Release Notes
Preparing for upgrade to 8
- As always check Marketplace App compatibility before attempting an upgrade, Platform releases force the Marketplace vendors to do a lot of re-work as well on their products, so it might take a few weeks for them all to catch-up.
- Check the platform support. Postgres 9.3, and mySQL 5.5 are now no-longer supported, and Jira default memory has been increased.
- Test the upgrade, and include testing of scripts, integrations, etc.
- Bespoke Marketplace Apps (plug-ins) are likely to require modification
- Indexing is going to be needed as part of the upgrade, so allow time for this operation.
Final word – These versions upgrades are a big step forward. However we recommend clients, certainly enterprise users and those that require stability and predictability complete the necessary planning before executing an upgrade.
For those of you planning on remaining on version 7 for a while, consider upgrading to Atlassian Enterprise Release.