If you’re as frustrated with the lack of insight into your JIRA projects as I am – I’ve got the tool for you.
Use the JIRA Issue Visualiser, for free, and view the structure of your JIRA projects in less than a minute.
You’ll be asked to authorize via JIRA Cloud OAuth – once complete you can then paste in a JQL query. For example, to produce the above I just wanted to see all items within my project, so my query was ‘project=IAM’. You can read about JQL queries on the JIRA help-site if you are not familiar. You must be using JIRA Cloud and not a local JIRA installation to use this tool.
NOTE: this tool has been glued together in an evening. It is not user friendly or close to the finished article. However, in its current state, it can still be as useful to you as it is to me. If you’re interested in working on the tool, please see the bottom of this post.
Once you have provided a query, wait 20-30 seconds (you will just see a blank page whilst the data is retrieved).
You can click and drag the core JIRA issues (epics and stories) to organise the graph in a way that makes sense. You can also click on an issue to open it in JIRA.
NOTE: if the query returns more than 400 items at present, it may take longer than 20-30 seconds to load.
Why develop the JIRA Issue Visualiser?
Forget Agile, Scrum and Pillars – the successful completion of a project is dependent on the successful completion of a number of tasks inline with client expectations (cost, time, etc.) through a dedicated, talented team. Fundamentally, JIRA provides a way of organising those tasks into helpful chunks, and supercharges a collaborative approach to their completion. JIRA goes on to do 100x more, but at its core, it’s a task management system.
JIRA offers a number of great reports out of the box that attempt to give you a view of your project – however I feel they don’t give me a view on a page that tells me:
- How dependent are my issues upon each other?
- And in particular, what tasks are causing the biggest issues (RAIDs)?
- What’s the status of my tasks?
- How big / complex is the project?
I looked at a number of options – in particular using PowerBI plugins to create force-directed graphs, but they just weren’t flexible enough. Having used D3 before, I knew I could spin up something to meet my current requirements, but would also be flexible enough for the future. I created the JIRA Issue Visualiser and use it multiple times per day – I hope it can be as useful to you as it is to me.
The diagram below outlines the high-level architecture for the JIRA Issue Visualiser – the core components include:
- OAuth – gives the application access to any JIRA Cloud instance through an access token granted by a logged in user
- REST API v2 – exposes JIRA issues in JSON
- The user logs into JIRA Cloud and authorises their credentials against the JIRA Issue Visualiser – following this, the user is redirected back to the resource in S3, with an authorisation code in the query parameters
- The static page retrieves the authorisation code from the query parameters and sends it to AWS Lambda to be swapped for an access token
- The Lambda function sends a request containing the authorisation code to JIRA (along with private credentials such as the client secret)
- JIRA responds with the Bearer access token
- The access token is returned to the users browser (note Lambda is stateless and therefore does not maintain any sort of application session – I didn’t want to integrate DynamoDB or similar at this point)
- The user enters a JQL query which is sent to Lambda along with the access token
- The call can not be made from the browser direct to JIRA due to CORS limitations on JIRA cloud and the resultant restriction this puts on browser CORS security
- Lambda makes a call to the Issue Search REST endpoint, passing the JQL and access token. Due to the limitations of JIRA only returning 100 issues per API call, Lambda will make n number of API calls to retrieve all issues
- JIRA responds with issue information including issue links and subtasks
- The combined list of issues is returned to the users browser where it is rendered into a force-directed graph by D3
- Retrieving issues from JIRA concurrently
- Remembering the access-token on page refresh so the user doesn’t have to re-authorise
- Move the UI to a more future-proofed architecture (i.e. an SPA)
- The ability to update force-directed graph properties (charge, gravity, etc.) on the page
- Contextual menu containing useful information regarding the issue without having to click it
- The query will display related nodes where the related node is a node also returned by the JQL query – it should work regardless
- Validate the JQL provided by the user
- Setup AWS DevOps