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7/10/2012
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JIRA Pipes User Feedback Straight To Developers

Atlassian's issue tracking tool streamlines mechanism for gathering problem reports from Web app users.

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Questions About Microsoft's Acquisition of Yammer
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Developers trying to work better and faster need a few different kinds of speed--including the ability to find out about issues that need to be corrected sooner rather than later.

Operating at the intersection of collaboration technology and developer productivity, Atlassian began packing more collaboration features into its issue tracking product with February's release of JIRA 5.0. Atlassian is also the creator of the Confluence social collaboration platform.

JIRA is commonly used for software bug tracking, although it can also be used to organize other sorts of work. JIRA 5.1 adds a component called the JIRA Issue Collector, which can be embedded in any website or application with a few lines of JavaScript. The Issue Collector widget can gather feedback on the page where an error or other issue occurred and record it directly in the issue tracking tool.

[ Do you have the right structure for social business? Read The Collaborative Organization: Control The Center. ]

The route such issues take otherwise tends to be more circuitous, often bouncing from customer service to marketing before finding its way back to the developer team, said Ken Olofson, group product marketing manager for JIRA. "Generally, feedback goes through so many loops that it becomes almost like the whisper game, the telephone game," where the message passed on is distorted in transit, he said. "To be able to get this directly from provider of the feedback into the developer's hands is incredibly useful."

LogicSpot, a Web design firm based in the U.K., has been using this feature as part of its internal quality assurance process but also when it shares preliminary designs with freelance testers and with clients, Olofson said. "It lets them provide feedback and comments on designs and get that in the developers' hands very quickly," he said.

The overall theme of this release is speed, Olofson said. In addition to speeding the transmission of feedback to developers, JIRA 5.1 adds inline editing of fields in an issue tracking form. That makes it easy to change a few items and have the changes recorded, without submitting the entire form and waiting for the page to refresh.

Atlassian also has been investing in enterprise scalability for JIRA and says that instances running against very large databases will now run 40% faster. Where previously Atlassian recommended against managing more than 200,000 issues in a single database, now it has "done away with that limit," Olofson said, believing JIRA can scale much higher. For very large implementations, Atlassian provides guidelines on how to create applications federated across several database servers, he said.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

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