Blog from April, 2016

New UI!

Hello! I'm Tsutomu Amino, developer of WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been awarded the Best Actor of 2016 Oscar. I would like to talk more about this, however the movie has not yet been released in Japan, so maybe some other time. Among the moves I have seen recently, "THE WALK" and "Odyssey" are the ones I like very much. In both movies, there are challenges and difficulties, the characters cope with, and overcome them, which was very touching. I'm sure this scene can apply to our daily situations at work.

Now let us explain about WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA 8.3.0.

New UI!

We received quite a few feedback for confusing interface, so the UI will completely change! Seeing is believing. Please take a look.

Basically the UI will be all flat design. The confusing tool bars are minimized and organized. Just for the record, when "Save" was minimized, there was a discussion weather the floppy disk icon was acceptable or not since younger generations probably do not know what a floppy disk is (smile).

User Preferences in Dialog Box

Of all the inquiries from our customers, there are quite a few comments stating that they had no idea where the "user preferences" were so we made it new. First of all, we moved the features that were bottom of the top navigation bar to the operation bar.

Also, enabled the user preferences displayable in dialog boxes so that it will look more natural in WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA.

Now I want to ask all of you: Have you noticed anything after going through all these screenshots introduced above?

"Recalculate Parents & Children", "Auto Calculate Percent done" and "Cascade Changes" of 3 items have been moved to the user preferences. Since these items are used only occasionally, we decided to put them under the user preferences rather thanthe operation toolbar.

Let's give it a try!

WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA 8.3.0 has been released with some bug fixes. Please have a try!

Thank you and until next time!

(English Translation by Miyuki Sawada)

Hello! I'm Takayuki Hirota, developer of our new add-on tool for JIRA. 
It has been a nice Cherry Blossom season and we can see a flurry of cherry blossom petals... May I congratulate those who have just entered a school and started a new year at a school. There is an elementary school right in front of my house and I can see very cute first graders with school bags that are much bigger for them to carry. 

Well, in this blog, I am going to introduce our new add-on, Issue Editor for JIRA, just made its debut. 

Excel is powerful

What type of software are you using for project task management or software bug management? Issue management tools such as Atlassian JIRA and Redmine have been gaining recognition, however, it is true that spreadsheet type of software such as Excel has still been a wide use of issue management. 

In spite the fact that Excel does not have specific features for task management or bug management, Excel has been widely used for so long. The reasons are probably Excel does not require special training and also it is already installed in enormous number of computers. 

Needs for Excel like features in JIRA

Even though Excel is commonly used, in order to do a good performance, specialized tools are absolutely must. To proceed with a project smoothly, it is true that a software tool such as JIRA is necessary. What can we do to convince Excel users to understand good and useful points of project management tool by encouraging them to try JIRA? I am sure that project managers and leaders are distressed every day. 

We, Ricksoft, as an Atlassian experts for quite a few years, put thoughts about the feature with our customers. We wish if we could the JIRA interface look just like Excel and JIRA itself easier even for a little bit! 

Issue Editor for JIRA's Debut

Issue Editor for JIRA was developed based on the voices of our customers who were utilizing JIRA in on site. Excel like spreadsheet is placed on the JIRA screen, so you can edit JIRA issues (In JIRA, each task or bug is called "Issue")  just like regular spreadsheets. 

Seeing is believing. 
Please check out this 5-min video.  

Main Features

Here are a list of some main features of Issue Editor for JIRA

  • Display lots of issues in a spreadsheet
  • Narrow down by sorting or filtering
  • In-line editing of various fields
  • Copy and paste to Excel sheet
  • Display hierarchy of epic, stories, and subtasks
  • Copy an issue or create subtasks by right clicking of the mouse
  • Switch parent issues by dragging and dropping an issue
  • Compatible with WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA of Ricksoft family

And many other features that fulfill the needs. 

Let's try!

Issue Editor for JIRA is also published in Atlassian Markplace, and installation could be done quickly as long as JIRA is present. 30 day evaluation licenses are available, so please give it a try! 

From next time, we are going to focus on one feature of Issue Editor for JIRA in each blog post. 
Until then!!  

(English Translation by Miyuki Sawada) 

<Weak Points of JIRA>

One of the Atlassisan's main products, JIRA is good tool for Developer, however, the views for Manager, has been said "weak". 

As a means of supporting features that the products do not own, Atlassian provides Site for Developers and SDK, and Atlassian Marketplace as a place to release developed software. 

Often, JIRA is used in product-developing project, however, there has been strong demand for the gantt-chart features that managers utilize. Then we enabled the gantt-chart add-on (originally developed by a German engineer) which was at that time provided for free, for the Japanese with Japanese resource.  However, we were in the situation that we had to provide some donation to the engineer since he was Christian otherwise we would've been able to utilize the add-on. So we started thinking about developing our own add-on some day because there were lots of requests for the gannt-chart feature from our customers. 

Then, there was an opportunity to propose gantt-chart feature to one customer and we had only two weeks until the proposal submission deadline. 

<The initial implementation of Gantt-Chart in a short period of time: Encountering Ext Gantt>

In our proposal, of course we could not write something we were not able to do, so decided to check the feasibility. It was 2012 and we had full of web application experiences and knowledge of JIRA, however we had developed only a few small JIRA add-ons. The difficult point was to plot out the specification to implement Gantt-Chart to JIRA without any discomfort and to design formulas in order to display screen-drawing without any collapses. Also, we needed to determine how to propose the feasibility of Gantt-Chart itself in such a short period of time. 

Since JIRA is using jQuery, we thought of leveraging the library of drawings made for gantt-chart. However, there were nothing reliable so we investigated more in a wider area and decided to select a drawing library that was the best among all JavaScript library. Ext Gantt was the one we chose. Ex Gantt is based on ExtJS and we felt comfortable in using Ex Gantt since we had been using it for more than a year. 

< Implementing >

Next, we made sure these points.

  • Gantt-Chart can be plotted with ExtJS+Ext Gant in JIRA
  • JIRA Screen is not collapsed
  • Top navigation is not collapse (Especially this one because if this part were broken, nothing could have been done!)

In particular, Velocity is used to extend JIRA screen. The first step is to migrate the demo screen as an Add-on such as Ext Gantt Guides's Hello World (From html to Velocity). http://www.bryntum.com/docs/scheduling/4.x/?#!/guide/gantt_getting_started

 

html file
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <link href="http://bryntum.com/examples/extjs-6.0.0/build/classic/theme-classic/resources/theme-classic-all.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"/>
  <link href="http://bryntum.com/examples/gantt-latest/resources/css/sch-gantt-all.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
  <script src="http://bryntum.com/examples/extjs-6.0.0/build/ext-all.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
  <script src="http://bryntum.com/examples/gantt-latest/gnt-all-debug.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
  <script src="synopsys.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
</head>
  <body>
  </body>
</html>

Below is the actual code. It is very simple code, however, we read widely Add-on development documents to reach this point. 

Velocity file
$!webResourceManager.requireResource("...")
<html>
<head>
</head>
<body>
</body>
</html>

When the above code starts to work, the correctness of the designed formula is verified and it will be the phase where features are added. Tasks proceed very well without any problem when some features are added individually. However, when all the features are integrated and are to be tested for a release, additional problems arise. They are called "Combination bug." Those problems won't occur when they are tested one by one, and when one of the new features runs in the specific environment where another feature is tested, the new feature does not work. JIRA is well known for its flexible setting and format, however, very complicated at the same time from the testing perspective. 

On the day before the demonstration of Gantt Chart, we found a bug. It was actually a bug from ExtJS, however, we did not know what the cause was. So we sent the code to the technical support desk of Bryntum and they investigated for only 30 minutes then discovered the cause. (The support desk responded exceptionally fast after we told them it would be needed on the next day.) Then, within another 30 minutes, they sent us the fixed code (of ExtJS code) and it ran correctly that made our demonstration possible. 

< Result >

We registered this product in Atlassian Marketplace as "WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA". And now WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA does agile development, has been through version upgrades, and become a product that is always displayed in the top selling add-ons for JIRA.  

Our WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA is now used in large IT and manufacturing companies, and in not only Japanese but also Overseas big IT, software development companies, and in Universities. Last year, we signed sponsorship for the first time for a Japanese company, in Atlassian Summit 2015, and manned a booth to promote WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA. 

At the booth, we received a lot of feedback and made our decision about the direction of feature enhancement. We will continue to improve WBS Gantt-Chart for JIRA from now on, too. 

<Lastly: Regarding Add-on Development Business>

 Is it fun to develop Atlassian add-ons? My answer is "YES!".
What do we do to make add-ons software easier? Would users be happy about the improvements? Would new techniques or parts be usable? What do we do about Logic? Overseas Marketing? English support? How many thousands of yen can we sell? Is it going to make good business sense? There are many more things to think about.