In case you haven’t run across it before, the JIRA Labels Plugin implements a labels (or tags, sometimes known as folksonomy) custom field for JIRA. It works in the same way that labels work in Confluence. Or if you’ve seen how tags work in del.icio.us, Flickr or gMail, you’ll be familiar with the concept.
Labels or tags make it easier to organize a large set of data by arbitrary, user-defined criteria. It works well for Confluence pages, and even better for JIRA. You don’t have to wait for an admin to create a special component or version or link-type.
Imagine that you want to collect the set of issues that are related to your current task, but not necessarily assigned to you. You can label each of these issues with your own tag, like “blocks_my_feature”, even though they might have nothing else in common that would make them easy to identify. You can then use the Issue Navigator to find just issues tagged with that label.
You can enter labels while viewing any issue, as shown in this first screenshot. You don’t even need to edit the issue (although you can enter labels from the edit screen as well).
But even more usefully, you can add a Labels column to your Issue Navigator and enter labels on a bunch of issues at once.
Just click on the “Edit” link and this panel will appear to allow you to add and remove labels. We spent a lot of time to ensure that this panel responds nicely to keyboard commands, like making sure that enter adds a label, and escape dismisses the dialog, so you can edit without taking your hands off the keyboard as much as possible. Let us know how it works for you.
This plugin has been a long time in development, and many different people have helped out with it. We feel like its solid enough now for hard-core use, even on fairly large site. Download it, try it out, and send us feedback. (Please file any issues here.) We’re excited to see how it works for you.