Most software implementation happens in an IDE, and for most developers, the IDE is their “home”, where they get their “real” work done. The tasks they work on though, are tracked with Jira issues.

With the Atlassian Connectors for IDEs, we’ve brought your Jira issues front and center to Eclipse, and IntelliJ IDEA, allowing you to browse through filters, quickly open up issues, view details, add comments, and more.

That was a great start, but what would be more awesome is if the IDE could be even smarter, by tracking context of the issue you are currently working on, and make it easy, obvious, and convenient to do the things you want to do in that context.

Active Issues in Eclipse

Eclipse - Task List.png

In Eclipse, the concept of an active “task” already existed with the Mylyn project, which allowed developers to manage the tasks they were working on. The natural extension was to allow using Jira issues as the source for these tasks. And that’s what we have done with the Atlassian Connector for Eclipse. Opening up the Jira issue in Eclipse allows you to make full use of the Mylyn functionality, such as scheduling the tasks.

With Mylyn and the Atlassian Connector for Eclipse, you can also associate a ‘context’ to the active issue. This context keeps track of all the file editors opened for that task. Imagine being half way though working on a new feature when you suddenly need to jump over and fix a critical bug? You can quickly switch the active task to the bug. When you’re done with the bug and want to continue working on the new feature, just reactivate the task, all the file editors are opened, exactly as you left it before.

Active Tasks in IntelliJ IDEA

Unlike Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA (prior to release 9) doesn’t have the built in concept of tasks and contexts that integrates with with Jira issues. So we took a different tact with the Atlassian Connector for IntelliJ.

When looking at an issue, you can activate it with a simple click. Once active, an issue will:

  • Place the issue in the along the top of your menu – giving you quick access to the issue.
  • The dropdown also gives you quick access to the issues you recently looked at.
  • Set the status of the Jira issue to “In Progress”.
  • Start an internal timer for the issue, used for time logging.
  • Create an IDEA changelist and activate it for you. Do you find yourself always looking up the Jira issue key and including it in the commit message. This will automatically populate the commit message with the issue details.

IDEA - Issue List.png

Whilst in the context of the active issue issue:

  • You can quickly go to the Jira issue tool window by clicking on the issue key up top.
  • You can log time. This will open a window populated by the internal timer.
  • You can create a comment against the issue.

And when you’re done, click the stop button:

  • Set the issue to stop progress in Jira.
  • Take it off the top “bar”
  • Allow you to commit the changeset.
  • Allow you to log time done.

IDEA - Stop Issue.png

With IntelliJ IDEA 9 coming, we intend to extend the active task concept to IntelliJ IDEA’s context management capability.

Working with issues in context