Context Issues is an app dedicated for Jira Cloud built with the Atlassian Connect framework.


Quick access to information is key to productive work. Context Issues lets you instantly discover similar issues, without switching contexts or leaving Issue View. Its purpose is not to replace Issue Navigator, but to save time and let you stay focused.

We have combined some ideas coming from our other apps - Dynamic JQL Links (which is no longer available) and TestFlo Server (which extends Issue View with a panel presenting JQL-based results), and reforged them into a completely new app, focused on user experience and simplicity and no need for configuration.

At the beginning of the year, we have learned that the Glance module will be supported in Jira Mobile, and we eagerly decided to use in our design.

What it does

Context Issues displays a list of issues that have something in common with the issue you are currently viewing in Issue View. Using buttons representing fields or properties of the current issue, like project, sprint, status, component, etc., you can quickly search for similar issues. With every push of a buttons you narrow down search results. No need for typing or JQL knowledge.

Imagine you are working on the backlog. You have created an epic and now you are creating a yet another story or subtask. During refinement of its description, you realize that you need to take a glance at stories you have previously created to make sure the scope of the new issue doesn’t overlap with other tasks. With Context Issues, you can access the list with just 2 clicks and don’t need to leave Issue View.

Or imagine you are a Jira Service Desk agent, working on your queue. A new ticket has arrived and you want to quickly find out if the customer has contacted you before, or check whether the problem is new or recurring. With Context Issues, you can find all tickets with the same reporter on the spot.

Context Issues supports a wide range of fields, so the number of use cases is enormous. If your search is very specific, you can switch to JQL and refine your search.

How we built it

The app appears on the right side of the new Jira Issue View and uses the potential of the Jira Glance module. Thanks to Glance, it is easily accessible in almost every place where the new Issue View is displayed, including issue preview on queues, boards and Issue Navigator. Moreover, Context Issues works in Jira Mobile.

It is built on top of atlassian-connect-express. UI is built with the help of React and AtlasKit. The application is hosted on Heroku.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge was the UI design. Depending on the Jira page, the width of a glance panel can be as small as 160px, which makes it hard to present all the data we would like to. Therefore the UI itself had to be very compact in order to leave as much space as possible for search results. It had to blend in the background and be almost invisible, but at the same time be intuitive enough to require no earlier introduction for new users.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

Many parts of Jira require a bit of tweaking before getting up and running, so it was a fun challenge for us to design an application that would require absolutely no configuration. We stepped into our users' shoes and created an app that works right out of the box.

What we learned

While designing the app, we decided to change some of the UI concepts. We have replaced filter names with basic buttons. We have learned that filter names can be cryptic or misleading, while buttons representing fields help you understand what you see.

It was the first time we have used a Glance module in our apps, and liked it straightaway.

What's next for Context Issues

We want to ensure it works smoothly in Jira Mobile.

We also want to make it smart. Using analytics, we want to predict what you are looking for, reducing clicks to the minimum. Basic buttons will change depending on what is available on the issue. The default selection of buttons that are pressed on when you visit an issue for the fist time will change based on context, like project type, issue type and your last activity.

We will continue to expand the number of fields supported in the basic search. In the future, we will add special purpose buttons and will allow users to create their own buttons. We also want to synchronize switching between basic and JQL search modes, so it is easier to refine the basic search after you switch to JQL. Our dialect of JQL will also support placeholders, so you won’t need to type a value directly, but it will be substituted with the values taken from the current issue.

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