'Homo sapiens conquered the world because of its unique language' - Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Book by Yuval Noah Harari)
Jira has become the industry standard for collaboration over the years. The issues are at the heart of the current Agile Software Development renaissance. Using Jira daily, we had a revelation. The way we write user stories & issues hasn't changed much. That is when we decided to build Hecttr. The recent advancements in Natural Language Processing have opened doors to assisted writing. Hecttr helps users write grammatically correct Jira issues faster. Hecttr's Autocompletion & Grammar Checker Tool fosters clear communication within your team. Jira Attachments are another feature that hasn't been subject to much innovation. We decided to change that. Hecttr supercharges Jira attachments using its Image Annotation tool, opening up an ocean of possibilities for Jira users. You can draw lines, add text or add shapes on your attachment images without leaving Jira.
❓What it does
Hecttr for Jira is an issue enhancement tool built to address the following problems.
- Have you ever come across a poorly written Jira issue and had a hard time understanding it?
- Do you spend a lot of time writing your Jira issues? Do you want to do it faster?
- Have you ever wanted to make your attachments more descriptive?
How do we solve these problems? 🧐
🔍 Autocompletion Tool
Hecttr's autocomplete functionality helps guide users by prompting them with likely completions and alternatives to the words as they are typing in. This feature is moduled on Gmail's Smart Compose feature and uses machine learning techniques to help write Jira issues more succinctly.
✍️ AI-powered Grammar Checker Tool
Studies have shown that the lack of proper communication is the top reason why most projects fail. Hecttr's AI-powered Grammar Checker Tool gives you the confidence that the messages you get out to your colleagues are error-free. How? The usage of advanced Natural Language Processing pipelines ensures that the text you type into your Jira description is grammatically correct. If you make a mistake, the writing assistant eliminates all the errors and finds the perfect words to help you write your Jira description. Cool, isn't it?
🌃 Image Annotation Tool
Let us take an example, suppose you are the head of the design team at a startup. You come across a bug in the UI. How do you report it? Naturally, you add steps to reproduce the bug as the description. Then you attach the screenshot of the page. The assignee glances at the attached screenshot but cannot understand what needs fixing. What do you do now? Enter Hecttr's Image Annotation Tool. Instead of just uploading the screenshot, you can annotate it. You can draw an arrow and point at the specific component that needs to be fixed. Maybe draw a circle and add text to the image. Traditionally, doing this would require you to use specialized software like Photoshop.
- Fully responsive, simple, and familiar design built using Atlaskit
- Annotations are stored as a new attachment and are updated automatically in the Jira issue.
- Keyboard 🎹 shortcuts for every action.
- Rename and delete the shapes using layers.
- Emojis! 🥳 .
- Add your text and change the font.
- Collection of different shapes pen🖊, circle ◯, rectangle ▭, line⎼, arrow ⇒
- You can customize the border color, fill color, thickness, or size of shapes.
- Rotate, resize, rename, or delete any layer at any time.
👨🏻💻 How we built it
The frontend is built using Atlaskit & React. All the API calls to the backend are done using resolvers in Forge. We use Fabric.js to make the image annotation tool. Once we are finished editing the image, we update the attachments using Jira's REST API. Moving on to the Autocomple Tool, firstly we downloaded all the issues from the (https://issues.apache.org/jira) and cleaned the data. Then using multiple data preprocessing techniques we tokenize all the words. Using the issue data we get the most common English words used to write the JIRA issues in order of frequency. Elasticsearch indexes this list. Viola! We have the autocompletion tool. For the Grammar Checker, we implement State-of-the-art Natural Language Processing using Hugging Face Transformers. We get the text from the frontend, run it through our grammar checking pipeline and send back the errors as an API Response. We use Flask for the deployment of our machine learning model.
🥲 Challenges we ran into
Where do I begin? The initial challenge was to come up with the idea. We watched this talk Codegeist 2021: Deciding What To Build and came with Hecttr. Having worked with Atlassian's Connect framework before, setting up the initial app and understanding the Forge ecosystem was not that hard. We had to set up two React apps to accomplish our proposed design. Setting up Redux for top-level state management also took a lot of our time. It was not easy to come up with a good design for the Image Annotation Tool. We wanted to give the user as much flexibility and customizability while keeping the User Interface relatively simple. Thankfully with Figma, we were able to come up with a truly seamless experience for our customers.
🥳 Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very excited to present Hecttr to a larger audience and plan to launch it on the marketplace soon. The fact that makes us proud is that we were able to build something that we use daily. Being in different cities working together was a challenge. Using tools like Jira and Slack to coordinate and collaborate, we managed to work together just fine 🇮🇳.
💭 What we learned
Building Autocompletion & Grammar Checker Tool required us to have a thorough understanding of Natural Language Processing. The integration of the Image Annotation tool with Jira's REST API required a lot of planning, but we pulled it off to build Hecttr the way we imagined it to be. We also learned the basics of Premiere Pro & Adobe Spark to make an engaging presentation video. 🗣 We hope you like it!
⏭ What's next for Hecttr
Building Hecttr has been a ride for us & we plan to ship it very soon. Our mission is simple. We want to give our customers the confidence to express themselves freely and in an effective way. We believe Hecttr is suitable for mainstream adoption by the Jira community due to its widespread relevance. Winning the hackathon would help fund our maintenance costs and give credibility to our idea. Regardless of whether we win, we will continue our mission. We also plan to extend our functionality to other Atlassian products like Confluence in the future. Hecttr's targets are in coherence with the goals of the Atlassian Community - enable better collaboration.
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