Whether you’re a software developer, a HR guy or working in a Sales team. If you are working with customers, dozens of emails about different issues or tasks are part the daily working routine. Some already exists, others are just brand new. To guarantee an efficient and handy work space it’s necessary that all of your working tools are compatible and intuitively connected. That requirement wasn’t given in the case of JIRA (a project planning tool for software development) and Outlook. The work reality was characterized by gaps in JIRA & email workflows, doubling up on work and loss of information. Now, with Outlook App for JIRA all these problems are a thing of the past.

What it does

The Outlook App for JIRA make it possible to intuitively connect JIRA and Outlook. It is a smart extension of the email inbox that allows integrating JIRA into the daily working routines of users. The powerful add-on does not only save a lot of time but also make a seamless documentation of all conversations on the related issue possible . It enables you to create a new issue based on email content or update an existing one, and you can just take email attachments, text formatting like lists, colors and tables with only one-click over. No more time waste and no jumping between tabs anymore, just do anything easy and directly in Outlook and have it at one glance. Have the relevant Jira issue information, like current status, due dates or priorities next to the related email in a separate sidebar. Just use Outlook in an intuitive and practical way, just how it is already conceived. All in all, it boosts your effectivity, you are able to work much more accurate and it simplifies the work with JIRA a lot, all within Outlook.

Challenges I ran into

Our starting point was an old Outlook COM Addin and we subsequently modernized it to an Office App. The hardest part was to find a good way to make all key features available with the limited set of APIs.

Make all UIs not only look good In Outlook but make them behave differently on IOS and Android, so the app feels native on every platform, was the main precision work and we mastered it.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The first version had everything in the sidebar but users complained about it that there wasn't enough space. So we did the next important step in our product developing process and made it possible to create Jira Issues from a dialog window that can communicate with the Office JS API. The solution was to write an event-based library that communicates from the Dialog with the Office API.

What I learned

Outlook Apps are easy to develop if it is a supported use-case. We learned a lot about CORS and Mixed Content, just because Outlook runs on their own domain.

What's next for Jira for Outlook

We will work with the Custom Pane component to get something like a daily Jira dashboard.

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