I would like to create a set of queries for a dashboard that I can re-use from version to version such that I can use a variable in the JQL. This would allow me to make a single change which would affect all the filters used on that dashboard. The only other option is to manually edit every bloody filter.
I would have suggested using ScriptRunner to programatically update the JQL queries. I've done this before and it worked well, it's not particularly difficult. But you discounted that plugin, so I have another suggestion.
Create a shared filter named FixVersionFilter as:
fixVersion = 'big branch' and status = Open
Then you create your project filters as:
project = dookie and filter = FixVersionFilter
Then when you change FixVersionFilter it will affect the results of the project-specific filters.
Since I wrote the above we added a section to our documentation on dumping and programatically creating dashboards and gadgets: https://scriptrunner.adaptavist.com/latest/jira/recipes/dashboard-gadgets.html
You can't use variables out of the box, no.
Scriptrunner allows you to use additional JQL functions or to make your own. For instance, you could create your own latestUnreleasedVersion() function that would always return, hum, the latest unreleased version.
Check out the documentation.
I usually use the "fixed" statements like "startOfWeek()" "startOfMonth()" etc... so the values are not static and updates automatically, that's the closest you can get with this I think. Since filters in the dashboard is dependent with Gadgets, this will make your feature request tricky. Where to put those variables then? You can send a request to Atlassian and see what they think about it. There maybe an add-on for it or a gadget add-on though...
I probably will enter or vote on a request, but let's be realistic. Atlassian still hasn't implemented WYSIWYG, the ability to rename groups, subcomponents, etc... some of these request are teenagers. By the time my request gets done I'll likely be retired. The pre-fab variables are OK for some things, but they don't help. We work on multiple versions simultaneously, along separate branches. I need a variable per branch to show the current state of the branch. I would use something like: project = dookie and fixVersion = "big branch" and status = Open We don't actually have a dookie project, btw
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