I am trying to figure out which data types in Jira have built in functionality and which are more “benign”.
Although I can add my own issue types, it appears that Jira has unique built-in(?) treatment of many of these. Such as a specific parent-child relationship and not other relationships. Sub-Task is both a behavior and also an Issue Type. Is Feature different from Improvement in its behavior anywhere? Where can I find the specifics around what behaviors really exist in Jira Vs what is offered and is at my disposal?
If I go to add a relationship (as in “blocks”, “blocked by”), its seems that all I am creating is a text that accompanies that link type. No real other functionality. However, at times it seems that in Jira (Or some plug ins) there is some specific treatment of some of these.
These (especially the first) are especially of interest where I am creating a project that supports both Waterfall and Agile development. Waterfall for certain types of Bugs and Agile for pure development.
The really simple answer - all of the JIRA fields you get in a plain installation have some functionality above and beyond their simple "data type". The most simple field is "Environment", which really is just free format text and the only difference between it and a custom free format text field is the position for display on the issue view screen, all the way through to "issue type" which isn't really that complex in itself, but can have a massive impact because huge swathes of configuration can be hung off it.
It's a multi-page essay to deal with all the nuances of all the built-in fields, and far better approach is to explain what you think you need, rather than ramble through swathes of detail you're probably not going to care about.
To talk about the two things you've mentioned specifically though:
Issue type is mostly irrelevant in plain JIRA. It IS something that you hang config off, but in itself, all issue types are the same. Feature, Improvement, Bug, Change, Pengiun, Neutron, doesn't matter, all the same.
There are two groups of issue types - top-level issue types and sub-task types. Sub-task types must have a parent issue, and their time-tracking rolls up to their parents, but other than that, they are still just issue types.
Things get a bit more interesting when you install Agile - that specifically adds functions around Epics and Stories, but doesn't affect any of the others.
On your second question, it's even more simple. Links join issues. That's it. (with a minor nod to "clone" which is only that you create them differently from the other links). Again, Agile adds a bit of stuff around linking issues to Epics, but not a huge amount.
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