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Difference between Epic/Theme fields and New Epic functionality

I am using latest JIRA version. Though I like the new epic functionality, I get confused with Epic/Theme, Epic Link and epic name.

Simple idea is - if I map a user-story with an epic, that epic name and link by default should be visible in my user-story. Right now even after field customization I can only see epic link but not the epic name I mapped with.

The idea of Epic/Theme is manual and it's a label you place on user-story. Not sure why we are making it confusing for the people. Why can't we have one single Epic functionality

7 answers

1 accepted

6 votes
Answer accepted

Epic/Theme is used by Classic boards. It is not used by the new boards.

The Epic Link is the one which is used by the new boards which get populated when you drag a story in the new board to the Epic on the side panel.

Also how do I import NEW epic field with CSV import? Do I need to do it manually after user-stories are imported? Last but not the least, what's the use of Epic/Theme anymore in light of NEW epic functionality. Why create such a confusion. If that functionality is really desired what about giving it a different name?

In the classic view, how do I see the association of the NEW epic with the user-story.

All I see is the story number (NUT-117 for instance) in the Epic Link field which doesn't provide me the understanding of which epic it is unless I access that story number in a new browser tab.

Epic Link is not a HTML link also which I could click to see the relevant epic.

When you click on the Epic/Theme field it opens a dialog which shows all the stories contained (or rather linked to it). You can also add the field to issue navigator.

Still fail to understand why can't we have one single epic functionality instead of Epic/Theme + new Epics.

Adding an issue with new Epic doesn't automatically change Epic/Theme field which is manual.

In issue-navigator, I can't find new Epic associated with a user-story, only Epic number is visible

Again epic/theme field is not used any more by the new boards. The reason being the difference in the underlying don't worry about that field, it won't be useful for you. And for the new one, use 'epic links' field. Issue navigator should show it. Which version of Gh are you using?

I can see epic links field in the issue navigator but as I mentioned earlier, it's not a link, it's a text. That too is a issue number and that's the whole issue.

I would expect an HTML link instead of text and that link should the epic name.

I am using GH 6.0.7

Ah yes, it's not a link. You can do the following.

Add a scripted field by the name 'Epic Url' and add the below code for the field.

import com.atlassian.jira.ComponentManager
import com.atlassian.jira.issue.customfields.manager.OptionsManager

def customFieldManager = ComponentManager.instance.customFieldManager
def optionsManager = ComponentManager.getComponentInstanceOfType(OptionsManager.class) 
def cf = customFieldManager.getCustomFieldObjectByName("Epic Link")
def burl = ComponentManager.getInstance().getApplicationProperties().getString("jira.baseurl")
def epic = issue.getCustomFieldValue(cf);
if(epic != null )
return "<a href=\"" + burl + "/browse/" + epic + "\">" + epic + "</a>"
return "None"

Thanks Renjith. How to add the scripted field? Is there a link which I can refer to for documentation.

Hi Renjith
How can my plugin be informed, that the Epic Link has been changed/updated?

I can think of only adding a listerner that can listen to Issue Updated/Edited events and check the changed contents for epic field.

With new versions of JIRA & JIRA Agile, Epic is treated like a parent to all linked issues and it is obviously available in search and presented as a link. Also with new JIRA Importers Plugin, Epics can be imported from CSV file, just create a column with Epic 'Issue Key' and link it to 'Epic Link' field.

found an answer... Structure plugin... great tool and way better than the old native epic editor. This is the way to go.

Here is a baseline explanation of the various Epic related fields and constructs:

1. Epic is one level higher than Task, Story, or Bug...out of the Box.

2. In a Classic Project, you connect your Task or Story to an Epic using the Epic Link field in the Task or Story.  In a Team Managed\Next Gen Project, you connect your Task or Story to an Epic with the "Add Parent" link in the Task or Story.

3. When you link an issue to an Epic, it is somewhat confusing because an Epic has essentially two names.  It has the Summary field which you might assume to be the name of the Epic, but to outside Issues, the name of the Epic is actually the "Epic Name" field.  This is why most of us simply make the Summary field of an Epic match the Epic Name field of the Epic.  That way we don't accidentally pick the wrong thing as a parent.

4. The Epic/Theme field is kind of a generic field.  It does not create an inherent hierarchy.  Some organizations even create another issue type above the Epic called a Deliverable, then they use the Epic/Theme field to indicate a conceptual Parent to the Deliverable...(which is extremely confusing but functional)

5. The other recommendations talk about how to gain access to the Epic/Theme field, but this answer describes the why and the hierarchy.  (The hardest thing about hierarchy is pronouncing it.)

How do I link an Epic to an Epic to create Epic Hierarchies like in old greenhopper?

I would like to know how to do this too but i don't think it's possible.

Thanks for the info, unfortunately not avaialble for On Demand.

Maybe some from you migth want to take a look at the Links Hierarchy add-on for JIRA as it transforms Epic Links into regular JIRA links on the fly, so users are able to trace/visualize the hierarchy of stories, tasks, etc from JIRA and Agile just like were true links between Epics and its "children".

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