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Is JIRA REST API really limited by visible fields?

It seems that in order to set a field through the REST API the field must appear on the screen for creating an issue. Otherwise you get this type of error:

Field 'fixVersions' cannot be set. It is not on the appropriate screen, or unknown.

It seems strange to me that the API should be limited by the UI since often the purpose of using the API is to perform things that the UI is not capable of.

Is it possible to access a field without it being visible to users? For example if I want to have a custom field that is only accessible through the API but hidden from users (for cosmetic rather than security reasons), is it possible to achieve this?

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No, REST respects the settings in the UI.

The purpose of the REST API is to allow you to do things inside the application - it would be a nightmare to say to users "hey, here's a UI, but if you use REST, you can bypass all the configuration and settings and do what the heck you like". You might as well throw away all your control and tracking, along with the web interface. You really do need REST to respect the UI.

You could play some javascript tricks - hide the field with a bit of javascript embedded on the page - the field will still be shown to the user's browser, but the javascript will remove it. REST will get the whole page like the browser, but ignore the javascript.

Six years later and Atlassian Support is still linking to this dismissive oversimplification. We don't want to hide information or "bypass configuration", we want to prevent users from overwriting a field that may have been changed programmatically while they were using a Screen.

Like Joseph Keller likes this

Exactly, Calvin!  

I am trying to get a list of approvers, which is an hidden field. Reason one is to be able to audit who the approvers are and two if an approver leaves I can easily find what request types they are an approver on and remove them.

I'm seeing that the REST API does not respect the settings in the UI in regards to email addresses being visible.

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