This solution is great, with the exception of the project key. Is there a way for that key to work like it does with an issue; e.g. populate that feild with the next available number so that for every project we open a new numeric key is assigned to the project? Thanks!
No, the key is designed to be set by the human creating the projects because 99.999% of us want to set it to something that hints at the project name/scope.
I suppose you could write some code to do this for you, but I'd suggest going with your second idea instead. A really simple implementation could be to create a derived/calculated field could actually be immensely simple and expose the project-id of an issue to the users. It's not sequential, but it's certainly ordered in the right way. You'd need something a bit more complex if you wanted to go with "next free number" as it would have to store the number for each project, and go look for "largest" every time an admin clicks "create project"
Also, bear in mind that numerics are not supported in project keys - they must start with a letter (I've known at least two Jira installs run into huge problems when they allowed numbers at the start)
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