JIRA Tricks is a commercial plugin, taking one aspect of functionality that some find useful (but others may not) and extending it. Sure, maybe JIRA's built in JQL could offer more, but if JIRA was "everything to all people" then there would be no healthy plugin ecosystem - and I am betting that we would pay more for JIRA and probably only get new releases at a much slower rate.
The difficulty of getting plugins installed is where having a development instance of JIRA can be useful. It lets you try before you buy and lets your users decide whether something is worth paying for. That's exactly how I got JIRA Tricks rolled out into my own environment.
For what it's worth, I have also had excellent technical support for this plugin. Not only that, but an additional query that I asked for was implemented within two months. Well, I like to think that it was my idea.
As Jamie says, the JQL Tricks plugin can help here. Here's the page that documents the types of query that you are looking for:
Thus, something along the lines of
issue in hasLinks("blocks")
Then extend this with "linkedIssuesHasStatus" to further test to see whether the blocking issues are open (or whatever best fits your requirements).
Firstly, full credit to Jobin for spotting an opportunity and exploiting it. My client will most likely purchase it.
However, I agree that many of the functions should be natively supported. And I'm also concerned that, as I've mentioned in the past with the confluence "prettification" plugins like Zen, Atlassian won't bother improving in these areas.
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