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Why doesn't this JQL work to search history and how can I fix it?

We had a lot of fixVersions that we used to identify a time period. We eventually changed the names and removed the old ones from the project. Now we need to report on when epics were moved from the old fixVersion to to the new one (called "Done"). I started with the following JQL:

project = [project key] AND fixVersion WAS "Release One" BEFORE now()

Nothing returns, and I know that there a lot of cases where this happened.

I thought the problem might be that the old fixVersion was no longer in the project, but adding it back in didn't work. And removing BEFORE now() has no impact. 

3 answers

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Trudy Claspill
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Sep 21, 2023

Hello @Melody KirkWagner 

You said you "eventually changed the names and removed the old ones".

Did you actually delete the old versions from Jira entirely or just remove them from the issues and insert a different Version for the issues?

Did you keep the version you created originally and just change the names?

Is "Release One" the name of a current, existing release version?

When you use 

fixVersion was <value>

The <value> will be checked for validity against the names of existing Versions. If that name does not exist anymore, then you should get an error.

Screenshot 2023-09-21 at 4.18.46 PM.png

If you are getting no results then that means "Release One" is a valid release version name in some project somewhere in Jira but there are no issues (that meet the other criteria of your filter) that previously had or currently have a Fix Version of "Release One"

Trudy Claspill
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Sep 22, 2023

I believe the WAS operator is not working on the human readable text of the Version name, but instead on the unique numeric ID that currently matches the human readable version name that you put into the JQL.

So, originally you may have had a version named "Release One" and it was assigned unique ID 12345.

You then deleted that version.

Subsequently you have tried to create a new version named "Release One" and it has gotten a new unique ID of 56789.

Now when you search for issues where fixVersion WAS "Release One" behind the scenes Jira is looking for issues that had the fixVersion set to the version with unique ID 56789.


The WAS operator is not simply sifting through what you see in the History of the issue. For the History information Jira may be copying the human readable name of the version, not storing the unique ID that was associated with that version.


I did experiments where I changed the name of an existing version from 2.0 to 2.1. The underlying version has the same ID, but if I try to search for fixVersion WAS "2.0" it can no longer find a version with that name and subsequently doesn't find any issues that match.

The History for the issue still show that the fixVersion was change to 2.0, but that is because (I'm guessing) the History information has stored the name of the Version at the time the issue was updated.

That makes perfect sense, @Trudy Claspill. I was afraid it would be something like that. It doesn't sound like there's any way around it.

So frustrating that the forum dumps your draft if you take too long to create it!

I should mention that we never do an actual "release." The fixVersion field tracks time periods in which apps are supposed to complete a migration to a new platform.

We created new names for Fix Versions, bulk changed the apps to the new version, then removed the previous names. I've added two of the previous names back in, one of which has hundreds of occurrences in history and the other 136.

Since the whole point of the search is that that an issue "WAS" in, for example, "Release One," it is no longer, so it doesn't make sense that Jira is looking for in the current fixVersion field rather than in history.

A potentially important point: we never did a release. This is a tracking project (as opposed to a development project). We used "FixVersion" to represent the names of time periods allowed for each application to migrate to a new platform.

We created the new names and bulk changed the issues to the new names. Then we removed the old names of completely.  

"Release One" would be the old name that I'm trying to search on. There are hundreds of epics that previously had that designation, and it does appear in history when I can find it manually. I'm hoping that I just got the jql wrong.

I have tried replacing the old names exactly as they were, but that had no impact. 

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