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Reimagining building better workflows

Hey there!

Let's talk about workflows. 😎 Atlassian Jira offers a customizable workflow engine and it's great for covering the basic needs of every team. Plus, workflows are a fundamental part of being successful in Jira. They represent how a team functions. Jira even comes with a small set of built-in workflows that can be used in your projects.

But what if that is not enough?

This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of our automation solution Jira Workflow Toolbox. 🎉 So we sat down with our users and customers and talked about how they actually adapt Jira to their needs and how we can best support them with our app. We identified a lot of challenges for users. So we asked ourselves: How can we make working with Jira workflows much easier and more efficient for all users? How can we help to overcome those challenges?

Everything we have re-thought and improved, I would like to share with you in this article today and ask you to join us in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of JWT. 🎉

Thank you very much for being a big and important part of this journey and helping us to build the best-rated Jira app on the Atlassian Marketplace. And what is better than celebrating the last great and exciting 10 years with a new release? Jira Workflow Toolbox 3.0 is the result of identifying the challenges and the drive to solve them.

This release is all about YOU. You and particularly everything that supports you in building awesome workflows and automate your Jira. So what awaits you?

  1. A completely new UI offering a heavily improved user experience
  2. A new editing experience from start to end
  3. Many new helpful functions to make building workflows easier for you
  4. A revised documentation for the interested and those seeking help

 

                                                       JWT-building-better-workflows-jira-workflow-toolbox-3-birthday-cake.png

What is the best user interface for building workflows?

You need a configuration that is as straightforward as possible. At the same time, no compromises should be made in terms of technical capabilities. Based on these reflections, much has changed in the interface of JWT with two main goals:

  • Provide an easy configuration for users of all levels of expertise
  • Focus on the important configurations in a context-sensitive user interface.


Long-time users might miss the lavender that has accompanied them over the years. Yes, the interface has lost some color, but it has gained much more: FOCUS

The most important bits and pieces to configure your workflow function are now directly at hand. You will only see relevant information and configuration elements when building your workflows. So, we streamlined and re-structured the available sections in the user interface to improve your workflow customization experience and speed up the process itself. This led to awesome clear looks and very easy handling. Everything else remains hidden from the eye but is only a click away when you need it.

JWT-building-better-workflows-jira-workflow-toolbox-3-New-GUI.png

Additionally, the names of app features like post functions and descriptions have been made clearer and more explicit across all features in the app. That is an improvement for users of all experience levels. The increased beginner friendliness applies to long-time users as well and nothing of JWT’s power is lost. It is much easier now to utilize.

 

What is the easiest editing experience for customizing workflows?

When it comes to working with workflows, it is important to have everything you (might) need in one place. The context-sensitive user interface still offers all functions and even some additional ones. We introduce a new central element for customizing workflows and writing JWT expressions! Meet the new expression editor.

 

jwt-building-better-workflows-jira-workflow-toolbox-3-expression-editor.png

 

It is the new control center in JWT and comes with numerous functions. Most significant is the new central Field code injector drop-down. It presents you with a list of all available fields to access the data of your issues. It even lets you retrieve essential data that is not directly accessible through the UI - from the number of linked issues to the issue keys of sub-tasks.

Jira Workflow Toolbox as no-/low-code solution relies on virtual fields and functions. Functions contain the logic and steps to return the desired result. There’s no need to code and you need no formal knowledge of coding to implement even complex requirements. You can simply click together expressions to read and manipulate data from Jira issues, users, projects, and more. And the best thing is that they are available to every user.

 

There are multiple benefits to this solution:

  • Expressions are easy to write by selecting functions and fields.
  • Configurations are easy to read and understand.
  • Changes to field names in the system will not affect your configuration. 


The expressions and field codes are all human readable. No complex syntax, but instead clearly understandable and descriptive names. If you need a little help getting started, select one of the available expression examples and simply continue from there.

Not only reading the configuration has become easier. Also, writing expressions got a usability boost. With the use of auto-completion in the expression editor, every function and field lies at your fingertips.

When you are finished with your configuration, you probably want to test the outcome. The expression parser test page is still available in the configuration but now you get this.

 

jwt-building-better-workflows-jira-workflow-toolbox-3-test-function.png

 

The possibility to test your expressions directly in the same spot where you customize your workflow. No need to publish the workflow or to navigate to a different page anymore!
This will help you to avoid mistakes in your workflow configuration and to reach your goal faster.

 

How can you be assisted?

Everyone needs a little bit of assistance now and then. That's the reason why we added guidance features across the app.

  • a new smart sidebar is providing you with context information and resources
  • expression examples in the editor matching your parsing mode
  • an in-app expression parser handbook with all available functions


The overall user interface starts with providing an overview of where you are in the workflow and what transition you are editing right now. Additionally, common ready-to-use configuration examples and the documentation are just one click away.

                                                     jwt-building-better-workflows-jira-workflow-toolbox-3-new-gui-sidebar.png

On top of that, you got the already mentioned expression examples in the editor. They will provide you with expressions to solve often implemented scenarios matching your selected parsing mode. Are you configuring the conditional execution of a post function? Check for open sub-tasks for example.

While you are finishing to write the perfect expression for your use case, the syntax check is closely watching what you type and provides feedback on mistakes. Does it indicate a green checkmark? Awesome! There’s nothing to worry about.

 

jwt-building-better-workflows-jira-workflow-toolbox-3-expression-parser-handbook.png

 

We also integrated all available functions for JWT into a comprehensive in-app manual. And with this built-in expression parser handbook, you can search through all available functions, filter for specific inputs and outputs, and even mark your personal favorites.

 

What makes great app documentation?

Documentation is frequently the first place users look when they have a question. It is the content for you to help get the most out of the product and the fastest and most effortless path to getting answers. 5 key aspects define a great app documentation for us:

  1. It’s extensive.
  2. Information is easy to find.
  3. It's comprehensible.
  4. It's approachable.
  5. It's valid.

We identified this to be another crucial element of successful workflow customization. So we left no page untouched in the documentation and enriched the presentation to live up to our plans for Jira Workflow Toolbox 3.0.
We added new use cases, improved explanations of all JWT features, and reworked the content structure.

Search and filter through the extensive collection of use cases. We explain step by step how frequent and advanced use cases can be solved in detail. There’s definitely a use case for everyone and we will constantly add new use cases to the collection.
                                                       JWT-building-better-workflows-jira-workflow-toolbox-3-birthday-jwt-candle.png
Let us know what you think of our way to make building workflows as easy and powerful as possible for you. We are keenly interested in your opinion, so please tell us!
And now have a lot of fun with the new Jira Workflow Toolbox 3.0!

Best, Max

Try JWT for free

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