This article was written by Kamil Beer, an Atlassian Engineer at iDalko.
Atlassian continuously invests in the Cloud platform and its features. To prepare the users for what comes next, Atlassian created a public roadmap with the upcoming functionalities. It’s a long list – and as many changes were announced for the third quarter, we’d like to introduce those that shouldn’t escape your attention.
One complaint against Cloud is that despite the implementation of Data Residency (now available on the Enterprise offering and soon also on Standard and Premium), App data remains on third-party servers.
Thus, Data Residency for the whole stack isn’t possible. However, this seems to be changing soon, as there’s a Data Residency for Apps feature announced for Jira and Confluence. It should enable “storage and migration of data in the same realm as the host product”, partially solving one of the main Cloud migration pain points in regulated industries.
Speaking of migrating, the Migration Assistant comes to mind – an Atlassian app mitigating the difficulties of moving on-premise deployments on Cloud. Its weakness was that it couldn’t transfer Jira Service Management projects properly. But this should also be resolved in Q3, under the request title Jira Service Management migration. Even more improvements to the app are to roll out in Q4: being able to transfer third-party App data, Advanced Roadmaps, and Team Calendars.
An impressive feature for enterprise deployments is the announced support for up to 20,000 users on a single Jira or Confluence node. This doesn’t appear to be limited to Premium or Enterprise, at least from the Atlassian Roadmap description, so large companies running Jira Standard could also benefit from this (today, the user limit per site is 10,000 users for Standard, Premium, and Enterprise deployments).
Back to migrating – Atlassian announced the Bitbucket Cloud Migration assistant. It should work similarly to its Jira and Confluence variants, which means that it would help transfer data from on-prem to Cloud, including users and pull requests.
Along with it, native support for Windows builds (ASP.net, MVC5 a, and .NET 4.6) will be implemented on Bitbucket Pipelines. Developers will appreciate the build metrics, build steps monitoring, and syntax highlighting in pull requests that should identify typos and syntactical errors easily.
External collaboration was requested in Confluence for a long time. Under multiple restricted nested page trees, you may have had a page that you needed someone external to see or even comment on. This wasn’t possible without rearranging all the permissions and restrictions on those pages or using Apps, for instance, “External Share for Confluence”. Now, this type of sharing is announced to be shipped in Q2-Q3.
Table visualization promises to convert Confluence tables into visual charts, which would mean better reporting on spreadsheet data without using Apps like Table Filter & Charts. While the types of available reports haven’t been published yet, the feature is definitely coming soon.
Automation for Confluence is going to be shipped next. Users will be able to configure IFTTT rules (If this, then that) and reduce manual work. However, whether this is a feature that will really save time or a fringe functionality with little use remains to be seen – just like CQL, which is used only seldomly.
In Q3 and Q4, Jira Software will receive mainly performance updates, answering user complaints about the platform’s speed, increasing responsiveness of boards, dashboards, issues, advanced searching, and filters. The new interface is promised to load “1.5x to 2x faster for most customers”, compared to July 2020. However, it’s unknown what “most customers” means, along with who is affected and who isn’t.
There are two similar announcements on the roadmap, the second one focusing on continued improvements. This could mean that after the first improvements are delivered, there will be further development planned somewhere on the Atlassian roadmap.
For the third quarter, then, the updates for Jira Software appear to be primarily in the areas of performance and reliability, a change from the slew of new features that were shipped in Q2.
Many more features are on the Atlassian roadmap for JSM, like Jira Service Management Cloud and Confluence Data Center integration, which seems to connect your knowledge base on DC with a Cloud project, mitigating the problem of storing sensitive data and documentation on Confluence Cloud. You can keep your documents on a local Data Center instance and enjoy the benefits of the Jira Service Management Cloud.
Many more Cloud / On-Prem integrations are on the roadmap. Another one concerns the Integration of Jira Software and Confluence Server with inbound traffic restrictions, again addressing the usage of tools that must remain local. How exactly and which use case will this connection support is still to be seen in the future.
With the Portal Customization Enhancements, the administrators will be able to sort and organize service desk projects on the Help center, increasing visibility of the portals that customers should see. Also, they will gain the option to add instructions and other information for JSM customers when they log into the Help Center.
The most significant feature, however, seems to be “Out of the box Knowledge base in Jira Service Management powered by Confluence”. The official description only says that it’ll be possible to leverage Confluence’s rich editor capabilities in JSM. This could mean various things – maybe the KB articles will be created and edited in a more advanced manner, or even that JSM users that want to use the knowledge base will do so in Jira and will no longer need to purchase Confluence.
When Jira Work Management was released at the end of April 2021, it was advertised that teams will be able to fully use Approvals. This feature hasn’t been released yet, but it seems that it will in Q3, aimed at resolving various reviews.
A similar functionality was implemented in the past in JSM as a workflow setting, where users in certain fields were able to approve a ticket from the portal. We will see how this feature works in JWM soon.
There is also a mention of JQL filtering in all views, so not only the Board view could get some quick filter buttons, but something similar could also appear on the list, calendar, and timeline views.
Enhanced reports may be a significant improvement. In this area, Jira has often relied on third-party Apps, like eazyBI or Arsenale Dataplane, and the native reports left a lot to be desired. However, the roadmap promises completely redesigned reports for the whole platform, which also means Jira Software and JSM.
No feature upgrades have been announced for Opsgenie, nor for Trello, except for performance improvements for bulk changes of Trello cards on very large instances (10,000+).
That’s about what is on the Atlassian roadmap for the third quarter of 2021. From a high-level viewpoint, Atlassian continues its initiative to migrate customer Server instances to Cloud by mitigating the general difficulty of doing so. One of the tools that should help with this is the Bitbucket Migration Assistant scheduled for release in the third quarter, and then the implementation of App migrations in the fourth. The company also focuses heavily on the problem of Data Residency by integrating on-prem solutions with Cloud Jira instances.
Most of the work on new features in the following months, however, seems to be aimed mainly at JSM and JWM, the service tool being so crucial that an integration with on-premise Confluence is in development.
JWM, on the other hand, is getting through its first months: a promising set of features with somewhat weak customization options will soon be expanded with features that seem to be essential in the process of further adoption of the tool.