The Gitlab-Jira Integration: What to Consider
For organizations that have established an agile development workflow within a nominal DevOps environment, software engineers across the spectrum live within their preferred apps day in and day out. For many, those apps are Atlassian Jira and GitLab.
Having these popular apps talk to each other can offer tremendous benefits to any busy development team, which is why GitLab prioritized a native GitLab-Jira integration that is available through the Integrations menu in GitLab. There are also a few third-party integrations available in Atlassian’s Marketplace.
If your organization is currently using Jira and GitLab (or if you’re considering adopting one or the other) incorporating an integration carries a lot of upside. But, you should consider all the factors to ensure you’re making the right decision and you’re not wasting any time or money on an integration that doesn’t meet all your needs.
What does the native GitLab-Jira integration offer?
For a helpful guide to setting up the native GitLab-Jira integration, read GitLab’s cloud setup post here or self-hosted setup here, and GitLab’s setup video for the Cloud integration here or the self-hosted integration here.
Once you’re set up, here’s what you can expect to get from this integration:
- When an ID of a Jira issue is mentioned in GitLab, in a commit, branch, and/or merge request, that activity will be visible in the Development panel in the Jira issue.
- This allows developers to follow the progress of issues through the CI/CD process without leaving Jira while DevOps practitioners can receive real-time updates on Jira issues without leaving GitLab.
- If the Jira integration is enabled for a project on GitLab.com, engineers can use specific commands in commit messages to:
- Close Jira issues from GitLab.com
- Add comments to the Jira issue from GitLab.com
- Transition Jira workflow states (e.g. from “In progress” to “Done”)
- View a list of read-only Jira issues in GitLab.com
These features can save time and effort by avoiding context switching between apps while improving transparency across the development, testing, and deployment workflow. But, for many organizations, several beneficial features are lacking in the native integration.
What else might you need from a GitLab-Jira integration?
Especially for enterprise-level organizations with complex workflows and mature DevOps processes at a large scale, the native integration leaves a lot to be desired.
- Much of the rich data that can be found in both Jira issues and GitLab namespaces does not currently sync from one system to the other. Therefore, any inquiry more in-depth than current status and related comments requires clicking the provided link and switching to the other app to dig deeper.
- There is currently no support for using custom fields or advanced automation in cooperation with the GitLab-Jira integration, so much of the value of more advanced workflows can be lost in translation.
- Many users would benefit from custom views of synchronized data in both systems, but no options exist to view or filter synched data through the integration.
- Currently, search options in both applications cannot surface results based on linked data, which would be very helpful for planning and auditing purposes.
- Audit logs for integrated activity are also not currently available but would be helpful for debugging more complex systems.
Some of the existing third-party integrations offer some of these features, but none have combined all of them. And, this isn’t a comprehensive list of feature improvements because every organization has its own unique set of requirements and priorities. That’s why working with an integration partner can mean the difference between “good enough” and “problem solved.”
How to get the most from a GitLab-Jira integration
Cprime — a certified GitLab Partner and Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner — offers an array of services that can help you get the very most from your GitLab-Jira integration:
- Custom integration strategy and development – Our dedicated team of certified GitLab engineers and Atlassian experts can work with you to develop a custom integration solution that checks all the boxes, above and beyond the out-of-the-box option.
- Focused training for GitLab and Jira – Help your teams learn the ins and outs of both applications so they can get even more value out of the new integration.
- Thorough technical audit and value stream assessment – Start strategically by learning exactly what you need from an integration and how to best approach development and implementation.
- Managed support and hosting, and licensing management – If you’re just starting with Jira or GitLab and/or you’re looking to migrate to a controlled environment with a lower TCO, we can help with that too.
Contact Cprime today to discuss getting the most out of your GitLab-Jira integration.