Online forms are a great way to collect information. Done correctly, they are easy to access, easy to fill out and easy to deliver. It’s nice not to deal with paper, or to have to resend an email because you forgot the attachment. Features like validation and choice lists help ensure that the right data gets collected in the right format.
But then what? Most of the limitations of web forms come into play after the user hits the submit button. Tools like Google Forms and Survey Monkey can aggregate the data collected, but if the data is related to a request, it doesn’t really help move the process along. That’s why online forms and JIRA make such a potent combination: you have the data-collecting power of a well-designed form, backed by a JIRA workflow.
This article explores several options for creating Jira issues from web forms. Each has its pros and cons. We may be a bit prejudiced, but we think that after exploring the options, you’ll agree that ProForma, with its seamless Jira integration and intuitive form builder, is the way to go. But don’t take our word for it – give it a try!
JIRA Issue Collector
The first possible solution is the easily-overlooked issue collector. The issue collector creates a tab on the side of your webpage. When users click this trigger tab a JIRA feedback form is created which subsequently creates a JIRA issue when they submit the form.
Included with your JIRA subscription. Visitors to your web site do not need JIRA user account in order to submit a form.
- The issue collector is simple to get up and running (must be done by a JIRA administrator).
- You can have different issues collectors for each issue type.
- It’s great for bug reports, as can also capture environmental details such as browser and page.
- You can also attach additional files.
- Form design is very limited.
- Can only add a single set of instructions at the top of the page.
- You are limited to selecting among previously created custom fields for your form fields.
- You cannot embed the form onto your own web page.
TIP: You will have to specify a user as a reporter for each of these issues. You may want to create a dedicated user for this purpose.
JIRA Service Desk
Another possible solution is JIRA Service Desk – Atlassian’s answer to request management. Using JIRA Service Desk gives you access to a lot of great features like queues, built-in approvals and SLAs.
Your JIRA Service Desk subscription – visitors to the customer portal do not need JIRA user account in order to submit a request.
- You can display any field of the JIRA fields.
- You can also attach additional files.
- Adding instructions is limited to text at the top of the page and hintsfor individual field.
- You are limited to JIRA fields (generic / custom). Creating a large number of custom fields can cause performance issues and administrative challenges.
- Forms can only displayed in the JSD customer portal (not embedded into your page), which requires user authentication prior to access.
- Again, requires a certain technical knowledge (a JIRA administrator) to implement. May not be feasible for all teams if resources are short.
FormStack & Zapier
You can also use non-Atlassian tools (such as FormStack) to create your forms and then pipe the data into JIRA issues by using an additional application such as Zapeir.
Pricing starts at $39 USD a month.
- FormStack provides a powerful form editor with great features like conditional logic and a multitude of question types.
- Forms can be embedded in pages, or hosted by Formstack.
- You need to a third party, such as Zapier, to pipe the data into JIRA. If you are receiving less than 100 submissions per month?, you can use Zapier for free. Set up is relatively straight forward, and you can map the question responses to fields in JIRA.
- FormStack will accept file uploads, however there is no way to get these files to attach automatically to the JIRA issue.
- You will also have to consider how you want to handle the original form submissions in FormStack. There is an option to encrypt the responses in FormStack’s database, or to not store them at all after they have been passed off to Zapier.
TIP: Can’t see a JIRA field that you would like to populate with a form field? If the field does not appear on the “create screen” in JIRA, then it won’t be accessible via the REST API which Zapier uses to create the issue.
Of course, Google is also in the form-building game.
- You will either need to write code (see Jody Gajic’s step by step instructions) or employ a third party such as Zapier to connect to JIRA
- Google will accept file uploads, however, once again there is no way to automatically send these files to the JIRA issue.
- All the responses need to be stored in a Google sheet.
All of these options allow you to combine online forms with JIRA’s potent workflow engine. However, they also share some common limitations:
- These solutions create a one-to-one relationship with a form and an issue. Many business processes require more than one form. What if you want to attach an additional form to the same issue?
- Most options require that form field responses be mapped to a JIRA custom field. This could result in a spaghetti plate of custom fields that’s difficult to manage, and quite likely, unnecessary.
- A certain degree of technical know-how is required to implement these solutions, putting them beyond the reach of non-tech teams or creating a burden for your JIRA administrator.
Solution: JIRA Service Desk + ProForma
ProForma was developed to address these gaps. JIRA is a beautiful workflow engine and if you pair it with a similarly elegant form system, you have a great way to handle requests.
ProForma’s intuitive form builder let’s any team create the forms they need and deploy them on the customer portal. Multiple forms can be attached to an issue and you can use JSD’s approval status to build in as many levels of approval as your business process requires. Teams can create and publish the forms themselves, without burdening IT.
ProForma can empower any team in your organization to streamline their processes and optimize how they handle request management.