How the Custom Charts team used External Share to get around an old Jira bug

Custom Chart Roadmap

Recently, the support team for Custom Charts for Jira noticed that more and more customers were unable to view our Public Feature Roadmap tickets individually. We’d send the same links we always have, but customers were being redirected to our support portal page, instead of seeing the ticket.

We pride ourselves on open communication about our roadmap, so this was not only against our core beliefs, but it also made for a much worse support experience!

The problem

Our support requests have always come primarily through customers emailing our support email address, although we use a Jira Service Management (JSM) integration so those emails create support tickets on our side. Now, to improve the end-user experience, we direct customers to our support portal rather than an email address. This way they have the option of creating an account to see all of their open and resolved tickets.

Many of these support tickets are asking for features to be added to Custom Charts for Jira. When we already have a feature in our backlog, we send them a link to the public issue, aka TRACC ticket, on our Public Feature Roadmap. This roadmap is available to everyone, including anonymous users (those who don’t have an account in our JSM instance). This is because it’s important to us that we clearly communicate what’s coming to Custom Charts.

Before, when customers emailed support@oldstreetsolutions.com, most customers never created an account in our service desk because there was no option to. Now we’re seeing more users creating accounts, but of course, this means that they’re no longer anonymous users. Should be fine, right? Surely there’d be no problem with logged-in users seeing public issues because they’re, you know, public?

Wrong!

What we didn’t expect was to be faced with something that makes those in the Atlassian universe shudder: an Atlassian bug that has been open for years. We love Atlassian, but we all know that this means the problem you’re facing is a dead-end (for now? forever? who knows!).

This open bug meant that once a customer created an account, they could no longer view public issues like our TRACC tickets. If they logged out of their accounts, the issues were visible again, but if they clicked on them while logged in, they’d get redirected to the portal. And since more customers were creating accounts in our portal, fewer people were actually able to see our roadmap! Which is, you know, the opposite of what we wanted!

Enter: JSDCLOUD-1367

The workaround

There wasn’t much we could do in Jira or Confluence to make this work for logged-in customers. Despite trying different Confluence space permissions and Jira project permissions, this wall wouldn’t budge.

Before we found a real solution to this, our recommendation was to open our TRACC tickets in an incognito window. That got around the bug, but it was annoying and tedious for our customers. Our apps are made so everyone can use them, so making support more difficult for customers really didn’t make sense for us.

The solution

After lots of hair-pulling and threats of throwing laptops out of the window, the answer hit us! It should’ve been obvious, frankly, but sometimes you can’t see the right solution until you’ve tried lots of wrong ones (troubleshooting, am I right?).

You could say that the call was coming from inside the house: External Share for Jira, another Old Street app, allows you to share secure links to live Jira tickets with people who don’t have access to your Jira instance (yeah, that’s only exactly what we needed :woman_facepalming:).

External Share also allows you to share an entire agile board with external/public users. So, we created an External Share version of the board we had for our TRACC project. This lets us grab and share links to the entire board and to individual tickets (like this one, TRACC-123, or the one pictured above!)

Now we can send direct links to tickets to all of our customers, with no error screens or redirects in sight.

To learn how to set up your own External Share Jira Board, check out this post or the External Share for Jira marketplace listing!

Morgan is a Seattle born and raised lover of rain and software, particularly software that isn’t a pain in the bum (like some Atlassian tools can be). This is why she’s a Custom Charts for Jira superfan and jumped at the chance to contribute to the solution herself. She specializes in Agile, Scaled Agile, and ITIL in the Atlassian app space, loves a cross-country road trip, and is on a mission to find the cutest coffee shop in every town she visits.