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Shaping the future of Jira automation and customization

What is Jira Workflow Toolbox?

Jira Workflow Toolbox is your all-in-one solution for covering three main topics in Jira

  • workflow customization
  • process automation
  • live data calculation and display

It is available on the Atlassian Marketplace for all Jira applications and platforms. Recently we have been celebrating the 10th anniversary of Jira Workflow Toolbox and took a step back to reflect on our roots and where JWT comes from. What milestones have we reached and shaped the app on its way to becoming the best-rated Jira workflow app on the Atlassian Marketplace today.

One thing is certain, though. It's been a long way until today and it all started with one man.
The creator of Jira Workflow Toolbox for you - Fidel Castro Armario.

Image: Fidel cartoon character presenting JWT in 2010

How does Jira Workflow Toolbox cover your needs for customizing Jira workflows?

What was the reason for Fidel to develop his own app for Jira? It's simple and for sure it wasn't commercialization.

In 2010, Fidel was working on a project and needed a way to add restrictions to Jira issues based on issue links. Jira workflows offer a few controls to automate your Jira issues to a certain extent but more complex requirements cannot be covered by the Jira standard at all.

Image: the year 2010

There simply were no other apps that gave him the solution he wanted and the flexibility he needed. So he started developing his own first conditions and validators and fixed it himself. This is how JWT saw the light of day.

Image: Fidel cartoon character thinking about a solution to his workflow problems

Subsequently, Fidel shared his development with the Atlassian Jira community for free and privately started to develop the app further. First to satisfy his project needs and very soon, with feedback from other users, to solve the problems of numerous users of the community. Until 2012 and the official launch of the Atlassian Marketplace, JWT was available as free app to everyone!

Basic functions like updating fields values followed very soon. Fidel has always been very open about the development of the app and the solutions he has worked out with users for their use cases. Everything happened publicly so that the greatest number of users could be helped and they could shape the product. At that time, the app also became a full-time job for Fidel.

Today you have more than 50 workflow functions to cover all needs, from basic to very advanced requirements in your business processes. Over the years, we have collected hundreds of use cases and prepared them for users in the documentation. The users and their satisfaction were the most important thing for Fidel back then, and it still is for us today.

How to implement complex requirements without coding in Jira workflows?

Shortly after followed the introduction of the expression parser. To this day, Jira Workflow Toolbox is a no-/low-code solution and focuses on making workflow design intuitive and easy. It started with some basic math functions to calculate and validate values in workflows.

This so-called expressions provide a huge set of functionalities to read and manipulate data from Jira issues, users, projects and more. There is no need to write code. Functions used in expressions contain the logic and steps to return the desired result.

Image: the year 2011

Today you have hundreds of built-in parser functions for every purpose at hand. Instead of writing and maintaining scripts, use easy to read and well-documented functions like subtask() or count() and robust field codes make accessing and processing any issue data a breeze.  The only limit is your creativity. And if you get stuck, you can always find help in the Atlassian community or from us.

How to display live data in Jira issues?

Keeping data in sync across issues and projects has always been one of the big challenges in Jira. The need to display current and accurate data in Jira issues is undeniable. So how can you solve this?

The powerful expression parser was already in place. But JWT expressions were only available in workflows. Since they enabled even complex operations, the next step was to make them available for other use cases as well - like displaying live data in issues.

Image: the year 2017

The answer was the introduction of calculated custom fields in 2017. Supporting text, data and number values, these calculated fields come with vast display format options. You define how the result of the calculation should appear, from different time formats to currency symbols.

The custom fields continue to support the full range of JWT expressions for displaying live data in Jira issues, ranging from summing values to pulling data from web services.

From one person to a family

Over the years, Jira Workflow Toolbox has grown from Fidel's initial hobby project to a popular and recognized Atlassian Jira app with an active community. The number of active users was growing steadily and so was the work to be done.

It became increasingly difficult to maintain the exceptional quality of support, drive the product development and keep a high level of professionalism of the offering as a 1-man team. But there was help in sight.
One of the first reviewers back in 2010 was a member of the Decadis family, and there had been constant exchange about the app ever since throughout the years.

Image: the year 2018

In 2017 conversations started focussing on a joint future instead of merely requesting new features and reporting bugs. These intense talks finally resulted in the acquisition of JWT by Decadis AG.

Image: Fidel and other members of the xApps by Decadis team sitting around a desk as cartoon characters

The acquisition could not have been built on a better foundation for all parties involved. A yearlong friendly relationship, a team burning to push the product to the next level and the same mindset and dedication of delivering an outstanding customer experience. Especially in terms of support and documentation, the hands-on engagement of the xApps by Decadis team has been very beneficial for all users.

The deal was sealed and shortly after Jira Workflow Toolbox became an official member of our xApps family. We can say that JWT quickly settled in well and continues to be a very happy and popular member of our xApps family until today. And likewise, Fidel continues to support our team every day, shaping the future of process automation in Jira.

And what do our customers think of it? They seem to be satisfied with us, as JWT is the best rated Jira app in the entire Atlassian Marketplace.

What Atlassian hosting options does Jira Workflow Toolbox support?

Jira Workflow Toolbox had already been data center compatible since September 2018. In 2019 we took the next important step in the development of JWT.
Our customers requested a cloud version, which our team was thrilled to deliver in December. The first release for Jira Cloud focused on a subset of features that have proven most useful in enriching your workflows.

Image: The year 2019

Since then, we have been adding features and improvements with every release. Our goal is to get as close as possible to value parity on all Atlassian hosting options. And the next release is already on its way. We are very transparent about our plans on Jira Cloud. Have a look at our public roadmap to see what topics we are working on and the topics we want to tackle in the future.

How to automate Jira outside of workflows?

Building the best processes to support your teams does not end with workflow functions and custom fields. Early in 2020, we made the decision to integrate our app Automation Toolbox into Jira Workflow Toolbox to form the most complete automation solution for Jira. As a result, automation rules were introduced that are just as powerful as workflow functions.

You shouldn't need two apps for a common goal - to match your business processes in the best possible way. You should decide how you want to achieve your goal and JWT provides you with the means to do so.

Image: The year 2020

This opened the door to new ways of solving your use cases in Jira by reacting to various events. Updating issue fields is just the tip of the iceberg.

The gained flexibility comes through your ability to respond to events like field, issue, project or system events (e.g. "A field was updated", "A new version was created") in various ways. Even scheduling recurring tasks or manual execution is configured and performed in no time.

What is the best user interface for building workflows in Jira?

This question has kept us busy for over a year. On the occasion of its 10th birthday, we have released Jira Workflow Toolbox 3.0. We put a lot of effort into rethinking the way you automate your processes by identifying your challenges and coming up with solutions on how to overcome them with the help of JWT.

Our aim was to deliver a completely new experience and our customers confirmed that we managed to achieve that! Building and maintaining workflows has never been easier and more powerful than it is now. Check out our release blog post on how we did it and what role our customers played in the development of this release.

Thank you very much for being a part of the last 10 years and here's to the next!
Are you curious about the possibilities that Jira Workflow Toolbox offers you? Start your free trial today and let us know what you think. Get in touch with us on our social media channels!

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Written by
Max F├Ârster

Image: A picture of the author Max Foerster 



Decadis AG
Viktoriastra├če 15
56068 Koblenz

Tel: +49 261 96373 0

E-Mail: info@decadis.de