Retrieving end user data from an external database into JIRA with nFeed

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July 29, 2014

Working in a company implies juggling daily with many tools : a project management tool, a bugs tool, your calendar, a time tracking tool, a CRM …

In all of these tools, different information is stored, but unfortunately, they’re all separated and often can’t be linked. Some companies tried to find a workaround with Atlassian products by duplicating the data into JIRA for example. However, it’s a lot of time spent creating everything and changing the configuration every time data evolves in the other tool. This workaround happens to be time-consuming and hard to maintain for project managers and JIRA administrators.

With nFeed, our JIRA add-on, we found a way to link any SQL database to JIRA and synchronize the data.

Linking your external data and JIRA : a headache?

If you’re still reading this article, that means you already have issues to link your external data with JIRA or that you’ve spent a lot of time re-creating this data into JIRA.

In order to illustrate my point, I will use an asset management example.

Let’s say my assets are stored in a SCCM database. So to start, I’ve got asset information on one side.

Asset information

Information stored in SCCM

And I want to link my asset to JIRA but I can’t fetch the asset information into this issue.

Asset Vs JIRA

Information in JIRA

Until now, only two solutions could resolve this leak of information:

  • Switch between context : your issue in JIRA and information in your external database.
  • Re-create every information already stored in your external database into JIRA – which means a long and hard to maintain process.

Don’t panic yet, Valiantys provides you a solution called nFeed. It’s a JIRA add-on which can link your external database to JIRA in an easy and efficient way.

One JIRA add-on, tons of use cases covered

I listed below a few use cases I came across but you really can link any data and database with your JIRA. You simply have to choose which information you want to display in your issues.

With nFeed, you can for instance :

  • Manage your assets in JIRA
  • Link an old tool to JIRA
  • populate fields with Confluence data
  • Have a cascading multi select field for issues
  • Launch a query related to a word in another database

nFeed as a link between JIRA and your external data

Let me explain how nFeed can be configured with an external database.

As you may know, every JNDI Datasource link must be added in a config file in your JIRA installation folder. That means that you will have to restart your JIRA instance to apply your change.

Step 1 : declare your external database

The file to change is context.xml or root.xml depending on your installation. Add the following lines containing your external database information :

<Resource name="jdbc/SCCM" auth="Container" type="javax.sql.DataSource"
            url="jdbc:postgresql://localhost/SCCM" />

You can add as many external databases as needed.

After restarting your JIRA, if you go to nFeed configuration, from the drop-down list on the top-right, add a JNDI Database.

External database configuration in nFeed

External database configuration in nFeed

In the last line add the name specified above.

Test your connection before saving to be sure the link is established between JIRA and your external database.

Step 2 : create your custom fields

The next step is to create all your custom fields as nFeed type, depending on how many information you want to get in JIRA.

Once they’re created, you can configure them via nFeed “Configurations” tab.

Step 3 : configure your fields

If you click on the top-right button, you will find all your nFeed fields without configuration.

nFeed fields configuration

nFeed fields configuration

If you select a field you will be redirected on the “General parameters” tab. Change your Datasource connector to match with your external database then go to the next tab “Field input”.

Choose the field type you want to render (auto-complete, read-only, select list or query results picker) and configure it with the proper SQL query. If you want to be able to look for this information in your JQL query, fill in the “Searching parameters” as well.

Parent field: asset ID

Parent field : Asset ID

Finally save your configuration and do the same for every fields.

Usually most of the fields have a parent dependency, meaning you fill in one field and then generate other information from it.

From my example, I fill in the asset ID number and all the other fields are automatically generated.


Child field depending on Asset ID

Child field depending on Asset ID


Once all your fields are configured, you’ll have a nice message on the top saying all your nFeed fields have been configured. That means you only have one step left !

 Step 4 : Display your fields

Your nFeed fields are like other fields, meaning you can add them to every screens in JIRA. For my example, I displayed them into a new tab.

As you can see below, I give the asset ID and all information related to this asset is generated. I can only change the asset ID, all the other fields are in read-only mode.

Create your issue

Create your issue


View your issue

View your issue


And from now on you can have every external data displayed in your JIRA. :)

JIRA and your external database seamlessly integrated for more efficiency

Having different tools to manage your company is not an issue from now on because, with nFeed, you have the tool to link them all.

Stop spending time duplicating your data between another tool and JIRA, just synchronize them with nFeed. Every SQL database can be linked !

Did you already try to link JIRA with another database ? What’s your experience of it ?

I hope this article helps you to see what you can do with nFeed to link any external database to JIRA.

If you haven’t tried it yet, why not discovering it right now?


Discover other use cases about nFeed: Retrieve any data you need in JIRA from your LDAP with nFeed and Connecting your CRM and JIRA with nFeed