Retrieve any data you need in JIRA from your LDAP with nFeed


Posted by
Aude DUSACRE

July 9, 2014

Using a LDAP allows you to manage your users internally and to centralise information related to them in a dedicated data-source. When using JIRA you may sometimes find yourself either lacking of information on users to properly handle the issue you are working on or feeling the need to type manually information you know your LDAP contains . You’ll then wonder : what’s my LDAP for if not to solve these issues? How can I retrieve the information I need from my LDAP without having to switch context?

nFeed, our JIRA add-on, provides an easy-to-implement and efficient solution to this matter. It will allow you to query your LDAP and display the exact information you want in your tickets so you can focus on getting things done, rather than getting things found.

If you want to learn how to unleash the power of your users data, this article will provide you with ideas of relevant information to retrieve as well as a pragmatic tutorial on how to set up nFeed to do this job for you. Hopefully, you will then be ready to design your own integration and gather data necessary for decision-making.

JIRA and your LDAP : what happens without nFeed

If you are reading this article, you probably know very well what happens between JIRA and your LDAP without nFeed :

In your LDAP you have a lot of information about your users … LDAP data

… But in JIRA, even if you link your user management to your LDAP you’re still missing some information that you would like to have in issues.

JIRA data

Two scenarios can happen here : either you switch context every time information is lacking in JIRA, or you duplicate the data in JIRA as custom fields. Many custom fields. With many different configurations. (yes, we’ve had some of our clients in this situation before they purchased nFeed…).

The good news is that nFeed can spare you all this pain.

The first step is : what data do you need? In what situation?  Here are a few examples we frequently come across when configuring JIRA for companies.

Not sure nFeed can help you ? Check our use cases :

Based on my experience deploying JIRA with nFeed for companies, I have compiled a list of recurring needs that you can use as a template to design yours :

  • Get the asset information related to the user
  • List users in LDAP and display information about them
  • List available locations in the company as a multi-select list
  • List reporter information when they raise a ticket in JIRA Service Desk
  • List users only from a specific team
  • Find the manager of the user
  • Find the cost centre related to the user

Configuring nFeed for LDAP

Let’s say you have LDAP and nFeed installed on your instance.

If you go to the nFeed panel in the administration menu to configure it, on the top right, the drop-down list displays the following types of data source connector.

 

Data source Connector

 

Like I said, today we will configure nFeed to retrieve information from LDAP, but nFeed can also query many other types of data sources (SQL data bases, REST Web Services, Remote files …).

Step 1: connect nFeed with LDAP

If you click on LDAP, you just have to fill in the form with LDAP information. During this step, it could be useful to have your LDAP admin near you. :)

LDAP connection

To make sure the connector configuration is valid, you can test your connection by clicking on “Test Connection”.

Step 2 : choosing the external information to display on issues

Once you know what information you want  from LDAP (e.g. email, location, phone number), you can easily create the matching nFeed custom fields. Then these custom fields will be displayed in nFeed configuration under “Configuration” tab as above :

NFeed Custom Fields

On the top right corner of the configuration panel, you’ll see every nFeed custom fields. Click on one to configure it.  3 tabs will appear : “General parameters”, “Fields inputs”, “Field display”.

3 tabs

  1. General parameters : That’s where you can select the data source type to use, here we will pick LDAP
  2. Field input : That’s where you will type your LDAP query to extract the external information you need (Again, your LDAP admin could be helpful for this step!) and choose the type of your field as well. You have the choice between four types of field :
    • Auto-complete
    • Select list
    • Read-only
    • Query results picker
  3. Field display : That’s where you can define what you want to display in your screen. Usually it’s the same query as the one in “Field input”.

Let’s say I want to look for information about a user in LDAP : name, email… . I create one auto-complete field to look for him in LDAP (customfield_10023) and then I create a few more read-only fields linked to this user.

You can see an example of my configuration to get the email address from our LDAP.

LDAP query

Repeat this step for every nFeed custom fields you need. In the end, you should have a message on the top of your tab saying all your fields have been configured.

Custom fields configured

Congrats you’re almost done :)

Step 3 : display your fields in JIRA issues

To display your fields you have two options :

  • show your fields directly in your Create/Edit screen
  • generate your field during a post-function

For this example, I decided to display my fields in my screens directly. As you will see below, only the field “New person” can be edited, the other fields are automatically generated and can’t be changed.

Here is what it looks like :

 

Create issue with Nfeed

Create your issue

 

View Issue NFeed

View your issue

And now you can enjoy LDAP information directly in issues …  :)

Towards a more efficient use of your data

User management is not the only way to link JIRA and LDAP. With nFeed, integration possibilities are endless. Most of the companies I’ve worked with leveraged it for support, or asset management.

And you, do you have interesting use-cases you’d like to share? 

Also, I hope this article has helped you envisioning the power of nFeed, and how it help you make JIRA the central hub of your IT processes and increase your teams efficiency.

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