Improving business processes using nFeed and Xporter

Posted by
Stefanie Chernow

October 17, 2017

The following is a guest blog written by Rui Rodrigues, Product Manager of Xporter.

Xporter enables users to export issues from Jira to Word, Excel and PDF in a quick and simple way. It is an app developed by Xpand Add-ons, an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner based in Portugal, who is also the developer of Xray, a top-selling and top-rated Test Management app for Jira.

Everybody that uses Jira knows that its native reporting capabilities don’t cover all use cases , so the Xpand Add-ons team created a solution for users looking to get data out of Jira and into reports.

Xporter provides the most complete and flexible solution to generate reports using data from Jira issues, giving users the freedom to decide what they want to get printed and how it should be printed in the reports.

Xporter helps companies around the world create reports from issues and automate business processes. It is used by customers in various sectors, including education, aerospace, banking, automotive, hardware, manufacturing, and healthcare.

What is Xporter?

Xporter is an app that takes exporting capabilities to another level, providing a quick and easy way to get reports from templates created using Microsoft Word and Excel.
With Xporter, you can get the following data exported to reports:

  • Fields and Custom Fields
  • Linked Issues
  • Comments
  • Worklogs
  • Subtasks
  • Components
  • Status Transitions
  • Attached Images
  • Attachments

Reports created by Xporter can have several formats: Word, Excel, PDF, ODT and many others.

Let’s briefly explain how Xporter Works.

To create a template, you just need to create a new document in Word or Excel and use the Xporter markup notation. You can add styles, headings, tables, images, covers and charts to your documents, pretty much what you do with your normal Word and Excel documents. Xporter also provides a Template Store with dozens of free templates, which users can download, edit and customize to their needs.

Report generation is available from the Issue View screen, Issue Search screen, Xporter Reports, Scheduled Reports and Workflow Post-Functions.

Xporter can also automate business processes. For example, it can generate reports when issue transitions happen, schedule report generation and distribute them by email or by attaching the report to Confluence pages.

You can learn more about the Xporter capabilities in its Product Documentation.

The need for nFeed integration

Xporter can get almost all the data from Jira issues. Why “almost” and not all? Well, some apps provide custom fields whose values cannot be obtained using Jira’s standard API. In those cases, the Xporter team needs to collaborate with Marketplace vendors to integrate their apps with Xporter. These apps need to provide APIs which Xporter can call to get the data from their custom fields. This blog post is a great example of our collaboration with one of such Marketplace vendor — Valiantys — and their nFeed app.

nFeed: Getting data from external sources

Sometimes, users need to view issues data that is managed by external systems. Since Jira does not provide any way to achieve that, Valiantys created nFeed. With nFeed, you can create custom fields which can be populated with any datasource such as a SQL database, REST APIs, LDAP or even Jira itself.

Getting nFeed fields printed on reports

Xporter works with both native and custom fields. Despite needing to perform a custom integration with nFeed, it is transparent to the end-user. Getting nFeed fields on reports is as easy as it is for native Jira fields. Below is an example of this integration: an nFeed field Invitees was created to provide a list of users loaded from an external database. To get the nFeed field into the report, you just need to add the placeholder ${html:Invitees} in the template. Xporter will process the html content returned by nFeed and render it in the report.

Depending on the type of the custom field, you can use content formatting functions provided by Xporter, such as formatting date and time fields, html and wiki markup content, and users information. You can learn more about content formatting here.

What can you get with Xporter and nFeed?

Let’s look at the Rockwell Collins use case to understand what led them to use this integration and what they achieved:

Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) is a leader in aviation and high-integrity solutions for commercial and military customers around the world. Every day, they help pilots to safely and reliably navigate to the far corners of the earth, keep warfighters aware and informed in battle, deliver millions of messages for airlines and airports and help passengers stay connected and comfortable throughout their journey. As experts in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, cabin interiors, information management, mission communications, and simulation and training, they offer a comprehensive portfolio of products and services that can transform our customers’ futures.

You can learn more about Rockwell Collins here.

The Requirements

They design and produce custom aircraft interior seating and cabinetry for several upscale airlines. As they use Jira and many other systems, they need to show data from other systems in their issues, for example, data from team members and fix versions.

Another important requirement is report generation. They need to generate reports with data from Jira issues to share internally within the organization and externally with their customers.

Xporter and nFeed as the solution

On one side, nFeed solves the problem of showing data from external systems, like Excel in which the users update with information provided by the team members and the master schedule team. In each issue, they have a driver nFeed field of the customer that brings up several dependent nFeed fields with program details (like team members). They also have a driver nFeed field for ship-set cut-in (like a software’s fix version) that brings up several dependent nFeed fields with ship set details (like build start and end dates).

On the other side, Xporter provides report generation. It is then used to create forms that print out reports from individual issues as well as reports for internal use distributed to Airbus, Boeing and the FAA.

Try Xporter and nFeed today!

If you need to create reports from Jira issues, you will love the synergy between these two apps! Give them a spin on the Atlassian Marketplace.

Try Xporter   Try nFeed