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

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February 28, 2017

Working in a company implies juggling many tools on a daily basis: a project management tool, a bug tracking tool, your calendar, a time tracking tool, a CRM, etc.

Different information is stored in all of these tools, but unfortunately they’re separated and often can’t be linked. Some companies tried to find a workaround with Atlassian products by duplicating the data into JIRA. However, it takes a lot of time to create everything and change the configuration every time data changes in one of the tools. 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 synchronise the data.

Linking your external data and JIRA: a headache?

If you’re reading this article, it probably means you already have difficulties in linking your external data with JIRA or that you’ve spent a lot of time recreating data in 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 for this issue.

Asset Vs JIRA

Information in JIRA

Until now, only two solutions could resolve this disconnect in information:

  • Switch between context: your issue in JIRA and information in your external database.
  • Recreate all the information already stored in your external database in JIRA – which means the process is long and hard to maintain.

Don’t panic yet! Valiantys provides a solution called nFeed, which is a JIRA add-on that links your external database to JIRA in an easy and efficient way.

One JIRA add-on, tons of use cases

I listed below a few examples of use cases, but you really can link any data and database with JIRA. You simply have to choose what 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
  • Inject fields with Confluence data
  • Query a REST API
  • Retrieve data from a user directory

nFeed as a link between JIRA and your external data

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

Step 1: declare your external database

Open the Datasources section of the nFeed configuration page, click on Create a datasource then select Database.

screenshot-greygoose.valiantyscloud.net 2017-02-23 13-26-36

Database configuration

Fill in the required information; the databases supported by nFeed are MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle and Postgresql. Use the Test connection button to validate your configuration.

You’ll find more details on the database configuration in the product documentation.

Step 2: create your custom fields

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

For my use case I’ve created 3 nFeed fields :

  • Asset ID – An autocomplete where the user can select the ID of an asset
  • Asset Manufacturer – A read-only field, it will display the manufacturer of the asset selected by in Asset ID
  • Asset Model & Asset Model number – Similar to Asset manufacturer, they’ll display information related to the selected asset.

Once they’re created, we can configure them via nFeed “Configure fields” section

Step 3: configure your fields

Let’s configure Asset ID:

screenshot2-greygoose.valiantyscloud.net 2017-02-23 16-01-05

Here we setup the query to execute on our database to retrieve the IDs of the assets stored in our database. This field will be editable with an autocomplete.

That’s it! Now let’s configure the fields which are dependent on the asset ID:

screenshot3-greygoose.valiantyscloud.net 2017-02-23 16-01-43

We use Velocity in the query to add a reference to the Asset ID field, we do that with the $issue.customfield_11502 instruction.

This field will display the model of the asset selected in Asset ID. It is a read-only field: it can’t be edited by the end user.

The configuration of Asset model number and Asset manufacturer is similar to Asset model, we only change the column to retrieve.

 Step 4: Display your fields

Your nFeed fields are like any other field, meaning you can add them to every screen in JIRA – even JIRA Service Desk requests!

For my example, I’ve added them to a JSD request type.

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, as all the other fields are in read-only mode.


Create a request from the customer portal

Create a request from the customer portal


View a request (customer view)

View a request (customer view)


View a request (agent view)

View a request (agent view)

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 no longer a problem – with nFeed you have the one tool to link them all. Furthermore, nFeed datasources are not limited to databases, you can also query a REST API, a User Directory or any Atlassian application linked to your JIRA instance!

Stop spending time duplicating your data between your tools and JIRA when you can just synchronise them with nFeed.

Did you already try to link JIRA with a database? Leave a comment below to tell us your experience!