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Jira

Sakai uses Atlassian's Jira software for issue management. It is used to track a variety of issues, including bug reports, suggestions for new functionality, tasked work, and community contributions. Outlined below are the general practices, procedures, and definitions adopted by the Sakai community for using Jira.

Jira Account

Jira and Confluence share user accounts. You do not need an account to view content in these systems, however, you do need one to comment on or post information. You can request an account from jira-admins@collab.sakaiproject.org.

Note that your Jira/Confluence account is completely separate from a Collab account, http://collab.sakaiproject.org, and a Sakai website account, http://www.sakaiproject.org; currently you need a separate username and password for each system.

Definitions

Issue Type

Issue Type

Definition for Sakai

Bug

An error in design or implementation which directly impedes a user from achieving their expected result.

Task

A new capability being added to Sakai.

Feature Request/Requirement

A desired capability, for inclusion in a future release of Sakai; ideas that come with resources interested in implementing them are more likely to be developed than those offered with the hope that someone else will step forward to do the work.

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Contributed Patch

A community-contributed patch to a particular version of sakai. The origin of such issues may lie in Bugs or Feature Requests which Sakai has not yet evaluated for implementation. Under such circumstances a linked issue is generally created by cloning the orignal issue in order to track Sakai's work on the issue. [Use at your own risk!]

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Status

Status

Definition for Sakai

Open

Issue is under consideration.

In Progress

Issue is actively being worked on.

Reopened

Issue was thought to be resolved, however, it did not pass QA and needs further work.

Resolved

Issue has been addressed and is ready for testing.

Closed

Work on issue is complete and has passed testing.

Resolution

Resolution

Definition for Sakai

Unresolved

Issue is under consideration and/or actively being worked on.

Fixed

Issue has been addressed through changes to the design or code. When viewing an issue, the "Subversion Commits" tab provides specific details regarding code changes.

Won't Fix

Issue will not be addressed because it does not match project goals.

Non-Issue

Issue turned out not to be a problem with Sakai.

Duplicate

Issue is a duplicate of a previously submitted issue, or has been incorporated into a broader issue. A link to the other issue is added so that progress on the issue can be easily accessed.

Incomplete

Not enough information has been provided to identify the issue.

Cannot Reproduce

Issue cannot be reproduced.

Version

Each Jira issue has an Affects Version and a Fix Version. Generally speaking Sakai uses these values to indicate:

  • Affects Version - Version in which an issue is observed. This should never be set to a "future" version of Sakai, e.g., Post-2.1.2; issues should only affect Sakai relative to a known existing version.
  • Fix Version - Version in which an issue is resolved. This could be a "future" version of Sakai, when indicating a future release you expect an issue to be resolved in.

Both of these versions, however, are not necessarily meaningful for all issue types. The table below summarizes how they are used in the context of specific issue types.

Issue Type

Affects Version

Fix Version

Bug

Version in which bug was identified.

Version in which bug is expected to be or has actually been resolved. (star)

Task

Not required, but may provide useful context for comments on the issue.

Version in which new capabilitity is expected to appear or has appeared. (star)

Feature Request

Not required, but may provide useful context for comments on the issue.

Not applicable. (Note that Feature Requests selected for implementation are currently converted to one or more Tasks for tracking the actual work.)

Contributed Patch

Version to which the patch can be applied.

Not applicable. (Note that Contributed Patches are cloned to provide a separate Bug or Feature Request for tracking Sakai work on the issue.)

(star) For both Bug and Task issues the fix version depends on whether the issues is unresolved ("expected" fix version) or resolved ("actual" fix version).

  • For unresolved issues, which are still being worked on, the fix version is set to the release number in which the issue is expected to be resolved. Generally, this is is the next version's first QA release, such as 2.3.0.001.
  • For resolved issues, developers should set the fix version to "Nightly/SVN-trunk", unless they know for sure what release the fix will be incorporated in. As perparations are made for each QA release, the fix version will be updated appropriately. (QA folks will also double-check the fix version at verifcation time to ensure that it is correctly set relative to the release they are testing.)

After a release is made, the interim QA release versions are merged into the "whole" version release number. For example, 2.2.1.001, 2.2.1.002, and 2.2.1.003, were the three QA releases for that version, and they were merged into 2.2.1. The merging is important in keeping it simple to search, filter, and view issues for released versions of Sakai.

Further notes on Version Numbers

  • Branch versions as Affects Versions (e.g., Nightly/SVN-Trunk, 2.3.x, 2.4.x) – Limit the use of a branch version as an Affects Version to when the same issue is known to not be present in a previously tagged version. This is important because branch versions are moving targets, what is Nightly/SVN-Trunk one day is not necessarily the same the next, so it is genereanlly more important to know if an issue affects a released version. Also, such issues are treated as transient issues and will not necessarily need to consume valuable QA resources once they are resolved.
  • Branch versions as Fix Versions (e.g., Nightly/SVN-Trunk, 2.3.x, 2.4.x) – As fixes are checked into a branch, they should have their Fix Version updated from the version the issue was estimated to be addressed in (e.g., "2.4.0 [Tentative]") to the branch's version (e.g., Nighlty/SVN-Trunk). Generally, the only branch version a developer needs to be concerned with is Nightly/SVN-Trunk. Only the Branch Manager or project team members dealing with maintenance branches will need to worry about adding other branch versions (e.g., 2.3.x, 2.4.x) as Fix Versions; and, those versions should only be used when the fix is actually checked-in to the branch, it should not be used as an indication that one would like a fix checked-in. This will ensure that the issue continues to appear listed in the correct place in the shared Jira filters.

Maintenance Branch Version Numbers

A ".x" version is used to track issues relating to maintenance branches. For instance, 2.2.x is the version number representing the post-2.2.2 release maintenance branch. This version number should only be used by the maintenance branch manager as a Fix Version. It is used to indicate that for a particular Jira the associated revisions have also been merged into the maintenance branch, in addition to trunk.

If someone is running the maintenance branch, then it may be used as an Affects Version, however, be forewarned of the potential for confusion since the maintenance branch is a moving target. In such a situation it is important to indidate the revision number in the Environment field, so that folks know to which version of the maintenance branch you are referrning.

Priority

The Priority field in Jira is used by Sakai to reflect a combination of issue characteristics, including:

  • Number of users affected
  • Resources required to resolve

In practice, the Jira Priority field is utlized by Sakai at two times: during prioritization of requirments for implementation and when making decisions on what will actually appear in a release. Initial priorities, when an issue is first reported, may be changed to reflect those needs.

As a release date approaches, prorities will also be adjusted – and lowered, if necessary – to reflect the decreasing availability of time and resources.

Priority

Definition for Sakai

Blocker

Release will not be completed until issue is resolved.

Critical

Issue will most likely be resolved for release.

Major

Issue should be resolved for release.

Minor

Issue may be resolved for release.

Trivial

Issues that might be resolved before a release.

Summary

  • A brief statement summarizing the issue. (Field is limited to < 255 characters.)

Environment

  • A description of the Sakai enivronment in which the issues was encountered, e.g., web browser, operatings system on which Sakai is installed.
  • For QA participants this is a good place to note on which test server the issue occurred (e.g., MIT Stable HSQL, MIT Stable Oracle, MIT Stable MysQL, Nightly)

Description

  • A detailed description of the issue, including the steps necessary for reproducing the issue.
  • You can also add attachments, including screen shots to help illustrate the issue.

Component

  • The particular part or parts of Sakai related to the issue.

Security Level

  • Controls the visibility of the issue; currently toggles between viewable by anyone or by just the committers and testers (and the reporter of the issue).

General Workflow

What happens when an issue is created in Jira? The workflow for a given issue is dependent on what type of issue it is. The sections below describe the overall path an issue of given type will follow. Guidelines are also presented for the variours groups interactig with issues, such as Designers, Developers and QA, and discuss when and how to adjust an issue's status, resolution, versions, etc.

General Workflow by Issue Types

Bugs

  1. Issue is Opened.
  2. Issue is vetted for accuracy and completeness of information and linked to related issues.
    • (Duplicate) If it duplicates a previous issue, then the newly opened issue is:
      1. Linked to the original issue as "duplicates"
      2. Commented with a note to look at the linked-to issue to track further progress
      3. Closed with a Resolution of "Duplicate"
      4. Fix Version should be set to "Unknown"
    • (Non-Issue) If it turns out that the issue was the result of a mis-understanding of how Sakai operates, then:
      1. An effort is made to clarify the situation.
      2. If the mis-understanding does not suggest a design flaw, then it is Closed with a Resolution of "Non-issue"; otherwise, the design flaw could be captured to Bug or Feature Request.
      3. Fix Version should be set to "Unknown"
    • (Incomplete) If insufficient information is provided to describe the issue, then:
      1. An effort is made to obtain additional information.
      2. If insufficient information is provided in a reasonable time-frame, then the issue is closed with a Resolution of "Incomplete"; issue can always be Reopened.
    • (Cannot Reproduce) If the issue cannot be reproduced on one of the QA test servers, then:
      1. An effort is made to obatain additional information.
      2. If insufficient information is provided in a reasonable time-frame, then the issue is closed with a Resolution of "Cannot Reproduce"; issue can always be Reopened.
      3. Fix Version should be set to "Unknown"
  3. Issue is assigned to the appropriate project lead.
    **Further vetting, as above, may be necessary for particularly complex issues.
  4. Initial estimates of the scope of the bug and the resources required to address it are made and the reported Priority and Fix Version are updated accordingly.
  5. An issue may be re-assigned to others or Watchers added to facilitate discussion of its resolution. The Priority, Fix Version, Components, etc. should also be updated as necessary as discussion around the issue evolves.
  6. Assignee Resolves issue with relevant Resolution when work is completed, and updates Fix Version to "Nightly/SVN-Trunk" to reflect is availability.
    • (Fixed) Most issues that reach this stage are resolved and their resolution is set to "Fixed".
    • (Won't Fix) Some issues are identified as conflicting with the expectations of the currently adopted design or represent techinical "impossibilities" and resolved as "Won't Fix", or they can be Moved to become Feature Requeests for future consideration.
  7. QA team verifies resolution of issue.
    • If it passes verification, then it is Closed.
    • If it failes verification, then it is Reopened and re-assigned for further work.

Tasks

  • Tasks are used by project teams to track the addition of or changes to functionality.
  • When the task is completed, the assignee Resolves it as Fixed, as above with Bugs.

Feature Requests

  1. Issue is vetted for accuracy and completeness of information.
  2. If the issue represents a broad change for Sakai, then it is treated as a Requirement, and moved to the Sakai Requirements project for further handling. (See requirements process.) Otherwise, smaller-scope suggestions, such as re-naming buttons, changing a tool's layout, choosing different defaults, etc, are left as Feature Requests and assigned to the appropriate project lead.
  3. Project team evaluates and discusses the issue as needed to determine whether to work on it.
  • If it is decided not to implement it, then the issue should be resolved as "Won't Fix" with appropriate comments.
  1. When a project team is ready to address the issue, it should be Moved to a Task and an initial estimate of the Fix Version set.

Requirements

The requirements process is still under development. During the the first requirements gathering phase over 300 issues were submitted. A rough attempt to clump and cluster related requirements resulted in over 200 requirements put forth to the greater Sakai community and the Sakai Institutional Reprsentatives for polling on relative importance; see results.

Requirement Issues which are adopted by existing Project Management Committees or Project Teams will be handled as Feature Requests are above; coverted to one or more Tasks in the Sakai Jira project to track its implementation.

Contibuted Patches

  • Issue is vetted for accuracy and completeness of information.
  • The issue is evaluated by the appropriate project team, just like a Feature Request or Requirement, for inclusion in a future release of Sakai.
    • In some cases, a Contributed Patch may run counter to the Sakai design and cannot be incoporated, and maybe marked as Won't Fix and an explanation as to why provided. In this case, the contributor of the Patch may choose to continue developing the patch for future versions of Sakai.
  • Until the patch is integrated in Sakai, the community encourages the contributor to be responsive to comments and feedback provided by other users of the patch and to continue to update the patch to current versions of Sakai.

General Workflow by Task

Community

The Sakai community is encouraged to report issues, however, it should not consider posting issues in Jira as a primary destination for users of their own instance of Sakai to report issues. Rather, each organization running Sakai is expected to provide its own front-line support, which can post issues to Sakai's Jira on behalf of users, when the issue is deemed to affect Sakai and not just the local installation of Sakai.

  1. User posts an issue in Jira.
    • The Affects Version should be set to the released version on which the instance of Sakai is based. For instance, if one is running a Maintenance Branch of Sakai (e.g., 2.3.x), then it should be the most recent release version (e.g., 2.3.1). Otherwise, things can get a bit confusing as the branches are moving targets, and generally any issue affecting a branch will also be an issue for the last release on that branch.
    • The Fix Version should be initially set to Unknown. The project teams, when they have a chance to evaluate your issue, will set this to reflect an estimate of when they believe they will be able to address the issue.

Requirements Working Group

The workflow for the requirements process is being further developed in the Sakai Working Group: Requirements Process. The general steps are:

  • User posts a Feature Request or a Contributed Patch
  • Small requests (e.g., correct the grammar of this sentence, turn this red) are separated from major requests (e.g., reconfigure the interface for Resources to eliminate all the links next to each file, add a way to view all the contirbutions across tools a student has made in a site) for new or modified functionality. The simple requests are handed off directly to project teams for evaulation as to whether or not to implment. The more complex requests enter the Requirments workflow, as outlined below.
    • Requirments are vetted to ensure that they are clearly stated and supported by examples and use cases. Suggestions on implementation strategies are separaeted out from the description of the requirement in order to re-inforce the need identifed in the requirement. This process may require discussion, via comments in Jira, with the original issue Reporter, members of appropriate project teams and associated working groups.
    • Once a year, requirements are posted for a community ranking poll.
    • The opinions expressed in that poll are shared with the community and with the project teams. The project teams are encouraged to take them into consideration when planning their work for subsequent releases. The community is encouraged to volunteer to help out with implemention of requirements that were important to them by providing resources (programmers, designers, QA, etc.).

Designers and Developers

Planning

  1. As new issues come in and as you periodically review the status of existing issues, use the Fix Version to indicate for what version you expect to implement a solution for the issue.
    • Notes on future versions:
      • Leave the Fix Version as Unknown if you are not sure what version the issue will be addressed for.
      • Set the Fix Version to the general release version (e.g., "2.4.0 [Tentative]") to indicate an issue will be addressed for that release.

Addressing an Issue

  1. Assign the issue to yourself to work on.
  2. If you are implementing a Feature Request, Requirement, or Contributed Patch, first use Move to covert the issue type to a Task and set the Fix Version to reflect for which version you expect to complete your work.
  3. Work on the issue, updating, modifying, commenting, re-asssigning, etc. as necessary to achieve resolution.
  4. When work is complete, and if the resolution of the issue is Fixed, then Resolve the issue and set the Fix Version to Nightly/SVN-Trunk. If the resoultion is other than Fixed (e.g., Duplicate, Non-Issue, Cannot Reproduce), then set the Fix Version to Unknown.
  5. For Tasks, if there is nothing explicit for the QA team to test, then please Close the issue. (For Bugs, just leave the issue as Resolved, and the QA team will Close it after verifying it, or Reopen it for further development if the original issue was not resolved.)

Quality Assurance (QA)

  1. Select an appropriate issue from the list of issues "QA Awaiting Verification".
  2. Attempt to verify the issue.
    • In the process of verifying the issue, if you discover a different problem, create a new issue to capture it, rather than re-opening the current issue and re-using it; reserve re-opening only if the orginal problem is still present.
    • Some issues can not be easily verified and may require special testing condtions or input from developers.
  3. If the issue passes verification:
    • Verify the Fix Version is correct. Generally the Fix Version of an issue will be correctly set when it is merged into the branch, however, under certain circumstances, such as re-resolving re-opened issues, the Fix Version may need updating. If its not clear which version the fix was actually in, simply update it to the version on which you've just verified the issue. (Note: issues can also have more than one Fix Version, such as being fixed in the next release plus in another version's Maintenance Branch, so be careful to accidently previously verified Fix Versions when adding your own.)
    • Close the issue. This will move the issue from the "Awaiting Verification" to the "Verified" list in Jira.
  4. If it fails verification:
    • Update Affects Version to include version tested.
    • Reopen issue and re-assign to project team leader. If is not clear to whom the issue needs to be re-assigned, then assign it to default.

Notifications

Whenever a Jira issue is modified, the issue's Reporter, Assignee, and any Watchers will receive an email notifying them of the chage. To become a Watcher on an issue, go to the issue and view it, and click on the "Watch It" link.

There are also a cople of strategies for monitoring Jira issues en masse:

Email Summaries of Jira Filters

You can subscribe to filters in Jira and receive an email summary of the filter's contents at a time interval you specify.

For folks interested in a daily summary of updates in the Sakai project in Jira, you should subscribe to the "Updated in Last 24 Hours" filter, and specify a 24-hour or 1-day time interval. (Note that the time of day when you subscribe is the time of day when Jira will send the digest, so you probably want to subscribe to the filter early one morning.)

On-Event Automated Notifications

Jira can also send on-event notification emails, such as whenever an issue is created, updated, resolved, closed, etc. If you are interested in receiving such emails, then please contact Peter A. Knoop.

Tips

  • When resolving an Issue as Fixed, set the Fix Version to Nightly/SVN-Trunk. (Exception: if you are managing your own branch for your project.)
  • All issues resolved as "Fixed" should have a Fix Version set.
  • All issures resolved with a resolution other than "Fixed" should not have a Fix Versions set. (The Fix Version should be "Unknown".)
  • No labels