GitLab Jira integration

GitLab Issues are a powerful tool for discussing ideas and planning and tracking work. However, many organizations have been using Jira for these purposes and have extensive data and business processes built into it.

While you can always migrate issues and processes from Jira to GitLab Issues, you can also opt to continue using Jira and use it together with GitLab through our integration.

For a video demonstration of integration with Jira, watch GitLab workflow with Jira issues and Jenkins pipelines.

Once you integrate your GitLab project with your Jira instance, you can automatically detect and cross-reference activity between the GitLab project and any of your projects in Jira. This includes the ability to close or transition Jira issues when the work is completed in GitLab.

Features include:

  • Mention a Jira issue ID in a commit message or MR (merge request) and
    • GitLab links to the Jira issue.
    • The Jira issue adds a comment with details and a link back to the activity in GitLab.
  • Mention that a commit or MR resolves or closes a specific Jira issue and when it’s merged to the default branch:
    • GitLab’s MR displays a note that it closed the Jira issue. Prior to the merge, MRs indicate which issue they will close.
    • The Jira issue shows the activity and is closed or otherwise transitioned as specified in your GitLab settings.
  • View Jira issues directly in GitLab

For additional features, you can install the Jira Development Panel integration. This enables you to:

  • In a Jira issue, display relevant GitLab information in the development panel, including related branches, commits, and merge requests.
  • Use Jira Smart Commits in GitLab to add Jira comments, log time spent on the issue, or apply any issue transition.

Configuration

Each GitLab project can be configured to connect to an entire Jira instance. That means one GitLab project can interact with all Jira projects in that instance, once configured. Therefore, you will not have to explicitly associate a GitLab project with any single Jira project.

If you have one Jira instance, you can pre-fill the settings page with a default template. See the Services Templates docs.

In order to enable the Jira service in GitLab, you need to first configure the project in Jira and then enter the correct values in GitLab.

Configuring Jira

Jira Server

Jira Server supports basic authentication. When connecting, a username and password are required. Note that connecting to Jira Server via CAS is not possible. Set up a user in Jira Server first and then proceed to Configuring GitLab.

Jira Cloud

Jira Cloud supports authentication through an API token. When connecting to Jira Cloud, an email and API token are required. Set up a user in Jira Cloud first and then proceed to Configuring GitLab.

Configuring GitLab

Notes:

  • The supported Jira versions are v6.x, v7.x, and v8.x.
  • In order to support Oracle’s Access Manager, GitLab will send additional cookies to enable Basic Auth. The cookie being added to each request is OBBasicAuth with a value of fromDialog.

To enable the Jira integration in a project, navigate to the Integrations page and click the Jira service.

Select Enable integration.

Select a Trigger action. This determines whether a mention of a Jira issue in GitLab commits, merge requests, or both, should link the Jira issue back to that source commit/MR and transition the Jira issue, if indicated.

To include a comment on the Jira issue when the above referene is made in GitLab, check Enable comments.

Enter the further details on the page as described in the following table.

Field Description
Web URL The base URL to the Jira instance web interface which is being linked to this GitLab project. E.g., https://jira.example.com.
Jira API URL The base URL to the Jira instance API. Web URL value will be used if not set. E.g., https://jira-api.example.com. Leave this field blank (or use the same value of Web URL) if using Jira Cloud.
Username or Email Created in configuring Jira step. Use username for Jira Server or email for Jira Cloud.
Password/API token Created in configuring Jira step. Use password for Jira Server or API token for Jira Cloud.
Transition ID Required for closing Jira issues via commits or merge requests. This is the ID of a transition in Jira that moves issues to a desired state. (See Obtaining a transition ID.) If you insert multiple transition IDs separated by , or ;, the issue is moved to each state, one after another, using the given order.

To enable users to view Jira issues inside the GitLab project, select Enable Jira issues and enter a Jira project key.

You can only display issues from a single Jira project within a given GitLab project.

Caution: If you enable Jira issues with the setting above, all users that have access to this GitLab project will be able to view all issues from the specified Jira project.

When you have configured all settings, click Test settings and save changes.

Your GitLab project can now interact with all Jira projects in your instance and the project now displays a Jira link that opens the Jira project.

Obtaining a transition ID

In the most recent Jira user interface, you can no longer see transition IDs in the workflow administration UI. You can get the ID you need in either of the following ways:

  1. By using the API, with a request like https://yourcompany.atlassian.net/rest/api/2/issue/ISSUE-123/transitions using an issue that is in the appropriate “open” state
  2. By mousing over the link for the transition you want and looking for the “action” parameter in the URL

Note that the transition ID may vary between workflows (e.g., bug vs. story), even if the status you are changing to is the same.

Disabling comments on Jira issues

You can continue to have GitLab cross-link a source commit/MR with a Jira issue while disabling the comment added to the issue.

See the Configuring GitLab section and uncheck the Enable comments setting.

Jira issues

By now you should have configured Jira and enabled the Jira service in GitLab. If everything is set up correctly you should be able to reference and close Jira issues by just mentioning their ID in GitLab commits and merge requests.

Reference Jira issues

When GitLab project has Jira issue tracker configured and enabled, mentioning Jira issue in GitLab will automatically add a comment in Jira issue with the link back to GitLab. This means that in comments in merge requests and commits referencing an issue, e.g., PROJECT-7, will add a comment in Jira issue in the format:

USER mentioned this issue in RESOURCE_NAME of [PROJECT_NAME|LINK_TO_COMMENT]:
ENTITY_TITLE
  • USER A user that mentioned the issue. This is the link to the user profile in GitLab.
  • LINK_TO_THE_COMMENT Link to the origin of mention with a name of the entity where Jira issue was mentioned.
  • RESOURCE_NAME Kind of resource which referenced the issue. Can be a commit or merge request.
  • PROJECT_NAME GitLab project name.
  • ENTITY_TITLE Merge request title or commit message first line.

example of mentioning or closing the Jira issue

For example, the following commit will reference the Jira issue with PROJECT-1 as its ID:

git commit -m "PROJECT-1 Fix spelling and grammar"

Close Jira issues

Jira issues can be closed directly from GitLab by using trigger words in commits and merge requests. When a commit which contains the trigger word followed by the Jira issue ID in the commit message is pushed, GitLab will add a comment in the mentioned Jira issue and immediately close it (provided the transition ID was set up correctly).

There are currently three trigger words, and you can use either one to achieve the same goal:

  • Resolves PROJECT-1
  • Closes PROJECT-1
  • Fixes PROJECT-1

where PROJECT-1 is the ID of the Jira issue.

Notes:

  • Only commits and merges into the project’s default branch (usually master) will close an issue in Jira. You can change your projects default branch under project settings.
  • The Jira issue will not be transitioned if it has a resolution.

Let’s consider the following example:

  1. For the project named PROJECT in Jira, we implemented a new feature and created a merge request in GitLab.
  2. This feature was requested in Jira issue PROJECT-7 and the merge request in GitLab contains the improvement
  3. In the merge request description we use the issue closing trigger Closes PROJECT-7.
  4. Once the merge request is merged, the Jira issue will be automatically closed with a comment and an associated link to the commit that resolved the issue.

In the following screenshot you can see what the link references to the Jira issue look like.

A Git commit that causes the Jira issue to be closed

Once this merge request is merged, the Jira issue will be automatically closed with a link to the commit that resolved the issue.

The GitLab integration closes Jira issue

View Jira issues

You can browse and search issues from a selected Jira project directly in GitLab. This requires configuration in GitLab by an administrator.

Jira issues integration enabled

From the Jira Issues menu, click Issues List. The issue list defaults to sort by Created date, with the newest issues listed at the top. You can change this to Last updated.

Issues are grouped into tabs based on their Jira status.

  • The Open tab displays all issues with a Jira status in any category other than Done.
  • The Closed tab displays all issues with a Jira status categorized as Done.
  • The All tab displays all issues of any status.

Click an issue title to open its original Jira issue page for full details.

Search and filter the issues list

To refine the list of issues, use the search bar to search for any text contained in an issue summary (title) or description.

You can also filter by labels, status, reporter, and assignee using URL parameters. Enhancements to be able to use these through the user interface are planned.

  • To filter issues by labels, specify one or more labels as part of the labels[] parameter in the URL. When using multiple labels, only issues that contain all specified labels are listed. /-/integrations/jira/issues?labels[]=backend&labels[]=feature&labels[]=QA

  • To filter issues by status, specify the status parameter in the URL. /-/integrations/jira/issues?status=In Progress

  • To filter issues by reporter, specify a reporter’s Jira display name for the author_username parameter in the URL. /-/integrations/jira/issues?author_username=John Smith

  • To filter issues by assignee, specify their Jira display name for the assignee_username parameter in the URL. /-/integrations/jira/issues?assignee_username=John Smith

Troubleshooting

If these features do not work as expected, it is likely due to a problem with the way the integration settings were configured.

GitLab is unable to comment on a Jira issue

Make sure that the Jira user you set up for the integration has the correct access permission to post comments on a Jira issue and also to transition the issue, if you’d like GitLab to also be able to do so. Jira issue references and update comments will not work if the GitLab issue tracker is disabled.

GitLab is unable to close a Jira issue

Make sure the Transition ID you set within the Jira settings matches the one your project needs to close an issue.

Make sure that the Jira issue is not already marked as resolved; that is, the Jira issue resolution field is not set. (It should not be struck through in Jira lists.)

CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA may be triggered after several consecutive failed login attempts which may lead to a 401 unauthorized error when testing your Jira integration. If CAPTCHA has been triggered, you will not be able to use Jira’s REST API to authenticate with the Jira site. You will need to log in to your Jira instance and complete the CAPTCHA.