The Mylyn JIRA Connector has been developed as part of the Eclipse Mylyn project since 2006 (Bug 109905), when Wesley Coelho and I met in a Vancouver coffee shop and decided to start collaborating on an idea for a startup that involved extending Mylyn’s open source integrations to commercial tools. A year later Wesley became one of the first employees at a new company called Tasktop Technologies, the connector took off, saw steady community contributions, and Mylyn’s reach was extended to JIRA users. Later in 2007 we kicked off a collaboration with Atlassian to improve the JIRA Connector, which in 2008/09 led to Tasktop working with Atlassian to create the initial Atlassian Bamboo and Crucible connectors, now part of the Atlassian Connector for Eclipse effort hosted on studio.atlassian.com. The time has come to merge the two codebases of Atlassian’s Eclipse integrations, and Atlassian has asked that the JIRA connector move to studio.atlassian.com.
According to Atlassian, the decision migrate the source code to their own infrastructure was driven by a desire for greater operational efficiency. Both the implementation of the Connector for Eclipse and the APIs in Atlassian’s server products are evolving, and hosting all these projects in a unified infrastructure enables faster development and more frequent releases of new and improved functionality. The Atlassian Connector for Eclipse will continue to be open source and distributed under the EPL. Anyone can view full project activity and download the full source at https://studio.atlassian.com/browse/PLE. Currently, all committers to the Atlassian Connector for Eclipse are either Atlassian or Tasktop employees, but Atlassian is working to allow others to commit new functionality to the code base.
Mylyn has grown from two integrations to over four dozen, and is playing a driving role in developers’ adoption of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Agile collaboration tools. Having a connector hosted as part of the Mylyn project used to be vital due to the friction of finding and installing Eclipse extensions, and the JIRA connector got very broad exposure. But with our introduction of the Mylyn Connector Discovery feature in last year’s Eclipse Galileo release, it became trivial for users to install Mylyn connectors wherever they are hosted. Also thanks to the discovery mechanism, the move will be transparent to users of the integration.
For users of Tasktop and Mylyn, the main concern is the availability of a high-quality connector. One of the most important aspects of Mylyn’s architecture is that it provides a unified user experience across all integrations, since the majority of the user interaction is handled by the Mylyn framework. Atlassian has provided assurance that they will contribute to the Mylyn framework as part of increasing their own resources behind the integration, which will help ensure that the integration evolves along with upcoming changes in Mylyn. An expected benefit of the move is that some of the shortcomings of the integration that stem from JIRA’s SOAP APIs, such as the lack of support for custom fields and workflows, will be addressed more quickly with all of the code hosted and supported under one umbrella. Tasktop’s relationship with Atlassian continues, and the JIRA connector remains part of the Tasktop Certified program that ensures usability and ALM stack interoperability.
Mylyn’s goal is to provide a framework for Eclipse ALM integrations and to support an ecosystem of extensions. To that end, we have aimed from the start to provide reference integrations to open source tools, starting with Bugzilla. The JIRA integration was the exception as JIRA is closed source, but has been very popular with open source developers due its use in some open source communities such as Apache. The move of the JIRA connector restores the clear split between Mylyn’s reference integrations to open source repositories, hosted on eclipse.org/mylyn and the very the broad ecosystem of integrations with closed source tools. This will help focus the resources of the project on the core framework and open source integrations, while mechanisms such as Connector Discovery and the Tasktop Certified program ensure easy installation and the quality of the connectors that developers need to get the most out of Mylyn.
About Mik Kersten
Dr. Mik Kersten is the CEO of Tasktop Technologies, creator of the Eclipse Mylyn open source project and inventor of the task-focused interface. At Tasktop, Mik sets the strategic direction of the company as well as drives many of Tasktop's key partnerships and key customers accounts. He created Mylyn and the task-focused interface during his PhD in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. Mik has been an Eclipse committer since 2002, is a 3-time elected member of the Eclipse Board of Directors and serves on the Eclipse Architecture Council. Mik's thought leadership on task-focused collaboration and improving the software economy makes him a popular speaker at software conferences, and he was voted a JavaOne Rock Star speaker in 2008 and 2009.