Branching support missing in JIRA

JIRA is a really great tool when it comes to issue tracking. It is powerful, extensible, usable and widespread. We and many of our clients use it for years and are quite satisfied coming from other tools like Bugzilla.

One thing we find is missing though is the concept of branching. In JIRA you have projects and can define a roadmap consisting of versions that follow each other. Many software products require sooner or later a development line which is only maintained getting bug and security fixes while feature development happens on a separate branch.

Tracking issues for a software with different branches is a bit more demanding because you have to identify the branches one issue affects and possibly separately fix them on each branch. One and the same issue could have different resolutions per branch, i.e. invalid if a broken functionality does not exist anymore. Nevertheless, all branches have to be checked, likely in different time frames.

Unfortunately JIRA does not support the notion of branches. You have to emulate the behaviour using different schemes like:

  • One issue per version that represents a branch
  • Multiple fix versions for an issue
  • Subtasks for an issue or issue links to ckeck and fix the issue for different versions

To me all those are workarounds which lack polished usability and add overhead to your issue management. Real branching support could help you check on which branch an issue is done, where it has still to be resolved and so on without adding more and more (perhaps loosely connected) issues to your system or forgetting to fix the issue on some branch (no question/warning when resolving an issue with multiple fix versions).

[Update:]

I created a new feature request for JIRA where you can vote or track progress on this issue.

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