Essential Free Plugins for Jira

If you are an experienced Jira Administrator, you know that there are a few critical must-have plugins. While there are many paid plugins that I use in almost every client engagement, there are three that I have found invaluable as a Jira admin.

Last Log for Jira

The first must-have free plugin is Last Log for Jira from Decadis AG. This plugin has a simple purpose. It gives you access to any of the Jira logs and displays them in reverse order, so that the most recent log entries are at the top.

Last Log Viewer

As you can see in the picture above, you can set the maximum number of lines to show from the log. This is from the bottom of the log. You pick the log file that you want to see in the drop down “log-file” field. Any of the logs in the <HOME DIRECTORY>/log directory are available to view.

You can also restrict the view to only log entries that have a particular string. This can be very useful to hunt for only ERROR messages or for messages from a particular plugin. One feature that would be really nice to have is to be able to indicate how many lines after the found string to show. Sometimes, you need not only the line that the string references but some of the additional log entries that follow. Looking at the top 5 lines of a stack trace, for instance, is often necessary to really understand the root cause of the problem.

This is one plugin that “I never leave home without.”

Home Directory Browser and DB Console

Some Jira administrators don’t have login access to the application server where Jira is installed or to the database itself. While this may meet your organization’s security requirements, it can be a real impediment to an administrator who needs to dig into problems that need a deeper dive. When Atlassian asks you to run a query as part of their troubleshooting, having to wait until the DBA gets to it sets back your effort to resolve the problem quickly.

Enter Home Directory Browser and DB Console from Atlazon that provides the administrator access to the Home directory and to a DB Console. This is an UNSUPPORTED plugin, but one that I have used for years and rely on for diagnosing problems and doing audits of my client environments.

The Home Directory Browser is shown below:

Home Directory Viewer

This gives you access to the Home directory and all of its sub-directories. You can download any file as a ZIP to your local environment. If you need to grab an export or a log or investigate some other file, this is a quick way to get it through the GUI without having to log into the application server.

The DB Console gives you full access to the Jira database. For the most part, you will use it to look at different tables, but you can execute any SQL command in the Console, so be careful and use with caution.

DB Console

Here you see a view of the “cwd_user” table in my test environment. The drop-down “Select Table” gives you a full list of tables in the database. Selecting a table will show you all of the columns in the table and populate the “Enter SQL” field with SELECT * FROM “<table>”. Click on Execute and you will see the values.

You can change the SQL to anything you need, so you can execute your own complex queries and even make updates to the data. As I said, use with caution.

User Switcher

There are several paid apps that allow you to impersonate a User and I do like them. However, if your budget is tight and you can’t get the funding for a paid app, this User Switcher plugin from TNG Technology Consulting GmbH gets the job done. Note that this app is UNSUPPORTED.

Once you have installed the plugin, you can press “xx” (x twice) to bring up the user switcher dialog

User Switcher

Now, you can pick any user to impersonate, allowing you to log in as them. This really helps to debug problems that users are reporting. Once you select the user, the plugin will then log into Jira as that user. To switch back, you need to log out and log back in with your admin credentials.

Unlike some of the paid apps, User Switcher does not have an Audit mechanism, so this may violate compliance and audit requirements in some environments.

Others?

Do you have a free admin app that you find invaluable? Share it with us!

2020-06-10T14:26:00+00:00June 10th, 2020|Atlassian Community|

About the Author:

Derek Fields is the Atlassian Practice Manager for RightStar. He leads a talented group of highly experienced Atlassian consultants focused primarily on Service Desk implementations. Derek has over 30 years of experience as a software developer, architect, project manager and Agile enthusiast.

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