Thursday, August 27, 2020

Quick Start with the JIRA REST API Browser

Milky Way over Guilderton Lighthouse, Western Australia - 35mm Panorama

Looking to start programming against the JIRA API? Me too! This post walks through setting up JIRA locally on your computer and installing the JIRA API Explorer to start poking at the APIs.

Why use the REST API Browser?

Good question. Postman and other tools can poke at JIRA endpoints just as well, but the API Explorer comes equipped with help documentation and a lets you quickly pick out an endpoint without having to worry about authentication, etc. You can easily toggle between GET, POST, PUT, DELETE commands for endpoints that support it, and the explorer provides a simple form entering required and optional fields.


Setup a JIRA instance in Docker

Setting up JIRA in a docker container is pretty easy.

docker volume create --name jiraVolume
docker run -v jiraVolume:/var/atlassian/application-data/jira --name="jira" -d -p 8080:8080 atlassian/jira-software

After the docker image is downloaded, open your browser to http://localhost:8080

On first start, you will be prompted with a series of prompts:

  • Set it up for me
  • Create a trial license key
  • Setup an admin user account
  • Create an empty project, use a sample project or import from an existing project.

Quick Setup

When you first navigate to the docker instance, you'll be prompted with a choice:


Let's go with "Set it up for me", and then click on "Continue to MyAtlassian"

Create a Trial License

You'll be redirected to provide information for creating a trial license. Select "JIRA Server", provide a name for your organization and leave the default values for the server name.


When you click next, you'll be redirected to a screen that shows the license key and a Confirmation dialog.


Click Yes to confirm the installation.

Create an Admin User Account and default settings

Somewhat self-explanatory, provide the details for your admin account and click Next.


You should see a setup page run for a few minutes. When this completes, you'll need to:


  • Login with the admin account you created
  • Pick your default language
  • Choose an Avatar

Create your First Project

The last step of the Quick Setup is to create your first project. Here you can create an empty project, import from an existing project or use a sample project. As we're interested in playing with the API, pick the "See it in action" option to create a JIRA project with a prepopulated backlog.


Selecting "See it in action", prompts for the style of project and the project details.


Great job. That was easy.

Install the API Browser

The API Explorer is available through the Atlassian Marketplace. To install the add-on:

  1. In the top right, select Settings Applications
  2. Click the "Manage Apps" tab
  3. Search for "API Browser"

  4. Click "Install"

Super easy.

Using the REST API Browser

The hardest part of using the REST API Browser is locating it after it's been installed. Fortunately, that's easy, too.

In the top-right, select Settings System and scroll all the way to the bottom to Advanced: REST API Browser


Try it out!

The REST API Browser is fairly intuitive, simply find the endpoint you're interested in on the right hand side and provide the necessary fields in the form.


Mind your verbs...

Pay special attention to the HTTP verbs being used: GET, POST, PUT, DELETE. Most of JIRA's endpoints differ only by the verb, items that are POST + PUT will either create or update records and not all endpoints will have a GET.


Wrap up

Now you have now excuse to start picking at the JIRA API.

Side note: I wrote this post using Typora, a super elegant markdown editor. I'm still experimenting on how to best integrate with my blog platform (Blogger), but I might look at some form of combination of static files with a command-line option to publish. I will most likely post that setup when I get there.

Until then, happy coding.