Using YouTrack 5.1 as Your Help Desk

Update: With the YouTrack 5.2 we introduced the enhanced Help Desk workflow that allows you to support multiple customers in a single ticket/issue. Please refer to the Helpdeskers, Support Multiple Customers in a Single YouTrack Thread blog post for the Help Desk configuration and setup instructions.

It’s been a while since we added mailbox integration in YouTrack. Mailbox integration is a key feature that allows you to create an issue from email and add replies as comments, in effect turning YouTrack into a help desk.

With YouTrack 5.1 we made great changes to our help desk support. Now you can involve your customers in your issue tracking process without the necessity to create user accounts for them in YouTrack. We made this possible with the help of a brand new workflow called NotifyUnregisteredUsers, comes with YouTrack 5.1.

Use Case

We want to have a project in which YouTrack will create issues from emails from our customers, but we don’t want to register every customer in our YouTrack. Yet we want to be able to notify these unregistered users about their requests, and hold a conversation with them in YouTrack. How can we do this?

Step-by-step Configuration for YouTrack Help Desk
Our help desk configuration contains the following parts:

  • Checking/Configuring system-wide email notification settings.
  • Creating and configuring a help desk project.
  • Attaching workflow to the project.
  • Configuring mailbox integration for the help desk project.

Quick note before we begin:
You must have low-level administration permissions to follow the described procedure.

Part I: Configuring System Email Notifications

First of all, we need to make sure that email notifications are enabled and configured correctly on our server.

If you are using YouTrack InCloud edition and haven’t change the default settings, you can skip this part and move on to the Part II. In this case we have already enabled and configured sending email notifications for you.

If you are using YouTrack InCloud edition and have change the default settings or if you are using YouTrack Standalone edition, you need to make sure that sending email notifications is enabled and working properly.

    1. Open Administration > Settings, and scroll down to the ‘Email’ section.
    2. Select the ‘Email’ check-box to enable sending email notifications.
    3. Provide SMTP server configuration and test the connection.

Important Note About Using Google Mail:
If you are using Google mail server for sending email notifications, please make sure that the email address you use for the notifications is the same address you use for the help desk notifications. Google does not allow substituting sender’s email addresses. Thus, the per-project address you provide for a help desk project will not work if differs from the system-wide email notifications address.

When sending notifications is enabled and configured, you are ready to proceed to the Part II of the help desk configuration.

Part II: Creating and Configuring Your Help Desk Project

Create a new project, which you will use for the help desk:

  1. Open Administration > Projects and click the link Create new project.
  2. Set the project’s name (‘Help Desk’), ID, and select a project lead.
  3. Assign an email address for the Help Desk project.
    Please pay attention to this step: To keep conversation with our users in YouTrack, we need a separate, unique email address for our project, so our customers get notifications from and reply to this particular email address. Typically this would be your support/feedback email address.

    New Help Desk project

    New Help Desk project

  4. Configure issue fields the new project ‘Help Desk’: Add assignees, remove unrelated default fields, configure remaining related fields. In our case, we decided to leave only four fields: Type, Priority, Assignee and State (we renamed it to ‘Request State’).

Part III: Attaching the Workflow to the Help Desk Project

Attach the default NotifyUnregisteredUsers workflow to the Help Desk project. This configuration step is also important because this particular workflow implements sending notifications to your customers.

  1. Switch to Projects > Help Desk > Workflow tab and click the link Attach Workflow.
  2. In the ‘Workflows for Help Desk’ dialog box, select the workflow ‘jetbrains-youtrack-notifyUnregisteredUsers’.
    Selected workflow and suggested Quick Fixes

    Selected workflow and suggested Quick Fixes

    Important! Another key point in our configuration: When you select the workflow, YouTrack will suggest two Quick-Fixes to add a couple of additional fields to the project:

    • Customer Email — the field that will contain actual email address of the requester, hence allowing your customers to receive notifications without registering in your tracker.
    • Last comment author — the field that will allow your customers not to receive excessive notifications (as unregistered users they can’t configure their notifications, so in a way we will do this for them).

Please make sure you have applied these quick-fixes! Otherwise the workflow won’t work correctly for the help desk project.

Before we proceed to the next part of the configuration, let’s check the current list of issue fields in the project just to make sure all necessary fields are in place:

Issue fields in Help Desk project

Issue fields in Help Desk project

Okay, all fields are in place, so we can now set up Mailbox integration.

Part IV: Configuring Mailbox Integration

  1. Open Administration > Mailbox Integration page.
  2. Add the mailbox for your project’s email (the one you provided as “Project ‘from’ email” while creating the Help Desk project. In our case we used ‘youtrack.demo.helpdesk@gmail.com’).

    "Add Mailbox" Dialogue

    “Add Mailbox” Dialogue

  3. Add mail processing rule: click the Add Rule link and set up the following parameters:
    1. On the Main tab select project-Help Desk, Mailbox (the one we have just created), and Maintainer:

      Main tab of a mailbox integration rule

      Main tab of a mailbox integration rule

    2. Switch to the Filter tab, click the Folder drop-down list and select the folder from which we will fetch the emails. We used INBOX for our IMAP account.

      Filter tab of a mailbox integration rule

      Filter tab of a mailbox integration rule

    3. In the Reporter tab, select the option ‘Always set <username> as reporter’ and select the user who will be the reporter of all issues created from collected emails. This is what guarantees that YouTrack will not create a user account for each new customer who sends you a request.

      Reporter tab of a mailbox integration rule

      Reporter tab of a mailbox integration rule

    4. In the Postprocessing tab, provide the following commands:
      • In the field “on issue created”, Customer email ${from}. This command will be applied to each new issue in the Help Desk project created from email. It actually assigns the ‘from’ email address—your customer’s email address—to the field ‘Customer email.’
      • In the field “on comment created”, Last comment author ${from} command, which will be applied to each new comment created from email in the Help Desk project created from email.

      Providing these commands is another key point in configuring your help desk system.

      Postprocessing tab of a mailbox integration rule

      Postprocessing tab of a mailbox integration rule

After saving the new mailbox integration rule, your configuration is finalized. Now your tracker is ready to start serving as your help desk system and handling email requests from your customers.

Summary of Configuration Key Points

Here we’d like to list once again the key points of the help desk configuration that you should keep in mind:

  • When creating a project, make sure to set the “Project ‘from’ email” to your feedback/support email. Thus the notifications will be sent to your unregistered customers from this email, and they will reply to the correct address.
  • Attach the notifyUnregisteredUsers default workflow to your help desk project.
  • Make sure to apply the quick-fixes suggested by the workflow to add these two fields to your project: ”Customer email”and “Last comment author”.
    If you somehow missed the quick-fix, you can create and/or add these fields manually. Just keep in mind that both of these fields must be attached to your project in order to make the help desk work.
  • The mailbox integration should be set for the same feedback/support email address as the Project ‘from’ email.
  • Use the Always set User as reporter option to exclude the possibility of creating new user accounts automatically.
  • Make sure to specify these two commands to apply during the post-processing of an email:
    • Customer email ${from}” command for each new issue created from the email.
    • Last comment author ${from}” command for each new comment created from the email.

How the Process Will Look to Your Customers

So we’ve just configured YouTrack to function as a help desk. To give you an idea of how the conversation between a customer and a support team looks like in such a help desk, here is a sample of typical processing of a customer request:

  1. Your customer sends an email to your help desk address:

    Original email from a customer

    Original email from a customer

  2. From the original email a new issue is created in YouTrack:
    New issue created from the customer's email

    New issue created from the customer’s email

    The customer’s email is stored in the issue.

  3. A support engineer adds a comment to the issue, replying to the customer request:

    Support engineer replies in a comment to the issue

    Support engineer replies in a comment to the issue

  4. Customer receives a notification with the comment:

    Customer receives notification by email

    Customer receives notification by email

  5. The customer replies to the received notification in email:

    Customer replies to the notification in email

    Customer replies to the notification in email

  6. From the customer’s reply email, YouTrack adds a new comment to the original issue:

    Comment created from the customer's reply

    Comment created from the customer’s reply

As you can see, for the customer this is nothing more than exchanging emails with your support team. For the support team, it comes down to simple commenting an issue. Plus, you get all the advantages of the tracking system. And, of course, you can enhance the help desk configuration and tweak it to match your support routine. For instance, you can apply additional commands to new issues in Mailbox Integration, or you can attach other default workflows to notify the project lead about unresolved issues.

Upgrading

Get YouTrack 5.1 and start using it as your help desk today.

NOTE: If you’re using YouTrack InCloud, your site will be upgraded to v5.1 automatically, according to our Maintenance Calendar.

Going Forward

This is the first in a series of posts demonstrating how YouTrack can be used as something more than an issue tracker, and showcasing the powers of YouTrack customization. Coming up next in this series will be Using YouTrack for Payment Management. Stay tuned to our news @youtrack.

We hope this post was useful for you and we look forward to receiving your feedback and ideas!

Track with pleasure,
YouTrack Team

Posted in features, how-to, release, tips | 56 Comments

[YouTrack - Not Just an Issue Tracker] Webinar Recording, Slides and Session Q&A

Thank you for taking time to join us for our live webinar: YouTrack – Not Just an Issue Tracker on Tuesday, January 21. The recording of the webinar is now available on JetBrains YouTube Channel, as well as the slides from the presentation.

During the webinar we demonstrated how to use YouTrack as an accounting/event management tool. The main idea was to show that YouTrack is so customizable that you can re-purpose it from tracking bugs to tracking anything! We also covered external automation using the REST API and YouTrackSharp:

We received tons of questions during the webinar and today we would like to share our chat history with you. We’ve chosen the most relevant questions and added more detailed answers:

Q: Can I use YouTrack to store snippets of information, web links, project requirements and details, general notes?

A: Yes, of course it’s not a traditional way of using issue tracker, but possible.

Q: I have “broken workflows” in a couple of projects… and I don’t know what to do about it. Please advise.

A: It happens when you change the custom field scheme. YouTrack normally leads you through the process of fixing broken workflows. If you mouse over or click on the highlighted workflow, YouTrack will guide you right to the broken rule. When you get to the broken rule, YouTrack will suggest Quick Fixes, such as adding a missing field value to your project. Apply the fixes, and YouTrack will complete the whole process for you.

And of course, you can always contact our support team if you need any help creating/editing your workflows.

Q: How does the WF editor get information about the customized database?

A: The WF editor downloads the custom fields scheme and workflows when you connect it to your YouTrack server.

Q: Is it possible to create a workflow that will execute an external API call?

A: Unfortunately, not. Please file an issue with an example of your use case.

Q: What is the underlying engine for the WF editor in YouTrack? I heard it’s MPS. Is it correct?

A: Yes,  YouTrack Workflow editor is based on MPS with a DSL developed specifically for creating custom workflows. It gives our customers full freedom of customization, being flexible enough to support even the most complicated business processes.

Q: How do you create a bespoke application using MPS?

A: You first create a set of DSLs using MPS language design functionality. Then you write your application code using these DSLs.

To create YouTrack, we first designed several DSLs to cover a common stack of web development tools: persistence, services layer (including REST services) and templating. We also created a typed JavaScript.

Q: How good is the issue text fields editor for large string fields? Is it Google Doc-like (WYSIWYG HTML), wiki-like, or just plain text?

A: Wiki markup syntax is supported. Please check the full Wiki Reference. The most popular HTML tags are supported inside the wiki as well. Here are some useful tips: highlight the code using {code} tag, add the link to the issue attachment [file:attachment.png], or insert the attachment preview [!attachment.png!].

Q: How well is YouTrack supported by Eclipse Mylin?

A: Mylyn connector plugin is being developed by JetBrains Intern and will be reviewed by the Mylyn connector team. The plugin is under testing now. It will be supported by YouTrack team. Please check the GitHub repository for current progress.

Q: The REST API deals with plain passwords for authentication? Any idea to handle this with encrypted passwords?

A: Consider leveraging TLS/SSL (HTTPS) to secure your channel and thus protect your data. Modern authentication protocols tend to avoid any ad hoc encryption and rely on TLS/SSL. For example, in OAuth they had ‘proprietary’ encryption which was abandoned in OAuth2.

Q: We did have a question/request. We would really like to be able to use decimal fields for time tracking, not just integer types.

A: Here is your feature request, please get some more votes and we’ll try to include it in the next YouTrack version.

Q: Will we get the link to the webinar recording by email afterwards?

A: Yes, we always send a follow-up email with the link to the recording to everyone who registered to the webinar. We also tweet about it @jetbrains and @youtrack, and announce it in our blogs. So stay tuned!

Please leave your comments with ideas for future YouTrack webinars. Let us know what you want to know about YouTrack!

Posted in webinar | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Free Live Webinar: YouTrack – Not Just an Issue Tracker!

Join us Tuesday, January 21st, 14:00 – 15:00 GMT (9:00 – 10:00 EST) for our free live webinar, YouTrack – Not Just an Issue Tracker with Dmitry Nesteruk.

Did you think that YouTrack is just for tracking bugs? Think again! In this webinar, Dmitri  Nesteruk will demonstrate how to use YouTrack as an accounting/event management tool.

We’ll take a look at YouTrack database customization, implementation of business logic with the power of workflows, as well as external automation using the REST API and YouTrackSharp.

Space is limited, please register now.

Dmitri Nesteruk is a developer, speaker, podcaster and a technical evangelist for JetBrains s.r.o. His interests lie in software development and integration practices in the areas of computation, quantitative finance and algorithmic trading. He is an instructor of an entry-level course in Quantitative Finance. His technological interests include C#, F# and C++ programming as well high-performance computing.

 

Posted in uncategorized | 5 Comments

Happy Holidays! What has 2013 been like?

The New Year is just around the corner and it’s almost time for long holidays for us! First of all, we would like to wish you Happy Holidays. Let’s make these days the most wonderful time of the year, when the most precious dreams come true!

New Year is just the right time for summing up. Looking back, we would like to  share the most remarkable things happened to our Fast-flying-agile Bird during the 2013:

1. YouTrack mastered Spanish, Russian, German and French, with custom localization options also available.

2. YouTrack learned how to chat with you via Jabber.

3. YouTrack became extremely agile with the cross-projects agile boards, multiple agile boards and new backlog management.

4. A restyled UI with Darcula TV look-and-feel has made YouTrack way more stylish and trendy.

Overall, YouTrack has grown by 200% and our customer base has almost doubled this year.  These positive trends lead us to believe that we are on the right path to delivering the perfect issue tracking system and agile project management tool, which gives you enough freedom to create the best solutions for your customers. This is made possible by you — by submitting your feature requests and sharing your feedback with us!

We promise to do our best next year, to make you even happier with the brand-new-cool features we are already working on, as well as the best service and support you can imagine.

Join us today, by downloading YouTrack stand-alone or signing up for YouTrack InCloud!

Happy Holidays, and have a Great 2014!

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YouTrack 5.0.6 Is Out

Please welcome the updated YouTrack 5.0.6! This minor version includes several bug fixes along with the improved REST API, which now allows you to merge users.

You are  welcome to download the latest YouTrack 5.0.6 to keep tracking with pleasure! Take a minute to check the full list of release notes for more details.

If you are using YouTrack InCloud, your site will be updated to the latest version on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 according to our Maintenance Calendar.

JetBrains YouTrack Team

 

Posted in release | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

YouTrack 5.0.5 is Available!

We are thrilled to announce probably the last version from 5.0.x family — YouTrack 5.0.5. This update includes:

  • A shortcut for editing task estimation. Sometimes we overestimate or underestimate complex tasks. Just press F4 to edit your previous estimation.
  • From now on YouTrack administrator can easily access settings pages in one click. Welcome fresh YouTrack header look-and-feel:

  • Numerous useful bug fixes and usability improvements. Please check the release notes for the whole list of changes.

We kindly remind that it is perfect time to get YouTrack 5.0.5 with 40% OFF. Halloween Sale is just started!

You are welcome to download the latest build or sign up for YouTrack InCloud, hosted in the cloud by us. If you are already using YouTrack InCloud, your site will be updated to the freshest 5.0.5 according to our Maintenance Calendar.

Happy Halloween!

Keep calm and track it soflty with YouTrack 5 codenamed “Gentle”!
JetBrains YouTrack Team

Posted in news, release | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Track or Treat: 40% OFF on YouTrack Products!

So you’ve prepared your scary Halloween costumes, baked cookies for neighbors’ kids and carved pumpkins into spooky Jack-O-Lanterns. But if you think you’re ready for this Halloween’s surprises, think again.

That’s because we at YouTrack are announcing our chilling Halloween sale: Get 40% OFF YouTrack Stand-Alone or YouTrack InCloud yearly subscriptions!

The offer is valid from October 30 until November 15 and applies to any Stand-Alone pack and any InCloud yearly YouTrack subscription.

Great news for existing Stand-Alone customers, too: You can also upgrade your YouTrack pack at 40% OFF.

Hurry and get YouTrack for 40% OFF right now and experience the terrific tracking power!

Happy Halloween!

Keep tracking with pleasure!
Jetbrains YouTrack Team

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Translate YouTrack to Your Favorite Language

With the release of YouTrack 5, we now provide out-of-the-box localization support for your YouTrack instance. While the original set of supported languages includes a few European languages already, we also provide the facility for you to customize YouTrack to your liking using your own favorite language and phrasing. Here’s what the process is like.

Overview

The vast majority of what you work with in YouTrack is dynamic content, i.e. the test that you have in issue summary/description fields, custom fields, saved searches, tags, etc. None of these require localization support because you can already define them in whatever language you wish. Where localization is important is in static strings, such as what text appears on the Create Issue button.

To localize YouTrack to a particular language, you should:

  1. Translate the standard UI strings, which are defined in property files and notication templates.
  2. Put the translated files into a separate directory and provide a description of your locale in this directory, too.
  3. Start YouTrack with a parameter pointing to the directory with the localized content.

Let’s see how this works.

Translating Property Files

First of all, download the messages.zip archive. This ZIP file contains a set of files that you can customize — its default definitions are in English. The archive contains the following:

  • PredefinedFields_en.properties — contains the names of predefined fields (such as summary) that ship with the YouTrack instance by default.
  • dynamic_en.properties — contains a further set of strings, with the difference that this set is not reloaded when pressing the Reload button or even restarting YouTrack. These should be changed only at the time when you’re switching to another language.
  • all_en.properties — contains a very large set of strings that make up the bulk of YouTrack localization. This is where you can change, for example, the text on the Create Issue button.
  • \notification_templates — this folder contains a set of HTML-esque templates where you can also customize strings related to messages that are shown.

Property files are simple UTF-8 text files with key=value pairs. There are several special mechanisms used to translate, e.g., plural forms of numerals — for more information on this, please consult the full YouTrack Localization Guide.

Notification templates are files with .ftl extension. Strictly speaking, they are also editable inside YouTrack itself, via Administration|Notification Templates. If you do decide to localize these, you may wish to preserve the HTML structure intract and only change the text related to the messages.

Running YouTrack with Custom Localization

When you are ready to use your new localized files, here’s the directory structure you need to set up:

  • Create a directory to house your localizations, e.g., \youtrackUK
  • Create a subdirectory with the locale name, and copy over all the files from messages.zip into that directory. For example, you might have a directory \youtrackUK\en_UK.
  • Create a file called supportedLocales.xml inside \youtrackUK. This is where you specify the supported locale(s), and the ID must match that of your en_UK subdirectory.

Here’s a sample supportedLocales.xml file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<locales>
<localeEntry>
<name>British</name>
<locale>en_UK</locale>
</localeEntry>
</locales>

Once this is done, you need to launch YouTrack, specifying a JVM option of jetbrains.mps.webr.i18n.custom-translations with a value referring to your custom language path (i.e., x:\foo\youtrackUK). How you set it depends on how you run YouTrack. For example, on Windows, you would:

  • Start up a console with Administrative permissions
  • Navigate to the \bin folder in YouTrack installation directory
  • Execute tomcat6w //ES//YouTrack
  • In the window that opens, define the argument as -Djetbrains.mps.webr.i18n.custom-translations=c:\temp\youtrackUK

All you have to do now is restart YouTrack, then go into Settings, scroll down to System Language and choose the new language from the list:

YouTrack will apply your new language settings, and you can start using them straight away:

And one last thing…

So that’s how easy it is to customize YouTrack. And since we imagine that many of you may be interested in localizing YouTrack to one language or another, we’ve set up a GitHub repository where all such translations can be kept. So if you’ve got a translation for a particular language, simply send us a pull request and your translation will be included in the repository!

Posted in features | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Post-Mortem of YouTrack InCloud Custom Domains Issue

On Monday September, 23rd YouTrack InCloud servers were updated to v5.0.3. As some of you might noticed, this update caused an issue related to custom domains. Luckily, it affected only several custom domains. Due to the issue custom domains were reset to default “…”.myjetbrains.com address.

YouTrack engineers investigated the problem and came up with a quick solution how to set custom domains back. However, in order to apply the bug fix we had to restart the servers. Therefore, some of you might noticed another unscheduled 15 minutes downtime.

We apologize for the inconvenience you might have experienced due to domain resetting and further system downtime. Though, we gained valuable experience from this issue and we will prevent similar problems in future updates.

Best regards,
JetBrains YouTrack Team

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New Raygun integration with YouTrack

We are happy to announce that Raygun, automatic error tracking solution from Mindscape, has first-class integration with YouTrack! It’s live now and ready for you and your team to experience what might be the smoothest error resolving workflow possible. Raygun automatically tracks all errors your application generates, and with two clicks you can assign them to an existing issue in your YouTrack issue tracker, or create a new issue.

Raygun’s popular with devs of all sorts as it makes it easy to automatically transmit errors and exceptions that application users encounter. Those errors are received by the Raygun service, where they are presented on a beautiful dashboard with charts and statistics, but crucially with the stack trace, environment data, request fields (if applicable) and much more. Emails are dispatched to inform you of the error, and with the addition of daily summaries you always know the health of your site or application. Another popular feature is Raygun’s support for teams and organisations, allowing your colleagues to get in on the bug stompin’ action.

Fast workflow

Many developers find YouTrack to be a great issue tracking and project management tool. Now that YouTrack integrates with Raygun, the process is fully automated. After adding the details of your YouTrack server to your Raygun account, drilling down into an error group will show a YouTrack options button. Click it, and you can assign it to an existing issue in YouTrack, or create a brand new issue. Whichever you pick, the issue will contain a link back to Raygun, allowing everyone to immediately view the exception’s stack trace, the environment data from the user’s system, and if it’s from a web site or application, the server and request data.

Your team is instantly notified about all errors, and placing it in your issue tracker takes seconds, where it can be assigned and resolved. Having the error data available from a link makes it faster and less painful to reproduce.

An introductory video walks you through the steps of setting up YouTrack with Raygun – it’s really easy, but check out the video walkthrough here:

Raygun integration with YouTrack

If you’ve already got a Raygun account, log in and go to your Application Settings page where you’ll find Plugins in the sidebar. Enter your YouTrack details there, and you’re set!

Blast errors with pleasure with Raygun and YouTrack!
JetBrains YouTrack Team

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