Toggl to JIRA

A tiny side project for day to day works, hosted on GitHub.

Basically it’s a tool to import time logs from toggl to JIRA. It reads logs on toggl by toggl REST API, then pushed them to JIRA by some ruby wrappers (soap4r and jira4r) of JIRA SOAP API.

JIRA is heavily used in FreeWheel. In my current group, almost everything I do can be tracked by a JIRA issue. JIRA serves as the todo, report, and bug tracking system here, and keeps everything visible to everyone.

Fortunately we just upgraded JIRA from 3.x to 4.4 so the SOAP API is much better than JIRA 3. This upgrade made it easier to import work log to JIRA because the API is upgraded a lot. If we had JIRA 5, the new JIRA REST API would be an even better option.

I have been trying to track and manage my work time for a while. Most time-tracking tools are designed for works with billable hours, such as freelance programmers or outsourcing workshops. But I think it’s also beneficial to keep time logs for other jobs. I had tried quite a few ways or tools before, none of them worked very well until I found toggle:

  • Directly log on JIRA: In this way you’re “estimating” how much time you spent after finishing a task. What I need is a “timer” to really track it, different and better. Also, it’s easy to forget to log time in JIRA. When a process brings more troubles than tangible benefits, people will tend to forget or ignore it.
  • A very simple OSX dashboard widget I can’t remember its name. It’s too simple. Features like idle detection or exporting logs are still necessary for me.
  • Harvest. A very powerful one. I used it on iPhone for a while, but found it didn’t work very well because I often forgot to stop/switch timer. “Idle detection” is actually more crucial than it looks. And Harvest is only free for 30 days.
  • JIRA worklog assistant. It seems really nice at first: seamless integration with JIRA, lots of useful features. But soon I found the Mac client crashed so often and had lots of bugs. A tool with such a bad quality won’t be accepted by the team.

Toggl is the best tool I found so far. Its client is very well designed and polished, easy to use and intuitive. It has a REST API  so I can export the log and import to JIRA easily. Toggl also has pretty nice report features, but I still want to keep all records in JIRA for maximum visiblity. And all my needs can be satisfied by Toggl free edition, sweet.

In the last, I want to clarify: the purpose of tracking time allocation is definitely not to measure “how hard you work” or “did you work 8 hours a day”, but to analyze “where are our time spent” and “how long a project/task actually takes”.