News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Method and Apparatus for Performing Remote Operations in an Issue Tracking Environment", for Approval

September 11, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors HAMID, Shihab Hassan (Sydney, AU); QUAIL, Matthew (Sydney, AU); SMITH, Graeme David (Sydney, AU); NEVALAINEN, Olli Risto (Sydney, AU); SLADE, Paul (San Francisco, CA), filed on August 29, 2013, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The invention relates to issue tracking systems. More particularly, the invention relates to performing remote operations in an issue tracking environment.

"An issue tracking system is a computer software package that manages and maintains lists of issues, as needed by an organization. Issue tracking systems are commonly used, for example, in an organization's customer support call center to create, update, and resolve reported customer issues, or even issues reported by that organization's other employees. An issue tracking system often also contains a knowledge base containing information on each customer, resolutions to common problems, and other such data.

"The most common issue tracking system's design is relatively simple. A database is the main storage repository for all data. The data is managed by the business logic layer of the application. This layer gives the underlying raw data more structure and meaning, preparing it for human consumption. The now human readable data are then presented to the support technician by another software application or Web page. The end-user of the issue tracking system can create entirely new issues, read existing issues, add details to existing issues, or resolve an issue. When a user of the system makes a change, the issue tracking system records the action and who made it, and thus maintains a history of the actions taken. Each user of the system may have issues assigned to them, that is, that user is responsible for the proper resolution of that issue. This is generally presented to the user in a list format. The user may have the option of re-assigning an issue to another user, if needed. For security, an issue tracking system authenticates its users before allowing access to the systems.


"Issues can have several aspects to them. Each issue in the system may have an urgency value assigned to it, based on the overall importance of that issue. Critical issues are the most severe and should be resolved in the most expedient way possible, taking precedence over all other issues. Low or zero urgency issues are minor and should be resolved as time permits. Other details of issues include the customer experiencing the issue, whether external or internal, date of submission, detailed descriptions of the problem being experienced, attempted solutions or work-arounds, and other relevant information. As previously noted, each issue maintains a history of each change.


"An example scenario is presented to demonstrate how a common issue tracking system works:

"A customer service technician receives a telephone call, email, or other communication from a customer about a problem. Some applications provide a built-in messaging system and automatic error reporting from exception handling blocks.

"The technician verifies that the problem is real, and not just perceived. The technician also ensures that enough information about the problem is obtained from the customer. This information generally includes the environment of the customer, when and how the issue occurs, and all other relevant circumstances.

"The technician creates the issue in the system, entering all relevant data, as provided by the customer.

"As work is done on that issue, the system is updated with new data by the technician. Any attempt at fixing the problem should be noted in the issue system. Ticket status most likely is changed from open to pending.

"After the issue has been fully addressed, it is marked as resolved in the issue tracking system.

"If the problem is not fully resolved, the ticket is reopened once the technician receives information about failure of addressing problem from the customer.

"One type of issue tracking system is a project tracking environment, such as provided by the JIRA product, offered by Atlassian, which is a proprietary system that is used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management. A bug tracking system or defect tracking system is a software application that is designed to help keep track of reported software bugs in software development efforts. It may be regarded as a type of issue tracking system. While there are many known implementations of project tracking systems, JIRA is written in Java and uses the Pico inversion of control container, Apache OFBiz entity engine, and WebWork 1 technology stack; for Remote Procedure Calls (RPC), JIRA supports SOAP, XML-RPC, and REST.

"Tracking systems, such as JIRA, are used to capture and organize issues, prioritize and take action on important issues, and allow system users to stay up-to-date with the activity going on around them. Different organizations use such systems to track different kinds of issues. Depending on how an organization is using such system, an issue could represent a software bug, a project task, a helpdesk ticket, a leave request form, etc.

"Issues may cross domains, enterprises, or organizations. Unfortunately, state of the art issue tracking systems cannot link issues to items that are external to the system installation, e.g. issues that reside on external applications or system instances."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "An embodiment of the invention links issues to items that are external to the system installation, e.g. issues that reside on external applications or system instances. An embodiment of the invention provides remote issue links that connect issue tracking system issues to objects and pages in other applications, such as Web applications. In another embodiment of the invention, activity streams show events from all linked applications and third-party applications. A remote link API supports contribution to the issue tracking system activity stream.

"Another embodiment of the invention allows a user to copy issues from one issue tracking system site to another. In this embodiment of the invention, once an application link is established between the local issue tracking system site and another, a new issue action remote copy appears in a view issue page. The user can limit this action to a particular user group, but by default in a preferred embodiment everyone can use it. The user is prompted to map field values by field names for the issue tracking system's built-in fields and/or to configure default values for required fields. In some embodiments of the invention, appropriate permissions are required to set the field value on the target site.


"FIG. 1 is a screenshot that is displayed when a user accesses an issue in an issue tracking system from a search result or from a dashboard gadget that provides access to issues according to the invention;

"FIG. 2 is a screen shot that shows a remote issue link in an issue tracking system according to the invention;

"FIG. 3 is a screen shot that shows a user dialog for creating a remote issue link in an issue tracking system according to the invention;

"FIG. 4 is a block schematic diagram that shows an issue tracking system making a remote call to another server that is hosting a remote plugin according to the invention;

"FIG. 5 is a further block schematic diagram showing an issue tracking system and a remote instance with which a remote issue link is established according to the invention;

"FIG. 6 is a block schematic diagram showing an issue tracking system and a remote instance with which a remote issue copy/move operation is implemented according to the invention; and

"FIG. 7 is a block schematic diagram that depicts a machine in the exemplary form of a computer system within which a set of instructions for causing the machine to perform any of the herein disclosed methodologies may be executed."

For additional information on this patent application, see: HAMID, Shihab Hassan; QUAIL, Matthew; SMITH, Graeme David; NEVALAINEN, Olli Risto; SLADE, Paul. Method and Apparatus for Performing Remote Operations in an Issue Tracking Environment. Filed August 29, 2013 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Software.

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Source: Computer Weekly News

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