Bee.

Your Mac JIRA Client

Don’t wait on JIRA — take control with a better system tailored to the way you work.


You’ve probably often thought “there has to be a better way”. I know, I’ve been there.

As a software professional, you don’t want to spend the day fighting your tools — you just want to get stuff done.

I was working for a major media organisation in Sydney and my project manager loved using JIRA to track the development team’s progress. The problem was — no one on the development team quite shared her enthusiasm for the tool. This led to teammates simply failing to keep their issues up-to-date, defeating the purpose of even having installed JIRA in the first place.

JIRA, as we all soon discover is a great project management tool. But it falls short when it comes to providing a fast, rich experience for people who need to use it to find out what they should be working on.

It’s too difficult to be motivated to maintain communication between teammates.

Don’t get me wrong, I truly like JIRA and its complexity is part of its appeal. You can bend it to your will to implement insanely intricate workflows. But I knew there had to be a better way for people like us working daily in it.

Over the years, I’ve continuously been designing and redesigning what it means to work day-to-day with an issue tracker. I’ve chosen the best frontend technologies (Core Animation and AppKit) to deliver a superior user experience.

Bee is now in its 3rd major version over a period of 8 years in development. The goal has always been to be a lightning fast, light and beautiful interface for the beast of an issue tracker that JIRA is. Employing native macOS technologies means I can bring some life and charm. to issue tracking by way of smooth transitions and crisp animations.

I knew that if the core of Bee was flexible enough to support JIRA — it could support any other issue tracker. This ultimately allowed me to support other issue trackers alongside JIRA, all within the same app, and with a lot of functionality cross-over.

The home page for Bee gives you a good rundown of the powerful features that are common to all of the supported issue trackers. But there are some specific features for JIRA which are worthwhile exploring here.


This is the most loved feature of Bee. Just start typing and you are suddenly searching across issues, comments, labels and projects. You don’t have to wait for your network to load because everything is smartly cached. It’s simply there at your fingertips.

There’s no complicated syntax to learn, everything is smartly matched with determinate matching for labels and fuzzy matching for everything else. So you don’t even need to be accurate with your search queries.

Timing

This is a big one for teams who need to maintain work logs. It’s usually a pain to enter in the hours you worked on each issue after the fact. What if there was a system where you could click a button and it would start timing? And then click again and it would stop timing? And a menubar icon remembering the last issue you worked on so you don’t have to waste that mental overhead yourself?

Bee does all the hard work for you so you’re mind is free to work on the job at hand rather than worrying about mundane time entry. Bee even pauses your timer when you get up for a coffee-break automatically.

Oh, and all of these work logs are automatically synced back to your server as regular JIRA work logs.

And if your team uses the popular Tempo plugin, Bee shows you the Tempo Accounts field directly inside your issue so you’re covered there too.

Multiple Windows

Open as many windows as you like, with each displaying a different viewport of your project. Slice and dice your issues as you see fit with the numerous grouping, sorting and display options available.

You can collapse the details-pane to show just a single list of issues. Hit spacebar to toggle open an issue in its own window. This is super useful when you need to refer to it during the day.

Epics

If your team works with Epics, you can group any list by the Epics in that board. You can also compose a Smart List with multiple boards and then group by Epic. Bam — you’ve got a list of targeted issues across multiple boards grouped by their Epics. (By the way, this works with a lot of other axes as well.)

You can also create Smart Lists which point to specific Epics if you just need to create a quick list which points to something specific your team is working on right now, or that you need to quickly refer to.

Sprints

Setup a Smart List pointing at a particular Sprint. Or set it up to point to the always-changing Active Sprint. Now you have a quick reference list that’s a keystroke away so you can keep tabs on your team’s progress.

You can also create new Sprints on the fly. Make sure you’re currently grouping by Sprint (View > Group By > Sprint). Then hit Command + Shift + N.

Columns

Moving groups of issues between columns is as simple as the website. Just select and drag them across to transition them.

But what’s cool is that you can reorder your columns as well. Just drag the column title around to re-position columns the way that makes sense to you.

Favourite Filters (JQL)

If you love using JQL, you’ll appreciate the fact that Bee can directly import any Favourite Filter you’ve saved on the server. This means you can perform an advanced search on the website, then save it. Once you’re back in Bee, simply go to File > New List > JIRA, then navigate to the Favourite Filters section.

Once your Favourite Filter is inside Bee, it’s automatically synchronized and kept up-to-date for you. It’s a great alternative to setting up Smart Lists if the rules there are not as fine-grained as you’d like.

Shortcut Keys

Update the assignee of an issue immediately by hitting Command + Shift + A.

Show a list of transitions for the current issue directly from your keyboard by hitting Command + Shift + T.

Create a new sub-task by hitting Shift + Enter.

Everything that should be accessible from the keyboard is.

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