Comparison of the Plugins
This analysis compare two spreadsheet apps for Jira. Both excel-like issue editor plugins have great features, but let’s check the main differences!
JExcel PRO is a well-known extension that has been working for years to provide customers a platform to implement MS Excel features into Jira. The main purpose is to make Jira’s issue management much easier for those who previously worked in Excel (or are currently using it too).
Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of JExcel PRO compared to JXL you should consider before your choice!
Before you start to use a plugin which will be responsible for your daily work, it’s really necessary to consider the operation of your new app! Quick loading time during saving and updating your sheets must be a priority, especially when we are working with thousands of data!
First we have tested the performance of JExcel PRO and JXL. Our test was based on a list of 4,000 rows with the same data and same (13) columns. We added 5 (same) more columns one by one to JExcel PRO and JXL. In case of JExcel PRO we had to wait an average of 2.8 seconds before we could use the spreedsheet again. During the test of JXL we had to wait an avarage of 30,4 seconds. When we added the five more columns at once, JXL loading time was an avarage of 38 seconds, while JExcel PRO’s loading time was only an avarage of 3 seconds. Let’s mention that JXL loads all the data on the same page, but JExcel PRO displays only 100 data per page, so users have to scroll to the next page to see more data (or they can use filters).
During another test we have measured the updating time after editing the fields of spreadsheets. After five field modification we updated the sheets and we did this five times. The results is the following: JExcel PRO has an average update time of 3 seconds while JXL has an avarage update time of 30,3 seconds.
Both extensions offer a great spreedsheet view to Jira users. JXL has adapted well to Jira’s design, JExcel PRO has gone far beyond the design of Jira and tries to be more similar to the well-known era of Excel.
Let’s see the main differences between JExcel PRO and JXL features that bring us the Excel-like editing in Jira:
In JExcel PRO you can create Excel-like “tabs”, you can colorize them, you can hide, unhide and freeze columns and perform cell calculations like average, count, sum, minimum or maximum. Selecting cells with the mouse gives you instant calculations in the spreedsheet’s footer, just like in Excel!
JXL has a new (BETA) feature that allows users to sum up data. Now you are only able to sum all the data separately for each column. If you want to sum all the Epics, you have to create a filter and click on “Sum-up” button. JXL does not have other cell calculation options when selecting more than one data. JXL also has the basic Excel-features such as moving, deleting, and creating columns.
We also examined in-line editing, which is a must-have feature when we talk about spreadsheet apps.
Let’s check two important Jira elements as examples, the “Description” and the “Summary”. If you try to edit “Summary” field in JXL, you can not see the full text, you only have a small area (cell) to edit even voluminous texts. in JExcel PRO a larger box will pop up in which you can conveniently edit the text.
JXL does not support in-line editing in “Description”, You have to edit the text in Jira’s “Edit issue” panel. With JExcel PRO you can easily change texts in Description. An extra point for JExcel PRO is that a workbook can be created based on a Jira filter.
JExcel PRO can be familiar for thoose who have experience in using Excel. If somebody miss that “era”, JExcel PRO may be a great solution! We recommend JExcel PRO if you need to make several cell changes on a daily basis or need quick calculations.
Excel-compatibility and reporting
Even if you work in Jira, you may also need Excel sometimes because you have to export data, create a report in Excel or have to import data to Jira from Excel. Probably you will have to create different views and filters in Jira sometimes, so proper features and Excel-compatibility are important to keep everything running smoothly.
JXL does not have importing features and exporting is not comprehensive. During our test, we couldn’t paste data to the appropriate cells in the table from Excel to JXL! So if you have 3 cells in Excel in a column, you can not paste it to JXL in a same form. You can only paste all the data to one cell. With JExcel PRO, it is possible! JXL is only exports filenames and the last comment on a given issue.
JExcel PRO extension has advanced import and export features that let you connect Jira to Excel effectively. First of all you can easily import data from Excel on a copy-paste basis, or you can also import spreadsheets with the help of a separate feature. Before importing data from Excel, you are able to manually fine tuning the process to make sure your data import will be correct. JExcel PRO also provides import and export permissions. You can export attachments and all comments for a given issue. What is more, JExcel PRO is able to link issues to images and commens in exported Excel file.
We also examined the filtering features and here are the main differences:
- JExcel PRO provides two type of filtering options on most of the columns, you can filter data by text search and selecting all or certain data. In JExcel PRO you have only one type for each column;
- JXL does not have “select all” option, which can cause you difficulties;
- JXL has a global search feature like in Excel, JExcel PRO has not;
- JExcel PRO has a quick filtering feature based on clicks;
- JXL has hierarchical system that allows you to manage issues in structure;
- JXL has a feature to group data by custom fields
Project Management or Business Analyst Tool?
Based on the above, we can state that JExcel PRO is rather a project management tool that helps to perform tasks efficiently by involving collaboration, while trying to be more similar to the well-known Excel interface at the same time.
JXL is a similar Excel-like issue editor for Jira, but it leans toward business analysis while adapting to Jira design. It is a great solution for reporting and sorting in Jira.