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Jira Automation vs Backbone Issue Sync

Jira Automation is a tool in Jira that allows you to build rules based on events. This is very powerful to create or update your issues automatically. With Backbone Issue Sync you also create and update issues automatically. In this article we’ll explain the differences between Backbone Issue Sync and Jira Automation so you can decide which fits best.

Comparison of the tools

Although both tools can create and update issues, there is one main difference: Jira automation is a general tool where you need to set up everything yourself while Backbone Issue sync is specifically designed to help in your issue sync needs. As the nature of the tool is different, we’ll use the following use case to compare the tools:

You want to sync a Jira Service Management project on Data Center to a Jira Software Project on Cloud. You want to sync different fields, such as the summary, description , status, some custom fields, comments and attachments. Only issues with a certain label “sync” should be synced.

Let’s have a closer look at the differences (or skip right ahead to the conclusion)

Set Up And Sync Behaviour

Backbone Issue Sync

Jira Automation

Set Up Syncing

(tick) Set up one synchronization where you specify all rules

(tick) No technical knowledge needed, no scripting

(tick) Get started guide to help you step by step

(minus) Need to set up rules on both sides

(minus) Need to work with webrequests/webhooks for which there is no step by step guide

Create Issues

(tick) Specify which issues you want to create (based on rules)

(tick) Specify which issues you want to create (based on rules)

(plus) In creation, you can flexibly create issues, e.g. also combining values of fields into one field

Connect Synced Issues

(plus) Auto links the issues

(plus) Creates an issue sync panel to see the link and more information

(tick) Can create a rule to link in either the linked issues (if same instance) or text/url field

Update/Sync Issues

(tick) As issues are linked by Backbone, updates are automatically synced to the linked issue

(tick) You need to add the key of the synced issue to the issue, so that in the rule setup you can make the update to the synced issue.

Synchronization Limit

(tick) No limit in how many projects or issues get synchronized

(minus) There are limits to how many rules can be run (for free) - read more about the current limits and the upcoming changes.

These limits can mean you would need to update your plan to e.g. premium/enterprise, resulting in more costs.


Backbone Issue Sync

Jira Automation

Sync Jira Fields



Sync Comments



Sync Attachments



Sync Status



Sync Versions

(tick) Supports syncing versions on an issue

(tick) Can sync all versions of a project and any change to the attributes (e.g. release date) of the version

(tick) Supports syncing versions on an issue

(minus) Won’t be able to sync the changes of attributes (e.g. release date) of the version

Troubleshooting & Support

Backbone Issue Sync

Jira Automation

Errors With an Update/Sync

(plus) In app troubleshooting with context-specific help (articles)

(plus) Can set up notifications to be informed about errors

(plus) Users can see there is an error on the issue itself

(plus) Logs that can be filtered down to see the errors

(plus) Can set up notifications to be informed about errors

(plus) Users can see if an automation failed on the issue


(plus) Dedicated support team specialized in Backbone (issue synchronization)

(plus) Atlassian offers general support, lots of information on automation in the community

(minus) Not specific support/specialized in syncing


(plus) Documentation with how to’s and troubleshooting specifically aimed to the syncing use case

(plus) Extensive documentation,

(minus) lacking lots of information about cross-project/instance updates


Although Jira Automation is very powerful, for syncing needs across projects we recommend to use Backbone Issue Sync because:

  • It’s easier and quicker to set up

  • It’s support the features you need for easily syncing

  • It’s easy to add or remove certain things to sync

  • For syncing across instances you need an experienced admin, setting up and maintaining rules with webhooks.

  • Support is included, specifically dedicated to the sync use case

In case you only want to create and link issues, Jira automation can also be used. Just be aware that attachments are not included and that you need to work with webhooks/webrequests when you want to create them across instances.

That all said, Jira Automation is still a very powerful tool and can be used for a lot. For instance, it can also empower your synchronizations you’ve set up with Backbone, as described in this article. For syncing issues though we’d recommend to use Backbone Issue Sync to save a lot of time.

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