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What is Gliffy?

(supported since Better PDF Exporter 5.3.0)

Gliffy is a powerful app to create diagrams and wireframes for Jira issues.

Gliffy integration features

  • You can export the high resolution Gliffy diagrams that illustrate your issues to PDF documents. Gliffy diagrams will be core part of your issue exports, just like image attachments.

(Need more features? Tell us in a support ticket!)

Gliffy integration vs. the Gliffy built-in PDF exports

You may want to ask: if Gliffy has a built-in PDF export feature, why would you use another app for the same?

While the Gliffy built-in PDF exports may be sufficient for basic use cases, the Better PDF Exporter integration is more powerful in, at least, these:

If at least one of these is important for you, give the app a try.

Tutorial video

Watch this short introductory video to see how easy you can export your Gliffy diagrams to PDF:

Gliffy PDF export samples

Gliffy process diagram

This PDF export explains the visitor interaction process using a Gliffy diagram, as part of a marketing task.


Technical drawing with Gliffy for Jira

When working on software or other types of technical projects, deployments, system architectures, workflows are just a few of the concepts to visualize. This PDF example exported from Jira enhances an engineering initiative with an architecture design.



Configuring the Gliffy REST API access

As this integration relies on the Gliffy REST API, you need to configure the login credentials of a valid Jira user account for the REST API calls in the templates:

  1. Go to AdministrationAdd-onsPDF Templates (under Better PDF Exporter).
  2. Open the issue-fo.vm template for editing, and set the username and password to these configuration variables in the top part (don't remove the quotation marks around the string!):
    ## issue-fo.vm
    ## Jira user credentials for REST API calls
    #set($restUserName = "admin") ## Jira username for REST authentication
    #set($restPassword = "admin") ## Jira password for REST authentication
  3. Save the changes. (Don't worry about storing passwords here: this file is visible only for Jira administrators, who would have super-user permissions anyway.)


  • If you are using multiple REST API based integrations in the same template (ex: Git Integration, Gliffy, Zephyr Squad), then all REST API calls will use with the same user credentials.
  • It is safer to avoid usernames and passwords that contain non-English characters. Albeit our Gliffy script correctly encodes international usernames and passwords, their handling also depends on the configuration of the container that hosts your Jira web application (typically Tomcat). If you're having difficulties, just replace those characters in your username or password with English letters or numbers.
  • Similarly, it is safer to avoid usernames and password that contain special characters (most typically "#" and "$"). These are special control characters in Velocity strings. If you can't avoid those, escape the characters according to the language rules.

Finally, the following section describes a confusing situation when all REST API calls result in "Server returned HTTP response code: 403" or "401" errors. If you are not affected, you can skip this section.

Why does this happen? As its default behavior, Jira will lock your account and present a CAPTCHA on the login form after a few unsuccessful login attempts. Since the Gliffy integration may send several REST API requests per export, all using the same username and password, the unsuccessful login attempts limit can be reached very quickly if the password is wrong.

How to fix it? You just have to pass the CAPTHCA verification, that's it. First off, be 101% sure that the REST username and password are correct. If those are, but you are still receiving 403's, please open Jira in your browser, logout and login with the same user account which you configured for the REST calls. You will be asked for a CAPTCHA verification, but after answering that and logging in to Jira, the REST calls will also be successfully executed!

Please note that it will never happen again, unless you change the password of the corresponding Jira user account.

If you are an administrator, there is also a quicker solution: go to Administration → User management and clear the failed login attempts counter with one click. Or, you can increase the allowed login attempts or even disable this feature altogether in Jira.

Configuring the Gliffy PDF templates

The template issue-fo.vm contains a single configuration parameter in its top part, to enable this feature:

## Gliffy
#set($exportGliffyDiagrams = false) ## set to "true" to export Gliffy diagrams

Learn more about Gliffy