How to set up replying to Jira notifications via Outlook
Based on numerous comments and use cases collected in JRASERVER-14543, we managed to find a working solution for customers who want to enable their users to reply to Jira notifications and leave comments in tickets using Outlook.
How we arrived at the solution
Plain text emails with little formatting are getting obsolete and most users nowadays send HTML-based emails. HTML emails use markup, which allows for versatile formatting. But it also allows using different HTML structures to achieve a similar visual effect. Different email clients use different HTML markup. Even inside the MS Outlook family, it all depends on the version of the program and the platform it runs on. And this is why figuring out which part of an email is quoted from a previous conversation, and which part is new is hard for a computer even if it’s so easy for a human being. Additionally, there's no internet standard similar to the one defined for plaintext emails.
In other words, it's nearly impossible to code general rules that will work reliably for the majority of cases.
Given all the above, we concluded that it is a good idea to encourage Jira administrators to start using the ”Add a comment before a specified marker or separator in the email body” email handler that can use configurable regular expressions to find attribution passage and use it as a cutoff point. After all, Jira administrators know best what is the format of the attribution is in their organization.
Then, for example, when a user replies to an email, the email software will add some attribution paragraph before the quoted text:
”On Friday, 13th of November, Jira User wrote:"
„From: User, Jira <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Friday, November 13, 2019, 10:57 AM”
The ”Add a comment from the non-quoted email body” and ”Create a new issue or add a comment to an existing issue” email handlers don't use regular expressions. We are considering adding them in the future to help admins manage the unwanted content added to Jira issues via email.