Is Not a Valid Reference Error

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There can be a variety of different symptoms or there could be none present at all. What is consistent is the appearance of the following errors within the atlassian-jira.log.

2011-02-17 09:39:12,163 http-8080-5 WARN xxxxxxx 579x6004x1 1b7w9ft /secure/IssueNavigator.jspa [velocity] org.apache.velocity.runtime.exception.ReferenceException: reference : template = getEncodedBodyFromContent [line 1,column 71] : ${} is not a valid reference.
 at org.apache.velocity.runtime.parser.node.ASTReference.render(
 at org.apache.velocity.runtime.parser.node.SimpleNode.render(
 at com.atlassian.velocity.DefaultVelocityManager.getEncodedBodyForContent(
 at com.atlassian.jira.plugin.webfragment.JiraWebFragmentHelper.getHtml(


This error occurs due to a third-party plugin that is not fully compatible with JIRA or can occur due to modifications to the default velocity templates.

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Some users have detected more specific causes and resolutions! Please read through the comments below.


If your instance is running without noticeable error, this error message can be safely ignored - however we would recommend following the steps in the resolution to identify any problematic plugins.


As we do not have a comprehensive list of all plugins that can cause this problem, the plugin will need to be identified through isolation testing. This can be done with the following steps.

  1. First, attempt to upgrade all your plugins and then see if the problem is still persistent - it may be a plugin developer has corrected the incompatibility.
  2. If the problem is still present, disable all plugins through the UPM, as in Disabling all add-ons (using Safe Mode).
  3. Enable each plugin one-by-one, whilst monitoring the logs for the error message and also checking JIRA for any browser errors that may have been present.
  4. When you find the problematic plugin, please keep it disabled and forward the problem to its vendor, whose details can be found on the Atlassian Marketplace.

 Currently, we're trying to asses impact of this problem on our customers. If you believe there is a need to improve currently returned warning message, please provide us your feedback and vote on  JRA-25195 - Getting issue details... STATUS

Last modified on Nov 15, 2018

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