Monday, December 06, 2004

Issue Tracking

A colleage of mine asked me how I felt about issue tracking at my current company. I have had some past experience with issue tracking. I have worked with a custom issue tracking web interface that had a nice roll-up of some issue statistics by project and user-type. There was no email notification built in, but you could view issues across projects easily.

I have had some experience working with Mercury Test Director. SWAT worked with my project team on my last project, and they recommended Mercury. On that project, we even had automated tests (although I am still not sure what percentage of our test cases ended up as automated tests). I thought Mercury was okay, but for that project we did not use the web version of issue tracking, and I thought it was a real bugger noting my issues in notepad until I got into the office the next day.

My current project is using the issue list in SharePoint as our issue tracking. While this solution is a good enough solution, it would be nice if my fellow team members could see all of thier issues at once from multiple projects. Sure, we could have set up one wss team site to handle all issues, but I don't think SharePoint security would effectively manage who can add issues to which project and who can see which issues, and so on.

So for a smaller consulting company, what is the best solution to issue tracking? I am not sure the complexity of Mercury would be a good fit (or the price tag). SharePoint really isn't meant for full-fledged issue tracking for a corporation. A custom solution would be fun to build, but I am not sure the amount of time we would have to invest would be worth it.

I did a little research, and although I am often annoyed at the lack of pricing information on product sites, here are some that look interesting:

So have you used any of these tools? Anybody have any reviews to contribute or any other tools to add?

BTW - Thanks to David Hayden for his blog posting about Gemini. I ran into a bunch of open source issue tracking tools (like Bugzilla), but had trouble finding a free .Net issue tracking tool.


RG said...

I'm a huge fan of Gemini. I have been using it for several months, and have abandoned the use of all other issue tracking systems (including that custom issue tracking tool).

It isn't perfect (sometimes there are a few more clicks than I would like), but I like it really, really well, and I highly recommend it. I'm currently using the free version, but I intend to upgrade to the pay version soon.

For me, a web-based interface is a deal-breaker. I don't want to work with software that doesn't offer that option, as I am often not working in the same location as my customer, or possibly even other developers.

RG said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention - Gemini has a really nice "My Work" page that shows all the issues across projects currently assigned to you, grouped by projects.

blameMike said...


I've been playing with the trial version of Joel Spolsky's FogBugz, and it seems pretty tight.

Aaron Ballman said...

We actually wrote our own bug tracking software (with a web front-end) to track issues with REALbasic. It works out quite nice, is rather easy to maintain (because we wrote it in REALbasic, the dev time was fairly small), and we can extend it at will.

Justin J. Vogt said...

Aaron that sounds like a plug for "REALBasic"... if you're going to be plugging your company or whatever affiliation you have for REALBasic... you might as well go ahead and include a url so that people can find out about it.

Justin J. Vogt said...

Aaron that sounds like a plug for "REALBasic"... if you're going to be plugging your company or whatever affiliation you have for REALBasic... you might as well go ahead and include a url so that people can find out about it.

Jake Good said...

Aaron is simply answering Val's call for advice :) (psst Aaron, JavaKid always likes pointing out the faults in software quick, so he's looking to nitpick)


I will vouch for RealBasic..

Jake Good said...

I saw this today...

Visual Studio integration... a few bloggers were raving about it...

Aaron Ballman said...

Re Justin: It wasn't meant as a plug, honest! :-) Val was wondering what issue tracker we used, and I just gave the long version of "homegrown". ;-) But to appease you: Here's a link for REALbasic.

Valerie Vogt said...

I think I have to try out the free issue tracking software first. I think "free" is an easier sell to management :)

If Avonelle says Gemini is better than the homegrown issue tracker we built a couple of years ago, I want to check it out.

Although FogBugz looked very nice, too. I will keep you posted.

Aaron Ballman said...

I agree, "free" is better so long as it does what you need it to do (or can be extended freely). :-)

Jake Good said...

I think that rumor has it

in C# syntax

Gemini : IssueTracker


Jake Good said...

I've been playing with SourceGear's Vault.. and it has integration with FogBugz or their own issue tracking called Dragnet!

Anonymous said...

I wrote my own issue tracking tool. It has 5 fields:

-What did it do?
-What should it do instead?
-What's your name?
-Is it fixed yet?
-Who's working on it?

Works for me. ;)

-Christopher Hawkins-

Anonymous said...

We use an application called BugSentry ( The cool part is that it automatically sends you the stack trace when your application gets an error. We never got good error reports from users so this was a boon to us. The client setup is a bit tricky at first since you need to generate public/private keys, but after that, it is a snap. They do all the issue hosting and they store the issues encrypted with those public keys. We got in on an pre beta release and think it is awesome.


Corey said...

As a C# gal, you might like BugTracker.NET, an ASP.NET app written in C#. (I'm the author). It's kinda FogBugz like in terms of of its integration with email. Free, open source, mature, stable.