Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Pest Control: Dealing with Bugs

At this point Bugzilla is ready to go and ready to provide you with real help. Once the system is set up, dealing with issues is as easy and straightforward as filling out a form and clicking the submit button. Bugs are submitted and the system reports to the responsible people—reminders included in case it takes too long. The person responsible either accepts responsibility for the issue by changing its state or forwards it to someone else. Either way, at some point the issue is processed and hopefully resolved, which is reflected by various state changes.

Each state change results in a notification to each person dealing with the issue. A unique bug_id and a sophisticated query page allow everyone to stay up-to-date on bugs of interest. As can be expected, the query page allows for quick execution of standard queries, such as Show me all of my open bugs. This outstanding query page also facilitates extremely complex queries, something that cannot be said about all of Bugzilla's commercial counterparts. Only a few mouse-clicks are required for such queries as “Show me all bugs in our e-commerce Web site, in the shopping cart component, submitted by Alice between December 1 and December 24 with an attachment containing the phrase 'resolve after Christmas rush'”.

Figure 7. Simple queries, such as “all my open bugs”, are available by way of links in the footer.

Figure 8. Quickly locating a single bug using full-text search.

Figure 9. Complex queries for whole sets of bugs can be stored for future re-use.

It's a lot of fun working with a system like Bugzilla. To increase its use even further, it is necessary that each member of your team be conscious about the fact that a BTS reflects the state of health of your products. Sometimes when you are swamped it's tempting to close a minor bug by saying “works for me”. This always backfires at the least desirable moment, so it is important to create an environment where bugs are reported with a maximum set of information, allowing the developer to effectively pin it down. In the best of all worlds, this means a description on how to reproduce the bug. Every major state change also must be documented with a meaningful comment. “Fixed bug” is not a meaningful comment. A short description of what exactly caused the bug and how it was fixed (where appropriate) helps not only the integration team but also the team leads to find ways to prevent frequently appearing bugs. Make use of the fantastic Bugzilla features like inter-bug dependencies. These show that one bug can be fixed only if some other bug is fixed first, which allows for easy identification of bottlenecks. Remember, it's all about teamwork.

Project Management

An important function of a BTS is to reflect the current development state of a product as well as its changes over time. Not only does this give valuable information about your team's workload, but it also helps in identifying endangered milestones or deadlines. Information about the time it took to fix certain issues in the past offers valuable information on how much time you can expect similar projects to take in the future. Last but not least, a high number of upcoming issues in a certain area highlights areas of your work flow that could use some attention for the purpose of improvement.

Not only does Bugzilla supply you with a sophisticated query page, but both table-based (one, two and three dimensional) and graphical representations (line, bar and pie charts) of the current project state are available too. Reports can be generated in a extremely flexible way by assigning values to the diagram or table axes, (for example, product for the horizontal and State for the vertical axis) and setting filter options for the bugs, dictating which should be considered in the diagram. Reports can be exported to a text file, thus providing an interface to spreadsheet or word-processing programs.

The development of your product can be monitored by bug status or by resolution of bugs over time. The data for this type of diagram is accumulated automatically in the background while Bugzilla is running, so time-consuming queries are not required.

In addition to the built-in reporting tools, custom-made SQL queries on the Bugzilla database allow for easy access to the bug data in creating custom reporting. By way of such queries, third-party reporting software likewise can make use of the Bugzilla database.

Figure 10. In addition to textual reports, Bugzilla comes with advanced charting functionality.

As you can see, Bug Tracking Systems like Bugzilla can help to organize and structure your team's entire work flow. Their use definitely is not limited to software development environments. If you want to try Bugzilla, a demo installation can be accessed at landfill.bugzilla.org.

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Vermis - new open source issue tracker

Lukasz Cepowski's picture

Hello,

I would like to introduce the project that I'm working on for a few months :)
Project is called Vermis (lat. bug, worm). It is an Open Source issue tracker
and project management tool for software developers and project managers that
has been created for improving quality of code, efficiency and speed of
development. Designed as a standard web application written in PHP (Zend Framework and Doctrine ORM), it can be
used on almost any platform and hosting service, including Windows, Linux and
more.

Project is available here http://vermis.diabloware.com
The online demo is here http://vermis.diabloware.com/demo

The long term goal is to compete with commercial products like Jira and other
open source software like Trac, Redmine, Mantis, Bugzilla etc.
Vermis is being distributed under terms of GNU General Public License, so you
can use it both in open and closed source projects.

Why Vermis exists?
- Jira has a lot of features but it is hard to use, and first of all it is a
commercial software
- Redmine needs RoR which is resource consuming
- Trac needs Python
- Bugzilla needs Perl
- Mantis, hmm i just didn't like it ;)

Why Vermis is better than the other products?
- Vermis is written in PHP and uses MySQL, which is probably the most
widespread and the cheapest web platform nowadays
- It doesn't require any additional software on a hosting server (except
mod_rewrite which is also very popular)
- Currently it has similar functionalities lika Jira
- It growns very fast :)

What Vermis already has?
- Multiple projects in one place
- Web access from any place on Earth
- Public and private projects
- Many types of issues
- Components
- Milestones
- Versioning and the history of changes
- Dynamic grids (issue navigator)
- Many user accounts
- Online registration
- Notes
- File upload
- Comments
- Progress bars
- Email notifications

What Vermis will have?
- API via SOAP or REST
- Graphical reporting
- Burndown charts
- Agile support (Scrum)
- Custom issue types, priorities, statuses, etc
- Dynamic access control list
- Automatic collecting reports from the external applications
- Wrappers for PHP, Java, C#
- many more ;)

I'm inviting to watch, test and use Vermis.
Since version 1.0 RC3 Vermis is its own bugtracker, which is available at http://bugs.diabloware.com
The latest source code you can download from http://vermis.diabloware.com/download
Any questions you can post at the official project's forum which is at http://forum.diabloware.com

I'm looking forward for any feedback, comments and critique :)

Thanks

How to install bugzilla in windows xp service pack-2

Nagesh.Ponnapalli's picture

please tell me How to install bugzilla in windows xp service pack-2

Offline client for Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture

Bugzilla now has a desktop client, Deskzilla, that is able to preload bugs and work offline with later synchronization. It's not developed by Mozilla and though it is a commercial software, it is available for open source projects for free. Screenshots, available on Deskzilla site, show a linux kernel bugs neatly laid out in categories. I wonder when they will have charts and reporting...

Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture

Bugzilla is pretty hard to config/custimize. We use TestTrack Pro by Seapine Software

Another simple option

Jason G.'s picture

I am also on the i-want-something-easier wing. i stumbled upon BugWiki (www.bugwiki.com), and that turned out to be the right thing for me. No install, just a sign-up. Simple to learn, too.

Someone posting fake bugwiki reviews?

Anonymous's picture

Is it just me or is Jason G a BugWiki employee. I have been researching some bug tracking tools recently and everywhere I see, there are some recent comments about how good bugwiki is (twitter, some bug tracker comparisons etc). I look at bugwiki and it's no better than scribbling down stuff in a spreadsheet. I am not saying it's bad (everything has it's uses), but persistent comments stating how great bugwiki is, is pretty darn suspicious. Especially on a post that is a nearly a year old?

Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture

I looked at Bugzilla for my organization, however it didn't do enough in the way of time-tracking and groupware for it to be useful for a single company or a consultant. Instead, I created an enhanced version of Outreach Project Tool (orginally from an Austrian firm) that did everything I needed and more:

Check out the project page or the try the demo site.

Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture

OPT looks nice, though I hadn't stumbled on it ~6 months ago when doing my review. I looked at about 2 dozen; propriatory and OSS, commercial and not. That doesn't even count the ones I rejected without doing the full installation and analysis.

The last time I went through finding an acceptable issue/defect tracker, I had one person perk up; "Great! I already have one written in Access. I can make any changes you want." (There were a few of these already in use by 1 or 2 projects here and there also.)

Ack! No, I've done that too. Mine was even used to track about 800 test cases plus defects/enhancements for a ~30 million dollar project and I will *never* do that again. 'When all you have is a hammer...look around and find other tools!'

Even if you are clever, chances are someone else has a more appropriate tool that almost does the same thing. There's only so many things that you can do with this stuff before turning it into another category of app.

Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture

If you're not a huge fan of Bugzilla (I'm not too keen on the way it's been written), it's also worth considering RT from bestpractical.com.

Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture

One of the really bad things about RT is how

- You enter a Request in RT, people receive an email.
- If people want to add a comment to a Request, they respond to the original email. Usually they'll include the body of the original message in the email.
- If you go back to the RT web interface, you will now have the original Request, and the new response which includes the original message in the email.

Since many conversations will take place via email, and including the body of the previous messages in the email body is a standard practic, this leads to a very very messy and confusing list of bugs in RT.

It would be great if RT would strip the old messages from the emails.

Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture

I couldn't get it to be adopted...even found a company that would ship a custom system and support it. The reason it was rejected? Looks. "It has to be pretty; the executives need that otherwise it won't fly." I understand that if they are the ones deciding on what tool to choose...they only have so much time...yet....

Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture

I don't see why one would need support. I installed Bugzilla, Apache, and MySQL on a Windows NT box at work.

Once I did the initial manual patching to get Bugzilla to work on NT, I haven't touched it since. It has run about a year so far with no problems.
I also changed some of the text to say "My Company - Issue Tracking System" instead of Bugzilla and "zarro boogs" to "no bugs".

There was no official need identified at work, but eventually it became a standard part of our process.

Go work for a small company. They don't spend 4 months of meetings making decisions.

Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

Anonymous's picture
    I don't see why one would need support.

Here's the conversation (in a nut shell) that I went through over Mozilla;

  • Exec: We need something that's ready to go.
  • Me: But the customization is not too bad, and there are commercial companies that can do it.
  • Exec: We don't have the budget.
  • Me: The licence costs for the commercial releases we are looking at are $15,000; base. We can do the work for less and pocket the difference; Bugzilla doesn't cost a thing in licencing.
  • Exec: They don't need to be custimized, and they look good out of the box. Sorry, Bugzilla is not an option because of that.
  • Me: When the other products are rolled out to the whole company, it'll cost much much more.
  • Exec: That's fine; we only have a few people that have to use it, mostly mid-managers and above.

    While this is not entirely true (the commercial app did need customization and the information would be entered and searched mainly by non-managers or lower-level managers), I could not press the issue without causing friction so I dropped it. The executive made up his mind, and short of finding a 2 second patch that made Bugzilla match every function and the look of the commercial closed apps, I was not going to get any traction.

  • Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

    Anonymous's picture

    You must work at my company ;)

    Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

    Anonymous's picture
      You must work at my company ;)

    LOL!

    I've worked at many, and rarely can I get people to listen...or more importantly, act or let me do the right thing. The executive I'm (roughly) quoting is actually a real smart guy and does understand many issues. I'm still puzzled why he took the system that he knew already...except that he knew it already. Human psychology is interesting at times.

    Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

    Anonymous's picture

    er...sorry. Bugzilla, not Mozilla. (Though come to think of it, the conversations can be similar.)

    Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

    Anonymous's picture

    Silly really - I'm sure they'll find some pretty looking solution that doesnt work then!

    Re: Open-Source Bug Tracking with Bugzilla

    Anonymous's picture

    Any comments on Scarab?

    To reply to your comments in the meantime: there are plenty of tools like Bugzilla. Not exactly, but similar enough that people won't care either way.

    The problem is that people are creatures of habit and like to pick sides early. Even though the budget might not allow for an expensive tool, people who want "a name brand" or "this software; I've used it, it works" will find some way to buy it.

    Case in point: ClearQuest. Horrid if not configured. OK if properly configured. At one company: the budget for the software (and the other Rational tools) soaked up any money for customization and maintenance. The result: Nobody wanted to use it, so they didn't, and people ended up rolling their own issue trackers or purchasing additional tools to fill specific needs. No _1_ tool is in consistant use, and they can't share data easily.

    Most of these tools can be modified heavily. The main concern is if the maintenance is acceptable and can the data be moved out of the system easily (no lockin).

    Bugzilla can output to other systems -- if you configure it to do so. Yet, it is better to have one tool and eliminate the duplication.

    Attempting to get people to use a Wiki also causes problems, mostly because it's a good tool that most aren't familar with.

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