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Bug Tracking Basics

Bug Tracking Basics

Can You Tell Me About Bug Tracking?

As a QA Manager / Consultant I must have been asked hundreds of times which Bug Tracking Application I recommend.

If only life was that simple.

Answer a question with a question

This kind of question triggers two thoughts usually:

“Are they looking for free advice and support? Arghh!”

Putting aside the whole freebie debate for a moment, the second thought and usually my question back to you is,

“What platforms are they developing in and for?”

It’s Just Bug Tracking. Good Grief!

Isn’t it? Maybe not…

  • Are you developing for the web, mobile or an actual Desktop Application?
  • Is your product for Windows, Linux or MAC / iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry?
  • If it’s Web which browsers and platforms are you supporting?
  • The answer to these will probably define if you are using Visual Studio, Eclipse or other Development Environments

Some Bug Tracking solutions are not equipped to provide you with support if your product is being developed on more than one of these.

Bug Tracking Must Be Painless Productivity

If you are spending more time managing your Bug Tracking or if it duplicates your Customer Support Issue Tracking or cannot speak to your Source Control, Project Lifecycle Management or Test Case Manager then you are making your own life more difficult, more painful and being a lot less productive.

The key phrases here are: –

Web, Web, Web! Whichever you choose make sure it has web access for adding and viewing your bugs, whether you opt for a hosted solution or an install in your domain.

Real Time Collaboration: You want your Bug Tracking to allow your QA to interact and report issues with real-time notifications.

Integration: You want your other Development and test tools to be able to integrate seamlessly with your Bug Tracking.

Usability: You want to be able to setup and run the Bug Tracking and if need be make changes to configuration later.

Scalability: Build for success! Assume you are going to be growing as a company and will need to be able to scale your tools and not have to replace them. Having to migrate your Bug database to a new tool because you have outgrown the free or cheap tool you took a year ago can be painful and costly. So why do it?

The Warptest POV

Of all the Bug Tracking solutions I have worked with two stand out depending on your needs:

If you are doing all your development exclusively in and for Microsoft technologies, you are most likely using Visual Studio and the bright sparks at Microsoft realized several years ago that most development like this is done by teams. These teams were using Visual Studio, SharePoint and Microsoft Project so why not combine these to create a collaborative, task driven Lifecycle Management tool.

TFS offers some degree of support cross-platform including Linux, Android and iOS and it can connect to Eclipse for some functions.

TFS Cross Platform

Image Courtesy of Microsoft TFS webpage (link above)

TFS does all this and allows you to manage your Test Cases and Bug Tracking through a really nice web interface.

JIRA is probably the hottest Bug Tracking on the market today and delivers all of the key requirements listed above and is platform agnostic to boot.

Atlassian JIRA

Courtesy of Atlassian

Atlassian, JIRA’s parent company offers a slew of their own and 3rd Party tools that work hand-in-hand with JIRA in managing the Product Lifecycle.

JIRA Product Line

Courtesy of Atlassian

IMHO these are your two best options. Both factor in not just technologies but also methodologies being applied (e.g. Agile). As for the price-tag both are affordable based on number of users so before you jump on that free Bug Tracking option remember,


“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.


We are using informup it is free for 10 users (we are about 30 users so it is not free but very low cost) … this is a link to it

Thanks Shay. That looks like an interesting and well priced tool. I’ve saved the link in my “To Do” list. Cheers and welcome to the blog.

Hi, thank you for this post I agree with you that managing your Bug Tracking or if it duplicates your Customer Support Issue Tracking or cannot speak to your Source Control, Project Lifecycle Management or Test Case Manager then you are making your own life more difficult, more painful and being a lot less productive. very useful information

Thanks for the feedback. I’ve been doing more research on this and I may post a follow up. Keep visiting.

Seconding Shay’s InformUp tool and raising him YouTrack by JetBrains (Yup, the guys and gals responsible for IntelliJ IDEA family of IDEs and the Kotlin programming language).

10 free users (for the self-hosted version); keyboard-centric; truck-load of integration; close-to-unlimited customization (it takes a couple of hours to understand what “lever” controls what “box”, but nothing a smart DevOps engineer can’t figure out); Kanban board optional (if that’s your thing, baby); time tracking; workflow control; multiple issue templates… you really mean to tell me I didn’t have you at “JetBrains”? 🙂

Also, for the really inclined, Tuleap ALM by… I actually don’t know.
Self-hosted (on CentOS 6 only, at the time writing), this is the LEGO of (the FULL) ALM solutions.
You get all the bricks you need (way too many modules to enumerate here) but putting them all together (and that means straight from the beginning, the install itself) is up to you.

Vibrant community and forums make this less of a pain-point, but yeah… you need to be Linux-proficient (specifically CentOS-proficient, as noted above) and know exactly how you want your ALM to look and function. Unlike the toy LEGO, Tuleap doesn’t come with any instructions book and sure as hell no model book with a step-by-step instructions.

But it’s 1. Free AND open-source, 2. EXTREMELY useful… once you get it down just the way you like.

Wow you crammed a lot of useful information in there. Thanks. Keep commenting.

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