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Bugzilla!

The past week has been an exciting one for me: I’ve finally had the chance to use Bugzilla. This has been something I’ve wanted to try out for a long time. And I must say I’ve been impressed. As someone who has used Fogbugz for years, I was looking for something comparable that was open source and I think I’ve found it.

The user interface is simple and easy to customize. The administration panel provides multiple ways to set up Bugzilla and customize it. Each user has ways to customize their individual experience as well.  It took me a little bit to figure out how to get email notification to work though–this is one area that the Bugzilla team could work on. Apparently some of it is back end and since I didn’t have a chance to install it on a server, I didn’t get a chance to experiment on how it’s done. It’s Linux based, which is nice. One of the most customizable areas is the New Bug interface: You can add custom fields, conditional fields, and decide exactly what you want there. There are a few areas that I didn’t see a way to customize right off, such as the “Only users in all of the selected groups can view this bug:” checkbox which I didn’t see necessary for the project I was working on but I couldn’t figure out right away how to hide this. The Browse feature is somewhat different from Fogbugz in that you can easily see the severity of a bug by the color of the text–the darker the text, the higher the severity. This is a great visual addition that FogBugz certainly hasn’t tapped. There is also a area to document and customize the workflow as well, which would be useful especially for larger projects. Personally I like the “can whine” feature which will whine to a developer, etc, if they haven’t looked at a bug in a specified time period–great reminder feature to nag developers with! Of course, depending on how the user is set up, this feature can be turned off. Users with the appropriate permissions can also watch other users and get every email notification that they do. Users can also impersonate another user as well (if they’ve been setup with the permission to do so), but that user is also notified that you are impersonating them. Reports can show information based on any information you provide for an X and Y axis, or can be exported as a CSV or show in a chart or graph. Another handy addition to Bugzilla is that you an submit or modify a bug via email, without having to directly log in. Time tracking is similar to Fogbugz. This is just a small sampling of the features Bugzilla has. For a complete list, go to Bugzilla Features. Thedocumentation is easy to ready and follow and provides a lot of great information on how to setup the administration area. I’m sure as I get more familiar with it, and work with it more, I will learn new ways to customize it and tweak it so it works even better for my purposes.

As with any new product, there is a bit of a learning curve but this is one I think will be easy to learn and educate others about. I’m definitely looking forward to working with it and learning more about Bugzilla!

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