You may have noticed that I have started a new project on Google code: SITS: Simple Issue Tracking System. There is nothing there yet except for a brief description.
So what is this thing all about? 2 or 3 years ago I decided to install some sort of bug tracking system to help me keep track of sysadmin and help desk duties. We had no system in place, so I tried few different solutions, and didn’t like any of them.
For example, I looked at Bugzilla (which came highly recommended) but it seemed like a total overkill for what I needed. I messed around with few small, simplistic projects but must of them were either buggy, or to convoluted for my needs. I didn’t want to go through a lot of setup – I wanted something basic that would just work.
All I really needed was a piece of software that would let me:
- Log the nature of the problem and troubleshooting steps at the time I get a support call
- Be able to update the problem with follow-up info if the issue is not resolved immediately
- Have the system send automatic email notification to the involved parties whenever the issue is updated
- Let the users visit the website and track the progress of the issue at their convenience
- All the issues would be logged by the help desk based on support calls – regular users would not be submitting problem reports online
Since I didn’t like anything that was out there at the time I decided to write my own. Since the PHP+MySQL system that I was developing already had a database of our employees and their email addresses, I integrated it into the code base. The idea behind the system was simple – the less features the better. And if it is not crucial to the core functionality, it doesn’t need to be there – it can be mentioned in the notes section. So the system asks you to describe the problem, then to say what was done to resolve it. Then it lets you post follow up notes with updates. Each time you update the issue and change one of it’s properties you need to write a short note that describes the change which automatically gets filed as a follow up.
It’s not a very rich system, and it is definitely not an enterprise grade product. But I have been using it since then making small improvements here and there and it worked just fine for me.
Recently I deiced that it would be a good idea to release that code under GPL – perhaps someone else can make use of it. Of course the code is tightly integrated with the monstrous custom system I built for work, and can’t be used as a stand-alone online application. It needs a complete rewrite of the user management system, session handling and etc. While I’m at it I decided to tighten the database schema, and add the feature allowing you to assign a given issue to another person.
Once I clean it up a bit, I will upload the code there in case anyone is interested.
In fact, SITS is a bit similar to the Issue tracking system that Google Code uses. It’s a little bit more conventional and strict – ie. it has none of the free form wiki like features of Google Code system.
The Roundup Issue Tracker look a bit similar to what I was aiming for. At least in the spartan, minimalistic visual side, and clear dialogs with few UI controls. But it is still much more complex than SITS.
Have you ever used any Issue Tracking products? Do you have a favorite one? Do you have one that you hate? It’s funny but most people I know either use Bugzilla or nothing.
[tags]issue tracking system, issue tracking, bug tracking, sits, sits project, google code[/tags]