Monday, May 14, 2007

Bugzilla 3.0 released

Woohoo, a new Bugzilla to play with.

We use Bugzilla internally for our bug tracking and enhancement requests. It was easy to setup, does what we need it to do, and generally behaves itself. No real issues to worry about.

Except it's pages are butt-ugly!

That's why I'm excited about two things in the new release, the first is real template + CSS support. Using some standard CSS I hope to customize the appearance of the various pages on our internal Bugzilla to make the UI look better, and more importantly, organize the material shown on the various pages to make them easier to use, simply by re-organizing the fields appropriately. The current design does the job, but it could be much less error prone than it is. Anyway, its something I've wanted to do for awhile and now looks to be a good time to make the change.

The second feature that really caught my eye was the email submission and updating of bugs. We just had a very successful beta for Carbide.c++ 1.2 but one of the issues we had was the shear number of bug reports submitted in the messages posted in the Google group. My people had to surf through all those messages and:

1) see is an engineer had already responded that yes, that is a bug,
2) determine if the issue reported really is a bug, or
3) respond to the user seeking more info to verify step 2
4) once confirmed, log the new bug to our Bugzilla database
5) repeat for the next message

Basically, it was really manually time intensive during the release period when, as everyone knows, time is already at a premium.

So, the thought was to expose a copy of Bugzilla to the next beta group to make the submission, tracking, and interaction with the users more transparent. However, that would mean a second copy of Bugzilla, one for the beta group, one internal. And yes while I know it would be better to simply expose the internal one, the security policy we live with makes that a non-choice at this time.

Anyway, with this new email bug submission and updating feature in Bugzilla 3.0, I hope we can easily create a simple page or two on the next beta site so beta users can submit and update bugs as they find them, removing the manual portion of the activity on our end. We still need to evaluate how well this process actually works but right now I have high hopes for success.

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