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Ideas

Okay, we didn't buy FogBugz, but I did end up creating our own version (no you can't get a copy...unless you're Joel) and came up with a few possible improvements. Please keep in mind that the version I wrote is also used for task management.

On the editing, assigning, etc screens, I have the history roll up so that it only shows the date, operation and person.

Example:

12/13/2001 Opened by Steve Barbour
12/13/2001 Assigned to Steve Barbour by Kingsley Rutters
12/13/2001 Assigned to Chip Childress by Steve Barbour
12/14/2001 Assigned to Steve Barbour by Chip Childress
12/18/2001 Edited by Steve Barbour (No Text)
12/18/2001 Edited by Steve Barbour (No Text)
12/19/2001 (Today) Edited by Steve Barbour

The lines are links that when clicked expand to show the actual text.

If a user includes a url or an email address in the description text, the system will convert these into hyperklinks.

When assigning tasks (bugs) users can choose from either a master list of people or a list of user defined favorites. This really helps when you have a lot of people to choose from.

I have also added the ability to set a reminder date on tasks, at which point the system sends an email.

I've added different user levels.  System wide admins get access to everything.  Department admins get access to everything in their department.  Regular users can access and edit, assign, move, etc. any tasks assigned to them.

I've already emailed these to Joel, and he suggested that I post them here and see what you folks thought.

Steve Barbour
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Joel believes that options dialogs are histories of things that the designers couldn't agree on.  I think that's true to an extent, but still, different users want different things, and I think that's the case here.

All of these are admirable, and I can see where some users/shops might like them, but all in all none of them (with the exception of the hyperlinks) really make my socks roll up and down.

I just sent to Joel a suggestion that if an item attachment is a graphics file of a specified size or less, FogBUGZ could simply display it inline rather than supplying a download link (think small screen shots). But since one of your apparent desires was to condense the display rather than expanding it, you probably wouldn't like this. 

Chacun a son gout! (That's French for "Options dialogs are good!")

Chris

Chris Dunford
Friday, December 21, 2001

User access levels would be an improvement. It wasn't possible to put some projects into FB because some employees couldn't know about them... (not my company I disclaim)

Daniel Berlinger
Sunday, December 23, 2001

Actually, you still get the full inline display when displaying the bug, it only rolls up when you are doing an edit or some other operation on it.

Basically, our users requested it because they found it to be a pain to have to scroll down three screens to annotate something and hit submit.

But, as I stated, this system is used for task management as well.

I already had images display inline, I hadn't realized FogBugz handled that any differently.

The other idea I've been toying with is to have to ability to create sub areas in a project.  I'm not sure how useful that would be to everyone else, but the way we use the system is to define each Project as a department, and then define areas as needed.  For our use, being able to define additional sub-areas would help the organization, although I don't think we'll have the bug submitter choosing the sub area.

The other change that I'm still working on is defining recurring tasks, things that you know you'll have to do every so often (twice a month for instance).

The only hold up is figuring out an efficient way to represent the time span in the database.  Once a month on the fifth is easy, but every other month on the third Thursday is more problematic.

Steve Barbour
Monday, December 24, 2001

<Basically, our users requested it because they found it to be a pain to have to scroll down three screens to annotate something and hit submit.>

Yeah, I understand.  I've been toying with asking FogCreek for an option to display activity in reverse order (newest first), with command buttons at the top.

But I don't like to overwhelm them with option requests.  Joel despises options. :)

Chris Dunford
Monday, December 24, 2001

I was thinking of adding a duplicate set of all the buttons (resolve/assign/edit/etc) in the upper right corner of the bug page --- what do people think about that?

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, January 22, 2002

...a duplicate set of all the buttons...

Yes!  I was just about to post a topic requesting just that.  I think it would be nice because then you could click on a bug from your "My Bugs" list or filter or whatever, and as soon as the screen loads, assuming you already know what it is you want to do (edit, resolve, whatever) you could click the appropriate button without having to scroll down to the bottom of the page.

For bugs that have a fairly wordy history, this would save a lot of unnecessary scrolling.  Even though it only takes a few seconds to scroll down, it would be eliminating one of those "tiny annoyance" type of things that add up to be moderately annoying over time.

Also, taking that idea a step further, it might be nice to have the form automatically scroll down to the memo entry box when the "edit" or "resolve" buttons are clicked.  I guess the potential problem with doing this might be that if you actually intended to change something at the top of the screen like the area or priority or something, it would then be annoying to have to scroll back up.  Personally, though I hardly ever change the items at the top of the screen as they are fairly constant items.  I usually just want to type in a request for more information or some comments about what I did to resolve a bug...

Tim Lara
Friday, January 25, 2002

I definitely agree that history information should be presented most recent first. Most consumers of bug information want to know what happened to the bug most recently, not what happened when it was first reported months ago.

Mark Zeren
Sunday, March 10, 2002

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