Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Feature Request: View for External Submitters

I would like to allow our customers to submit bugs and view the status of these bugs without being able to see bugs that they did not submit. Ideally, they would be able to visit a page that showed a summary list of all the bugs submitted by them or by anyone in their company, with a link to view the detail of any particular bug.

This would allow our customers to keep track of how good a job we are doing resolving their issues without worrying that potentially confidential data recorded in the bug report could be seen by our other customers.

Michael T.
Sunday, October 20, 2002

We basically have what you want in 3.0.

We thought long and hard about it and came to the conclusion that people have two kinds of customers.

Type one: customers you work really closely with, who submit a lot of bugs. For example, a consulting firm might have a full time project manager from the client. These people can be trusted enough to have full access to the FogBUGZ database (at least, their FogBUGZ database) so you just make them an account. If you have multiple customers and you want to keep their information private from each other we suggest that you install FogBUGZ twice, side-by-side.

Type two: more hands-off customers who just want to report bugs and find out when they are fixed. These are customers where you want to carefully manage the relationship. These customers don't care about FogBUGZ, they don't care what happens internally and they don't want to watch their bug go through your system. And you want to be able to discuss their bug in the bug itself *without* the customer seeing all the internal discussion.

For type two customers we have two new features in FogBUGZ 3.0: email-to-bug and external submissions without logging on. In both cases, the customer submits the bug and you send them an email when it's fixed or if you need more information. The customer a very simplified interface to FogBUGZ. There is a single project owner who acts as the "customer representative" inside the system. For example:
(a) customer emails bug report. it becomes a bug.
(b) bug is processed internally like any other bug.
(c) anyone can send an email to the customer asking for more info, clarification, or reporting that the bug is fixed.
(d) all email to and from the customer is stored in the bug in chronological order
(e) the customer does NOT see the entire bug. So you can have highly technical conversations without bothering the customer with stupid details.

Basically, you have to decide whether your customer is a "hands on" or "hands off" customer and both situations work well in FB 3.0.

Joel Spolsky
Sunday, October 20, 2002

But no halfway house here? Our existing (in-house developed) system provides a cut-down interface where our customers can log in. This provides them with:

A status view for any bugs they reported.
Any bugs related to products which they are "allowed" to view bugs for.

While we could use an e-mail system instead (as you suggest) this would mean taking functionality away from our customers.

We're very interested in looking into FogBugz 3 for replacing our bug system and adding customer support management. The lack of this feature would most likely be a real stopping point.

Simon Steele
Monday, October 21, 2002

Joel - thanks for the information. I was hoping my question would generate more detail on how this requirement would be handled in version 3.0, and it did.

However, I agree with Simon that it would be very nice to allow the customer the ability to log in and see a report of the bugs that they have submitted. Our current bug tracking system (developed in-house like everyone else's) applies access control to bugs and differentiates customer-logged bugs from internally-logged bugs. It prevents our customers from having to maintain their own list of bugs - they can use our bug tracking system to record and track all of their issues. We considered this a key feature and the fact that FogBugz 2.0 didn't support it was the main reason we developed our own solution.

I do like your email integration, however, and I think that this along with anonymous bug submission will handle most of our customer's interaction with the bugs. Therefore, it's likely that we will create our own custom report against the FogBugz database since this seems to be the only part of the feature that version 3.0 is missing.

Michael T.
Monday, October 21, 2002

Has this feature been implemented in FogBUGZ now?  Are there plans for this?

I'm sure it wouldn't be a big deal to build your own solution for this, as was mentioned.  Are there views in the database that you can use?  That way, if Fog Creek changes the tables in the future, they would take care of compatibility issues.  You could create your own views, but it would be nice for Fog Creek to do that for us.

I don't have access to the database yet, since I'm on the 45-day trial.

Scott Stonehouse
Monday, December 09, 2002

Is this implemented yet?

Charisma Schlossberg
Friday, February 28, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home