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FogBUGZ: Good for small, small company

I just started my own software company.  I have 4 full-time developers performing contract coding for clients on jobs that range from 20 hours to 500 hours, and two others working on our own products.  We need a bug tracking software package.  Any bad experiences with FogBUGZ, or anything I should consider before making the whopping purchase of $400?

Jeff Good
Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Don't even think about it, just get it.  FogBUGZ is a gem and well worth the $400.  Anything else you get will cost much more and just overload you with stuff you don't need.

We have 10 users, but I would still get it for 4.  I would get it for 2, and I would seriously consider getting it for 1.

There are some features we'd like to see, but Fog Creek has been very open to ideas.

Chris Dunford
Tuesday, November 27, 2001

With only 6 programmers, only 4 of whom need to work closely, just about anything will do.  You *could* just collect bugs over email and changelogs out of the CVS commit comments -- I've certainly seen worse.

Don't listen to Mr. Dunford, who advises you that "Anything else you get will cost much more" -- which is baldly incorrect, there are numerous free bug tools (Bugzilla is a fave); he continues with "and just overload you with stuff you don't need." -- which is open to the question of which features you need.  IIRC, Joel wrote on the quandry of small companies writing software with 10% of the established feature set under the assumption that users only want 10%, but fail upon learning that users don't agree on *which* 10%.

OTOH, $400 is less than a programmer's chair, so this discussion is a bit moot -- your 6 programmers are going to spend more collective time in bug reports than one guy at his desk.

Todd Gillespie
Tuesday, November 27, 2001

My 2 cents:

I wrote a bug tracker program for our group in a day.  On the other hand, I had a framework developed for writing GUI applications with drag and drop components.  A bit of work with the data model tool, and voila instant application.  Also I have written bug tracking and trouble ticket applications before.  Also I have a real prejudice against "enterprise" data-oriented applications which I find are almost always one size fits none.  Having used Remedy, NETman, Scopus and Peregrine I find they invariably have way too many panels / fields / checkboxes / dialogs / menus to navigate through to create a new problem ticket.  Reading Joel's description of FogBUGZ I expect it doesn't have that problem.

I suspect if you wrote it yourself without a GUI framework and experience in writing problem tracking applications, it would probably take two weeks to get it working as well as you like.  At 80 hours, and assuming a cost of $50 per hour that works out to $4,000 vs. $400 for FogBUGZ (well to be fair lets assume it takes a day to set up FogBUGZ so it's $4,000 vs. $800 bucks).

Matthew Cromer
Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Well, my 2 cents :-)

Just download the tool and work with it for a couple of days and come to a conclusion.

I haven't ised FogBugz myself, but i had read an article by Joel saying it had 0 bugs.

Karthik.S
Wednesday, November 28, 2001

I stand by my statements. :-)

Yes, Bugzilla is free, but deployment is nontrivial, and even Mozilla agrees that it runs best in a unix box.  I've known some people who spent a LONG time getting Bugzilla to work on an NT server.  You have to figure that into the cost.

The other web-enabled commercial products we looked it (and some that I've used) were far more expensive than FogBUGZ and had so many gadgets and gizmos to go through to submit a report that people just hated using it.  On the other hand, everybody in our shop loves FogBUGZ.

Chris Dunford
Wednesday, November 28, 2001

I agree with Chris Dunford.

Our shop has about 25 people working with FogBUGZ.  Some of these folks are testers some are developers, and some are business folk who sell our product and have a lot of usablility bugs that they file.

No one had any problems adapting to FogBUGZ.  In fact, the sales folks wish they had "FogSALES" to track their sales effort!

Bugz
Wednesday, November 28, 2001

I used FogBUGZ in small company setting and found it to be excellent. The one thing we were missing was a way to "automate" entries into FB from other systems. Fog Creek saw this need themselves and implemented something for CityDesk, and while not exactly what I was looking for, proves that the need is more widespread...

Anyway, having moved on from that setting, I'm impatiently waiting to get FB back up and running at the home shop for my own projects. Once you're used to it...

I'd also add that it was put to all sorts of project management use, not just bug tracking. Only small things like Fix For, Version, and Computer gave anyone fits. (Folks really want fill in everything!)

Daniel Berlinger
Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Some notes about Bugzilla (well, since it is free).
Functionality is about the same as FogBUGZ (ofcourse, both of them have something more and something less)

There are several ways, how to make Bugzilla work:
1. DIY (it will take about a day, if you are a bit familiar with linux world(that's how i started))
2. Get someone, who does it for you, together with customization (there are people at bugzilla.org, who offer such service (for money))
3. By a server from bugopolis.com.

Of course, there are PRO's and CON's for each solution.
Both of them are also learning from each other, i believe.

tm
Monday, March 03, 2003

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