Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Choosing a bugtracking package over another


My software development team (5 people) is looking for a bug tracking package.

I would like to hear from you folks about your decision-making process when making your own selections.

Specifically, can you tell me what are some of the good and bad things to look out for?

Your advice is greatly appreciated.


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Ease of Use, Ease of Setup.  This is yet another tool for you to use, so you don't want to be futzing around with it much.  We use bugzilla where I work, and it works decent, but its not the easiest to use.

A couple must-have features in my opinion
* auto-update the bug when you check into source control
* send emails on changes to the bug

Unfortunately, the former of those two points to the ease-of-use that I was talking about earlier.  I don't have the time to spend to make bugzilla fit in with our CVS setup, so it doesn't right now.  I dont' want to read someone else's hack script to get it to work.

I tried out FogBugz, and I like it.  But we dont' run IIS where I work, so we don't use it.

Andrew Hurst
Sunday, July 13, 2003

This question is kinda like going to the Oracle website and asking if anyone can recommend a SQL database.


Eric W. Sink
Sunday, July 13, 2003

go to there are a ton of free bug tracking web apps.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

You need to know what it is you want to track and what you want to report by

Simon Lucy
Sunday, July 13, 2003

We've been using FogBugz for about eight months now. I fell out of the habit of checking it, letting myself be driven by phone calls, email, and post-it notes. Last week I dove back in, and it wasn't even an "effort" - already my life is much easier using it to track issues, bugs, etc.

It even allows public bug posting or posting bugs via email (including attachments).

A wishlist item - I'd like to be able to easily edit/remove the fogbugz banner from the public bugs page, since I'd rather our clients not follow the breadcrumbs back to here, where I bitch about them. [grin]

One caveat (since my boss, the $ guy, mentioned it) - it's seat-license driven, so be absolutely sure you cost it right for your project.

I give Fogbugz 5/5 for bugtracking and feature/bug management.


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Thanks to Andrew and Philo for their comments.

Is there such a thing as a package that does too much?  I expect our team to grow to 20 developers at most.  So i don't want to overpay for a package with too many features that we rarely use.

I think the simplicity of fogbugz is great though. 


Monday, July 14, 2003

Yes. It's called Remedy. The epitome of consultantware, it tries to be all things to all people, ends up being not perfect for anyone, and after you've spent five figures on the software, you have to spend six figures on consultants to make it do what you want.

Fogbugz, IMHO, does about 110% of what any particular person needs in a bug checking package, and that extra 10% is something that might prompt you to add value to your own workplace.  For example, I'm not using the fogbugz dll for automatic error reporting, but the existence of it is making me think about adding that to some existing projects.


Monday, July 14, 2003

Look into

even though it is still in beta, the work I have see with it is very good.

Rasmus Brøndsted
Monday, July 14, 2003

"Is there such a thing as a package that does too much?"

Yes, virtually all the bug packages on the market fall into that category. We use FogBUGZ, and the truth is that there's very little for me to complain about. The CEO, on the other hand, whines all the time. What can you do... he started a company with one of those massive bug tracking programs in his previous life. :-p

Brad Wilson (
Monday, July 14, 2003

Inexpensive, effective and a 120- day free trial. No joke. It's great.

Monday, July 14, 2003

JIRA [1] is commercial but cheap (US$1000 at last check) and hits a nice sweet spot in functionality and simplicity. It comes in a standalone version bundled with Tomcat and its own database so you can literally get it running in less than five minutes. Plugging it into another database (like SQL Server, or PostgreSQL) or a piece of cake.

You also get the source with purchase and the API for adding functionality is generally good as well, as long as you know Java. The developers are extremely responsive and friendly to boot.


Chris Winters
Monday, July 14, 2003

Thanks everyone for their great input!

Squishlist is sold as a ASP hosting service while most of the other packages I have seen have to be installed on your own servers.

Does anyone have experience using Squishlist or another ASP hosting service?  Is latency a problem?  We are on a 512kbps ADSL connection in the office.


Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Well, we didn't use an ASP per se, but we were working in an office in Portland, OR, and our development servers (bug tracking, source code control) were in Los Angeles at our main corporate office. We had a DSL line coming into the Portland office (actually, it was an apartment, which is why the servers were in LA - better security).

To put it mildly, it blew.

We had unpredictable connectivity problems that we had absolutely no control over. We were using SourceOffSite on top of Sourcesafe, which worked to mitigate some of the latency/bandwidth problems, but as it was we still couldn't have move than two people at once doing a full "get latest" without the whole network slowing to a crawl. And it never failed that as soon as we had a milestone or a deadline, the connection to LA would go down, and I'd be stuck in the office until midnight just waiting to get a clean checkout.

I have no idea what the quality of the service provided by the ASP in question is, but for a development product, I'd much, MUCH prefer to have it on a server in house.

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Hi Alex -

I just came accross this thread and thought that I would add my 2 cents worth. There are many different tracking systems out there, many of which are very good (check out and the defect tracking forum at

The advantage of a system like Squish is that there are no special hardware or software requirements (except for a browser). You also don't need a special systems person to configure the system. The system is also designed to be easily configured to meet your specific needs.

As for the latency, I have not heard of any problems.
Squish also gives you a full featured trial period of 4 months (120 days). There is no obligation to try the system.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions about the system or our company.

Good Luck In Your Search :)

Andy Lake
Information Management Services

Andy Lake
Friday, August 1, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home