“Software testing is a process used to identify the correctness, completeness, and quality of developed computer software. It includes a set of activities conducted with the intent of finding errors in software so that it could be corrected before the product is released to the end users.”
What to do once you identify the defect(s)? Yeah! It will follow the Defect Lifecycle, but how? How do you ensure none of the identified defect remains open? How do you notify the development team of defect status? Aha! What about the client reporting? After all he/she too wants a qualitative defects report? As you might have guessed, Emails and Excel are not enough to manage defects in a large project. For single source of truth and maintain consistency, we need a Bug Tracking Software or a Defect Management tool.
Bug Tracking Software
As the name suggests Bug tracking is a process of managing the status transition of identified defects, mainly via an effective Bug Tracking Software. What do you think should be the essential components of a great Bug Tracking Software? Let’s list some features…
- First & Foremost: Ability to log & progress defects through its life cycle statuses using a unique defect ID
- Provides a centralized repository for tracking defects across projects.
- Maintenance of all the related info like environment, module, severity, priority, screenshots, release cycle, etc.
- People collaboration: A defect passes through multiple hands before being ‘closed’. It should be easy to assign a defect to people and comment on the progress (maintaining the history as well)
- Reporting – internal or client reporting covering relevant fields, either pictorial (graphs & charts) or simple extraction
- Customizable: Most of the popular Bug Tracking software can be customized according to the project needs (statuses, reporting structure, people’s role, etc.)
Apart from the above features, there can be multiple user-friendly features in different Bug Tracking software to ease the process. That being said, let’s jump on to the list of most popular Bug Tracking software available in the industry.
An open source tool supported / developed by Mozilla Foundation, Bugzilla has been a leading Bug tracking software for quite some time now – A large number of companies, organizations, and projects use Bugzilla – E.g. Mozilla, Linux Kernel, GNOME, KDE, Apache Project, Open Office and Eclipse. It has a very simple to use web based interface providing all the essential Bug Tracking software features like advanced search capabilities, bug lists in multiple formats, scheduled reports, automatic duplicate bug detection, capability to file / modify bugs by email, time tracking, request system, private attachment and comments, patch viewer etc. along with the flexibility of customization.
Developed since 2002, JIRA is a proprietary Bug Tracking software, developed by Atlassian. It provides bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management functions. According to Atlassian, JIRA is used for issue tracking and project management by over 25,000 customers in 122 countries around the globe.
JIRA allows defect’s state machine to be changed by its users, and also for different classes of issue to be tracked, each with their own state machine. This makes JIRA far more flexible: it may be used as a more general “issue tracker” rather than solely a bug tracker, tracking new feature requests, system admin tasks, Scrum tasks or any other feature that its users might require. It is a tool that directly integrates with the code development environments making it a perfect fit for developers as well. JIRA is offered in three packages:
- JIRA Core includes the base software.
- JIRA Software is intended for use by software development teams and includes JIRA Core and JIRA Agile.
- JIRA Service Desk is intended for use by IT or business service desks.
Note: Although normally styled JIRA, the product name is not an acronym, but a truncation of Gojira, the Japanese name for Godzilla, itself a reference to JIRA’s main competitor, Bugzilla.
An open source web-based Bug tracking software that not only keeps track of bugs, but includes a user system so that multiple users can interact and multiple projects can be tracked. The application has features like an integrated wiki, chat, RSS feeds, time tracking, source code integration, built in reporting, email notifications, attachments, multi-DBMS support, support for mobile devices etc.
Written in PHP, Mantis works with multiple databases like MS SQL, MySQL, and PostgreSQL and is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and IE 7+. With simple user interface and infinitely cheaper than other commercial software, Mantis is an obvious choice for any small to medium sized company. It has both Free & Commercial versions (You get 30 days free trail on commercial plans too)
Developed by Edgewall software and written in Python, Trac is an open source and web-based Bug Tracking software where issues & incidents are referred to as ‘Tickets’. It supports multiple platforms like Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows. Features include an interface to Subversion (and other version control systems), convenient reporting facilities, project management features including roadmap and milestone tracking, user management, wiki and support for a range of plugins. Integrate Trac with a SCM system and you can use it to browse through the code, view changes, view history etc. A time-line shows all current and past project event in order while the roadmap highlights the upcoming milestones.
Redmine is a free and open source, web-based project management and bug tracking software. Written using the Ruby on Rails framework, it is cross-platform and cross-database. Even though it is not a ‘bug tracking’ tool it involves working with issues, where issues can be features, tasks, bugs/defects etc. Some of the main features of Redmine are: Multiple projects support, Flexible role based access control, Flexible issue tracking system, Gantt chart and calendar, News, documents & files management, Feeds & email notifications, Per project wiki, Per project forums, Time tracking, Custom fields for issues, time-entries, projects and users, SCM integration (SVN, CVS, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar and Darcs), Issue creation via email, Multiple LDAP authentication support, User self-registration support, Multilanguage support and Multiple databases support
Well, no list of Bug tracking software will be complete without the HP QC, what say? HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is an end-to-end test management solution with a robust integrated Bug tracking mechanism to help you define, build, test, and deliver applications across the entire Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). It’s easy, efficient and everything you can ask for. One of the most priced tool available in the market, it continues to be a prime source of criticism along with the fact that it is not very ‘friendly’ with all the web browsers.
IBM Rational Clear Quest is a commercial client-server based web application that supports defect management process. It can capture and manage any type of bugs. Like any other tool, ClearQuest supports multiplatform, like HP-UX, Linux, and Microsoft Windows operating system. Main Features include Integration with other tools, Supports real time reporting and metrics and Increased team collaboration.
Though the name sounds like it must be a bug-tracking tool – that is not all Bug Genie is. Developed in PHP, it is a complete Project management and issue tracking tool. The Bug Genie supports your agile process, be it Scrum, Kanban or other. Burndown graphs, charts and estimation tools without additional plugins or cost. Connect to existing source control systems – everything from Github to private company repositories – for issue updates, notifications and integrations. Multiple workflows with custom transition views. Define your company or team workflow and track time in The Bug Genie with ease.
It supports multi-platform, multi-databases and multi-languages. It also provides an easy to use interface. Recording the issue in the Bug Genie is simple and fast. Also, you can add any number of the custom field to your issues. While the integrated quick search enables you to quickly view your issue, it also allows to search through wiki articles, users, teams and more.
Lighthouse is the perfect ticket tracking solution. It is simple, organized and compatible with your mobile devices. To manage the bug, lighthouse give you all the amenities it requires like custom states, effective tagging system, advanced search, saved searches and a mass editing tool. It also integrates with dozens of useful services like Airbrake, Github, Exceptional, Beanstalk, etc. Main features include – Simplified Navigation, Group tickets into live queues, Activity Stream, Keep up with your project’s progress with Milestones and Online Project documents storage. Over 50,000 people use Lighthouse every day to collaborate on their projects.
Zoho Bug Tracker is an online Bug Tracking Software that lets you create Projects, milestone, tasks, bugs, reports, documents and so on. The product is commercial but not very expensive. Main features include:
- Track bugs by status, severity, and user. Get insights on progress with bug reports.
- Set business rules to automatically trigger actions for bug events. Select events to send email notifications to assignees, reporters and other users.
- Create custom workflows, statuses, and fields to tailor BugTracker to your needs.
- Create custom views based on users and bug severity to stay organized and focused on what’s most important.
- Monitor code changes from within BugTracker with GitHub and Bitbucket integrations.
- Manage your files with ease using folders. Tag files with intuitive labels and keep track of changes with version history.
A web-based Bug tracking software, BugHost has just the right balance of features and licensing for any size business. BugHost is accessible on cloud as well and can create an issue directly into your project. Prominent features include:
- Record unlimited Defects, maintain audit trail
- Searching & Reporting including administrative reports
- Strong security protection to access bugs
- Bug linking
- Integrated Email and notifications
- File attachments
Open source issue tracking and project issue management solution built using the ASP.NET web application framework. BugNET is built to take advantage of the latest ASP.NET framework, SQL Server, and Microsoft Server platforms. BugNET allows multiple projects, custom properties & fields, attachments, comments, email notifications and much more. BugNET’s web interface makes it simple to file, manage, and report bugs. Customize issue types, status, priority and many more fields to match your existing workflows and quickly adapt to changes as your processes evolve. BugNET is open source, free to download and use.
Most affordable high quality, flexible and fully customizable online bug tracking. eTraxis is an OpenSource bug tracking system with ability to set up unlimited number of fully customizable workflows. eTraxis can be used for tracking almost anything, but the most popular cases are a bugtracker, a helpdesk, and even a CRM system. Key features:
- Complete customization of the items you track. You can set up any workflow with any rules, and actually you can track anything besides bugs in software.
- Extensive permissions management
- You can comment on any item, creating a related discussion
- See a complete history of all events, actions, and changes, done to your every item
- Attach required files to their items, like it’s performed in the emails world
- Easy and flexible to set up your own filters for list of items to be displayed
- Manageable user’s subscriptions to notifications about different kinds of events, and group reminders about things to be done.
These are the 13 most widely used Bug tracking software. One interesting fact you might have noticed is that most of these Bug tracking software don’t just concentrate on Bugs but almost all have inherent project management capabilities. Any idea why? Yeah! Because ‘Defect Management’ rarely makes sense as an isolated activity. It has to be a part of the bigger picture, i.e. entire project & test management. There are few other Bug tracking tools which can be used keeping in mind the requirement of the project.
- Collabtive, Team Foundation Server, DevTrack, FogBugz, Axosoft, Unfuddle, TestTrack, BUGTrack, Bug-A-Boo, BugAware, YouTrack, Fossil, Request Tracker, BontQ, WebIssues, DoneDone
The main benefit of a Bug tracking software is to provide a clear centralized overview of development requests (including both bugs and improvements), and their state. Bug tracking software is often implemented as a part of integrated project management system. This approach allows including bug tracking and fixing in a general product development process, fixing bugs in several product versions, automatic generation of a product knowledge base and release notes.