Bug Tracker Needed? Here 6 Best Bug Tracking Software to Use
October 23, 2017 · 9 min read
Let’s, first of all, define what a bug tracker is. A bug tracker is basically something that helps IT teams to find and record bugs in their software. Kinda specialized todo list.
Bugs or issues are an integral part of any project along with new features. And a great bug tracker gives your team a single view of all the tasks you are having. This way, it helps your team prioritize against the big picture goals while delivering value to the clients.
By the end of the day, you want to ship software as quickly as possible with the fewest issues possible.
Which Bug Tracker is the best?
Well, it depends since there are a few factors to consider: for example, the simplicity. If there are non-tech people in the team and you choose a complex tool, its adoption can be challenging. You will have to train your non-tech people and that might take too much time and resources. So, it is highly recommended that the bug tracker is simple enough and easy to use for everyone.
Another thing to consider is the workflow. If one and the same issue travels from one team members to another then a simple workflow won’t work. However, if you are a small team, a simple workflow might be perfect for you.
The third thing to consider is the policies i.e. you should take into account your company policies when deciding which bug tracker to use. Sometimes, clients and other stakeholders do not want software teams to use external software. On the other hand, if you are going to use a self-hosted bug tracker, it might require a whole lot of attention due to its maintenance issues.
And there are of course some other things to consider based on your business type and client requirements. So, you might want to take a closer look at a few bug trackers in order to decide which one to use.
Below are the ones that we could recommend.
Developers love it, they know how to use it and they do it regularly. For these reasons, it will be expedient to use it also for bug tracking. For this purpose, GitHub offers the so-called GitHub Issues.
A typical issue on GitHub contains a title and a description. It has a color-coded label that helps categorize the issue. Milestones help connect and organize issues into project phases. The issue can be assigned to one or multiple assignees. Team members can comment on each issue to get feedback from each other and share thoughts. You can find and sort issues based on the milestones, labels, and assignees.
With GitHub, you can use @mentions and references inside Issues in order to notify other team members about anything you want. These features help make the work more productive.
If you want to see the big picture of all your issues, the Issues Dashboard can help you. Here you can see all the issues across different repositories and projects.
So, Github Issues is a pretty simple bug tracking system, which is flexible enough to be a pretty powerful tool but there are also certain limits you should consider:
- if you manage a lot of tasks, it will be difficult to navigate through the list;
- there is no room for custom workflows, no automation;
- there are no special task types, only by means of labels (but this is not very flexible)
- after 10 comments on a task, it is very difficult to navigate and read the chain;
- no subtasks;
GitHub offers cloud hosting which costs from $7 per user per month. And also enterprise self-hosted version which costs $2,500 per 10 users/year.
As you might already know, Trello is a team collaboration tool. However, it can be used as a bug tracker software too. It’s easy to operate, very flexible and it has a nice design. It really takes a few minutes to set up Trello to be your bug tracker. Here is how.
So, if you are not much into advanced tools, GitHub and Trello can be quite handy. Let’s now pass on to a few more complex tools with more features.
BugHerd helps turn client feedback into actionable tasks. Your clients report issues by making annotations from the site. And the software turns these into bug reports which you can use to fix the problem.
BugHerd has got a bunch of famous companies and organizations as its users. Dell, McCann, Unicef, Vodafone, and Yale University are among its customers.
See what you can do with BugHerd:
- Submit feedback and easily report issues directly from your website;
- See where the issue was reported;
- Automatically attach screenshot with every bug report;
- Add 3-rd party integrations (GitHub, Jira, Zendesk etc.);
- Manage, assign, and prioritize tasks through the visual task board;
- Use it for unlimited projects;
- Grant external stakeholders access;
- Export data to use for reporting;
So, the main difference is that this is already a specialized bug tracker. Using GitHub you should always manually include any related information such as a concrete page on which the bug was found, screen resolution, the operating system, etc., then with Bugherd this meta information is tracked and added automatically.
BugHerd doesn’t offer a self-hosted version. And it’s pricing starts from $29 per month.
Similar to BugHerd, with TrackDuck (now part of InVision), both your clients and colleagues can leave feedback on a website or an image file. Here again, every new comment has a screenshot and additional meta information recorded automatically.
Some more TrackDuck features:
- Set priorities while being on the same page;
- Fully integrate into your workflow;
- Integrate to your favorite project management tool (GitHub, Slack, Trello, Jira, Asana etc.);
One of the advantages of TrackDuck is that it is easy to use for non-tech people. All they need to do is to select a part of the website and just leave a comment. TruckDuck will automatically append data about browser, OS, and screen resolution.
With TrackDuck, you can report bugs, give feedback and highlight issues on any existing website or design within seconds. Also, you can view sessions of your clients and your end users via WebRTC screen capturing and animated GIFs.
However, one disadvantage of TrackDuck is that it has no integration with Zendesk yet.
TrackDuck doesn’t offer a self-hosted option and pricing starts with $9 per month.
FogBugz (by Fog Creek, the team behind Trello) is one integrated tool for task management, document collaboration, code management, customer support, and agile development.
With FogBugz, you can do the following:
- Subscribe to tasks to get notifications;
- Visualize work issues and get reports;
- Use search filters;
- Get the big picture of everything (audit log);
- Perform issue editing;
- Customize workflows;
- Integrate with GitHub;
Note that Apple, Nasa, Microsoft, and Time are among FogBugz users. FogBugz bug tracker also offers time tracking, burndown charts and progress bars. But, you will have to pay extra cash for any such add-on features.
The good thing about FogBugz is that it can help a business to organize and prioritize its development tasks in a single location. FogBugz also has a search engine which allows users to search the cases, articles, and correspondence.
In addition, FogBugz is supported on iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices. This means that teams can respond to customer requests instantly to stay on top of project tasks while they are away from their office.
Everyone gets notifications and emails about changes to the issues they are tracking. Every team member has control over the frequency of updates. This way they can easily choose if they want to be notified of updates once a day or once a week.
Another important feature that FogBugz has is the customer support help desk.
FogBugz does not offer self-hosting and the pricing starts from $20 per month.
Jira is one of the best tools ever and it is meant for the whole team to plan, track, and release great software. Companies like Spotify, Airbnb, eBay, and Cisco are using Jira.
These are some of the things you can do with Jira:
- Use Scrum and Kanban;
- Plan your sprints and prioritize the backlog;
- Customize the workflow;
- Integrate developer tools;
- Get out-of-the-box agile reports;
- Use different add-ons;
The best thing about Jira is that it’s not only a bug tracker; it’s a tool that helps manage your software during its lifetime.
According to many of its users, Jira does a great job of balancing usability and power. Still, according to them, the process of adding and managing the issues remains very simple. This is a great advantage that Jira has over many other bug tracking tools.
Additionally, according to many users, Jira is better than FogBugz in many respects. For example, unlike FogBugz, Jira’s visual workflow designer allows you to design custom workflow for any team’s unique work process. Also, in Jira, you can create custom dashboards that contain all the information you need to plan and track the work. There are dozens of gadgets that can help you during the process.
And last but not least, unlike FogBugz, Jira brings real-time and an up-to-date status of your team’s next release. Everything is easy to manage since everything is in one handy location and at your fingertips.
Jira offers cloud and self-hosted versions which costs from $10 per month for up to 10 users.
Hopefully, now you have a better idea on existing bug tracking tools and what to consider while choosing. Happy bug fixing!
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