Issue tracking systems – part 2

A while back I blogged about setting up an issue tracking system for Knights. There were two systems I seriously considered: JIRA and Trac. I found that my server didn’t have enough RAM to run JIRA so I was going to use Trac instead.

Since then there has been a slight change of plan. The folks at Atlassian (the makers of JIRA) have informed me that they offer free JIRA hosting for open source projects. This is very cool as it solves my hosting issues and also is much easier to set up than Trac (as they basically set it up for you!). Also I am more familiar with JIRA than Trac (as I use JIRA at work). For these reasons I have decided to give JIRA a try.

So there is currently a Knights JIRA installation running at http://knightsgame.jira.com. This is open to the public so feel free to have a play with it and let me know what you think. So far I have added one or two issues but otherwise haven’t really used it yet — I’m relying on you guys to fill it up with the things you want done in future releases 🙂

JIRA is quite easy to use, but here are some quick instructions in case you need them:

  • To view issues, click on Browse Projects and then click Knights. You will be presented with lists of components and versions. Since I haven’t set up any components or versions yet, just click on No Component and you will be taken to a list of all open issues. You can then click any issue to get details of it.
  • To search you can either type something into the Quick Search box (top right) or you can do a more detailed search by clicking on Find Issues. In the latter case you will have a panel on the left of your screen which allows you to filter issues by type, priority, text search etc, or any combination of these.
  • To comment on an issue, first browse or search for the issue you want (see above) and then click the Comment link on the left hand side. You need to create an account before you can post comments (see below).
  • To report a bug or request a new feature, click on Create New Issue and follow the instructions. You need to create an account to do this (see below).

Note that currently I am running an evaluation copy of JIRA which is limited to five user accounts (one of them being me). These will be available on a first come first served basis. In the meantime I will have to submit an application to Atlassian to be given full access for my open source project. Once this is done (and assuming they accept the application) we will get full access and the limit on the number of users will be removed. This process apparently takes about 2 weeks. (If they don’t accept the application, then plan B is to switch to Trac. Should this happen I will copy all issues from JIRA into Trac so don’t worry about losing any data.)

Anyway, please try it out and let me know what you think.

5 thoughts on “Issue tracking systems – part 2”

  1. Well I checked out your IP and email address and it appears you work for the company that makes Lighthouse. You might have stated that.

    In any case I have been using JIRA for 3 years now at work and I can honestly say that I have never had any problems with it, it has certainly not been “a headache and awful to use”. Nor has anyone I know complained about it. Perhaps you could give some more details of what you think is bad about it.

    Ultimately it will be up to my users to decide whether they like it or not, but for my part I have nothing against Jira, at the moment anyway.

  2. I also went to journalism school and keep tabs on a lot of news organizations and such. It was more a questions of personal interest vs a work related thing, or I would have used my work credentials to post.

    I just find the overall experience of JIRA to be a headache from my experience. Maybe I’m biased because it’s bulky, which applies to many of the installable systems.

    Issue trackers are all different, and everyone has different needs. I personally never understood why so many of them have tons of fields and concentrate on priority based workflow in small team sized environments. I have a tendency to lean towards http://www.43folders.com/2009/04/28/priorities when it comes to workflow, and very few issue trackers follow such a pattern for their workflow.

  3. Well I’m sorry if my post sounded a bit harsh.. it just seemed like you had come along to promote your own company. At least it looked that way.

    At least you’ve given us few more details now. I will take a look at that link (and at Lighthouse) when I get a chance.

  4. Stephen,

    Thanks for giving JIRA fair treatment. (quick disclaimer, I work for Atlassian) I logged into your Knightsgame tracker, and noticed that you are actually using JIRA Studio. It’s worth mentioning because that also includes a bunch of other functionality that is useful for the Knightsgame contributors, including, hosted subversion, agile planning, a project wiki, subversion viewer, Code Review and Continuous integration.
    We hope all these features help your team build some good software. Enjoy.

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