it's not a bug, it's a feature!
October 18, 2011 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a good bug tracker. Free, or close to free, of course!

Hi, I am getting ready to send a site to the client for testing. In the past they have given us 3-page, single spaced pages of changes they'd like to see on the site and then we have to spend a day parsing what they meant and turning it into a to-do list. I thought a bug tracker would help them put things into bite-sized chunks for me.

What I need is something super simple with the name of the issue, the location of the issue, and a description. Then I need to be able to assign it and give it a due date and the person completing the work needs to be able to write notes and check it off the list. I don't need a wiki or a gantt chart or anything like that.

A Google Spreadsheet is a possibility if that gives any indication of how simple I'd like it to be (I just need it one step more so that the end users can't go in and add columns or anything like that).

Pricing - free is good but I could spend a few bucks on it. The testing process will probably take 3 months, max. We'll have 4 users here and the client will probably have 12-15 users.

posted by dawkins_7 to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Everywhere I've worked for the last I don't know how many years has used Bugzilla very effectively.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:43 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not free, but it's pretty much the best one I've used. Fogbugz. They offer hosted and host-your-own models.

Trac is also good, and free, but it just doesn't have the ease of use that I think FogBugz does.

Ketura is another paid product, ~75% cheaper than FogBugz, but worth a look if Trac doesn't do it for you.

HTH. :-)
posted by bfu at 7:44 AM on October 18, 2011

I work with Bugzilla on a daily basis. It's got a lot more features than you, I, or most people need, but you can safely ignore the features that you don't want. It's free Open Source and pretty robust.

I thought a bug tracker would help them put things into bite-sized chunks for me.

A good bug tracker will be of stupendous value to your project.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:45 AM on October 18, 2011

Yeah Bugzilla is the one I was thinking of. When my previous employer decided to pony up for paid SW they went with Spiratest, which I as a PM honestly liked and the QA guys liked, too. Well, they chose it. they should have liked it.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:46 AM on October 18, 2011

I've had good experiences with Trac. Bugzilla has always been way too complicated and squirelly.

JIRA is probably exactly what you need, but more than you'd like to pay.
posted by Nahum Tate at 7:46 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well, the gotos are RT and bugzilla. We're standing up a bugzilla system here, and you can in fact customize it to get rid of the massive array of options. It's just that bugzilla installs default to 'incredibly customer intimidating'.

One other option might be something like a caldav task list. You get a title, a description, a due date, etc. I use that for my personal stuff, and it can be made to share among people.
posted by pwnguin at 7:47 AM on October 18, 2011

If you're looking for pretty, clicky, and web-based then you could probably get away with Basecamp - more of a project management tool but they do have a free plan (at the bottom of that linked page, in small font) that you can experiment with to see if it'll fit your needs.
posted by komara at 7:48 AM on October 18, 2011

You could also try out on their free two user license to determine if it's something that will work for you before you pony up the $29/month for something that will support more users.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:48 AM on October 18, 2011

My two favorites are Bugzilla and, trailling a bit behind, Trac. I've tried about twenty in my career and hobby life and, in the end, you get what you pay for (either in hours or dollars). They all mostly work well enough "out of the box" but you can start gaining some serious efficiency multipliers the moment you start to monkey with them. A small example: modify your bug tracker to automatically parse text like "commit N" or usernames and turn them into links: the former takes you to the source control page for that commit and the latter takes you to a user page which contains assigned bugs, commit history, etc.
posted by introp at 7:49 AM on October 18, 2011

I like LightHouse and Sifter.

Good software costs money.

Free: use a Google spreadsheet.
posted by wolfr at 7:59 AM on October 18, 2011

Bugzilla is terrible. Everyone uses it, but it's absolutely terrible. TRAC is okay, and so is Mantis.
posted by Jairus at 8:00 AM on October 18, 2011

I've been using Mantis, and been fairly happy with it for the price (free). I don't like how Trac works, and Bugzilla is, like other people have said, a little complex until you customize it.
posted by demiurge at 8:03 AM on October 18, 2011

I have worked on projects with Bugzilla, TRAC, Basecamp and JIRA for bug and task tracking. JIRA has been the hands down winner. $10 for 10 or fewer users is a hard price to beat, I think. Just limit the number of users the client can access?
posted by bastionofsanity at 8:03 AM on October 18, 2011

We just switched to Trello at work, and it does exactly what you said. (There's no "location" field but you can add it as part of the description, or as a comment.) I really like it so far, and I've started using it for personal stuff too.
posted by yaymukund at 8:28 AM on October 18, 2011

Big fan of redmine -- it allows you to customize your bug status workflows and the bug statuses. We switched from bugzilla to redmine and never looked back.
posted by bfranklin at 8:36 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have know Drupal already, then you should consider Open Atrium. I've used it's case tracker successfully for projects.

It can be customized quite easily by editing the Views it uses to display the content (once again, presupposing Drupal knowledge).
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 8:44 AM on October 18, 2011

It has been awhile but Bugzilla was brutal to setup and only slightly less so to use. Mantis was much more enjoyable.
posted by mmascolino at 8:45 AM on October 18, 2011

I'll second JIRA, and point out that if you've got less than 10 people wanting to use it it costs $10.
posted by jpziller at 10:08 AM on October 18, 2011

Personally I like Unfuddle better than JIRA and it has a free plan and then also cheap monthly plans too.
posted by rmless at 10:08 AM on October 18, 2011

Second vote for Redmine, note that Redmine is a great tool for hosting an entire client site - calanders/wiki/file and documents (which is how we use it). That being said, setup can be a pain.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:09 AM on October 18, 2011

I'm looking at Unfuddle right now and seems to be super easy to set up. Thanks everyone for all the great recommendations!
posted by dawkins_7 at 12:04 PM on October 18, 2011

I use unfuddle for my smallish projects and I'm plenty happy with it. For some consulting gigs (where I don't need source control), I use ClockingIt. It's more on the project management side rather than source control side. So: smallish projects where I'm working on someone else's code: ClockingIt, for the ability to create tasks, milestones, bug reports, billing, etc. My own long-running software that needs version control and bug reports: unfuddle. I'm pretty happy with both, both are free at the size I use.
posted by instamatic at 1:40 PM on October 18, 2011

(Bigger projects, where I worked with a dedicated team managing build processes and bug tracking infrastructure: Jira.)
posted by instamatic at 1:42 PM on October 18, 2011

Hey, just came back to say that I went with Unfuddle and it worked great. Everyone in the office loved working with it.
posted by dawkins_7 at 6:06 PM on February 29, 2012

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