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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bug tracking software -- SharePoint

It is hard to imagine how can a group of developers work together without a bug tracking system. A bug tracking system is needed precisely because no human can hold all of the bug information inside his head. Therefore some form of records are needed. And what can be more convenient than a web base bug tracking application?

Before we used FogBugz in our company, we use Microsoft SharePoint 2003 to keep track of our bug cases. The only upside of this tool was, it came at no extra charge. Once you buy a copy of SharePoint server and that was the only amount you needed to pay. Beyond that, it is wretched beyond redemption as far as bug tracking is concerned. Here are just a few points against Microsoft SharePoint as a bug tracker system:
  1. It's uncustomized. You see, Microsoft SharePoint is very powerful; it's a generic tool that can be molded into doing anything you want it to do-- or, sort of. But before it can be something useful you have to customize it. That's the problem. SharePoint customization is a huge business and there is no way someone with no experience can do it. So you need to engage outside consultants to do the customization and let them charge you heftly.
  2. Not only that, you will need to tell them what to customize. That's another problem, because we don't know what to expect out of a bug tracking system anyway. If it is hard to build a good product that is matched 100% to the specs, what are the chances of building a good product that has to be matched to a spec that doesn't even know what to accomplish?
  3. SharePoint is slow, too slow for bug tracking purpose. I don't know how can it be. But poor response time drives people away from the app.
  4. SharePoint is complicated. To get a bug case entered, you have to do don't know how many steps. And what if you need to capture screenshots? You need to do a lot of steps again. But no one can religiously follow all the steps and at the same time testing or developing an app.
  5. Linking between bug cases is another headache. A lot of times one needs to link between cases so as to provide a complete picture of what's going on. But the linking between cases are just plain difficult in SharePoint.
  6. SharePoint does allow online collaboration and document versioning. This should be a plus point, if Microsoft did it properly. Unfortunately the online collaboration thing is just a place to let you download the document, edit it in your computer and upload it. So at the end of the day we still have multiple versions of the same document floating around. Want to know who edit what? No way! All you get is just a list of different versions of the same document. Simultaneous editing? That's for Wikipedia and Google Docs, not SharePoint.
Given that it has so many short coming, finally we decided to dump SharePoint out of the window, and tried something else.


Philk said...

Who thought of using SharePoint in the first place ???
There's a million bug tracking programs out there from free ones to heavyweight commercial ones so why weren't they considered to begin with ?

Soon Hui said...

You have a point, philk. Our development team had very little experience in software development, so we used whatever it was available to us, and that's how we ended up with SharePoint as a bug tracker.

After using FogBugz we kicked ourselves for not being able to think of a proper bug tracking program earlier.

Anonymous said...

I have never attempted to use SharePoint for bug tracking (I didn't know you could!) but I have found the bug tracking system in team foundation server to be very simple to set up and use.

Corey said...

A free, open source alternative to FogBugz, inspired by FogBugz, is BugTracker.NET

(Disclaimer: I'm the author)

If you are researching issue trackers in general, I've created a page that's sort of a meta-page about
issue tracking system comparisons

Anonymous said...

Have to start doing the same :-( my last employer used Bugzilla - it's not butiful but tested, reliable and open source - give it a try

Hristo Yankov said...

I actually think SharePoint may be a good tracking platform. Why? If you are implementing a SharePoint project, your users are presumably familiar with the environment. You don't want to spend time teaching them something new.

It is VERY customizable, no matter what you say.

You can set it up in 2 minutes and you don't need to 'host' it explicitly.

To add insult to injury, here is a step-by-step tutorial how to set it up. Flame on.

Oleksandr said...

2: Hristo Yankov

Quite nice stuff. If the team is not big, no need for complicated access rights, statuses, workflow rukes - then OK.

For serious prodcurion teams - rather simple.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

First, sharepoint is NOT, repeat, NOT a bug tracking system. This is a collaborator tool, an ERP if you will. It has as much to do with bug tracking as the space shuttle does with a VW Bug.

Second, you can use INFOPATH from Microsoft to create your own bug tracking system that will do whatever you want it to do-- beyond anything bugzilla could possibly even DREAM of doing. In fact, you may call for bugzilla authors to be publically flogged once you find out with Infopath can help you do.

Third, I created a form [peer review] in 30 minutes, linked to several databases, and I only had 3 or 4 DAYS of exposure to both sharepoint AND infopath, never heard of them before, yet I was successful. So don't tell me it takes some super genius to do it [I'm a manager, 'nuf said :-].

Just some thoughts, thanks for reading.

mikhail said...

Probably it may be interesting, there is ready-to-use help desk for sharepoint solution for issue tracking and trouble ticket processing:

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