Daily Archives: December 7, 2007


I’ve been meaning to write about this software for a while. When I started my current job, all software development was done by an outside contractor. I quickly took over, and that necessitated implementing a lot of tools and procedures to handle our large C++ and C# code base.

Choosing Subversion for source control was easy–free, open source, better than VSS and CVS.

Bug tracking software was a little harder. There are a lot of packages out there. I eventually decided on a great little package called BugTracker.Net. It’s written by a gentleman named Corey Trager who does it in his spare time. It’s a very simple system, and doesn’t provide a lot of the heavy-weight features of more complete packages, but if you’re a small team (like I’m in), then it could be perfect. I really appreciate Corey’s web-site, because he acknowledges that it’s not written with every scenario in mind. In fact, he even publicizes comparisons of his system with other popular tracking systems out there.

That said, there is a good degree of customizability in it, and it really was easy to setup, upgrade, configure, and customize.

Some of the features:

Suitable for tracking helpdesk customer support tickets as well as software bugs.

Sending and receiving emails is integrated with the tracker, so that the email thread about a bug is tracked WITH the bug.

Allows incoming emails to be recorded as bugs. So, for example, an email from your customer could automatically be turned into an bug/ticket in the tracker.

Allows you to attach files and screenshots to bugs. There is even a custom screen capture utility [screenshot] that lets you take a screenshot, annotate it, and post it as a bug with just a few clicks. (inspired by Fogbugz)

Add your own custom fields.

Custom bug lists, filtered and sorted the way you want, with the columns that you want.

You can display bugs of a certain priority and/or status in a different color, so that the most important items grab your attention.

Configure different user roles to see different lists of bugs. For example, a developer might see a list of open bugs. A QA analyst might want to see a list of bugs ready for testing.

(and more…)

Like I said, if you’re a small team that just needs to coordinate on issues, this platform could be perfect.

(BTW, this is not a sponsored post–I just want to point out some software that I like).

Don’t delay your merging

Another one of those lessons learned posts. I know I’m supposed to merge changes across branches often to minimize the pain, but I didn’t do it.

Here’s the scenario: We’ve got 3 development branches: 6.3, 6.4, and 7.0 (the trunk). 6.3 and 6.4 are technically maintenance branches because we didn’t anticipate needing to them, but we are. Here’s where it gets funny. 6.4 is actually a branch off of 7.0 with some new features removed. 6.4 is the code base converted to handle unicode. 6.3 is the current development version, and it’s features need to be merged into 6.4 These two branches are rather divergent in places. It’s been months since the branches were synchronized. In addition to 20 conflicted files, the 13 localized resource DLLs can’t automatically be merged because their location changed. Yeesh…

So now I’m spending all day using DiffMerge to do these files. Not a fun day…

Lesson learned. Do frequent merges.

At least it’s Friday. Tomorrow, my wife and I are heading down to North Carolina to visit my grandmother before she heads to California for Christmas.

By the way, still no Internet at home. Comcast says it could be 28 days before the local construction company gets around to installing the new drop to our home. I’ve been getting a lot of piano practice and reading in.