Extending Trac for ‘Painless BUG Tracking’

Monday, 23 January 2006

Trac is a fantastic Tool to manage bugs. However, once the number of users starts increasing, there will be need to have common patterns in filing bug tickets. This is basically to ensure that the developer does not have to talk to the bug Reporter to understand what the bug is about.

Joel Spolsky's Painless bug tracking gives an excellent proof of concept.

Trac has almost all of the fields that are listed in that list.

In the same article, Joel goes on to say -

Every good bug report needs exactly three things.

  1. Steps to reproduce,
  2. What you expected to see, and
  3. What you saw instead.

This pattern is very useful in getting the Reporter to give complete and accurate information to the developer. Also, the developer can easily jump to the "BUG" part of the report and understand the exact problem without having to search for it.

So, how do we make it easier for the Reporter to adhere to this pattern without expecting him to remember it?

A simple hack to Trac would do.

You will have to modify the trac template - and put these lines near the description textarea tag.



The above nano-hack was useful to me in two ways. One, it allowed me to look at trac's internals, and to my relief it is not at all scary. That should help us in extending trac as and when we need it. Secondly, this small hack will make the comprehension of bugs slightly better. :)

PS: I took a look at FogBugz. It has a lot of bells and whistles and looks neat. There are a quite a few reports which make the application look professional. some of them can be easily written for Trac too.

A Trac Dashboard anybody?