Bug Tracking/Help Desk
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Thread: Bug Tracking/Help Desk

  1. #1
    The Iceman Cometh
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    Bug Tracking/Help Desk

    Hi, all. I know this isn't related to security per se, but I recently got a new job as a lead engineer for a small engineering firm and they have no sort of bug tracking system in place and I was curious as to what some of your recommendations were. I'm mainly interested in bug tracking for the engineering department, but the president also mentioned maybe going for a full help desk solution and use that for bug tracking as well as phone tracking, etc (tying together Engineering and Product Support). Some of the ones I've looked at are:

    BUG TRACKING:
    - Fog Creek FogBugz
    - AutomatedQA AQdevTeam
    - Axosoft OnTime
    - PR-Tracker
    - BugMonitor.com
    - WEBsina Bugzero
    - Atlassian JIRA

    HELP DESK:
    - Kemma BridgeTrak

    Any feedback on any of these products or other recommendations? I'm actually very impressed with FogBugz but it's sole purpose is Bug Tracking (which my president does not like). I think with a price of $129 per user, though, can't really go wrong, even if we only use it for 3-5 years before upgrading to a more robust, scalable help desk solution. So, as I said, any feedback is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    It all depends on what you mean by bug tracking.

    I would personally keep product support well clear of bug tracking. The latter is internal, whilst the former is customer facing.

    Let's face it probably 80% of customer support calls have absolutely nothing to do with bugs anyway, they are probably local factors and/or customer ignorance.

    Try and put it all together and it will get too complicated. For example, the priority for handling bugs is quite different from dealing with your regular customers?

    I am assuming that you have development projects in hand, and that your testers are reporting stuff all the time. You handle that far differently from customers? Even when you have trusted customers beta testing for you.

    One is an engineering application, the other is more marketing and PR. OK, if the customer support guys identify a true "BUG" then you pass it into the engineering system.

    If you want to prove this, just ask the suppliers for the data dictionaries of their DBs.................you will see that they are very different and appreciate my comment about the databases getting too complex.

    Just my experience

  3. #3
    Shadow Programmer mmelby's Avatar
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    I think they are two very different applications. For bug tracking you might want to take a look at Bugzilla. It is free and fairly complete. It is designed for software development bug tracking, I do not know if your engineering bug tracking would be much different but the source if available so it is also modifiable. The web site is:

    http://www.bugzilla.org/.

    As for help desk, there is such a wide range of products and you haven't provided much in the way of function requirements. We use CA's AHD here. It is a MONSTER and VERY expensive. There are also some very low end/shareware stuff. Here is a sample of a low end Help Desk:

    http://www.dbandsons.com/OurSoftware.../Default.aspx.

    I even wrote my own a couple of years ago that was used at a couple of hospitals for a while. But they eventually needed something a little more robust.

    Just some thoughts...
    Work... Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints...

  4. #4
    The Iceman Cometh
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    Sorry I didn't give all that much information. The problem is I wasn't really given any clear direction. I suggested bug tracking, and the engineering department agreed it would be useful so I began researching it. As I said, though, the president prefers something which can be used as a full help desk solution. I think his main reasoning is that if we have something like that, it would be easier to train new product support representatives. I do agree, though, that keeping the two seperate should be the way to go and that's what I'm actually planning on suggesting on Tuesday when I head back to work.

    As for some of your recommendations, I actually considered writing my own using our SQL Server database, but it would take too much time away from my current development and we're kinda in a crunch so I don't really have that option.

    I looked at Bugzilla (simply because it's so popular), but it's only available on *nix and the network administrator prefers to stay with Windows.

    As for Help Desk software, one of my main concerns is support. I don't want to buy from a company which is going to go out of business in the next year or two (as many small software companies do). I don't mind recommending a more expensive package (currently, we only need 5 licenses so even the expensive ones aren't too bad).

    At this point, I'm most likely going to recommend we purchase FogBugz for bug tracking (for many reasons including support for Perforce integration, which we recently purchased for SCM). I don't know what I'm gonna do about help desk software, though. The product support team currently is using a custom database which works, but the president wants something with more features that's going to be less maintenance.

    Thanks for your feedback so far and any other suggestions or feedback is greatly appreciated.

    A.J.

  5. #5
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    only need 1 machine to have nix on it and its better to have a nix machine for security reasons

  6. #6
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    karmine, how is *nix better than windows for security? By the sounds of it the guy who will be Admin for it knows his way around a windows box far better than a *nix one. The security of a box is only as good as the capability of the person who is looking after it. I know that I could probably lock down a windows box far better and more succesfully than I could a *nix box simply because I know more about how to.
    If then network admin wants to stay with Windows he will have reasons for it.
    If everything looks perfect, then there is something you don\'t know

  7. #7
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    surely you have been here long enough to see posts about articles regarding nix vs. windows security issues. it's already been proven that nix has better security due to the fact that it is updated a lot more than windows variants. i know what your saying though about experienced people and their OS's etc...but its not that hard to learn basic linux to run a small distro for a firewall on a network etc and know how to update a few things. they even make distros just for that, and linux is way better documented when it comes to usage....we can both agree (i hope). its just my opinion but if what his company wants then so it shall be.

  8. #8
    The Iceman Cometh
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    only need 1 machine to have nix on it and its better to have a nix machine for security reasons
    You realize that even if we did get a *nix machine (which, as I said is unlikely since he doesn't have much experience with *nix and I'm not in the IT department so I can't maintain it) it would only be as a database server. We already have a dedicated hardware firewall and are in no need of a Linux box as a firewall. Additionally, since we already have MS SQL Server, I would rather use a program that makes use of that rather than have to run an entirely independent MySQL server just for our bug tracking needs.

    Also, I've been around quite a bit longer than both of you and stating that it has "been proven that nix has better security due to the fact that it is updated a lot more than windows variants" is a false statement and I challenge you to provide some of that proof. I do admit that there have been numerous discussions about *nix vs. Windows security, but more often than not, everyone simply spouts off their personal opinions until someone finally joins and explains that nothing is inherently secure (regardless of updates or lack thereof) and it's based solely upon the administrator. I have worked with many *nix variants from various Linux distributions to Solaris and AIX Unix, and I can tell you that while it's not hard to learn the basics of *nix, it is very difficult to truly be able to lock a machine down. I can't tell you how many clients I've had in the past who had a "knowledgable" network admin (two of whom even had RHCE certifications) whose networks were still easily exploitable. Windows may not be extremely secure out of the box, but it is helluva lot more secure out of the box than an *nix distro I've ever used.

    A.J.

  9. #9
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    the best security tools are made for the unix platform. some have been ported to windows but do not function quite as well. get lax with any os and it becomes insecure
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  10. #10
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Hmmmm,

    I would not have thought that security was a particular consideration here?.....................all requirements would seem to be for internal applications?

    Like mmelby I must confess to having written my own in the past............ MYSQLDB or even ACCESS You need tools for a particular project?

    I still think that the customer support should be separate from internal development applications, even if the internal development is to fix a "bug".




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