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Re: Bug tracking (was: new *Help* argument highlighting)

From: Miles Bader
Subject: Re: Bug tracking (was: new *Help* argument highlighting)
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 23:34:52 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On Sat, Jun 12, 2004 at 04:01:15PM -0500, Karl Fogel wrote:
> > It's critical, IMO -- my experience of using mozilla and savannah's bug
> > tracker is that the annoyance of having to go to the web site and muddle
> > through the forms significantly decreased the likelihood that I would
> > bother (it was fine the first N times, but after a while I started to
> > dread it).
> Note that filing bugs by email significantly increases the likelihood
> of duplicate issues.  
> One of the advantages of going to the web site is that you can first
> search to see if the bug already exists in the database.  Whereas if
> you fire off an email, there's no query step.  Sure, the editing
> environment for an email is better -- Emacs buffer, rather than web
> form -- but the web forms *are* also a realtime database front end,
> and that makes a difference too.

Indeed for the original bug submission, it helps to be able to search the
database, but it's not necessary to use the web to do that (even though you
might want to use an http/html-based interface of some sort for maximum
firewall transparency) -- see debian's bug system for an example of a system
that does most of the work on the client, but also uses a network
database-access protocol of some sort to allow the user to look for old bugs
(it doesn't a perfect interface; something emacs based would likely be much

Note that another important area of bug submission, automatic detection of
environmental parameters, can't be done by a web interface, meaning that the
user is responsible for filling in lots of fussy details, which can make bug
reporting a real chore.

For many `bug management' tasks, the ease of automation and integration into
one's normal workflow make email-friendly systems far superior, especially
if there's an ancillary database-search mechanism that is easily accessible
for automation (i.e. simple enough for an elisp program to use).

> Please, let's not aim for perfection, that way lies madness.

I agree, but I'm not suggesting that, merely trying to establish some
minimal standards.  Purely web-based systems are non-starter.


`Life is a boundless sea of bitterness'

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