We are testers – in other words bug finders. Defect/Bug/Issue/Fault/Failure/Incident – whatever we choose to call – our primary job description revolves around finding, recording, reporting, managing and tracking these.
While there is no harm in using an excel sheet to record/track and emails to report/alert/communicate – as the magnitude of the projects, the number of test cycles, the count of the people involved grows – it becomes absolutely important that we need a much stronger mechanism that will make the management of these issues simpler and consistent so we can concentrate harder on actually finding more issues in the AUT than managing the ones already found.
To enable the same, the QA market has seen the emergence of various bug tracking systems or defect management tools over the years.
As is the general rule, all the tools that belong to a certain ‘genre’ consist of certain common/similar features that we can bank on.
For a bug tracking software it is essential to have:
- Reporting facility – complete with fields that will let you provide information about the bug, environment, module, severity, screenshots etc.
- Assigning – What good is a bug when all you can do is find it and keep it to yourself, right?
- Progressing through the life cycle stages – Workflow
- History/work log/comments
- Reports – graphs or charts
- Storage and retrieval – Every entity in a testing process needs to be uniquely identifiable, the same rule applies to bugs too. So, a bug tracking tool must provide a way to have an ID, which can be used to store, retrieve (search) and organize bug information.
The above mentioned are the features of essence – which means these are absolutely necessary for any system that claims to be a bug tracking system. Apart from that, there might be additional features of convenience – like watching, saving searches etc., and some of assurance – like voting, showing the bug info in a live stream and so on.
While features of convenience and assurance are ‘nice to have’ it is the features of essence that become the game-changers during evaluation and making a choice as to what tool to use. Then, there is economics to consider too.
We know that the tools available in the market are innumerable – with some of them being a perfect fit for you and the others that just won’t cut it. The remainder of this article is primarily going to focus on some of the crème de le crème of the bug tracking tools available and introduce you to them briefly.
15 Most Popular Bug Tracking Software
Details: Bugzilla has been a leading bug tracking tools widely used by many organizations for quite some time now. It is very simple to use, web based interface. It has all the features of essence, convenience and assurance. It is completely open sourced and is free to use.
Download: For more info, check: Bugzilla
Details: Atlassian JIRA, primarily an incident management tool is also commonly used for bug-tracking. It provides the complete set of recording, reporting, workflow and other convenience related features. It is a tool that integrates directly with the code development environments thus making it a perfect fit for developers as well. Also, due to its capability to track any and all kinds of issues, it is not necessarily concentrated to only software development industry and renders itself quite efficiently to help desks, leave management systems etc. It supports agile projects also. It is a commercial licensed product with many add-ins that support extensibility.
Download: A 7-day free trial can be obtained at: JIRA details.
Details: I have one thing to say about this tool – do not be deceived by its simple exterior. I mean, in terms of simplicity and ease of use, this tool wins the crown. It has every feature you can hope for and then some. To catch up with the changing times, Mantis not only comes as a web application, but also has its own mobile version. It is implemented in PHP and is free for use. If you would like it to be hosted, they do charge a price, but quite affordable, I must say.
Download: Check out the site: Mantis details for more information.
Details: Trac also is not necessarily a specialized bug tracking system and is an issue tracking system. It is written using Python and is web based. When you integrate Trac with a SCM system, you can use it to browse through the code, view changes, view history etc. The issues/incidents in Trac are referred to as ‘tickets’ and the ticket management system can be used for defect management as well, if you wish to do so.
Download: It is open sourced and can be obtained from: Trac Details.
Details: Redmine is an open source issue tracking system that integrates with SCM (source code management systems) too. Even though it is not a ‘bug tracking’ tool it involves working with issues, where issues can be features, tasks, bugs/defects etc. It is a web application that works across many platforms, but will need Ruby to be available. For more info, check out: Redmine details.
Details: Well, no list of bug tracking tools will be complete without the HP QC, would it? HP ALM is an end-to-end test management solution with a robust integrated bug tracking mechanism within it. HP ALM’s bug tracking mechanism is easy, efficient and everything you can ask for. It supports Agile projects too. It is one of the pricey tools available in the market, which continues to be a prime source of criticism along with the fact that it is not very ‘friendly’ with all the web browsers.
Download: It is commercial and has a free trial available at: HP ALM details.
Details: FogBugz is also a web based bug tracking system that refers to defects as ‘cases’. It allows you to create, list, assign and work on cases created. Also the project information can be created in terms of milestones so that the progress of the cases can be evaluated against the milestones. Very simple to use and has all the features of essence for sure. Additionally, with FogBugz you can create wikis to be made available for the general public. It is a commercial product but very reasonably priced.
Download: You can try it free for 45 days at: FogBugz details.
8. IBM Rational ClearQuest:
Details: Clear Quest is a client-server based web application that supports defect management process. It provides integration with various automation tools which can be considered an additional feature. Other than that, it has an end-to-end, customizable defect tracking systems. It is a commercial product and can seem a little costly. You can try it free for 30 days.
Download: For information and trial, check out: IBM Rational ClearQuest details.
Details: Light house is an issue tracker that is web based and is also compatible with your mobile devices. It is simple and organized. All the issues are referred to as tickets in here too. There is an activity stream, mile stones etc. Another nice feature is that, lighthouse lets you store project document online in its interface itself.
Download: It is a commercial product with a free trial available at: Lighthouse details.
10. Zoho bug tracker:
Details: Zoho Bug Tracker is one of the modules in the task management software Zoho Project. It is an online tool that will let you create Projects, milestone, tasks, bugs, reports, documents and so on. The bug tracker module by itself has all the features of essence that you generally look for. The product is commercial but not very expensive.
Download: You could also try it free for a limited time and see how if it fits your needs. Zoho bug tracker details.
11. The Bug Genie:
Details: Though the name sounds like it must be a bug-tracking tool – that is not all Bug Genie is. It is a complete Project management and issue tracking tool – which involves defect management to be one of its aspects along with integration with many SCM systems, Project creation and handling features, issue tracking mechanism, integrated wiki and easy to use web interface. Supports Agile projects also .
Download: The product is not free when hosted but there is a version available for free trial at: The Bug Genie details.
Details: A web-based defect tracking system that is very simple and has all the features that you will need to manage issues for your project effectively. It also has a nifty little service WebHost that you can use for the users (the end customers) to create an issue directly into your project. Though commercial, it is very affordable.
Download: Check out all its features at: BugHost details.
Details: Devtrack cannot be categorized as your average defect tracker although it does function well if that is what you have in mind. It can be obtained as a stand-alone component or it comes along with Agile Studio, DevTest studio or the DevSuite. As the name implies it is a comprehensive solution to implementation tracking. Supports both agile and waterfall projects. It is a commercial product. A free trial is available too.
Download: You can visit the page: DevTrack details for more information.
Details: BugNET belongs to the “issue management” group of tools – quite a good one at that. The issues could be features, tasks or defects. It has all the features of creating projects, managing them, creating issues against them and tracking them to completion, search, reports, wiki pages, etc. There is a pro version for this tool that is licensed and commercial, but the regular version is free to use.
Download: Check out more information at: BugNET details.
Details: eTraxis is also another tracking tool, that can be used to track bugs but again, that is not all. You can choose to track basically anything. So, the target audience is not confined to software systems. The best feature of this tool is the flexibility it provides with regards to the creation of custom workflows- in other words, you can choose to define the rules that need to be followed in the process of tracking and progress-ing a certain aspect through its lifecycle stages. These custom workflows are referred to as templates and they can be very handy.
Download: The product is not free, although a free limited version is available for trial. Visit eTraxis details for more information.
The above 15 are the most widely used bug tracking tools, although you might have noticed that bug-tracking by itself is not the target of many tools. This is because of the fact that, defect management rarely makes sense when it is an isolated activity from the entire project related aspects. Therefore, bug management becomes a part of these tools but is not all there is to them.
Below I am going to provide a list of few more defect tracking tools that are prominent:
A commercial issue tracker that has all the features common to this category of tools. It helps with creation of issues, assigning, tracking and setting the statuses, SVN and Git integration, file sharing etc. Check out DoneDone details.
17. Request Tracker:
Request Tracker, as the name implies tracks tickets. If your particular situation will guide you to treat each bug you receive as a ticket, then by all means you might want to try this tool out. It is absolutely free and more information can be found at: Request Tracker details.
This issues tracking and project management tool is easy to use for managing tasks, bugs, documentation storage among other things. It has a desktop client that lets you capture screenshots and record videos. It is commercial with a free trial available at: BontQ details.
Open source issue tracking systems with a desktop client as well as web based interface. The typical features of an issue tracking system are here too. Get started by going to : WebIssues details.
20. OnTime Bug Tracker:
A defect/issue tracker specifically built for agile projects. The one feature I like is how it lets you drag and drop attachments. It is not free, but there is a free trial at: OnTime Bug Tracker details.
An Agile centric project and issue management tool. It has all the features that will let you handle agile projects- backlogs, scrum boards, custom workflows- the works. Bug tracking is also integrated, so if that is what you are looking for, you are covered. It is a commercial product with a free trial at: YouTrack details.
A developer centric bug tracking system (but a bug tracking system nevertheless) with integration to Git and Subversion, it deals with issues as tickets and has a web based repository browser to inspect changes in files. It is commercial with a free trial available at: Unfuddle details.
Ticket/issue/task – whatever you need to track, you have this tool up your alley along with the other tracking systems. It is commercial. Try it for free at: InformUp details.
Gemini is a commercial application life cycle management system in the lines of HP QC. It has all the features necessary to carry out all your Project management and test management activities along with bug tracking. While being a commercial product, there is a free starter pack available at: Gemini details.
A simple tool that can be used to manage bugs or just manage to-do lists that have nothing to do with software, this tool can be a good option. A commercial product but it does have a free trial at: BugAware details.
A typical issue tracking system that integrates with various source control systems- check out more information at: BUGtrack details.
This tool fall into the section of ALM tools and provides comprehensive solution for test case creation, execution and defect management of course. It is a licensed product and you can get all the details about it at: TestTrack details.
That is quite a list, isn’t it? Surprisingly, the list is not exhaustive. In addition to these tools, some software companies have their own internal bug tracking systems that they build and use it for their projects.
Now, what defect tracking tools do you use and do you think there is any other tool that you think should have made it to the list. Please let us know your thoughts.