Yet Another Bug Tracking System

Other titles I thought of included “If you build it, they will come” and “Building a better mousetrap”.  What can I say, SEO isn’t a skill of mine.

I needed a hobby project that was a thought experiment (which is my caveat for all my bad architectural decisions) that could go somewhere.  That wasn’t just a name and a few lines of half-finished code.  Something that I could take on a laptop to job interviews in the future and say “No, I can’t actually work out an algorithm on the spot that calculates the distance in yards from London to Calais, but look at this neat thing I’ve done…”.  Not that I’m looking for work right now, but it’s good to have something to show for one’s skills that one owns the IPR to.

Amongst other things, I wanted to try ASP.NET MVC (which was v1 at the time), jQuery and Linq to SQL (I know it’s out of date now, but I have my reasons…).

I decided to be different, and write a bug-tracking system.  My motivation came in the form of difficulties using FogBugz at work.  FogBugz is very capable, but only if you use it the way the guys at Fog Creek expect you to – which means conforming to the way they think bug tracking should be done.  We’re trying to use it in a different process than it was designed for, and it’s caused friction.  Being the jumped-up know-it-all that I am, I thought I could do better (well, different) so, full of Great Ideas, I started planning.

This was many months ago.  I’ve put quite a few hours in here and there.  Probably a few weeks FTE.

Then yesterday I deleted much of the code I’ve written.  I’ve kept infrastructure stuff (like ASP.NET Membership providers – yuck!), but basically this is a re-write of what little I’d actually managed to create.

I’ve learnt much with my tinkering over the last year, but now I’m going to give it a proper go.  Hopefully this may even end up as something we can use at work.  It’s called “Workflo”.  Yes, I know that name exists but I have a project codename to put it under and “Buggr” just didn’t seem appropriate.  It has few key features:

  1. A fully-customisable workflow.  Not using MS Workflow Foundation, but something home-grown (it’s a thought-experiment, see).
  2. Estimates and time-tracking per status.  So developers estimate the development, testers estimate the testing, etc etc.  Then you see how long those things actually took and do amazing reports like how good people are at estimating, either for themselves or on behalf of others, and break down how much effort goes into testing vs. actual coding.

That’s kind of it, for now.  I have lots of wonderful ideas floating around, and the plan is to use this blog to chronicle the various design decisions and implementation tribulations as they happen.  Hopefully I will learn something, even better would be to teach something.  We’ll see.  I’ve got a little more re-jigging to do, and then I’ll be posting the code on Codeplex.

Wish me luck!

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