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New Wave in Bug Tracking

12.10.2010
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A breakthrough in the issue and bug-tracking area recently came from JetBrains, a company known for making intelligent productivity tools for developers and development teams. With their new issue and bug tracker YouTrack, end users can report bugs quickly and effortlessly, and developers and QA engineers can handle reported issues with lightning-fast speed. Below is a closer look at what makes YouTrack so innovative and efficient.



All software comes with bugs, and for a while now developers have used special software to keep on top of their bugs daily. Ideally, bugs and issues should be easy to report for submitters, described with precision, and handy to handle and process for developers. Many bug-tracking systems adequately address one or two of these needs, but none has accomplished all three.



A breakthrough in this area recently came from JetBrains, a company known for making intelligent productivity tools for developers and development teams. With their new issue and bug tracker YouTrack, end users can report bugs quickly and effortlessly, and developers and QA engineers can handle reported issues with lightning-fast speed. Below is a closer look at what makes YouTrack so innovative and efficient.



Being web-based,YouTrack allows end users to report issues instantly from anywhere within the software, and from anywhere in their browser thanks to the ‘Create Issue’ bookmarklet. No need to fill in dozens of fields to submit an issue. As result, development teams enjoy extended user involvement and faster user feedback, which helps improve software quality.




 For processing issues, YouTrack relies on handy keyboard shortcuts and query-based search to help developers find issues, as well as efficient text commands for modifying issues in batches. It doesn’t have a search panel of a typical bug-tracker, which sometimes resembles the cockpit of a mid-size airplane with its dozens of fields, drop-down lists and other check-boxes. In YouTrack, there’s just a single search field with search queries very similar to human language. Your interaction with the system is based on common everyday words and expressions. For example, to find all the issues you have reported, enter the search query ‘by: me’. Typing queries is made even faster with the aid of intelligent query completion. For instance, take a slightly more complicated request:



#YouTrack #Resolved -Exception fixed in: 2.1.3 sort by: priority desc, votes desc




This stands for: find all the issue types except the exceptions in project YouTrack, which are resolved and fixed in version 2.1.3, and sort them: first by priority in descending order, and then by the votes number in descending order.


You may not believe it, but this 70-symbol query takes only 25 symbols to type, and not a single mouse click. You get to the issues you are looking for in mere seconds, and use the time saved to process them.





Pervasive keyboard shortcuts are another advantage you get with YouTrack. Why is YouTrack so big on that? According to FAST Consulting:

“keyboard shortcuts take advantage of "body" or kinesthetic memory, which comes into play when you learn to type, ride a bicycle, or drive a car. This kinesthetic memory is the reason that touch-typists dislike interfaces in which too much functionality is tied to the mouse. You can't memorize the mouse's location the way you can memorize keyboard positions. Keys are always in the same place. The mouse pointer rarely is.”


Keyboard-centricity gives you a great chance to speed up issue handling and save lots of time. It’s not only common actions that have keyboard shortcuts, such as issue reporting, modifying, navigating, etc. Any action you can think of has a shortcut, designed with much attention to detail. For instance, press Right Arrow when navigating through the issues list to open the details of the currently selected issue. Repeat the action to open all the issue comments (without navigating away from the list). Press Left Arrow to close the details and comments. Press F2 to open the selected issue for editing. When you are typing a search query, press Tab to add the topmost auto-complete list option to the query and save the extra click. The list goes on and on.



In bug-tracking, like in many other areas of life, the devil is in the details. YouTrack focuses on details you might never even think of. For example, to edit issues, just select them and start typing your command.




To copy issue ID and summary, simply click the special button or use the appropriate shortcut. To take, edit, and attach a screenshot, use the built-in applet. To get a full-size attachment preview, mouse over the clip from the issues list.




With all these handy features, YouTrack is a bug tracker that literally places all the necessary functionality at your fingertips so you are as productive as possible.



YouTrack adopters have already reported such benefits as faster user feedback, more efficient development and QA, and shorter development cycles. Extremely fast, customizable, flexible, and focused on usability, this bug tracker acts as another team member that always keeps its hand on the pulse of your project.
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Alexander Morozov.

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