Thursday, March 18, 2004

JIRA 2.0

We have been working on developing new forum software for JavaRanch. We are currently using UBB for The Big Moose Saloon but for several reasons we have been looking at replacing this Perl based software with a Servlet/JSP based solution. Not the least of these reasons is having to deal with questions as to why a Java site is using a Perl based forum!

We are working with a version of MVNForum that we have split off. We split for several reasons but mostly because our immedaite goals are different than the goals of the development team working on MVNForum and we wanted to be masters of our own destiny in this case. But the forum we are developing will be open source and free for anyone who wants to use it. MVNSaloon, which is the development name we have given it, is a SourceForge project.

As part of the development cycle we needed a way to track bugs and enhancement requests. We had been using things like discussion groups and our own version of a wiki called Friki developed by Frank Carver. These are helpful for discussing issues but not for tracking them. The people at Atlassian were generous enough to give us a free copy of JIRA 2.6. They have a licensing scheme that grants a free copy of JIRA to open source projects that are using OSI approved license. For the last few weeks we have been using this as our bug/issue/enhancement tracking software.

What a pleasure it is to use this product. Beyond the fact that it is easy to use and mostly inutitve is that the product actually does what it is supposed to, that is, track bugs.

  • You can set it up to keep you informed when new issues are added or comments are added to an existing issue.
  • You can track issues to versions.
  • You can tie an issue to an external link such as a discussion or wiki. This has been very useful to us since practically all our enhancement requests start as a discussion.

But the best part for me is that the appearance is completely customizable. I don't have to rely on what information someone else thinks I need to see when I go to my project. I can set it up so that all the information I need is right on the front page. For example, I have my front page configured so that I see all open issues and all issues that have been updated in the last 24 hours. Instead of having to search for these things, the information I need is right there on the front page!

After having used JIRA, I am going to see about purchasing a license for use at my company. I think this will go a long way to improving our current bug tracking system which is basically pieces of paper on my desk. ;)

This really ended up sounding like a commercial which wasn't my intent but I really do like this software.

For Map, here is a screenshot of my JIRA home page. You can see more screenshots on the JIRA web site.

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