Let’s say you’re about to release a mobile game. The marketing plan has been rolled out, and the app has gained traction, thanks to all those ads on YouTube. Everything is going along smoothly, so you take it for a test run for assurance. And then the unthinkable happens. The hero, before he could slay a horde of baddies, falls into an unseen hole, and then the game freezes. Clearly, there are kinks in the programming that need to be ironed out before the app hits the market.
In this scenario, you would need to locate all the bugs and put your foot down in a digital sense. Your development team might be up for the task, but using a spreadsheet and corresponding through email simply won’t cut it if you are to beat the deadline. The fact is, there could be a multitude of bugs causing those errors you spotted, and that goes for only one stage of the game. More bugs could be embedded in the code, some of which might cause critical failure or data loss to your app.
What you need is a bug tracking software since it helps you quickly locate errors and supports collaborations among your testing team. With it, hundreds of bugs can be fixed over a short period, enough for you to release your app on schedule. It is also instrumental to your app’s future updates to keep them error-free. In a nutshell, the program is a necessity for software developers. And what we’ve discussed thus far is only the tip of the iceberg with regard to what bug tracking software can do.
Table of Contents
- What is Bug Tracking Software?
- List of Best Bug Tracking Software
- How Does a Bug Tracking Software Work?
- Types of Bug Tracking Software
- Bug Tracking Software Benefits
- Key Bug Tracking Software Features
- Potential Issues with Bug Tracking Software
- Factors to Consider in Getting Bug Tracking Software
- Bug Tracking Software Trends
- Should You Purchase Bug Tracking Software?
What is Bug Tracking Software?
A bug tracking software is a tool that helps users record and monitor errors in a software’s programming, be it in computer programs, mobile apps, or cloud-based platforms. Used prior to debugging, the software has a database where bug information is stored. This allows users to quickly locate defects, monitor, and prime them for fixing.
Since programs can contain tons of bugs, bug tracking platforms accommodate multiple testers, provide a section for updates, and carry features for direct communication between users. Some provide modules for the various stages of bug tracking, while others offer a remote bug monitoring service to go along with the app. They also archive error information so that succeeding tests can be conducted faster.
In using a bug tracking system, the information recorded by testers include the type of bug found, where it occurs, how often it occurs, its severity, who found the bug, and when it was found. The bugs are also labeled according to priority.
List of Best Bug Tracking Software
- Testlio. Testlio optimizes the software testing process with its comprehensive features and vast network of testers. As a platform, it breaks down testing into eight modules for efficient bug monitoring. As a service, it provides its clients with thousands of vetted testers coming from over 150 countries.
- Bugzilla. Bugzilla is a robust on-premise bug tracking system that features advanced error searches, automatic bug detection, and time tracking. The platform populates charts and graphs and allows users to receive scheduled email reports. Administrators can also customize the workflow through the system.
- Backlog. Backlog is a project management tool designed for end-to-end product development. Having flexible features, the platform doubles as a bug tracking solution with its reporting tools, task management functions, and instant notifications.
- Airbrake. Airbrake is an error tracking solution used by app development teams for bug tracking and reporting. With it, users can trace bug sources, conduct tests for various applications, and prioritize bugs according to severity. The platform also integrates with some 0f the leading productivity tools.
- Zoho Bugtracker. Zoho Bugtracker streamlines the bug tracking process through movable task boards, reporting tools, and interactive forums. It offers custom views so teams can archive errors more easily. Moreover, user privileges can be assigned to members of the testing team.
- Instabug. Instabug is a bug tracking platform designed for the testing of mobile apps. The system offers detailed reports, which trace the bugs from their roots, and also opens communication channels to all users. It also features various integrations for extended functionality.
- ReQtest. ReQtest is a project management tool that breaks down the bug testing process through its flexible features. Its Jira integration allows for the seamless transfers of bug info for comprehensive testing. The platform is also equipped with filters for intuitive bug monitoring.
- Sauce Labs. This popular testing system is chiefly used for testing web and mobile apps. With its automated testing function, it helps users obtain test results quickly. The program also provides simulator and emulator testing to ensure that apps are bug-free upon release.
- Clubhouse. Clubhouse is an agile project management system whose functions can serve as tools for bug tracking. It can be used to craft integrated workflows for testing, accounting for bug info, software updates, and test results. The software also integrates with various productivity applications.
- YouTrack. This commercial testing solution speeds up bug tracking with its smart search function and instant issue reporting. Users can save their searches and easily spot duplicate bugs, thanks to its query-based search functionality. Moreover, it generates insights based on the results of past tests.
How Does Bug Tracking Software Work?
Unearthing and squashing bugs require a lot of communication among testers to keep the team from focusing on areas that have already been covered, say, previously spotted errors. For this reason, most bug tracking systems have communications platforms where the coverage for each team member is discussed or assigned. Once the plan has been set, the testers begin their search for bugs in the code. Information on each error found is recorded in the system’s database.
Since testing involves multiple testers, many workflows are at play here. With this, the bug tracking software serves as a centralized hub that consolidates information from all the workflows. Members of the testing team can post real-time updates on the bugs they found and other pertinent information. Some bugs are recommended for fixing, while others require further monitoring.
When enough data has been gathered, the bugs to be monitored are categorized according to priority and severity and then assigned to members of the team for further coverage. A report is prepared based on every issue encountered, taking note of status changes. Platforms that grant the use of charts have an advantage here since testers can easily monitor bug activity and identify trends in program behavior.
With the report ready, recommendations for bug fixes are then released, which signals the programmers to start squashing bugs.
At this point, the programmers might need to work on the fixes on a separate program. This leaves room for confusion and human error, which is why relevant system integrations are vital to the testing process. In having an integrated bug tracking system, every change in the coding is recorded, with real-time notifications sent to the team per milestone. This keeps everyone on the same page, not only during the releasing stage but also throughout the whole testing cycle.
Types of Bug Tracking Software
Bug tracking systems, in terms of deployment, are available as cloud-based or on-premise applications. They also have two basic classifications:
- Standalone bug tracking systems – Standalone systems offer a concentrated approach to tracking bugs, equipped with tools for reporting, communicating, recording bug info, and scheduling. They are built to accommodate teams of testers and software developers.
- Bug tracking modules – Bug tracking is treated as part of the software development cycle, so its functionalities and results are integrated with the other parts of product development. This model improves the flow of information overall.
Besides the two main types, some bug tracking system developers offer testing services. They can act as a remote bug tracking department or co-manage projects with their clientele. This means companies that don’t have a large development team won’t need to hire new staff just to perform software tests. Also, the added manpower is instrumental when working with stiff deadlines or sudden spikes in demand.
Bug Tracking Software Benefits
Bug tracking is an essential component of software development, keeping a program free of errors prior to its release. Research suggests that there are around 100-150 errors found for every 1000 lines of code. With the average mobile app having nearly 50,000 lines of code, software teams have hundreds of bugs to deal with. And a bug tracking software does wonders in this regard.
Planning is involved in bug tracking as reporting workflows need to be established, and specific coverage has to be delegated to each member of the testing team. For this reason, bug tracking software carries task management tools to ensure that the whole team is on the same page. This hastens the process and helps the team avoid reporting bugs that have already been spotted and recorded.
Every bug tracking system comes with a means of directly communicating with the team, be it through chat, forums, comments on reports, or an instant messaging function. Even though testers regularly post reports, some bugs might require thorough discussions. Having a series of communication tools adds a lot of clarity to the testing process.
Bug tracking systems have a section for reports. There, the team can post or view the issues listed, their severity, and other relevant information surrounding each bug. They can also post updates regarding the status of previously reported issues and the progress in monitoring new ones. Once a report has been posted, a ticket is then created, which will be assigned to the members of the team.
Quick bug detection
Some platforms can detect bugs through smart searches. Once the software has enough information, it can sieve code snippets for duplicate bugs. This speeds up the testing process and adds convenience to monitoring high priority bugs.
The time tracking function not only displays the time spent on locating or monitoring a bug, but it can also help gauge the efficiency of the testing team. This could lead to possible tweaks to the workflow to improve the team’s performance.
Mapped out schedules
Some systems can be used to map out the testing team’s list of activities. This feature allows them to give accurate forecasts in terms of duration, especially when paired with the time tracking function. In addition, the team can see if they would need more manpower based on everyone’s load.
Integrated systems have a wider set of functionalities, thanks to the features added by external apps. In the case of bug tracking, the software is often linked to a coding application on top of its integrations with productivity apps. This centralizes all testing activities in one location, which limits errors and delays.
Key Bug Tracking Software Features
The features of bug tracking software focus mainly on sending reports and updates for the testing team to digest. This way, serious issues can be dealt with, while those that require more information can be closely monitored. Tasks are assigned to testers based on those reports.
Through the platform’s task management tools, managers can evenly distribute work to team members. They can also allot more time and manpower to focus on bugs that require further monitoring. With this, the information gathered by the team is consolidated.
This feature allows team members to post detailed accounts of the bugs they found along with recommendations. The reports are populated in a forum where members can view the status and progress in addressing each issue.
Users can communicate in a number of ways based on the system’s framework. Some platforms are rigged with an instant messaging feature and forums for discussion, while others provide comments sections and email integrations. Whichever the case, all systems provide channels for clear communication among team members.
Automated bug searches
Some systems are smarter than others in regard to tracking down bugs. Upon entering information, the system locates errors in the code, which testers can record in their reports.
Charts and graphs
Charts are instrumental in bug tracking. Testers can monitor the program’s integrity and see how the bugs affect its functions. With this, a lot of systems grant users the ability to create Gantt charts, graphs, and other useful visual representations.
This feature records the time spent by each team member on locating and monitoring bugs. When collated, the data also reflects the total duration that the entire team spent on testing. This paves the way for possible improvements in the workflow.
This feature lets the testing team create a timetable for the entire project. In doing so, managers can monitor the progress of each team member and see if they are hitting their goals. Workloads and manpower can also be adjusted based on the team’s performance.
Sometimes writing down bug information isn’t enough to illustrate the entire picture. With this, users can attach files, such as screenshots and other media, to their reports. This supplies the team with ample information in monitoring bugs.
Integrations reduce the number of programs used to complete tasks. With this, many systems link up with coding platforms, email providers, and productivity apps to streamline the entire testing cycle.
Software testing is an arduous process, which is why bug tracking systems can be set to send out notifications whenever a report has been posted or updated. This way, users are kept in the loop throughout the project.
Potential Issues with Bug Tracking Software
Not a lot of issues can be attributed to bug tracking systems since their core functions are centralized and straightforward. More concerns actually stem from the manner in which companies treat or conduct testing. Nevertheless, some systems could be improved in terms of functionality.
- Configuration and installation issues. Some bug tracking systems were made with particular operating systems in mind. Due to this, users encounter difficulty in installing and configuring the software.
- Lack of software training. The functions of bug trackers are straightforward, but training is still necessary for the testing team to get accustomed to them. Without sufficient training, the system won’t likely be used to its full capacity. This means that the testing cycle won’t be fully optimized.
- Lack of integrations. While this isn’t exactly an issue, it would still benefit testers if they could work on and share the code with other team members using fewer platforms. The presence of multiple integrations is an advantage held by bug testing modules since project management platforms typically integrate with at least a handful of useful applications.
- Lack of insights. Not all systems have the ability to generate insights. Considering the amount of data that testers work with, this should be one of the basic functions of bug tracking programs.
- Hard-to-read reports. Not even the best bug tracking systems can resolve poorly made reports. Ideally, bug information is recorded with uniformity in the spaces provided by the system. This way, sets of data are always complete, and the information understandable. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with software companies.
Factors to Consider in Getting Bug Tracking Software
Bug tracking systems offer a lot of advantages to software development teams as they inject order to a complex set of processes. That said, some functionalities have to be present in the software for it to foster testing efficiency.
- The software must provide various modes of communication among users, such as forums, chat functions, and email integrations.
- It should have a comprehensive reporting tool that allows media attachments and reflects the status of each report.
- Ideally, a bug tracking system should have or integrates with a task management tool so that testing can be fully mapped out.
- A tracker must allow users to post real-time information.
- Charts and graphs let testers understand the nature of the errors more. Their presence can improve testing performance.
- Effective trackers enable users to categorize bugs and reports and assign priorities to them.
- The tracking system should be capable of retaining historical data.
- Data analytics eases the load off of testers and can help point them in the right direction.
- The tracking system should integrate with useful applications like coding tools, productivity apps, and communications platforms (if not available as a native function).
Bug Tracking Software Trends
The testing and bug tracking software industry continues to grow, with more solutions developed in recent years. In fact, the industry is expected to be valued at $601.64 million by 2026. Enhancements like data analytics and coding integrations have been introduced to some systems, and this upward trend in innovation isn’t likely to lose its momentum anytime soon.
With analytics gradually pervading the bug tracking scene, the next logical step is to ramp up its capabilities further. Machine learning will allow systems to generate more incisive insights, predict the occurrences of bugs, and recommend solutions per error based on its classification. Best of all, the tech gets better over time.
Harnessing artificial intelligence potentially changes the face of the entire bug testing software industry, with systems able to spot and monitor bugs on their own. This dramatically speeds up the testing process and removes much of the burden from human testers. In 2019, some quality assurance teams in the US had begun leveraging AI for testing. With this, more breakthroughs in development are expected in the near future.
A bigger share for open-source systems
Speed is critical in the software industry. The first ones to put out innovative products have the potential to gain the lion’s share of the market. With this, the agility afforded by open development processes will result in their more widespread adoption in the bug tracking software industry. Agile and DevOps will likely figure in a lot of bug tracking systems in the foreseeable future.
Continued development of test automation
Automation in testing procedures became a high priority in 2019, with around 44% of IT companies looking to automate 50% of all testing operations. This includes bug tracking procedures. Following the trend, more companies are likely to follow suit. After all, automating bug tracking operations decreases costs, the time spent in locating errors, and the need for large groups of testers.
A growth in testing budgets
As technology continues to evolve, the willingness of software companies to splurge on potential game-changing applications increases. This leads to bigger budgets and better bug tracking systems in the near future.
Should You Purchase a Bug Tracking Software?
Bug testing is a necessity for software development companies. After all, the more complex a software is, the harder it is for development teams to detect errors. Finding the root causes of odd program behavior is normally a tedious process that requires long hours of work and multiple people to take on the job. This is an area that needs focus, given that speed may spell the difference if a company is to earn significant profits.
A bug tracking system shines through in this regard. The software cuts time and the labor involved in error testing. More importantly, it imparts order in a laborious process and promotes a collaborative environment among testers and the development team. Its importance has already been well established at this point. The trickier part is finding a system that addresses the needs of your business. We can look no further than the two main types of bug tracking solutions for that.
If your company’s workflows, as a whole, lacks organization and takes too much time to cycle through, you’re better off with a project management system that carries a bug tracking module. In this way, the software injects efficiency throughout your entire business process, not just bug testing. On the other hand, if your business already has a project management solution in place, availing of a standalone program makes perfect sense.