inessential by Brent Simmons

The bug tracker I wish I had

The biggest pain for me with bug trackers is collection — I get bugs and feature requests via multiple inputs: email, forums and other web pages, Twitter, and chat.

No matter what’s in front of me — email app, web browser, Twitterrific, IM, irc — I should be able to create a new entry just by hitting a keyboard shortcut. It would take the selected text (if any) and whatever other data makes sense (sender, URL, title) and create a new entry.

The new entry would then open in front of me, ready for editing.

And it would be fast. No waiting for some far-off web page on an overloaded server. (So it’s probably a desktop app, though not necessarily. There are fast web apps. Or I could run one locally, here in the lab.)

In other words: no friction.

(And, of course, it would have to be a good bug tracker in other ways.)

What I do right now

I have use of a couple bug trackers right now, but they’re very inconvenient and not friction-free for various reasons, so they don’t get used.

Instead, for months I’ve just been copy-and-pasting into a VoodooPad Pro document. Each project has two pages: one for bugs, one for feature requests. It’s low-tech, but it works. Nothing gets lost and I can search. (One of the keys to this system is using “message:” URLs that open the original email when clicked.)

I’m not sure the economics support making a frictionless desktop bug tracker. I’m way too busy myself, for sure.

Things to try

I tried Bento the other day, and liked it, but found out it wasn’t scriptable, so there’s no way to make it frictionless. (Bento even ships with an issue tracker template. It was super-easy to get started.)

Next things to try: Yojimbo, which appears to have the collection part nailed, and Lighthouse, which has an API.