A while ago Sourceforge gave me the offer to upgrade curl’s bug tracker to “the new one” they offer. They do offer some arguments to why you would want to do this but they don’t elaborate much on the transition for existing projects. Since I’ve been annoyed and disappointed on the old one for years I decided to dive right in. I decided to post this blog entry to possibly encourage others as well, or at least explain how upgrading worked for us.
I’ll start by explaining a bit about what’s so bad about the old Sourceforge bug tracker. Anyone who has tried to use it for anything “real” most likely already know about these things and then I figure my list can be used for a comparison if we’ve gotten annoyed by the same things.
- They use a global bug id which makes all bug entries get very large numbers that aren’t in sequence and are fairly hard to remember.
- You can’t respond to bug reports by mail, so you are forced to use the heavy ad-filled web site.
- Ridiculous URLs to the bug tracker and each individual bug entry. I created a bounce CGI years ago on the curl web site to avoid having to use the overly long ones anywhere.
- When sending out email notifications, it prepends the new comments while having the older ones below which basically is an odd-order top-posting style a lot of people and projects have a hard time to get accustomed to.
- All the existing bug tracker entries were converted. They all now get numbered sequentially in a private number series so no more bug #31234234 and instead the 1100 or so bug reports became bug #1 to bug #1169.
- The new bug entries have a different set of meta-data but the ’status’ and ‘owner’ etc seemed to get translated pretty good. The new ‘milestone’ got populated wrongly for me, but it didn’t matter much to me because I simply cleared it.
- There’s no visible way to translate from old style bug numbers to the new bug numbers. When I go to the URL for the old number it redirects me to the new bug so clearly sourceforge has created a look-up table it can use.
- There’s now a sensible public URL to point out the “home” for the curl bug tracking.
Annoying things with the new tracker:
- It splits up a the comments to a single report into several “pages” far too early and forces you to click through annoying “page 2″ or “next page” links to see the latest comments.
Summary: the upgrade was totally worth it. A much better bug tracker with much more useful interfaces, both the web interface and the ability to respond to it by email etc. And still room for improvements!