Bug Tracker Blog by Corey Trager

Lies, damn lies, and feature comparison charts

by Corey Trager 6. January 2008 22:01


This is a screenshot from a website promoting a bug tracker called "Projistics". It's a chart that compares the features of FogBugz, BugTracker.NET, Jira, and Bugzilla to Projistics. I'm excited and honored that the folks at Projistics consider my BugTracker.NET to be in the same league as the excellent FogBugz and Jira trackers and the venerable Bugzilla tracker.
 
 

Naturally, Projistics created a chart that just happens to show the home team as beating the competition in every category. It's marketing baloney, but, hey, if I were working at Projistics, I would would be cheering on the sales and marketing people - otherwise where is the money going to come from to pay me?  I would have been happy to help the marketing folks create the chart. I wouldn't have any moral/ethical scruples against creating a chart with a bias for the home team.

It also doesn't bother me that the chart has errors. Contrary to the chart, BugTracker.NET does support "Bulk Modification".   And, depending on how you define "Rules based Notification", BugTracker.NET supports that too.  I don't know what "Active Data Source Fields" means.  If you google the term, the only hit is the Projistics website, where it says,  "Active data source fields added allowing user to link different BugTracker instances within and across projects". What? Whatever. And what could "Watch Unread Bugs" mean?  Do they just mean the read/unread feature of an email client?  

Below are two more screenshots of comparision charts, the first from Wikipedia and the second from a guy named Michael Flanakin who put the chart together when he was searching for a tracker.  These comparision charts are from neutral parties - nobody is trying to sell anything.  It's interesting that the selection of points to compare is quite different in each of the three charts.  There are a few features that show up as points of comparision on two of these three charts, but none that appear on all three.  So, even a neutral chart created by somebody with no agenda is going to be idiosyncratic.

I've been thinking of creating a chart too. My chart would reflect the criteria that would be important to me in a tracker:

  • Cost  (The commercial trackers Jira and Gemini are free for some organizations).  Free is better.
  • Open source.  Open is better..
  • Web-based or desktop.  Web-based is easier to support.
  • Implementation language and back end (like the Wikipedia chart).  I've worked with php, java, and mySql, but my .NET and SQL Server skills are fresher, so .NET is better for ME.
  • Ability to conduct an email back and forth within the tracker.  If the tracker doesn't support this, then what ends up happening is that there is one story in the tracker and another story in email outside of the tracker.  FogBugz and BugTracker.NET support this. Who else?
  • Ability to capture screenshots and post them easily. You'll get better bug reports if you make it easier for your bug reporters.

This might shock you, but the only bug tracker that gets a green check mark for all of these points of comparision is.... BugTracker.NET.  

Here's another list of comparison points - potentially important to you - where BugTracker.NET would get a red X for each one, at least for now: 

  • LDAP authentication.
  • Bug logging by anonymous users.
  • User self-registration.
  • RSS (I'm embarrassed to say, I'm not even sure what this means) .
  • Hosted solution (as far as I know - I'm not providing a hosted solution but maybe somebody else is?).
  • IDE integration, Visual Studio, Eclpse/Mylyn.
  • Time Tracking.

 

So, what would your comparision chart look like?

 

From Wikipedia's article on issue trackers: 

   

From Michael Flanakin's comparison of web-based issue trackers:

 

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Comments

5/16/2008 10:16:33 AM #

Hi,

there is another comparison at www.issue-tracking-software.de comparing the following features:
Flexible, defineable workflow
Email notifications  
Submit issue via emails  
Filter  
Full-text searches  
Change history  
File attachments  
Custom Fields  
User rights management  
User templates  
User groups  
Worklfow rights  
Hierachical issue  
Statistics/reports  
Export/Import CSV  
Export/Import XML  
Export/Import other  
LDAP-Authentification  
Integreation Version Management  
Integreation Project Management  
Integreation Test Management  
Integreation Requirements Management  
SOAP Interface

BR Martin

Martin |

5/30/2008 10:23:55 PM #

I came across your blog in searching for bug tracking software. However, your comments on comparison charts are valid for any kind of product. Even when they are put together by a neutral third party they are all too often the results of surveys sent to the vendors. And... what marketing department is going to say "no" to a feature? There's no substitute for getting in there and experiencing the software yourself!

Dave Krahl |

7/2/2008 10:41:39 PM #

Never trust a sales/marketing person, and especially not their "hey look our product stand out of the rest of the competition" feature comparison chart. Unless you are totally brain washed you would pick up a product from such a chart, what a laugh. The fact that your standing next to JIRA in the chart should make you feel proud though Wink

Nico |

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