Bugs can be found everywhere and this statement goes true in both the real world and the world of programming. In both worlds, bugs are not welcome. Bugs in programming refer to a fault, an error, or a flaw in a computer system which can cause the program to produce an incorrect output. It is said that these bugs come up when there are errors or mistakes in the design or source code of a program. They may sound like they are not a major problem but they actually are, based on the disasters in the past that were linked to them. Case in point – the patient deaths in the 1980s when bugs were found in the code that controlled the Therac-25 Radiation Therapy. In recent years, programmers have been more vigilant in creating the best tools for identifying and fixing bugs to avoid similar disasters from happening again.
Why the spreadsheet is not enough to track bugs
Software development teams are aware of the importance of investing in a quality and efficient bug tracking tool. However, some of them skip this and opt to temporarily use the spreadsheet which is not a sustainable tool. Spreadsheets have a lot of limitations and the following are just some of them:
- Lack of real-time updates. Though spreadsheets are shared by many users, it really does not notify when a new bug is discovered.
- No way to prioritize which bugs to solve first. Because a spreadsheet is just useful for plotting bugs, it doesn’t allow programmers to identify and prioritize which bugs to fix first.
- Does not integrate with other tools. A spreadsheet that is used just for bug-tracking makes it challenging for programmers to connect it to their other tools.
- No communication. A spreadsheet is just what it is. There is no way programmers can communicate with each other about bugs using a single shared spreadsheet.
Programmers need to use bug tracking tools
Bug tracking tools are highly recommended to use because they are more efficient. They allow programmers to do a lot more than spreadsheets do. And when looking for a good bug tracking tool, programmers should look for those that have these elements:
It is not enough that a bug is caught and inputted in the spreadsheet. It has to be properly documented so that it is easy to understand and fix them. Bug tracking tools should be able to provide information that programmers can explore.
Bugs should be dealt with according to urgency. Therefore, the ideal bug tracking tool should enable programmers to decide which bugs they should fix first.
Members of the team should be able to see the status of the bugs, what has been done, and the comments made about them.
There should be a systematic way of releasing bug fixes which should not mean having to leave the bug tracking tool.
How to use Trello for tracking bugs
Trello, a project management software, is a no-ordinary software. Much has been heard about its ease of use and convenience when it comes to helping teams manage their projects. However, there is still so much more that can be done with Trello, including tracking bugs. With its boards, lists, and cards, as well as labels and members, Trello is more than enough software for tracking bugs.
Here are ways to use the software.
- Set up your tool to have a board for bug tracking with a list that includes reported by team, reported by clients, accepted, in progress, to be validated, and corrected.
- These cards can be filtered according to critical, major, minor, and trivial and can be assigned colors to reflect the severity of the bugs. Then, users can invite their team members so that they will have access to the board and be able to report bugs.
At this point, users can now start making cards.
However, since it is easier to communicate using a visual such as a screenshot, users can use Marker to attach such visuals to the Trello card. This can be done either by attaching screenshots inside the Trello card or by capturing a screenshot from a website and sending it right away to a new card. The second way is easier and simpler to do which only requires capturing a screenshot and adding annotations to it before clicking the ‘create card’ button. A more detailed process is described below.
- To use Marker, users have to first set up their Marker account. There is a free trial that teams can take advantage of too.
- Capture a screenshot. At the page where the bug is found, users should take a screenshot of it and use a tool that allows annotations on the photo such as Paint. Then, they can add texts and symbols that can help describe the bug.
- Make a Trello card. Here, the screenshot is attached to a new card. Remember in the previous steps, we mentioned about creating a board with a list? The card created to report a bug should be placed under the board for bug tracking and then the appropriate list is selected (e.g. reported by team). Trello will remember which board and list a user frequently uses, so no time is wasted typing and searching for them each time.
For more detailed bug reports, users can click on ‘add more’ and labels and the names of the members pop up. Also, to come up with a well-documented report, users can just use the predefined bug reporting template and provide a short but clear description which Markdown will automatically convert. Afterwards, clicking the ‘create card’ button completes the process.
- Check the bug report. After completing the first three steps, Trello will notify the user that the card has been created successfully. Users can check their report by clicking on the browser notification.
Trello is a useful software and many companies and organizations are impressed by its advantages. However, there are also integrations that can enhance its capabilities and features that can make any team more efficient and productive like Bridge24 for Trello. Users can connect their Trello account with Bridge24 for Trello to enable them to do more than just what the software offers.