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Lighthouse Bug Tracking Review

We’ve been using Basecamp for some time now to manage multiple projects and I have really enjoyed it except for the lack of integrated issue/bug tracking. I’ve tried hacking to-do lists and categorizing messages but I just can’t make Basecamp work for our issue tracking even though I don’t need fancy features. I just want to rapidly log/assign issues to team members, change status, and reassign back to me when the issue is completed.

For years I’ve been using Mantis and it works but its quirky and rather slow to work with as the interface isn’t designed all too well. There is also some stupid bug that makes it impossible for me to sort issues by different columns. I’ve just signed up for Lighthouse and here are a few pros and cons I’ve noticed immediately:

  • As a technical manager I like to be able to enter bugs/issues quickly w/out using the mouse. Basecamp to-do lists are very nice this way as I can quickly type, tab, and hit space bar to enter an item and assign it to someone. The create ticket feature forces me to pickup the mouse and click several places which slows things down. It would also be very nice if it tickets were created with AJAX as to-do items in BC are done so I can very quickly fill up peoples queue . (Hey my guys work fast so I have to enter bugs fast!)
    new issue
  • It’s not very apparent which project I’m currently managing. Only the small drop down on the right lets me know. I wish Lighthouse would make the current project name more prominent like in Basecamp. Also it would be quicker to bounce around between projects if they were a list of links rather than a select list.
  • There is no issue tracking in Basecamp which is why I am giving this nice looking app a try. However, I would continue to use Basecamp for other aspects of the project. It would be great if they could drop in my URL to a project in Basecamp when I create the project in Lighthouse so it could provide me that link in the right nav so I could jump back there.
  • I like the ability to add an avatar to users in Lighthouse. Helps to make it easier to see who did what and gives it a personal touch.
  • The “feature updates” box is taking up too much of the real estate on every page and never goes away.
    new issue
  • The top header is a little too big and is wasting space above the fold hindering me from seeing more without scrolling.
  • I like the ability to pay with PayPal subscription which got me up and running very quickly
  • The ability to create a simple “Page” is nice. Currently we have a writeboard in one project in Basecamp that we keep all info about our server setup in such as gems to install, cron jobs, where files exist, and how to deploy. The problem with that is I can’t share it with everyone without adding everyone to that project and it really isn’t specific to that one project. Pages solves that in Lighthouse. I will now also add pages like coding best practices, and subversion how to’s.

I know I published a lot of negatives here but on the whole I’m liking this hosted app and would love to get away from stinking Mantis and managing my own bug tracking system. I’ll post more updates as we use it more.

Update to Lighthouse Issue Tracking

It looks like they removed the banner that was wasting space which is nice. However, one BIG problem I discovered:

I cannot use a “pre” tag to drop in HTML and not have it rendered by the browser which makes it very hard for me to show a designer or developer some html I want them to use.

Also I can now tab to the field where you select a user to assign a ticket to but I still cannot change that field without picking up the mouse and clicking on it.

Damn I wish there were a simple interface for entering bugs that looked something like this :)


Categories: Bug Tracking, Code, Ruby on Rails Tags:
  1. Carmelo Lisciotto
    July 10th, 2007 at 21:52 | #1

    I had difficulty with it as well.

    Carmelo Lisciotto

  2. Tony Honel
    October 18th, 2007 at 13:56 | #2

    Dude, I use Wrike http://www.wrike.com/ for bug tracking and for my project management. It’s simple and lets your track bugs using screen shots.

  3. Roger Pogue
    May 20th, 2008 at 12:57 | #3

    I have been using BugWiki (https://www.bugwiki.com) for some time and I think it is has a lot going for it. It doesn’t get any simpler, the only question is if your team needs customization. If so, BugWiki is not for you, but otherwise I recommend it.

  4. I’d rather not
    June 2nd, 2008 at 15:05 | #4

    Is it just me or is Roger Pogue a BugWiki employee. I have been researching some bug tracking tools recently and everywhere I see, there are some recent comments about how good bugwiki is (twitter, some bug tracker comparisons etc). I look at bugwiki and it’s no better than scribbling down stuff in a spreadsheet. I am not saying it’s bad (everything has it’s uses), but persistent comments stating how great bugwiki is, is pretty darn suspicious. Especially on a post that is a year old?

  5. Ernesto
    July 29th, 2008 at 21:57 | #5

    We had the same trouble looking for something that can work as project management and bug tracking. We came to the conclusion that many of our clients don’t know how to classify a request, is it a bug? Is it a new feature? Is it a change order? So we opted out of that and worked with Project Pier for client end and dotproject for out backend. Now we’re experimenting with Basecamp since running two separate systems has gotten to be a bit of a hassle and we don’t exactly have time to create a integration module between them. Perhaps one of these days.