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!)
- 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.
- 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