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A Painless Web-Based Bug Tracking Tool

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4.14 (11 votes)
30 Jun 2002
A very simple web-based bug tracking database ASP front-end


In our small team, we needed a tool to track bugs found during the development cycle. Although many tools currently exist on the market, we needed something very simple, because we felt that to be effective, a bug tracking tool should allow a developer to enter a new bug in no time.

As far as I was concerned, I needed no other features, that may be found in other expensive packages, or even in the beast itself.

That is when I stumbled accross Joel Spolsky's most excellent Joel On Software that has provided me with hours of reading at lunch time ever since. I was particularly interested in the article that dealt with painless bug tracking. That was it! I decided to jump on the bandwagon, and developed this small project from scratch.

How to Use This?

Basically, bugz consists of a set of ASP server-side scripts that need to be processed by Microsoft's Internet Information Server. The data for the bugs are stored in a Microsoft Access database, but that can easily be changed, because that detail is centralized in one page.

The following picture shows a sample bug as rendered by the ASP pages. You will notice that it mimics as closely as possible what I have seen on Joel's page.


bugz is designed to be extremely simple. There is no administration pages nor any pages not directely relevant to entering bugs. Currently, what you can do is:

  • list all bugs in the database
  • enter a new bug
  • update a bug assigned to you

The file config.asp contains some options that you will need to check. Make sure the baseURL variable is set to the address of the application. Additionnaly, you can set the bSendMail variable to True in order for e-mails to be sent automatically when a bug is entered or updated in the system.

bugz was designed to work with small teams. It doesn't use any authentication scheme. All that is required is to pass along the user login with the URL as explained below. The main pages for the application are:

  • list.asp: lists all bugs in the database
  • history.asp: displays history information for a specific bug
  • new.asp: allows for entering a new bug in the system

For instance, in your team, John would need to set the main page for the bug tracking tool in his web browser to point to the following URL:


To enter a new bug in the system, the following URL would be used:


When a new bug is entered in the system, its status is Open and it is automatically assigned to the module owner, say Jack. Additionnaly, if the corresponding option is turned on in the config.asp page, an e-mail is sent to Jack.

When Jack wants to update a bug, he points his web browser to the following URL:


Where 90002 is the bug number. This is the address that is displayed in the first line of the e-mail that was sent to Jack. Because this bug is assigned to him, Jack is presented with the history for this bug, as well as with a form where he can enter informations in order to update the bug.

Upon update, a bug can be assigned to someone else and its status can be changed according to the rules described hereafter. Again, an e-mail is sent to the new person that now owns the bug. This goes on until the bug is closed.

  • When a bug is open (Open), it can stay open, or be resolved
    (one of Fixed, Won't Fix, Not Repro, Duplicate, By Design)
  • When a bug is resolved, it can be reactivated (Open) or closed (Closed)
  • When a bug is closed (Closed), it cannot be updated any longer


In this article, I have demonstrated the use of a simple, yet useful, bug tracking tool that is targeted at small development teams. I hope you will find a use for this with your own teams.

I'm looking forward to reading your comments and suggestions.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Maxime Labelle
Web Developer
France France
Coming soon...

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: HOWTO make use of this project Pin
Maxime Labelle24-Jun-02 23:50
memberMaxime Labelle24-Jun-02 23:50 
GeneralRe: HOWTO make use of this project Pin
tward301710-May-04 15:21
membertward301710-May-04 15:21 
GeneralAny body can add a new bug Pin
koteswara23-Jun-02 22:49
memberkoteswara23-Jun-02 22:49 
GeneralRe: Any body can add a new bug Pin
Maxime Labelle24-Jun-02 3:30
memberMaxime Labelle24-Jun-02 3:30 
QuestionHow To Get Started? Pin
Michael Kennedy21-Jun-02 10:59
memberMichael Kennedy21-Jun-02 10:59 
AnswerRe: How To Get Started? Pin
Maxime Labelle24-Jun-02 3:25
memberMaxime Labelle24-Jun-02 3:25 
GeneralRe: How To Get Started? Pin
Michael Kennedy24-Jun-02 7:44
memberMichael Kennedy24-Jun-02 7:44 
GeneralSuggestions and Praise Pin
Jason Troitsky (was Hattingh)19-Jun-02 4:39
memberJason Troitsky (was Hattingh)19-Jun-02 4:39 
GeneralRe: Suggestions and Praise Pin
Maxime Labelle20-Jun-02 3:37
memberMaxime Labelle20-Jun-02 3:37 
GeneralRe: Suggestions and Praise Pin
Jon Pawley10-Jul-02 15:48
memberJon Pawley10-Jul-02 15:48 

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Posted 17 Jun 2002

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