Improved issue details, amazing uploading and more

We’re happy to announce that we’ve just deployed a new release, where the star of the show is a much improved issue details view. We’ll take you through all the changes below, but let’s review what was wrong with the old details view first:

  • It was difficult to view an issue’s details without losing your place in the issue list. We did have an optional narrow issue list alongside the issue details, but since this looked very different from the regular list, and didn’t have any grouping/sorting options, it proved difficult to switch between the two.
  • Editing an issue was cumbersome: You had to click a button, select something from a bunch of similar-looking dropdowns and then click Save. And if you didn’t find what you were looking for in the dropdowns, you were out of luck—you had to leave the issue, go the the milestone / project / status / category index page, create the new resource, go back to the issue, reopen the form, and only then could you select it.
  • The activity log looked very busy, especially if you had set up SCM integration. Showing the full commits inline in the activity log was one of those “seemed like a good idea at the time” things, but it didn’t work out. 

Determined to fix these problems, we got to work. It’s taken us a while, but we are very happy with the result. Not only did we fix the problems above, we also added some major improvements.

  • Viewing the details for an issue is now something you (typically) do alongside the issue list, with all the browsing, sorting and grouping options intact. This makes it much easier to work with issues. But if you want to see just the issue details, you can certainly do that too—just use the pillbox to set the width of the details pane to 100%.
  • Everything can now be edited inline—no need to open a separate form—and everything saves immediately (or, for text fields, when you click outside the field). And the dropdowns can now show additional information, not just text. This is great for items with a visual component, like priority colors or category icons.
  • Resources can be added on-the-fly, from within the dropdown menus. This is a great time-saver and one of those things that you won’t understand how you managed without once you’ve gotten used to it.
  • We’ve partnered with Filepicker.IO to improve file uploading. It is now super-easy to upload files from Gmail attachments, Dropbox, Facebook or a number of other sources. We’ve also turned the issue details pane into a giant drop-zone for drag-and-drop uploading—any files dropped on it will automatically be added as attachments to the current issue.
  • The activity log has been cleaned up and simplified. Commits will still show up, but only the meta-data will be visible—you’ll have to click the link to the full details to see the rest.

Most users should notice these changes immediately, but we’ve also fixed a bunch of stuff that might be less obvious:

  • The header has been cleaned up and the dropdown menus in the header have been improved. For example, if you click to open one dropdown, then move your mouse to another, the original will close and the new one open. Also, you can now hold down the mouse button and release on the item that you want to select.
  • The layout for the app has been entirely revamped, resulting in a number of improvements. For example, it fixed a number of inconsistencies with scrollbars and where they appeared. Also, ”rubber scrolling” has been disabled on Mac OS X Lion. While this is nice on regular web pages, it proved distracting and unnatural for a web app like Bugly. 
  • Every form has been cleaned up and simplified, and our use of buttons is more consistent.
  • Loading indicators now appear (only) over the parts of the app that feel natural.
  • Added UI for bulk deletion of issues
  • Added event when deleting issues (so that deletions appear in the timeline)
  • Added user preference to disable UI animations and transitions.
  • Added account preference to disable the darkening of the header menu elements

Obviously, this is a major update, with lots of changes, so there may be a few teething problems. But, as always, we’ll take care of these promptly—just let us know.

Improved API docs

Documenting our API properly took us a really long time, but we’re finally there! You should check out our glorious API documentation even if you never plan on using it—it’s a thing of beauty. 

Every method is documented in full detail, specifying every possible input parameter and what you can expect to get back, and there is a curl example for every single method, making it extremely easy to get started.

We plan on making the API docs available as a GitHub repo, so that we can accept pull requests, but we need to restructure a bit of code first and we wanted to get the docs out as soon as they were ready. In the meantime you should send us your feedback here.

Having a great API and a thriving developer community is a top priority for us, and we have a lot of exciting news to share with you in the coming months. We’re just getting started.

Project and User Permissions

A feature request that has come up regularly since we launched is the ability to set permissions for users and projects. While we’ve wanted to add this for a long time, we’ve been wary of making Bugly more complicated. New users shouldn’t have to deal with a ton of settings and options before Bugly is useful to them. After a lot of thought we finally found a solution that is both simple and flexible.

You can read the details in the help article we’ve written, but here’s a quick rundown of how it works.

Whenever you create a project you specify the default access level—that is, what permissions should users in your account have unless overridden on a user level. This can range from no access at all to full project administrator rights.

If you need a user to have a different access level than the default for a project, you edit that user to override that default.

That’s it! By using sane defaults and the concept of users “inheriting” the default permissions for a project, we’ve managed to deliver a much requested feature without adding a lot of complexity. Bugly is still simple to use and ready for serious work without configuring anything, but for those who need it the functionality is there.

As always, let us know what you think.

Custom Statuses

In the beginning, Bugly had just a single Open status and a fixed set of Resolved statuses for issues. This turned out to be too inflexible, so we’re happy to announce that every account now get their own set of statuses, which can be fully customized. 

Using custom statuses, you can adapt Bugly to your workflow instead of the other way around. For example, you can have a workflow like this:

New → Verified → Ready to test → Ready for deploy → Deployed → Closed

Or you could keep it very simple and just use:

Open → Resolved → Closed

It’s really up to you! We’ve documented custom statuses in a separate help article. Remember that you can also use our API to manipulate your statuses.

We hope you find this useful. Let us know what you think  on our feedback site.

Beanstalk support

We’re happy to announce that Bugly now integrates with Beanstalk, a great way to host your Git and Subversion projects. Not only will commits show up in your Bugly account, but you can manipulate issues right from the commit message.

Start by setting up the integration. We’ve documented this in our help article on the subject. Basically it involves using Beanstalk’s support for web hooks to post info about the commit to our servers. When you have completed this step, commits will start showing up in your Timeline, on the Commits page and in the history for individual issues that are referenced in the commit message.

You reference an issue in the commit message by including the string “[#<issue ID>]”, for example [#5]. But you can do much more from the commit message! You should check out the help article for the full details, but the gist of it is that you can type stuff like 

[#124 #67 status:open milestone:Version 1.1] [#8 status:resolved]

This changes the status to open and updates the milestone for issues #124 and #67, while resolving issue #8. All three issues are associated with the commit.

Note that this works for any sort of SCM integration, including GitHub and Subversion. We hope you find this useful. Please let us know if you have any issues with the integration.

Version 2.0 finally launched!

Version 2.0 was launched on November 1, 2011, so this post is somewhat late, but after spending a few weeks gathering feedback from our customers and fixing bugs we wanted to finally talk a little bit about what’s new in 2.0 and what’s to come.

The star of the 2.0 release is the new interface. We got a lot of feedback saying that the old interface was too difficult to browse and find issues with, so fixing that was our main priority. We think you’ll agree that finding the issues you want is a lot simpler now, with the always-present menu on the left which contains a lot of ways to discover issues. After a while, most users spend most of their time in a few fine-tuned lists, but we recognize that it’s important to browse around as well.

An added bonus with the new interface is that everything is faster. Speed will be one of the areas we will focus on in 2012, and we laid the groundwork for some pretty substantial speed improvements in the coming releases.

We also spent quite a lot of time on the API, making more operations possible and fine-tuning what’s returned for the different calls. Although we still haven’t documented every call in detail, we have updated the API docs to reflect the changes that were made.

So what’s next? Well, we actually removed a few things in 2.0 in preparation for the next major new feature. Projects and labels can no longer be set to public, like they could in 1.x. We came to the conclusion that giving untrusted users access to the actual issue tracker is a bad idea which introduces all sorts of problems. Instead, we’ll be releasing a customer feedback module which lets you track questions, feature requests, problem reports etc. separate from the issue tracker, but with tight integration, giving you the best of both worlds, all in the same package. We are currently beta testing this here and expect it to be available to all our customers some time during the next few months.

Another great new feature that is coming up is the ability to import issues, comments, projects, users etc. from another issue tracker. We currently have preliminary support for Assembla and FogBugz, but please let us know if you need us to support another system.

This is just a taste of what’s coming up, so stay tuned for an exiting 2012!