A few weeks ago, Other Programmer decided to "redesign" the software change request form (which was a monstrosity that no one dared use). During the meeting where they showed the new form, I mentioned that designing such a thing would be a piece of cake in Rails. Lead Programmer asked me to teach Other Programmer how to do it in Rails (Ruby is something we want to "share the love" with soon anyway).

Time passed. We never met about it.

When it came up at meeting earlier this week, we talked about how it might be futile to do such a thing, when there was a plethora of bug-tracking systems Out There. I was tasked with finding one. That's what I did today. (That's all I did today.)

My criteria were: free, web-based, simple (ie: no BugZilla), and clean-looking. After some hours of just looking at everythinig, I narrowed the list down to about 10 prospects on that alone. ...I then tried live demos and/or found screenshots of all the contenders, and showed them to Other Programmer, who helped narrow the list down to 6. I started installing "stuff" at this point, and eliminated a couple more just on merits of being too unix-specific (like RT; yes, it does run on Windows, but I couldn't get it to work within an hour or two, and there were far too many other options to bother digging more deeply than that). So, we had four left. ...A quick meeting with printouts of screens (and armed with a little knowledge of each), Lead Programmer knocked out two of the contenders: Trac, which he thought was "a bit much", and FlySpray, which just wasn't as nice as the others. (For the record: I kinda liked both of them.)

That left two: Gemini and BugNet. Mind you, Gemini isn't "really free", but they offer it for free (well, with the caveat that "some restrictions will apply") to non-profits. ...which we are. BugNet seemed nicer-looking, and Gemini seemed more full-featured. (It's an interesting dichotomy between the eye-pleasing "Web 2.0" look and the dense Microsofty look. The former makes one feel it lacks features, and the latter makes one feel intimidated. There's a happy middle, though, and some sites capture it.)

I did a full install of both of them in a couple of hours, and created databases and test projects and accounts for each. Neither of them is a nightmare to setup, though I did run into a few brick walls with either.

Coincidentally (we weren't using this as a criterion), both were .NET programs. In fact, Gemini uses NHibernate, which we use here at work, as of last week.

We played around with both of them, minimally, and decided that Gemini looks almost as nice, has much better features (better time tracking was the one that Lead Programmer was sold on). Something of a deal-breaker for me, though, was that the text-editor in BugNet is FCKeditor, which doesn't seem to handle FFox as nicely (in fact: I couldn't get it to work in my version of FFox at all, even after a good hour of battling with it).

So: we found a bug-tracking software in a day! ...This was much faster than I anticipated. I'm slightly disappointed that it's not one of the "major" issue-tracking systems (RT, BugZilla, Trac), and I'm slightly disappointed that it's IIS-based and not XAMPP-based. ...But I think it's elegant, and it will do (more than) what we need.

I'm all proud'n'stuff.

All I need to know I learned from Wikipedia

  • The universe is pretty big. And complicated.
  • No matter how closely you look at something, there are new distinctions to make about it.
  • No matter how obscure, small, or insignificant something seems, there's someone who cares about it.
  • Opinions vary. Widely.
  • Some companies are willing to piss off hundreds of people for just one peek at their stuff--which most likely won't lead to a sale, anyway...
  • Some people are just mean sometimes, and try to ruin it for everyone else.
  • A lot of people each doing a little work (and a few who do a lot) makes a huge difference.

A Belated Political Rant

Okay, I know this message is two-plus years late, but:

I just saw a bumber-sticker that said "John Kerry: You decide, I agree." I thought this was positive, until I noticed it was alongside a whole bunch of other conservative bumper-stickers, including "Doing my part to piss off the heritic left."

This frustrates me to the point of pissing me off.

This was a common argument, back when Kerry was running: "he's wishy-washy", was the common refrain. The brunt of this complaint, however, was that he shift his opinion based on the popular opinion.

Let me restate that for emphasis:

Kerry shifts his opinion based on the popular opinion.


Isn't this what an elected leadership is supposed to do?!? Maybe it's just me, but I was under the impression that elected officials were there to represent the people. So how is it bad that a leader is influenced by her constituancy?

It baffles.

Firefox extensions

It's time to take stock of my FireFox extensions, again, since I've shuffled them around quite a bit.

  • Adblock - A completely different way to surf, and there's no turning back. It's amazing how much suckier the web is with banners all over, and you have to use this for a few weeks to feel that pain--when you use someone else's browser!
  • Flashblock - Only see flash when you want to see flash. ...An extremely rare problem with some sites that have "hidden" flash scripts that talk to one another, but it's so rarely a problem that I don't care.
  • BugMeNot - When you want to read that article that requires registration... (Not very often, but oh-so-nice when you do!)
  • Delicious - I jumped on the Delicious (bookmark site) bandwagon some months ago, and I love the fact that my bookmarks come with me everywhere (and I don't need to worry about crashes and the like)...
  • IE View Lite - (website is down at the moment...) Right click on links to "Open in IE". That's all. ...And it's terribly handy here at work, where several apps we use are "IE Only" [rolls eyes].
  • WebDeveloper - I am using this less, now that FireBug does most of this stuff... but it still has some great form-tweaking options, and a nice "View CSS" option, among other things.
  • SessionSaver - Another plug I can't imagine living without--it brings up every tab you had open the last time you ran FFox... and even restores things after a crash.
  • FireBug - "Holy Flurking Schnitt". This does nearly everything you would want when doing webdev. The only problem with it is that it makes debugging in IE incredibly painful! (And, of course, the new Beta has a "lite" version that you can plug into IE, suposedly--I haven't checked that out yet, though...) Damn. Of course, this is only for webdevs, and any webdev reading this already knows about it. ; )
...I am, of course, very satisfied with this set of plugs.