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.

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