BugHerd: Beautiful Bug Tracking

Bugs happen everywhere on the web, and it’s really annoying when one presents itself. Therefore, bug tracking systems exist in order to squash out problems by tracking a bug’s progress from being found to being fixed. If you’re making a website or web app, you sure don’t want your users to be wondering why your app is so buggy. Bug tracking systems have long been ugly system, however. While I’ll avoid naming names, some pretty major bug trackers just don’t look nice and aren’t presented in the user friendly way that they should be.

BugHerd is a breath of fresh air, bringing a beautiful interface and user friendly, responsive design to the bug tracking world. In addition to a beautiful interface, BugHerd provides a streamlined, straightforward bug review process that makes the procedure from reporting to fixing, testing and closing bug related tasks incredibly simple.

Getting Started

BugHerd has an incredibly responsive setup process. You simply create a project, providing a name and URL, and then install one of the methods of accessing BugHerd on your project’s site.

There’s three options for installing BugHerd: javascript on your site, a bookmarklet and an extension. The first requires you to actually place a Javascript code snippet on your site, which may be suitable for pre-release testing of a project, but may not be your best option to track bugs on a public site. The extension, available for Chrome only, allows you to access BugHerd on sites through the extension meaning not every visitor is presented with the system. The bookmarklet is my favourite method, simply because it allows you to access BugHerd at will without installing anything or changing any of your code.

Logging a Bug

Logging a bug in BugHerd

Once you have BugHerd up and running, in any of the three ways, it’s simple to start logging issues. On the left, a fixed tab allows you to open up the wizard for logging a bug. This is a staged process, starting with highlighting the specific area of the page in which the bug is located. You can annotate this with text, too.

By then using keyboard shortcuts (namely the tab key), you can fluidly move through the process which also includes assigning the bug to a specific collaborator and defining what level of importance the bug is. In the stages with multiple options, you can use number keys to quickly select an option, which is a great bonus.

Tracking Bugs

Once an issue has been logged in your BugHerd system, you can click through to see it in detail, complete with comments. You can mark the bug differently too, including adding it to a to do list so you can easily manage which bugs are left to fix. When it’s fixed, you can also mark it as fixed, moving it to the testing panel. This is a great way to notify other contributors that the bug is thought to be fixed, and in need of testing and will (hopefully) lead on to someone marking it as closed, hiding it from any further view.

A project on BugHerd's website

Everything I’ve mentioned so far has been possible from within the panel at the side of your project’s site (accessed in any of the three aforementioned ways), but you can also manage your system right from the BugHerd website. This is much more of an overview view, however, acting as a dashboard view that aptly presents the current state of your bug tracking system. This includes a graph, showing the trends and frequencies of bugs over the last 14 days.

The only reason I visited the app initially was because it was referred with the line “bug tracking with a Twitter for Mac style design”, and let me tell you that it’s definitely right. The tabs of the app’s overlay on your project’s site are very like Twitter’s Mac app and Sparrow which looks nice. However, not only does it look like a Twitter app, but BugHerd feels like a Mac app through it’s use of elegant transitions both in the site overlay and the BugHerd website.

A to-do list in BugHerd

Pricing

BugHerd provides a free trial for users to test out the service, although it’s ultimately a paid app. There’s three subscription plans available, suiting different requirements (as all tiered do). The lowest level provides room for four projects and two users, which will be enough for a lot of sites, available for $9 per month. The second tier provides 10 project slots and 5 users, as well as a range of other services for $29 per month whereas the $99 per month plan accomodates 50 projects and 25 users.

BugHerd will even reccomend a plan based on your current usage, a nice bonus.

The available payment tiers of BugHerd

Final Thoughts

I really do like BugHerd – it’s pretty awesome! The app is very straightforward and transparent, with it’s main functions being it’s only functions. There’s not much to configure or setup and the process of pointing out a bug to it being closed is a very linear, streamlined process that will be suitable for most scenarios. I love how simple it is to escalate an issue through a process that’s delegation features means it’s especially great for team work.

Collaborating in BugHerd is pretty great too, especially since reporters can assign bugs to specific collaborators, allowing different people to deal with different bugs more efficiently. The to-do list feature is another great aspect of the app, allowing collaborators to easily see what needs to be done (and what needs to be done first).

The whole experience of using BugHerd feels very streamlined and responsive. Interface-wise, it’s one of the best web apps I’ve used.


Summary

BugHerd provides bug tracking systems that are incredibly straightforward inside a great interface.

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