Simple Bug and Issue Tracking with Sifter

Bugs and programming go hand in hand. You can probably measure a developer based on how much attention he/she pays to finding bugs, fixing them and tracking them to see if they ever show up again. Bug tracking is not the glamorous part of being a developer, but is the most critical one.

Bug tracking system of various shapes and sizes have existed for decades. Since the workforce is getting more and more distributed, bug tracking apps have moved to the cloud- either they are self hosted or cloud based third party solutions are employed. Self hosting is cheap, but becomes one more system that needs to be maintained internally.

Sifter is a bug tracking app that strives to simplify the cumbersome process of tracking bugs and issues. How different is it from the rest of the apps from a crowded vertical?

Overview

Overview

Overview

As the developers put it ever so candidly, Sifter is not isn’t “bug tracking done right” or “better bug tracking” or even “bug tracking evolved”. It’s just a simple and friendly hosted bug tracking tool designed for small development teams.

Pricing

Pricing

Pricing

There are five different subscription plans ranging between $14 and $149. All plans are charged monthly and they all differ only on the number of projects and the file storage limit. Rest of the features are all the same. You can try any plan free for 30 days without having to submit credit card information.

Ease of Use

Dashboard

Dashboard

It has been a while since I saw such a minimal user interface. It’s good to have a minimal interface, but three fourths of the interface is just empty. On bigger monitors, the empty space makes the app look anaemic. If you are managing projects all by yourself, go ahead and create a project (which we will do in a short while). But let us start by creating some users so that we can test assigning bugs to them.

Creating Users

People and Companies

People and Companies

Creating new users to the team is a no brainer. Fill in a simple form and choose if you want them to take over the Administrator role. Administrators can create and manage projects, create and delete user accounts and companies, and create and delete comments and issues. However, they cannot modify any of the account or billing settings or grant or revoke administrator privileges for other users, so you can breathe easy. All subscription plans allow for creating unlimited users.

BTW, I added a user with a fake email id and the app promptly and prominently intimated me in the dashboard that the email delivery failed.

Creating Projects

Creating a New Project

Creating a New Project

A project is created as soon as you give it a name and assign it to the respective company. Sifter has a flow charted out once a project has been created and is very logical too.

Project View

Project View

First up, create some milestones dividing your project into manageable bits. Then assign milestones to their respective categories. Once that is done, it’s time to assign the milestones to the members of the team. Till now, the app looks more like a typical project management app. It’s the next step that distinguishes it.

Tracking Bugs

All Open Issues and Bugs

All Open Issues and Bugs

Adding a new issue is simple enough and you can add it from almost anywhere in the app. After a brief description, assign it a priority and the person incharge of fixing it. Before delving into how an issue can be tracked and maintained, I gotta talk about the ease with which you can search for issues. Even when you have hundreds of tickets, Sifter provides you with so many filters, you can find the issue you are looking for in no time at all!

An Open Issue

An Open Issue

There aren’t any confusing features or fields when you are updating an issue. Simply add your thoughts and change its status appropriately. You are all done! Administrators can change the name of the person who created the issue and the subject of it. It would be great if these two options where implemented using AJAX, as it is not very user friendly to load a new page to change just a single entry.

And yes, you can interlink multiple issues that have the same source and all you have to do is add an i before the issue number (i17, i19 etc) and all the relevant tickets will be linked.

Final Thoughts

Being an aspiring developer, I always wonder why a tech savvy person would go with a third party solution that doesn’t actually add significant value. Open source versions of the bug tracking apps hosted in a web server (the one that is used for testing or production) means one less recurring cost.

But, I hear a recurring cost isn’t what matters to developers. Being able to focus on what they do best is. Cloud hosted apps like Sifter have a fantastic uptime and even if the system goes down, you can be rest assured trained professionals are hard at work to bring it back online. Except for the empty spaces in the interface, I couldn’t find any reason not to recommend this app!

Share Your Thoughts!

How to do you track bugs and issues for your projects – self hosted or cloud based apps? Do you think cloud based apps like Sifter increase your team’s productivity?


Summary

Sifter is a bug tracking app that strives to simplify the cumbersome process of tracking bugs and issues.

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