I didn’t go with Bugzilla

I was looking for a good bug tracking system, for my personal use. Of course the first thing I turned to was Bugzilla. But I decided instead to go with Mantis. Here’s what I was looking for:

  • Streamlined UI, fast quick bug posting
  • Simplicity
  • Good Sorting
  • Good Control over data

Mantis has by far the better UI at this point. It’s a bit more intuitive than Bugzilla. But then again, bugzilla was designed by/for the developer. The pretty good use of HTML/CSS allows for me to get people to report issues with Mantis without me walking them through it, or tons of mistakes.

Simplicity. Bugzilla is much more complex (both good and bad, as I’ll get to in a moment). Mantis was simple.

Good Sorting. Bugzilla had a bit of an edge there, but the UI in Mantis made it easier to access than Bugzilla. Bugzilla has the better sorting, but Mantis has enough for me… for now.

Good Control over data. I think Bugzilla gets this one as well. But both are good.

In the end I went with Mantis. Since I primary use it as a way to organize/index issues with, and other online activities, I’m the main person using it. A few people will on occasion be using it to provide some feedback on something, but it’s mostly myself. It’s my online organizer in a sense. I find it much more effective than a text based todo list.

So what do I recommend as a bug tracking system?

For open source projects, or medium to large projects, hands down bugzilla. It’s more robust, powerful, and flexible. It’s a great product, despite looking a bit ugly and unimpressive at first. There’s so much there. I’m sure eventually someone will come around and rework that UI a bit, to make it intuitive, and bring all the features to the surface. And it has gotten better in that regard over the years.

But for a small bugtracking instance, I have to recommend Mantis. While it seems like it would be capable of larger things (custom fields, LDAP integration, multiple projects etc.), I just don’t see something like Mantis managing something as large as Mozilla’s Bug database… but then again, it’s sub 1.0.

Is Bugzilla bad? No, just not perfect for all jobs. I think it’s the perfect tool for Mozilla, SpamAssasin has a nice instance of it as well. So does Apache. Great for them. But for a shareware developer, or some other small time gig. I’d have to push Mantis at this time. It’s lighter, and better designed for such instances. No need for Bugzilla’s super powers, and Mantis’s UI allows for complete control over available facilities with ease.