How to set up a bug-free development environment

(or: How we work at Usersnap)

We – as a company providing a visual bug tracking tool which makes life for developers and everyone involved in web projects a lot easier – put a lot of thoughts into the field of bug-free development environments.

In this post I’m going to show you how we have set up our own development environment.

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6 surprisingly easy bug tracking hacks every developer should know

When it comes to bug tracking there’s a lot of discipline required from everybody involved. Tracking & solving bugs encourages everyone involved to stand to the rules. Especially in creative- & startup-driven industries it can be pretty hard to discourage any informal communication. And in many cases people won’t name bug tracking as their favourite part of a project.

I’d like to present you 6 simple tips for your next bug tracking project, which will help you feel way more comfortable while tracking & fixing bugs.

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How to use Wunderlist for tracking bugs & collecting website feedback

Firstly, I have to admit: I’m a huge fan of to-do apps. As someone who’s working on web projects for quite some time now, I know all about to-do lists, tasks apps and finding the perfect match for your web projects. Lately I got stuck with Wunderlist.

Wunderlist is probably the prettiest to-do app with a range of functionalities. From adding sub tasks, assigning tasks to co-workers, adding notes and setting events. Wunderlist takes it all.

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How to use Asana for bug tracking!

Can web development be made easier, simpler, quicker, and more transparent? I guess that’s the question that keeps management and executives awake a lot of the time.

Whilst developers focus on techniques, patterns, principles and developmental concepts management, in contrast, is more focused on the broader picture, understanding where a project is at, will it meet its deadline, did it overrun and by how much. Here’s how to use Asana for bug tracking.

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Save Bug Fixing time with Usersnap

At Usersnap we strongly believe that an improved feedback and communication process will save you (and your team) a lot of time spent on communication in your development process. Picking the right communication tools does not only directly result in better workflows but also affects the time needed to fix a bug which is particularly important if you are publishing your code continuously.

Communication: Development costs’ secret hideout

Phone calls, meetings, IM chats and screen sharing sessions are efficient ways to discuss bugs and planned improvements of every software development project. There are two stashed requirements here: two people need to communicate at the same time. This is not a roadblock if you are sharing a desk but it can be a challenge if you are working in a distributed team or if you simply don’t want to interrupt your colleagues.

On the downside, one-on-one communication is only effective if nobody else needs to be involved after the topics have been discussed. As the famous group intercommunication formula for a team of N people still is N*(N-1)/2, even small teams should focus on effective communication to reduce the communication overhead.

If you are working in a startup environment (e.g. a team of 10) and take into account that some issues will be reported by your customers (e.g. +10 people you should listen to) you easily end up with 190 possible combinations of one-on-one communications streams. Online SaaS productivity tools like bug trackers and project management tools are basically striving to solve this problem by enabling people to communicate in groups, asynchronously. Anyways, the root cause of misunderstandings lies somewhere else.

The inconvenient truth about bug reports

Well, crafted bug tracking tools help you to keep up with the communication challenge. However, in the end, clients will send bug reports and feature request by email which will lack the context of the perceived bug and might read as:

“The blue button does not work”

This is exactly what’s perceived but there is little help here for solving the bug as it requires to guess the context of this bug. Specifically, in web development, it is common to deal with browser-specific bugs (“It works in Chrome but not in Internet Explorer”). Also, the rise of responsive web design introduces another important information to reproduce perceived issues on web project: the current user’s browser size. Developers know what’s necessary to reproduce a bug but clients and users who want to report bugs may not understand why a good bug report necessarily needs some contextual information.

If you are exceptionally lucky those emails might contain a word document with the collected issue or even a PowerPoint presentation with sketches of your clients’ suggested UI improvements. Continue Reading “Save Bug Fixing time with Usersnap”

Getting things done with Asana and Usersnap

Asana is a shared task list for your team, keeping everyone on the same page. Asana’s mission is to empower humanity to do great things. Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, both Facebook alumni, created the project management tool to help take that step; to improve the productivity of individuals and groups. Implementing it at Facebook, the results were promising: fewer meetings, the volume of emails went down and the teams got more done with less effort.

Now we are all-in for less emails, especially the ones that come with a subject along the lines of “It does not work, FIX IT“. To help your visitors, customers, and team members describe what they (don’t) see on a page you need a visual feedback tool. Working with Asana already? That’s great, then we only have to connect your Usersnap account to your Asana dashboard!

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Using Typo3? Add the Bug Tracker Usersnap to your CMS!

TYPO3 is an enterprise-class, open source content management system, used to build and manage websites of all types. One of the great things about TYPO3 is that one can add new types of content elements fairly easily. Say, for instance, a feedback button for your visitors and customers. We are working on a plugin, but in the meantime, here are the needed steps to include Usersnap – the visual bug tracker for web development – into your Typo3 site:

  1. Log into your backend
  2. Left Menu: Click on “Template”
  3. Select your start page (earth icon)
  4. Select “Info/Modify” in the Dropdown menu of the template
  5. Click on the edit button next to setup (pencil icon) – it’s the last entry in the table
  6. A editor opens, insert this code (with your Usersnap snippet) at the end:

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5 steps to make bug-fixing fun again

Working with bug tracking software can be an extreme pain for the communication/marketing side of your startup. Oftentimes using one or more tools alongside is forced upon them and they don’t always have the notion how important browser- or OS specifics are. Believe me, I’ve been on both sides. If your communications team won’t happily help their programming co workers optimizing the side, how can you expect your users or customers to do so?

Let’s talk about how to make bug-fixing fun again!

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