Bug Tracking: How to Detect and Fix Software Defects
Everyone who is interested in software development has heard about software bug tracking. Today there is probably no software development company in the world that does not use bug tracking systems or tools. The process of bug tracking is actually quite complex. To understand how it functions we should start by clarifying the very origins of the term.
The term “bug” actually means an error in the software product operation. It is not new. Bugs occurred in software since the first product was created by the first team of developers. Since that day bug tracking became an important issue of the software development process. Bugs should be found and fixed because they can impact the functionality of the final product. If the product contains bugs, it can work improperly. The customer will not be satisfied with the quality of the created software. The product may be not popular in the market because of the bugs. The final users will prefer to buy software with fewer bugs because of its greater reliability.
What is a bug tracking system?
Generally, any bug tracking system can be defined as an application, created to avoid and detect bugs in the process of software development. It is actually a particular type of issue tracking system. Some developers even don’t differentiate between bug trackers and issue tracking systems and use them interchangeably. However, such an approach is a bit incorrect. An issue tracking system is a more complex and broader concept. It is a system, aimed at detecting all the issues of the project performance, not only bugs.
The general working principle of any issue detecting system is quite simple. First of all, the issues of the project are detected with the help of a special application. After that, the developers put them into a special list where they are prioritized. Usually, the prioritization of issues is made in accordance with their significance for the final product. If an issue is very important, it is prioritized higher than the issues with lower importance.
What is bug tracking software?
The same system of work organization applies to software bug tracking systems. All bug tracking software solutions are based on one template.
1. First of all the bugs should be detected. This is not an easy task. There are two main types of bug detection in the software development industry.
- One of them is based on the involvement of final users. Actually, the users are always the best testers, because they are the only people who know exactly what they want to get from certain software. Some companies provide the users an ability to report on bugs in the final product. Such way of bug tracking makes the work of software development teams simpler and allows them to focus on avoiding and fixing bugs, but not on detecting them.
- The second type of bug detection requires hard work of the team because it is focused on testing the final product inside the company. In such tracking systems, developers must test their product and detect bugs constantly during their work on a project. Such internal bug trackers have a number of advantages because they involve highly qualified specialists in the process of bug detecting. However, they require lots of time and work. The type of bug detection system may depend on a certain company or team. It can also be determined by the specific features of the project. The main thing at the stage of bug tracking is to detect all bugs in time and prepare to fix them.
When all bugs are detected, they are placed on a special list. Usually, the bugs are structured there in accordance with their importance. The bugs and fails which can strongly impact the final product are prioritized higher than the rest of the list items. This prioritization is actually a preparing before fixing all bugs. At this stage, people who are responsible for fixing certain bugs must be appointed. Usually, the developer who detected the bug and the one who will fix it is the same person. But if the bug is very serious and it is hard to fix it, several people can be responsible for its removal.
2. The next stage in any software bug tracking system is the stage of bug fixing. This is the main stage of the bug tracking process. The developers should make all necessary changes in the code and avoid new bugs. In some software development methodologies, there is no personal responsibility of developers for fixing certain bugs. However, even in such cases, it is a matter of collective responsibility. It means that all detected bugs must be fixed correctly and in time.
Testing is the last, and probably the most important stage of the bug tracking process. Tests should be conducted after fixing every single bug. That helps the team avoid the incorrect work of the final product. Software development companies have many different types of tests. All of them have the same goal – to make the final product better.