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Archive for July, 2007

Why we chose Eventum over any other issue tracking system?

July 29th, 2007

We recently signed a few website maintenance agreements for multiple websites each. To better manage these websites and our development progress we needed an issue tracking system. So, we looked around and found a few systems. Our shortlist consisted of a few open source and obvious ones out there: Bugzila, RT, & Mantis, one fairly unknown open source system: Eventum, and one commercial system: Kayako.

We were looking for a system that its main purpose is issue tracking not bug tracking. It is a very saddle difference but it makes the life of the non-technical user, such as our clients, much easier. We wanted to make sure that the technical jargon used within the project will suite our clients without changing a whole bunch of language files and templates. Another required feature is the ability to create issues and track them via emails. Last, we wanted to use an issue tracking system that we can easily add or remove features by digging into the code and still have a solid and stable foundation.

Since at Activo we specialize in .NET and PHP web development environments we didn’t want to experiment with any other environment like Perl or Python, automatically two systems were removed from our shortlist before even installing them. Personally, I have used RT previously in a different company and I must say that it does meet more than the basic needs. Previously, one of our team members has tried to install and test Bugzilla. Unfortunately, he has installed the previous stable release (2.X.X) and it needed some heavy configuration and didn’t offer a crisp/clean look & feel.

We were left with three PHP based issue tracking systems: Mantis, Eventum, and Kayako. Here is how the different platforms scored:

Issue Tracking System

Issue vs Bug tracking

Issue creation by email

Manageable and solid code

Mantis

The system is oriented for the more technical user and carries the title of ‘bugtracking’ system.

Issue creation via email is only available as a patch. Email notification for issue updates is available right out of the box.

First, the code seem to still be in beta or unstable mode. Second, as we were browsing the public demo online, we found a few php errors and warnings at the very top of the page – which we thought wasn’t acceptable.

Kayako

Issue tracking system. Feature rich and well tested.

Feature is supported out of the box.

As expected the software did require installing Zend Optimizer on our server. Since our development server requires some advanced configuration options this was out of the question. However, it seemed like 99% of their code was open source except the portion that checks for the license which made this candidate as a great option for us.

Eventum

Issue tracking system. Feature is fairly rich but still remains easy to understand and use.

Here is where Eventum excels, from version 2.0 their email management has improved significantly with queuing and granular preferences per user for email routing, updates, and tracking. In fact, one can handle entire issues by using emails only.

The code is maintained by a few members of the MySQL team. It seems like the MySQL software development team is using this system internally which guarantees stability. Other than the template system, the code is well structured.

We had to make a decision between Kayako and Eventum and finally we had a poor experience with Kayako’s technical support team which steered us in Eventum’s direction. After installing, testing, and forgetting about the system for a while we ran into some problems with the email queuing feature. For some reason our cron tabs consistently returned error messages and emails were not being transferred back and forth smoothly. After some digging we found some permission issues and fixed it. Now that it is working well and most importantly serves our needs, we can declare Eventum as a winner.

Thank you MySQL!

Project Management, Web Development