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This post is from the CollabNet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Apr 25, 2010 — Enterprise Agile Planning expert

Deskzilla: A Better Way to Use Bugzilla in Codesion

Enterprise Agile Planning

Guest blogger Igor Sereda, CEO of ALMWorks, talks about using the desktop client Deskzilla for Bugzilla, with Codesion.

Bugzilla is a powerful and robust bug tracking  solution, but its web-based interface leaves much to be desired. Micro-delays arising from using the web interface, even if for fractions of a second, exceed the typical “distraction threshold”, which means you you don’t get into the flow.
This is where Deskzilla, a desktop client for Bugzilla, comes to help. Its highly interactive user interface can help make you more productive: after you connect to your server and download your bugs, like “my open bugs”, you get instant, searchable access to Deskzilla’s database.

Query-Driven Interface

The interface is organized in a familiar way and resembles an e-mail client. A folder-like hierarchy of queries provides easy access to bug lists and bug details. Navigation is extremely fast: double-click a query to instantly get a list of bugs that satisfy the query’s filter, and you can click or use the keyboard to review lists and act on multiple bugs.

Instant Reports using Sub-Queries and Distributions

Deskzilla also provides the ability to create nested queries, allowing you to build a tree of queries and distributions. It is a search engine and report engine at the same time.

Let’s say you work with a product called Bugzilla (the actual product on bugzilla.mozilla.org), and you create a query “My Open Bugs” showing 73 records. You can further create sub-queries, as the screenshot to the right shows.

An unintended benefit of working with queries is that you gain instant insight into the state of your project — you immediately see how many issues satisfy queries, categories, or priority.

Bug Triage using Drag-and-Drop

From time to time there’s need to go through a large list of bugs and make a decision on each one. Which component is this bug related to? Shall we include it in the next iteration? Who’s going to work on it? What is the priority of this issue? Typically you need to change one or several fields on each bug and move on to the next one- all of which chews up valuable time. Using Deskzilla, change fields simply by dragging and dropping. This makes it possible to select one or more bugs or lists, drag and drop them onto a query, and Deskzilla will update these bugs so that they will satisfy this query.

For example, you can create distributions by Priority, drop bugs on individual sub-queries to adjust the priority, then immediately see the results. On this screenshot, I’m dropping issue #557385 on the sub-query P1, and Deskzilla shows a hint what is about to happen.

Working Offline

One of the important Deskzilla features is its ability to work offline. This is particularly relevant for distributed teams working in different countries. Whether you’re outside of your corporate intranet, or have a slow VPN connection, once you’ve downloaded your bugs with Deskzilla, you’re free to work at full speed. Deskzilla stores a lot of information in its local database, and for the bugs that have been downloaded it is a fully-featured desktop bug tracker.

You can create, update, and search bugs while offline, then push your changes back to the server when you come back online. If concurrent changes on the same bug lead to a conflict, then Deskzilla helps the user resolve the conflict by selecting changes, field by field.

A Codesion-Deskzilla Customer Impression

Dianna Carroll, QA Manager of LA-based Harman International, uses Deskzilla and Codesion to manage distributed QA teams working between the US, India, and China.

We recently spoke with Dianna, who told us that Harman QA teams perform weekly bug triage meetings around a varity of programs. “We’ve found that Deskzilla’s offline availability via cached bug records is a huge advantage, as it allows us to access and/or edit bugs while attending meetings where internet access is not available, then upload changes once online.”

With projects in excess of 1,000 bugs, Dianna notes that it is much easier to search for bugs by keywords and queries using the desktop client than in web-based Bugzilla. “The tabular distribution provides a quick reference to check the status of the project, and being able to sort by category gives us quick insight into components that are most affected, based on the number of bugs.” Dianna also uses the export feature to prepare bug trend reports.

About Deskzilla & Special Offer

Deskzilla is a product of ALM Works, a Codesion partner. Deskzilla Lite is free for small projects with less than 1000 bugs, while Deskzilla Pro includes a 30-day trial.

Interested Codesion customers qualify for a special 10% discount. To get started, visit ALM Works Deskzilla License page and decide which license works best for your needs. Then, click on “Buy Online” and sign up using promo code CODESION2010.

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