Compare Web-Based Issue Trackers

Here's my review of known web-based tracker tools. I'm looking for a generic tool that can be used for anything (i.e. bug tracker, feature request tracker, and tech support/trouble ticket tracker). If you notice any discrepancies, please let me know. Thanks!

For the best introduction, including the most recent time-stamped updates, please refer to the Compare Web-Based Issue Trackers article in my article weblog. This article is only an introduction, tho, the core details are below. If you're interested in updates, subscribe to my article RSS feed, which will be updated when I make changes. Additionally, I suggest you check out the discussion forum for more in-depth community discussions.

Overview

The features that I compared are language (lang); latest version (ver); type of license (lic); date last reviewed (rev date); whether the tool supported custom fields (cust); templating (temp); full-text searches; RSS output; notification service (not); built-in reports (rep); change history (hist); file attachments (attach); when the tool was updated; and, lastly, whether there is a demo available.

 ToolLangVerLicRev DateCustTempSearchRSSNotRepHistAttachUpdatedDemoScore
ASP.NET Starter KitC#/VB1.0 1/27/2007
Yes
 
Yes
     11/1/2005No2
Bug-a-BooCGI1.09GPL1/27/2007 YesYes Yes   2/2/2005Yes4
Bug BaseJava1.0rc3GPL1/27/2007        9/1/2003 0
BuginPHP0.65rc1BSD/GLPL1/27/2007        3/10/2004 0
BugTracker.NETC#2.2.4GPL1/27/2007YesNoYesNoYesYesYesYes1/14/2007No7
BugzillaPerl2.23.3CC1/27/2007NoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes10/15/2006Yes8
EventumPHP1.7.1GPL1/27/2007YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes3/31/2006No8
EZ TicketPHP0.01GPL1/27/2007     Yes  1/30/2004Yes2
FlysprayPHP0.9.9rc1 1/27/2007  Yes Yes  Yes1/27/2007Yes4
GNATS 4.1 1/27/2007        3/6/2005Yes1
Issue TrackerPHP4.0.4 3/1/2006 Yes  Yes   12/1/2004Yes4
ITrackerJava2.4.2LGPL1/27/2007Yes Yes YesYesYesYes8/24/2004Yes7
JTrackerPython1.14ZPL1/27/2007No       7/31/2006No0
MantisPHP1.0.6GPL1/27/2007YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes10/28/2006Yes9
MidgePython0.5GPL1/27/2007  Yes     4/24/2005Yes2
OpenPSA SupportPHP1.12.1GPL1/27/2007  Yes  Yes  1/1/2005Yes3
OTRSPerl2.1.4GPL1/27/2007 YesYes Yes YesYes12/14/2006Yes7
phpBugTrackerPHP1.0.1GPL1/27/2007 YesYes  Yes Yes9/1/2005Yes5
PloneCollector-NGPython1.2.9LGPL1/27/2007Yes YesYesYesYesYesYes12/1/2005Yes8
Request TrackerPerl3.6.3 1/27/2007YesYesYesYesYes YesYes12/21/2006Yes9
RoundupPython1.3.2Python1/27/2007YesYesYes Yes YesYes3/1/2006Yes7
ScarabJava1.0b20Tigris1/27/2007YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes7/1/2005Yes9
Subissue  GPL1/27/2007NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo No0
SugarCRMPHP4.0.1MPL3/1/2006YesYesYes     2/1/2006Yes4
TracPython0.10.3BSD1/27/2007  YesYes YesYesYes2/1/2006Yes6
WhupsPHP  1/27/2007 YesYes   YesYes Yes5
WorkbenchPHP0.11GPL1/27/2007        4/18/2002No0
Zope Issue TrackerPython0.5.2ZPL1/27/2007        12/1/2003Yes1
Zwiki TrackerPython0.51ZPL3/1/2006      Yes 3/1/2006Yes2
BugsPHP1.7.2MPL1/28/2007 Yes  YesYesYesYes2/6/2006No5
AnthillPerl1.1GPL1/28/2007        12/31/2002 0
Bug TrackerPHP2.3GPL1/28/2007  Yes Yes  Yes1/21/2007Yes5

If a cell is blank, the feature has been neither confirmed nor denied. Positive or desired responses have also been highlighted. The score accounts for the number of desired responses.

After the first run-through, I got down to the top 7 (in scoring order): Roundup, ITracker, TracOTRS, phpBugTracker, BugTracker.NET, and Whups. A lot more results than I wanted, but oh well. Of course, what'd I happen to do but find a few more trackers, so now I need to take a look at them before moving on: Bug Base, BugIn, BugTracker, IssueZilla, Jitterbug, sBugs, and Workbench. Great. Just what I wanted... more tools! Bleh...

Anthill (Go)

This one seems like a dead project, so there's not much to say about it. Very little information and no demo.

[ Overview ]

ASP.NET Starter (Go)

This is pretty skimpy, and if it looks anything like the community and portal starter kits, it's probably pretty ugly source code. I don't think Microsoft is working too hard on maintaining this, either, so it's pretty much out the window as far as I'm concerned.

[ Overview ]

Bug Base (Go)

The first thing I did when browsing to this tool's project page was to find out when it was last updated. Seeing that it was released as 1.0 RC3 in Aug 2003 was not very promising. Based on this, I decided that no further review was required.

[ Overview ]

Bug Tracker (Go)

Here's another tracker. There is a demo, but I didn't go thru it. If anyone has any experience with it, let me know. I was surprised to see a recent release.

[ Overview ]

Bug-a-Boo (Go)

This tool looks very simplistic. There seems to be a very small user-base, too. There are screenshots as well as a demo available.

[ Overview ]

Bugin (Go)

Not much info on the product at all. No demos, no screenshots... Hell, there aren't even a list of features that I can find. It looks as if there is one developer for this tool, so I'm not really going to waste my time with further evaluation. The only way I would have to determine features would be thru installation, and with all the tools that I have to evaluate, I don't really have time for that.

[ Overview ]

Bugs - The Bug Genie (Go)

Here's a new one I just found that looks interesting. Unfortunately, there aren't any screenshots and I didn't notice a demo. I would definitely like to see what the tool looks like. The feature list is kind of short, but there is some promise.

[ Overview ]

BugTracker.NET (Go)

Well, I'm kind of biased because I prefer a C# app, but this thing actually sounds pretty good. I'll have to double-check on it after I finish my initial review. I don't see a demo available off-hand, but I haven't really looked too hard. There's only one developer for the project and it has 38 bugs and 82 feature requests dating back to Dec 2002.

[ Overview ]

Bugzilla (Go)

This tool is supposed to be the most used, based on things I've read. There seems to be a lot of setup issues that come along with it, tho. Basically, this kind of reminds me of CVS - huge, archaic, and hard-to-read/edit code. I didn't see a demo, but I'm sure there's one somewhere online. Based on the listed features, I think I'll move on before digging any further into this... if I dig further.

Thanks to Marc Schumann for the 2.20 updates!

[ Overview ]

Eventum (Go)

This looks like it could be decent, but I just get a bad feeling about it. Some of the screenshots are nice, but there's not demo that I can see. I'm not too impressed.

Many thanks to Rob M for letting me know about the updates for Eventum.

[ Overview ]

EZ Ticket (Go)

Well, I'm not really sure what to say about this tool... and neither are the developers, obviously. There isn't really anything available talking about what it does. There are a few screenshots available which give you a hint, but not much of one. THere are only two developers and no bug reports or feature requests. The tool is only released in version 0.01, so it's very new. Maybe it'll be worth checking out in a couple months to a year - either way, it has a long way to catch up.

[ Overview ]

Flyspray (Go)

This tool looks nice... not to mention they use Subversion! Well, anyway, there is a demo available that shows you some of the features. Overall, it looks pretty nice. They only mention CSS customization, so the templates are kind of out. Hopefully they'll pick something up along the way. If not, their system still looks decent. They're also working on a wiki version, but I didn't look into that any.

[ Overview ]

GNATS (Go)

This site isn't much of a help. I tried to take a look at their bugs, but it never came up. Not sure if it's my connection problems or theirs. I guess I'll just have to come back to this one.

[ Overview ]

Issue Tracker (Go)

This looks pretty nice. There seems to be some key features that are missing, but it looks nice so far. I'll have to come back to this one, too. There are three demos available (stable 4.x, dev 4.x, and dev 5.x) and screenshots, too. You have to love support like this. Their SourceForge project has 4 developers, 14 bugs, and 52 feature requests.

I just noticed that the website this project used to have is down. I'll have to do some digging around later to see if it's still alive.

[ Overview ]

ITracker (Go)

Wow. I think that about sums it up. The feature list on this bad boy is nice. There are screenshots and a demo available and, despite the fact that they have a SourceForge project setup, everything seems to be managed on their site - check out the forums. If this was only in .NET, my search would be over. Anyway, so far, this looks like the tool to beat.

[ Overview ]

JTracker (Go)

Well, I don't really see anything about what features this tool has, so I'm gonna be moving on, now. If someone knows something about it, let me know. I have to say that the whole python/zope thing is a turn-off, anyway, but I can get beyond that.

[ Overview ]

Mantis (Go)

Ya know, I'm pretty sure people are using this, but I don't see any activity on the project site. Hmm... Oh well, don't have time to worry abou that now. Too many trackers, too little time. Supposedly there's a demo, but I didn't see a link for it.

Thanks to lübbe onken and Markus for filling me in on the Mantis project. Looks like there's a demo available, so that's worth checking out. I'm starting to think that coloring the bugs should be able to be set by the user (or at least an admin). I've seen a lot of different implementations. The demo seems to base it on the status. I really like the summary report. That's pretty nice. It's not too in-depth and there aren't pretty pictures for the big man, but it's still pretty nice.

[ Overview ]

Midge (Go)

This was supposed to be a small project from one company, I believe. It's still pretty small and very minimalistic. I'm looking for a whole lot more, so this just won't suffice.

[ Overview ]

OpenPSA Support (Go)

This tool is very minimalistic and is part of a larger project. I don't really like tools that are part of bigger projects because they tend to bring in unwanted complications. As if the lack of features didn't knock this one out of the water, the focus on what seems to be tech support limits it for development use.

[ Overview ]

OTRS (Go)

This is another one with a good list of features. It looks ok, but the biggest turn-off that I see is that it's perl. One question I have is: Why are they using Bugzilla to manage their bugs? Oh well. Whatever. It's still one of the top feature-rich apps, so we'll see. There are screenshots and a demo available, too.

[ Overview ]

phpBugTracker (Go)

The tool looks decent, tho somewhat small. There are some key features that are missing, like field customization, but the tool still seems quite usable. There are screenshots and a demo available and the SourceForge project has 9 developers, 48 bugs, and 63 feature requests.

[ Overview ]

PloneCollector-NG (Go)

Well, this tool looks pretty nice, but I have one major question: What the hell is Zopyx? Ok, nevermind. I guess it's just some zope tool/framework. Anyway, the tool looks pretty nice, but it's definitely not up-to-par feature-wise. There aren't any demos that I can see, but screenshots are available.

Many thanks to Alex for providing me with more information.

[ Overview ]

Request Tracker (Go)

This is the first tool that has my top 3: custom fields, templating, and full-text search. That's definitely a plus. There are still some other features that are missing, but it's at least deserving of the competion. There's no demo, but screenshots are available.

Thanks to Leif Nixon for giving me an update on Request Tracker [Apr 12, 2005]. This update has spurred me to reconsider my evaluation of the top tools. I changed it from 5+ to 6+, which knocked out 4 tools and leaving 7 - still, plenty to choose from :-P I'm wondering if there are some other features that I should be looking at. At this point, it's almost a toss up of which one's prettier and/or more easily customized. I didn't get into ease of use, but it's something I can definitely look into.

[ Overview ]

Roundup (Go)

I guess I spoke too soon. Here's another one with the top 3. There's a demo available, but know that this is not the default look and feel. There are also screenshots. All I can say is that this is the most fully-featured tool so far. This is going to make the choice hard for me. I don't like the idea of going with a language I don't know and don't have to use, so python is kind of a turn-off.

[ Overview ]

Scarab (Go)

I remember reading that this was a good tracker, but after looking at it, it doesn't seem to be all that special. I haven't actually used it because there isn't a demo available. The project does use itself to track bugs, but you can't login. Maybe there's a guest login listed somewhere. Not sure. They are vague on explaining their features, which kind of hurts them when it comes to whether or not I am thinking about going with them. I was just informed that there's a demo here. Check it out, if you're interested.

[ Overview ]

Subissue (Go)

This project is in the planning stages. Not sure when it will be updated. The basic idea is to keep issue tracking files in a Subversion repository. I do and don't like that idea. Integration is good, but that kind of tracking just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

[ Overview ]

SugarCRM (Go)

I don't know too much about this product, but it was mentioned to me, so I figured I'd list it. If I'm missing something, please let me know.

[ Overview ]

Trac (Go)

This is a wiki and tracking tool. I like the idea of having both, but I'm kind of wondering about how rules come into play. I really need to sit down and mess around with it, first. I don't think that this type of freelance modifications would be good for my environment, so this is kind of out of the picture. If you have a small team where everybody should be able to edit everything and nobody's worried about doing anything wrong, then I'd say this might be a good tool for you. Otherwise, you might want to consider something else. But, either way, it's probably a good idea to play with it first.

After looking at this a little more, I may have jumped to conclusions. This will definitely have to be on my check-back list. It looks very nice and even has integration with Subversion. Hmm... The site itself runs off Trac, so just check it out!

[ Overview ]

Whups (Go)

I like this because it ties in with Horde and Chora, which I opted for web-based Subversion access. It looks like a pretty nice tool, but not as nice as Trac. Then again, Python, bleh. Horde is using this tool for their bug tracker, so play around with it. It looks like they haven't come out with a stable release, yet, so there's no telling when that's going to happen.

[ Overview ]

Workbench (Go)

Surprise, surprise. Another dead project. This one was at v0.11 in April 2002. Still worth mentioning, I guess. The source is out there, if anyone feels the need.

[ Overview ]

Zope Issue Tracker (Go)

I'm getting pretty much sick of these stupid tools, so I'm glad that I'm down to the end. The demo doesn't seem to be up, and they make mention to the fact that it might not be, but there are screenshots available, too. I'm getting a little petty, now... Last update was a year ago: Dec 2003. Ok, reason enough for me to skip it.

[ Overview ]

Zwiki Tracker (Go)

Woah... I thought I was petty on that last one... This one is just way too simplistic. And, when you can see the finish line, you just want to stop the madness. Therefore, I don't really plan on diggin into this one. There is a demo here. It looks rather confusing the way it's laid out.

[ Overview ]

My Conclusions

[Mar 28, 2006]
Well, because I had a requirement to use .NET on one project, I setup BugTracker.NET. That was pretty short lived. I'm actually using BTNET on another project right now, but I'm not managing the tracker. I like it for its simplicity, but I can't help but feel like it's missing something. I keep leaning back towards Bugzilla, but I don't like the idea of using a Perl tool. Perhaps I'll take a look at how to set it up. If I can get it setup fairly quickly, I might use it.

[Dec 12, 2005]
Checking out this many tools sucks! You people better be glad I did it for you. Or, at least got you started. Holy crap! I will be going through a second run on just the top projects to see how they work and maybe get a little more stringent on my criteria.

Appendix A: Commercial Trackers

I've been asked to take a look at a few commercial trackers, but have avoided it because the core reason for me creating this comparison was that I wanted to look at open source products only. Despite this, we can't ignore these tools. For now, I'll simply list them here. At some point, I would like to add them to the list, but before I do that, I need to add some filter capabilities to the list so you can see what you're interested in and nothing more.

Appendix B: Retired Trackers

In an effort to keep this comparison as concise as possible, I've decided to "retire" trackers that haven't been updated in the past five years. I will probably bring this time frame down to three years, but five is a good starting point. This list will consist of the tracker name, a link to the site, and the date of the last known update. If anyone knows about a more recent update to these, let me know and I'll reintegrate them into the overall comparison. Thanks!

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Rating Summary
1/29/2007 2:23:21 PM by Anonymous
1/31/2007 4:44:17 AM by Anonymous
Thanks for updating this!
2/28/2007 3:24:38 AM by Anonymous
How can it be a comparison when all I see here is simply list of tools?
3/3/2007 11:27:27 AM by Michael Flanakin
It's a feature comparison, as depicted by the matrix. The rest is discussing my impressions of the tools. If you have any suggestions, I'm open to them.
3/8/2007 11:19:13 PM by Andy Dent
Trac corrections (based on currently evaluating it for use instead of Mantis, mainly because it ties the wiki to check-in and ticket system): 1) it does have templates - http://trac.edgewall.org/wiki/TracInterfaceCustomization 2) it has notifications - http://trac.edgewall.org/wiki/TracNotification 3) it has custom fields - http://trac.edgewall.org/wiki/TracTicketsCustomFields
3/14/2007 6:44:26 AM by Anonymous
How about JIRA and how I'm able to open/view the matrix
3/29/2007 5:04:03 AM by Anonymous
4/24/2007 2:25:51 PM by Anonymous
5/24/2007 6:01:01 AM by Anonymous
The page doesn't work properly under firefox 2.0.0.3 The text within the matrix is so smal, it is not readable. best regards, Sietse
7/8/2007 1:07:11 AM by Anonymous
7/25/2007 12:23:48 AM by Anonymous
Please add JTrac! http://jtrac.info
8/15/2007 11:55:45 PM by Anonymous
9/4/2007 7:03:20 PM by Anonymous
There is another one you may like called BugNET which is also a .NET 2.0 driven application. You can find it at www.bugnetproject.com
9/18/2007 5:35:57 AM by Anonymous
Could anyone tell me what is better? Mantis or JTrac?
10/17/2007 7:16:03 AM by Anonymous
10/24/2007 5:36:23 AM by Anonymous
I'm the authpr pf BugTracker.NET. Some additional info. Even though it doesn't use templates, its look is fairly customizable through css and some config files, as seen here: http://www.ifdefined.com/doc_bug_tracker_css.html pss. I'm curious about the comment of May 28,2006 about BugTracker.NET missing something. What was it, and maybe it has it now? Also, I've issueing a new release every couple months. Current release is 2.5.7. Finally, ifdefined.com/bugrackernet.html is really the home page for the app, not sourceforge.
11/18/2007 9:40:52 AM by Anonymous
11/24/2007 7:51:33 AM by Anonymous
I have been looking at issue trackers myself lately and am drawn to BugNET, like a mosquito to a zapper. It is conspicuous in it's absence from your listing.
12/5/2007 5:07:29 PM by Anonymous
12/14/2007 9:00:28 AM by Anonymous
About your comment regarding Trac: "I don't think that this type of freelance modifications would be good for my environment" That's why Trac allows you to give read/write permissions (for every module: wiki, tickets, etc.), either by groups (that you can define) or by particular users. And as another person said: Trac does have notifications, templates and custom fields.
1/21/2008 1:27:40 PM by Anonymous
2/12/2008 6:39:43 PM by Anonymous
How about Atlassian's JIRA? Not open source, but if you're an open source project you can get a free license.
2/19/2008 1:03:27 PM by Anonymous
IssueTracker has a new website and is being updated regularly. Site is http://www.issuetrackerproduct.com M@
3/12/2008 1:21:44 PM by Anonymous
3/26/2008 4:17:37 AM by Anonymous
Re Commercial trackers: Both DevTrack and MS TFS are part of ALM solutions, so this list should list other ALM tools such as MKS Integrity, etc.
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1.0 Initial draft
2.0 Implemented JavaScript rendering engine
Added license column
Updated data
2.1 Migrated data from old comparison