This is to announce that we have plans to implement a customer's interface to the bug-tracker module. Here is the reasoning:
Bug-tracker (as the one used at http://www.openacs.org/) is a nice and mature tools that is very useful for an open-source developer community. It allows all members of a "bug-tracker" group to see all bugs and to post new bugs.
However, the requirements are different if you are an IT or advertizing company and if you want to allow your customers to post the bugs for their projects. The customer shouldn't become aware about the presence of other customers, and you want to invoice the customer for the time spent to fix the issues.
Here is our preliminary marketing blurb describing this situation (a kind of requirement specs, just with a slightly different tone...):
So here is how we plan to implement this. Please let me know what you think:
- We'd create a link from a "Project Tasks" to a bug tracker "Bug".
- When entering a new bug, the customer would create both a new Bug and a new Project Task.
- The Task is used by the Timesheet management system to allow developers to log their hours fixing the bug.
- The Task is also used to determine the customer's access permissions for the bug: Customers are allowed to see only their own bugs (developers would just go straight to the original bug-tracker).
- The information from the Timesheet is used to create customer invoices automatically. This is particularly useful for "maintenance projects", such as web site maintenance, where there is a continuous stream of update to be made.
We plan to leave the current "bug-tracker" package untouched (restricting read/write permissions to the developer team), and to create a new GPLed package probably called "intrant-bug-tracker" that would define the same index/ add-bug pages as "bug-tracker", but with additional security checks to honour the customer's project permissions.
]po[ already includes the timesheet and "invoice wizard" functionality to generate invoices based on timesheet hours and a price list, so that's easy.
I've checked dotProject, PHProject and several other free bug tracking tools, but none has that type of permissions and the integration with finance/invoicing. What do you think? Would this be useful for you? Where would you promote this stuff (obviously including the underlying OpenACS-platfrom...)?
Please let me know. All(!) feedback welcome.