Ravenbrook / Projects / Perforce Defect Tracking Integration

Perforce Defect Tracking Integration Project

Perforce Defect Tracking Integration Project Frequently Asked Questions

Richard Brooksby, Ravenbrook Limited, 2000-05-30


1. Introduction

This document answers questions about the Perforce Defect Tracking Integration project that we are asked frequently. It will be updated with new questions throughout the project.

The readership of this document is anyone interested in the project.

This document is not confidential.

2. General Questions

2.1. How can I ask questions or make comments?

If your question isn't answered by this FAQ take a look the document index. It might be answered by one of the other project documents.

If your question is about how to use, install, administrate, or adapt the software then you should try the manuals. The User's Guide and the Administrator's Guide are good places to start.

If you still can't find an answer, you can write to p4dti-questions@ravenbrook.com

If you have a comment on the project, you can write to p4dti-comments@ravenbrook.com

2.2. Are you building a defect tracking system?

No. We've integrated Perforce with third party defect tracking systems. Perforce made a decision not to build their own defect tracker, on our recommendation [RB 2000-01-24].

2.3. Which defect tracking systems are you integrating with?

The initial release of the software integrated with TeamTrack by TeamShare and Bugzilla [RB 2000-07-04]. Subsequently, support for TeamTrack has been dropped.

We expect the integration to be extended to include other defect tracking systems. We've specifically designed this to be possible, as it's requirement 21. Perforce Software certainly want to see more integrations available to their customers. Anyone will be able to do this, because the project is open and the integration kit is documented, but we will naturally be most familiar with it.

We've had requests for integrations with Remedy ARS, Rational ClearQuest, Clarify ClearQuality, Merant PVCS Tracker, Soffront TRACK Defects, TechExcel DevTrack, and others. But Perforce initially only funded integration with two systems, so we won't be making any other integrations unless we are engaged to do so.

If you are interested in having us provide an integration for a defect tracker, then please contact us.

2.4. Do you recommend a defect tracker?

No, we don't believe we can make a general recommendation for a defect tracker. It depends too much on your environment and requirements. We do have two suggestions:

  1. Think ahead to what your company will be like in a few years time, so that you don't have to change systems. Changing systems can be very expensive. If you don't know what your company will be like, go and talk to someone in a bigger company or someone with experience of bigger companies.
  2. Think about whether you want your defect tracking data related to other data in your management information system. Do you want to relate defects to customer records, or sales data, or accounts, or source control? Does it fit with your general MIS strategy?

You might take a look at the comp.software.config-mgmt FAQ: Problem Management Tools Summary, or CM Today's lists of commercial or free problem tracking systems.

You are also welcome to contact us for professional advice.

2.5. How can I stay in touch with the project?

You can join the p4dti-discussion mailing list. The goals of the list are:

  1. to provide feedback to the project on requirements, design, implementation, etc.;
  2. to allow people to exchange information and experience with using and adapting the project;
  3. to keep people informed about project progress.

To join, send a message with the word "subscribe" in the body to p4dti-discussion-request@ravenbrook.com or send the word "help" for general information.

Please note that the mailing list will be archived and the archive may be published.

2.6. How do you manage and maintain the project web pages?

We're using something very like I described in section 11 of my paper "Product Quality through Change Management" [RB 1999-05-20]. The server and depot are now called "info.ravenbrook.com" but otherwise things are very similar. The web site you see outside at www.ravenbrook.com gives a different front-end to the "project" directory, but otherwise you're seeing exactly what we see.

I manage most of the documentation by hand. I believe that someone (one person) needs to be responsible for managing the consistency of project documentation, even if they delegate much of the work. It's possible to use tools to make the job easier, but the tools can't make the documentation good or consistent.

The documentation is stored in Perforce, more or less just as you see it, and created using editors such as Bare Bones' BBEdit (on the Mac) and Emacs. It's written to the XHTML 1.0 specification, and checked using BBEdit. We deliberately write very plain HTML so that others can process and maintain the documentation easily.

If I were managing a larger project I would consider using a relational database to store entities such as requirements, but I would be very careful to make sure the system was flexible and that all information within it was easy to reference. I would also consider marking up more information in custom XML DTDs and presenting it in HTML automatically.

Please let me know if you'd like any other information about the approach. It is one of my goals to disseminate good project practice, so I'll be happy to tell you about it. That's one of the reasons the whole project's on the web.

3. Project Questions

3.1. How do I get information about the project?

This is a completely open project -- not just open source. All project documents are available from the project web site at <http://www.ravenbrook.com/project/p4dti/>. Indeed, this is just a mirror of our own file repository. The project front page is regularly updated with news and plans.

3.2. Can I be an alpha tester?

Sorry, but the alpha test programme is finished. Several supported releases have been made since the alpha test programme, please see The Perforce Defect Tracking Integration page at the Perforce Public Depot for details.

A full report of the alpha test programme is available [RB 2000-11-04].

For the historical record, the final alpha release was release 0.3.3. This release is now completely unsupported. Please be very careful with this software. Be sure to study the readme file before you try it. And please let us know if you have questions or comments.

3.3. Can I be a beta tester?

Sorry, but the beta test programme is finished. Several supported releases have been made since the beta test programme, please see The Perforce Defect Tracking Integration page at the Perforce Public Depot for details.

All beta releases are now unsupported. You can still download the beta releases from the release page. Please be sure to read the "readme.txt" files — they really do contain important information. You'll be better off getting the product releases (with numbers higher than 1.0.0).

4. Questions about the software

4.1. Which platforms and configurations does the software support?

Please see the release notes that come with the latest release of the software for full details of platforms and configurations.

A. References

[RB 1999-05-20] "Product Quality through Change Management"; Richard Brooksby; Geodesic Systems; 1999-05-20; <URL: http://richard.brooksby.org/1999/05/20/pqtcm/>.
[RB 2000-01-24] "Options for Defect Tracking"; Richard Brooksby; Ravenbrook Limited; 2000-01-24.
[RB 2000-05-05] "Requirements for defect tracking integration"; Richard Brooksby; Ravenbrook Limited; 2000-05-05.
[RB 2000-07-04] "Vendor Recommendation for Defect Tracking Integration"; Richard Brooksby; Ravenbrook Limited; 2000-07-04.
[RB 2000-11-04] "Perforce Defect Tracking Integration Alpha Programme Report"; Richard Brooksby; Ravenbrook Limited; 2000-11-04.

B. Document history

2000-05-30 RB Created based on some points raised by early reviewers.
2000-06-30 GDR Made XHTML document style consistent. Made references link directly to target, rather than the references section.
2000-07-11 GDR Added CM Today's list of problem tracking systems.
2000-08-30 RB Updated question 2.3 to say which vendors we're integrating with.
2000-12-06 RB Added question 4.1 about supported platform configurations.
2000-12-12 RB Added question 2.6 about project documentation and management. Added extra text to question 2.3 on which defect tracking system's we're integrating with.
2000-12-13 RB Updated question 3.3 to say that the beta programme has started.
2001-03-20 RB Updated to say that the beta programme has finished. Added supported platforms for Bugzilla.
2002-11-14 RB Updated to talk about the TeamTrack integration hand-over.
2003-09-26 NB Updated links to lists of bug tracking systems.

Copyright © 2000-2003 Ravenbrook Limited. This document is provided "as is", without any express or implied warranty. In no event will the authors be held liable for any damages arising from the use of this document. You may make and distribute verbatim copies of this document provided that you do not charge a fee for this document or for its distribution.

$Id: //info.ravenbrook.com/project/p4dti/faq/index.html#22 $

Ravenbrook / Projects / Perforce Defect Tracking Integration