Choosing an Issue Tracker for an Online Service

I’ve been working on an application that I’m getting close to publicly launching, and while the site is mostly functional with most of the development done (I’ve been working on it in my ‘spare time’ for almost a year), there’s some non-development tasks I need to complete before launching, including:

  • adding Google AdSense and Analytics
  • completing online documentation
  • setting up an online issue tracker

The options for an issue tracker has taken me by surprise as there are so many options, ranging from free to varying monthly fee options. I’m somewhat familiar with some of the older free development project focused options, like Bugzilla, Trac, Redmine, and commercial options like Atlassian’s Jira. Part of my app is open source on GitHub and so to use the GitHub issue tracker for that part is an easy choice. I’d also like to make sure whichever issue tracker I chose is easy to use from the point of view of my end users, the majority of which are unlikely to have existing GitHub accounts, or accounts on other online tracker sites, and I want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for them to log issues and enhancement requests.

(This article here has a good list of a number of issue trackers.)

Ranging from simplest to use, Trello is a stand-out from the crowd. Although it’s not a dedicated issue tracker, the approach of managing lists of items and moving items (cards) from one list (e.g. open items) to another (e.g.closed items) is trivial.

Categorized in interesting-but-with-high-technical-requirements is YouTrack from JetBrains, and free for upto 10 users … but requiring 1GB heap to run, this would cost me some monthly runtime costs for  medium gear on OpenShift, so I’m not sure  if this is worth the investment at this point.

Next up in the looks-interesting category is Asana – I’m not familiar with this service, it looks like it offers much more than I would need, but could be worth investigating.

I’ve some decisions to make here, and right now I’m thinking either using GitHub’s issue tracker or Trello. What would you recommend – leave me a comment!

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