I’ve removed comments temporarily. Mainly because they were taking forever to appear. Replacements soon. You can still contact me via Jabber as specified in my FOAF file </raises the bar>

And so finally, as promised – bug trackers.

Only free bug/issue trackers, and only ones I’ve tried, natch. If you don’t have a Live Demo, I’m not coming in.

And why not start at the top? The daddy of Open Source bugtrackers? Bugzilla.

I can only talk about Bugzilla as a user, I’ve tried to install it to manage my own collaborative projects, but never managed it successfully. To do so is a feat in and of itself.

So how did I manage with it as a user? Trying to see if a bug had already been logged? Failed. Simple search to return all bugs? Failed.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just a dolt, but even when I bring up a page detailing a single bug, there’s so much going on on the screen that I can only just about tell what the bug even is, let alone who opened it, what its status is etc. The only thing I really like is the comments section after it which shows progress and direction the bug solution is headed in.

The functionality it provides may be great but the awful experience of actually a) installation and b) use means Bugzilla is a big no no.

IssueTracker, powered by Zope, is great. Really simple, easy to use. No real complaints, although I’m sure I could come up with some if I really tried. Like the use of Zope. ew. 😉

The sourceforge bugtracker – pretty decent, it works, but stores comments in the opposite order to the way I’d expect. Pretty good otherwise, and probably the most solid of all the ones I tried in terms of a balance between usability and functionality.

I’ve looked at loads of free bug and issue trackers over months, and I’ve been really disappointed. What makes it so hard to make a decent bugtracker? Do I ask too much? Do I even know what I’m asking for? Is it because bug trackers are knocked out by people who need them for purely practical reasons and so don’t spend much time on the interface? Surely this can’t be the case? All in all fairly depressing.

So why was I even looking at issue trackers? Well, the developers at work don’t have one, and I thought it might be kind of handy (duh! how did everyone cope without one?!), but in the end I wound up splitting the bugtracker code (originally written by Gareth Simpson) out of a much larger project I’d worked on called Xurble into its own entity. Sadly the original xurble bugtracker isn’t running anywhere for a compare and contrast at the moment, but the one we’re now using at work is an improved version of this. Which seems to be easy enough, and is in daily use. It’s Java and runs within Tomcat, Jetty and JBoss (and most other web containers I’d imagine). That’s right, this post is really a shameless plug and taster for when it’s finally released. 😉



FogBugz from Fog Creek Software is basically the nemesis of bugzilla, it’s very powerful, but with a far simpler interface (although not as good as I’d expect from Joel Spoelsky). It does pretty much everything you’d want it to, is better than IssueTracker, has more functionality than my version and you don’t have to have used an issue tracker before to understand what’s going on. Nice job, now release it for free. 😉


Given ten divs all with float:left one after the other (let’s call each div “box”), all inside a containing div (which we’ll call “boxholder”, they won’t be displayed as such due to the floats taking the boxes out of the normal flow.

In order to make the boxholder expand to the size of its contents, you can put another box at the end with clear:left.

Is this the only way to make the boxes sit visually within boxholder?

Screenshots of what the boxes look like without the final empty div:
IE screenshot and Mozilla screenshot

via Danny comes a link to an article which in turn links to the Getty Thesuarus of Geographic Names. Sounds a bit tedious, but fortunately for all those who want to add accurate GeoURL data to their webpages and don’t have GPS systems available to them, this site could be the answer.

Type in your city and country, or use the popups to select where you mean, and get the co-ordinates back! Easy Peasy.

(Of course, for those in the UK, we can always use the more accurate MultiMap, which shows the co-ordinates under “Map Information”, although I’m not sure it always did so)

We had to make a decision at work the other day as to whether a site we were making should be able to support people with 800×600 monitors. I said no, that no-one used this resolution any more, that 1024 was the norm, and we should go with that (most websites we do support both of course, but there were special considerations with this one).

I was wrong.

A quick look at the monitor resolution stats for May 2003 shows that the largest proportion of users, 44%, were still using 800×600 displays. I was shocked.

It also rates the cumulative number of users using IE to be at 94%. I was not shocked.

Although allegedly, thecounter.com tracked around 38 million visitors in May, and 350 million in April. I can’t help but be suspicious. Do these sorts of numbers really exist? is thecounter.com really used that widely? Answers on a postcard.

In yesterday’s ramble about Netscape, I suggested that a Mozilla browser needed to be branded to make any decent headway onto home users’ desktops.

Anil Dash has floated the idea that this branding should be done by Google, and Simon Willison has also posted about it.

I really think this would be an excellent move. Obviously the main stumbling block would be the business model to base this around, but as Anil suggests, built-in hooks to Google services and ads could do this.

But would people use “The Google Browser”? What on earth would it be marketed as? Googlezilla? What a mouthful!

It’s about time the information about FOAF was pulled together. There’s quite a bit of it, but it’s spread over the web, with no guarantee of everything pointing to everything else. Gathering it all together on a website (not a wiki, and the foaflog is slightly too developer-centric) is something that really needs to be tackled (as Marc Canter has been calling for on the rdfweb-dev mailing list). Fortunately someone’s made a go at doing just that:

Example FOAF website

It links to the specs, the tools, the foaflog, pulls together articles posted on disparate weblogs all to make one big excellent FOAF resource. The design is slightly too garish and the text line-spacing slightly too tight for me, but I can live with this. A few contributed “beginners” articles and this would be excellent.

Keeping to the web theme, mozilla.org has a new site, designed to be more appealing to end users instead of developers. It’s OK, but will be a hell of a lot better once the “What Is The Mozilla Foundation?” box has gone. Also, it’s particularly strange that the website of one of the most standards-compliant browsers was designed with tables, luckily Tom Gilder comes to the rescue with a version of the site just in CSS – mozilla.org take note! (side note: Tom also has a really nice line in “CSS3 quickies”, like wavy underlining and the ::outside element. For those who can’t be bothered to trudge through the CSS3 draft (although if you like this kind of thing, and I do, it’s very interesting), this is great stuff.