Why do you need a bug tracking tool? Because there’s no such thing as software without bugs.
Unfortunately, these bugs can damage your reputation, cause a loss of revenue, and result in hours of time spent digging through logs in order to find and categorize the defect—which is why every dev team can benefit from bug tracking tools.
By identifying bugs early on in the development process (and if possible, before the end user encounters them!), our teams stand a better chance of being able to make simple fixes with relatively low impact on project timelines and budgets. Likewise, providing an easy way for end users to report bugs to our dev teams helps us modify and enhance our product over time.
Bugs are a necessary evil, but they don’t have to be a pain to deal with. There are dozens of bug tracking tools that help streamline and organize the defect management process. In this review, I’ll explain what features to look for in these tools and the things to consider when trying to choose the right one. I also provide a detailed description of the best bug tracking software I’ve come across, with information on pricing, trials, integrations, pros, cons, and more.
We’ll start with a basic definition of bug tracking and a summary of what defect management tools do.
What Are Bug Tracking Tools?
Compared to a lot of other development tools, bug tracking tools are pretty straightforward: they help developers identify and fix bugs.
What Counts As A Software Bug?
Very quickly, I want to go over the definition of a bug. This is because bugs go by a few different names—what one team calls a bug, other teams might call an issue, error, defect, ticket, fault, problem, or incident. To pick a bug-tracking tool that fits your use case, you first need to have a clear idea of what exactly you consider to be a bug. Having a clear idea will help you choose a tool that does what you want it to do.
Bug vs. Issue
In general, people make a distinction between the concept of a bug and an issue (or use your own terms—maybe you use “defect” and “issue”, etc). Find a simple explanation below:
A bug is generally considered to be a defect (a flaw, mistake, error) in the codebase. As such, the solution involves steps like isolating and reproducing the bug and changing the code base. To fix a bug, developers need information pertaining to its environment, operating system, browser version, etc (here’s a more in-depth definition of software bug).
An issue is generally considered to span a much broader range of potential shortcomings in a project or product—it’s not necessarily related to a problem with your code. Depending on your organization, an issue could be a customer complaint ticket generated through a report from the end user, an entry on the “requested features” list, a problem someone’s identified with your hardware configuration, or a concern from the design team regarding the user interface.
Bug-Tracking Tools Vs. Issue-Tracking Tools
In some cases, it’s fine to use “bug tracking tools” and “issue tracking tools” interchangeably, but in some cases, it makes sense to distinguish between them. This is because, for some organizations, issue management really does operate on an entirely different lifecycle from bug tracking. Issue management might be completely focused on the cycle of solving end-user complaints, requests, and questions—it may involve fixing a software defect, but it doesn’t always have to, and its main tasks might fall under the responsibility of a department that’s not your dev team.
What’s The Takeaway?
Simply keep in mind that when you’re looking at bug/issue tracking tools, you might simply want a tool to report and fix bugs (a defect tracker)—or you might want something that falls under the bigger umbrella of issue tracking. Broader issue management tools will generally offer more reporting and management features, along with a greater variety of user roles to capture input from and enable collaboration between customer service, project management, IT, design, etc, comprising an entire issue management system.
What Do Bug Tracking Tools Do? (And How Can They Help You?)
Whether you call them defect tracking tools or bug reporting tools, these tools are designed to bring bugs to your attention in a systematic way, providing as much environment data about bug as possible so it’s easier to isolate, backtrace, categorize, prioritize, and fix. Most defect trackers also provide features to help your teams unify and streamline the communication/collaboration that’s part of the bug fixing process.
In many cases, bug capturing tools are designed to serve a narrower purpose (record and track bugs), and they integrate with task management systems that allow you to perform the surrounding planning and management tasks. Other tools offer a more complete suite of software project management features. I’ve included both types of bug software in this review.
Here are the benefits of bug tracking tools:
- Supply a common, simple interface for sharing files and communication about bugs
- Provide notifications and records to help your team pace, track, and estimate bug-related work
- Provide a searchable database of bugs your dev team can reference in the future
- Automate manual tasks associated with capturing bugs and updating issues
And finally, because bugs are an inevitable part of the software development process, bug tracking tools aren’t a nice-to-have—they serve a critical function in that process.
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The Best Issue and Bug Tracking Tools List
Here’s a list of the top bug tracking tools included in this review, followed by a summary chart and detailed description of each tool below.
- DoneDone – https://www.donedone.com/
- Trackduck – https://trackduck.com/
- DebugMe – https://debugme.eu/
- Backlog – https://backlog.com/
- Zoho Bug Tracker – https://www.zoho.com/bugtracker/
- BugHerd – https://bugherd.com/
- Bugyard – https://bugyard.io/
- Rollbar – https://rollbar.com/
- MantisHub – https://www.mantishub.com/
- Marker – https://marker.io/
The Best Bug Tracking Tools
Here are a few of the best bug tracker tools available. Read on to discover what they offer, how they differ from the others, and use cases they’re best suited for.
- free 30-day trial
- 30% off for 12 months using code earlybird until 07/31
- from $5/user/month
1. DoneDone – https://www.donedone.com/
DoneDone is a collaborative bug tracker that gives your dev team a simple way to track bugs and fix them efficiently. DoneDone users access a sleek dashboard that displays all tasks and issues. These can be categorized by priority, due date, status, task name, assignee, and more.
DoneDone users can create unlimited bug tracking tasks manually in a few simple steps, or tasks can be automatically created by end-users via DoneDone’s “Mailboxes” feature. Mailboxes can be configured to accept inbound bug notices sent by end-users via embedded web forms or directly from emails sent to an email address of your choice. You can easily set up multiple Mailboxes to track bug notifications from multiple sources.
Most dev teams have repeatable processes to resolve issues. DoneDone allows users to create Custom Workflows and Statuses to save you time and energy while categorizing and assigning recurring issue types.
DoneDone has a mobile app and pre-built integrations with other applications such as Slack and Glip. The app has just about everything most teams need for an effective bug tracking system, yet DoneDone is still known for its simplicity. It’s robust enough to handle most bug tracking demands and simple enough that it can be used by non-technical employees for tracking other tasks.
DoneDone starts at $5/user/month. They offer a 20% discount for annual plans.
Summary of DoneDone:
- On-site feedback: Fail
- Integration: Pass
- Issue status: Pass
- Notifications: Pass
- Reporting: Pass
2. TrackDuck – https://trackduck.com
TrackDuck is a visual bug reporting tool that lets clients and team members communicate feedback on both websites and image files. Each new entry automatically grabs a screenshot, page link, and technical info like browser, OS, screen resolution, etc.
A major upside of this tool that it’s genuinely user-oriented. It’s intentionally designed to work within your existing systems—you can integrate TrackDuck dashboards into your existing project management tools. Likewise, the way the TrackDuck pricing is structured aligns well with what users actually need—pricing is based on how many projects you have, and each project can include any number of URLs or images. The company has also received praise for responsive and proactive customer support.
The downside of this tool is that it’s pretty lean in features (it doesn’t really help with release management or workflow, for example), but it provides all the essentials for resolving bugs: you can create and assign tasks, attach files, set priorities, leave comments, etc.
Trackduck costs from $9/month for 2 projects.
Summary of Trackduck:
- On-site feedback: Pass
- Integration: Pass
- Issue status: Pass
- Notifications: Pass
- Reporting: Fail