What are the basics of bug tracking system?

In spite of the tech world’s pursuit of perfection, developing a piece of software, website or application that runs flawlessly from the very first try is an impossible thing to do. Bugs are inevitable and understanding and managing them is an essential step in increasing the quality of present-day products.

The technical approach to tracking, reporting and fixing bugs has changed with time, following the characteristics and trends in the software development field. Thanks to the advent of certain tools such as the bug tracking system, the process has become somewhat more feasible and time-effective than it was in the past.

However, certain issues still exists and it’s up to developers to find the right method based on the type of product tested and the current quality standards. In the United States alone bugs cost software companies a staggering $60 billion and the only way this amount can be reduced is by investing resources in testing.

What is the purpose of bug tracking system?

The end purpose of any bug-tracking attempt is to release a product that works satisfyingly in accordance with its intended features.

Performance is measured in the way the software responds in its native environment, under several pre-set requirements. It should offer clients the promised features and do that in an acceptable time, without compromising on the experience of the targeted user.

However, this is just the big picture. If we analyze the elements of a bug tracking system, we’ll see that some things have changed throughout the years. Initially, the process was all about finding and eliminating the problem. Nowadays, modern technologies focus on evaluating and preventing bugs. To do this, testers may use certain tools that replicate software behavior under specific conditions.

What makes bug tracking tool so intricate?

One of the reasons why bug tracking tool is a complex and often lengthy process is the diversity of software defects and their causes.

The belief that coding errors are the only ones to blame is a myth. Requirement gaps, source data alterations, security issues can equally engender bugs and all these need to be checked thoroughly. Furthermore, one single product can have an infinite number of bug testing combinations and dealing with all of them can delay the release of the product.

Is there a recommended tracking approach?

Any expert in software testing knows that there is no such thing as a universal solution. In fact, there are many controversies as to which approach is the best.

It all depends on the type of software, the time available until release and the resources that the testing department has access to. A brief outline of the recommended approach includes constant bug inspection, in the sense that developers should not wait until the product is completed to find the bugs, but to start tracking them from the very beginning. Now you might ask how to choose a bug tracking system.

There are many perspectives on the most streamlined method, but, in general, there are two major trends: static and dynamic testing. Static testing encompasses reviews and inspections (i.e. verifying code structure with text editors), while dynamic testing refers to the actual execution of the program to validate it.

The two methods do not exclude each other. Ideally, the testing department should start with static checking and then proceed to dynamic checking. As for the manual vs. automated debate, companies may choose either one depending on their financial resources.

What are the steps of the testing cycle?

To illustrate the typical testing cycle, we will use the Waterfall development model. This starts with a basic design phase, where the object of the test will be determined. Then, after a strategic plan is built, tests are being developed and executed with the tools that specialists have at their disposal and the results are reported to the project manager. Retests are often required to make sure that a bug doesn’t reappear.

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