Entering and modifying issues

Entering a new issue

The information you provide determines the value of your issue reports and the responses to them. The following field descriptions help you create effective issue reports.

Important note: When you first enter a new issue, you cannot set a target milestone date, nor can you assign dependencies (flag other issues that depend on this new issue or those that it depends upon). To designate a target milestone or dependencies, you must first submit the new issue successfully, then retrieve it to access fields for setting a target milestone and creating dependencies.

Issue entry field descriptions

This field identifies the release where the issue or defect was found.
Identify the area within the project that this issue is associated with. Only one selection is permitted.
Select the hardware platform used when the defect was discovered. For example, these options include the following:
  • All (happens on all platform; cross-platform issue)
  • Macintosh
  • PC
  • Sun
  • HP
Note: Selecting the option "All" does not select issues assigned against all platforms. It selects issues that occur on all platforms.
Operating System
Select the operating system used when the issue was discovered. For example, these options include the following:
  • All (happens on all operating systems, making this a cross-platform issue)
  • Windows 95
  • Mac System 8.0
  • Linux
Note that the operating system implies the platform, but not always. For example, Linux can run on PC, Macintosh, and others.
Assign a level of importance in this field to help determine the priority. This field is used by the programmers/engineers to prioritize their work.
  • P1 - Most important
  • P2
  • P3
  • P4
  • P5 - Least important
Issue Type
Defect: a problem with an existing feature that is not developed to spec or does not work as designed. These are often referred to as "bugs."
Enhancement: an improvement to an existing feature.
Feature: an addition to the software to add a piece of functionality that does not yet exist.
Task: an activity to be done on behalf or in support of a feature or enhancement. Tasks do not typically require direct changes to the code base.
Patch: a special kind of issue: a section of code to be applied or attached to existing software. Often, a patch fixes a defect.
Initial state
If you do not have 'Project Issue Tracking - Change' permissions, any issues you enter will have the initial state of "new" or "unconfirmed." Marking an issue unconfirmed means it is not yet determined whether it is true or valid. Read more about "state" in the lifecycle of an issue.
Assigned To
Enter the username of the individual in charge of resolving the issue. Alternatively, in the Lookup Users dialog, click the name of a user to assign the issue. The name is entered automatically in the Assigned To field. If the Assigned To field is left blank, the issue is assigned to the component/sub component owner by default. Every time this field changes, the status changes to NEW to make it visible in the assignee's list of issues.
Add usernames of other individuals who need notification when this issue changes status, or when there is activity on this issue. Delimit multiple usernames by single spaces only -- no commas or semi-colons are necessary.

Note: Assign cc addresses sparingly. Project participants whose interest or involvement in this issue is peripheral should be encouraged to use the Issue Tracker to check and track issues rather than to rely on automatic email notification.

How to use this field depends on the issue type:
  • For defects, the URL should lead to a fairly stable system where the the problem is obvious or can be easily reproduced.
  • For enhancements, the URL should provide details pertaining to the improvement, such as mockups.
  • For features, the URL should link to web-based material explaining the improvement such as mockups or design specs.
  • For tasks, the URL is optional and may include linking to the associated feature or enhancement.
This statement should consist of a few unique, self-explanatory words identifying the issue easily in reports and short lists. A summary is described as a terse, specific statement crafted to describe the issue. Limiting your entry to the field width renders the best columnar display for query results.
Provide a full description of the issue including any pertinent history or activity around this issue. Because this field is additive, it serves as the knowledge base and means of communicating through this issue's life cycle. Other project participants view and add comments or information using this field.

After completing all necessary fields

Submit enters this issue into the project's issue database.

Reset returns all field values to their default or blank settings.

Remember values as bookmark template lets you save your input settings to save keystrokes when entering multiple issues for the same project component.

For more information about entering issues into the Issue Tracker, see also Issue writing guidelines.

Viewing and modifying issues

Existing issues may be accessed in two different ways:

The Issue view page is similar to the Enter issue page and contains many of the same fields, but there are several important additions.

Target Milestone
If your project has designated milestones, this field can be used to associate issues with those milestones, such as version releases. A milestone plan enumerates when different features are expected to be completed. If an issue has a target date or version release, this means the work on this issue must be completed by that date. This field should only be set or changed by the person responsible for the issue.
Add/Remove CC:
You can add additional email addresses to this issue to alert other project members when activity occurs on this issue. If you are adding multiple addresses, delimit these with single spaces; do not use commas or semi-colons. You can also remove one or more email address listed by selecting it and checking the Remove selected cc's box below.
QA Contact
This field should contain an email address or alias for the person(s) responsible for quality control of this issue.
If this field is populated, clicking the field label links to the designated URL.
Status whiteboard
The purpose of this generic field can be user-defined and project-specific. This field is used for writing short, one-line notes about the issue.
This field will only appear if the project administrator has defined one or more keywords for the project. Keywords are used to track project specific information. To see a list of available keywords, click the Keywords link next to this field.
Adding attachments to an issue can be very useful. For defects, appending test cases, screen shots and/or editor logs to the issue can help pinpoint the problem to help the developer reproduce it.

For features, enhancements, and tasks, you can attach screen shots, mockups, and other files to provide supplemental information to illustrate the issue.

Also, you can use this field to attach a patch related to the issue when appropriate. Read more about contributing patches.

When an issue can't be addressed until one or more other issues are resolved, these are dependencies. Each issue can have other issues it depends upon, as well as issues that depend upon it. Unresolved issues that "block" the determination of other issues is considered a dependency.
Vote for this issue
The Issue Tracker's "voting" feature allows project members to have a certain number of votes in their project to use toward issues. Project owners set the number of votes allowed per issue, as well as the number of votes allowed per member. Some projects/components may not allow any, meaning you can't vote on those issues at all. Your vote indicates which issues you believe are the most important to be addressed.

You may vote for the same bug more than once, however, you have a limited number of total votes allocated to you. You can either vote once for many issues, or use multiple votes for a fewer issues that you think are particularly critical.

If an issue has received votes, the total number appears next to "Votes for this issue", or "0" if no votes have been logged. Clicking on this number displays the Show Votes page. If there are votes, names and their associated number of votes are listed.

To view a list of issues that have received votes, use the Issue Tracker Query page, and enter the numeral "1" in the "At least ___ votes" field. This returns issues in your query results with at least one vote.

To vote for an issue:

  • Open the issue (by clicking the issue from a list or report).
  • Click "Vote for this issue" above the "Additional Comments" field. (If no such link appears, then voting may not be allowed for this issue's project/component.)
  • Indicate the number of votes you want to log for this issue. This page displays how many votes you've given to other bugs. You may reallocate your votes as necessary.
  • You receive automatic email notification anytime changes occur on issues you have voted for.
  • You may review your votes at any time by clicking the "Change your password or preferences" on the Issues page or at the bottom of the query page.

What's the purpose of this voting feature? Read about the important role of consensus voting in open source projects.

If one or more drop boxes appear identifying project-defined groups to be included in or excluded from viewing an issue, this indicates that the project/component owner has created groups within the project. You should contact this person to determine how to use these fields.
Leave as NEW
If you are viewing an issue with the NEW status but it is not assigned to you, leave this default as checked. When the issue is assigned to you, you should accept it by changing its status to "Started."
Resolve issue
Once an issue is resolved, this is where to designate the type of resolution. Changing an issue to "Resolved" means that as far as the assignee is concerned, this issue is completed. Read more about the multiple options in this field's pull-down menu. Note: Changing an issue's status to FIXED signals all other project members that any source file changes associated with this issue have been checked into the CVS repository.
The person responsible for the issue can be changed here by entering a new email address, or the issue may be reassigned to the component/sub component owner.
View Issue Activity
This link displays a snapshot page of changes made to an issue.
Format For Printing
This links redisplays the Issue View in a format for printing out.
Format as XML
This links displays the issue as XML.
This button saves any modifications made to this issue. Caution! When viewing an issue, the "Enter" key works like the Commit button. Any modifications you may have made (accidentally or otherwise) are saved and the issue's assignee and cc list receive email notification of activity on this issue.

To exit this issue without making any changes, use the links at the top of this page to view other issues, or the Back button in your browser. Even when you have changed fields, as long as you do not use the Submit button or the "Enter" key, the issue remains unchanged in the database.

This option returns all fields to their previously submitted values.

Modifying issues en masse

You can modify a large number of issues in Issue Tracker at one go, using the Change several issues at once option at the bottom of any query results page.

To make changes to multiple issues at once:

  1. Check the boxes next to the issues you want to change.
  2. Change the values of any or all of the fields by selecting values from the dropdown lists.
    • Component
    • Platform
    • Target milestone
    • QA Contact
    • Version
    • Priority
    • Issue Type
    • Keywords (not a drop-down list, but a text field, where you can add more than one value and only if those keywords have been defined earlier through Configuration Settings)
  3. In the Comments box, explain the changes you have made to the issues.
  4. Select one of the two options One email for all issues and Separate emails for each issue,. The default option is One email for all issues.
  5. Click the Commit button below.

The notification mail that is triggered to all users associated with any of these modified issues is a consolidated form that lists all the issues that were modified and a URL that takes you to the Issue Tracker home page. For example, if you modified ten issues and a certain user is on the Assigned To field of all ten, the user receives a single notification mail that lists all the modified issues. If a certain user is on the Assigned To field of only one of the issues, the user's change notification email ncludes only the issue the user is associated with. The project discussion issues@<project> also receive the summary email if the discussion is on the CC list of the modified issues.

This allows you to modify several hundreds of issues at the same time without flooding subscribers' mailboxes with individual notification messages.