Querying and tracking issues

More help on Issue Tracker: Index

About querying the issue database

The Issue Tracker query form allows you to call up a subset of issues from a project's issue database. If you do not select an option, the designated default values are included in the query. Submitting a query without setting any options at all, for example, returns all project issues with a status of NEW, STARTED, or REOPENED. You can narrow query results by selecting options and/or entering information in the query form fields. You can save your results list in your bookmark file. You can also save your query configuration to reuse later.

Issue query selection fields

The following fields are available for narrowing the query results.

Issue type
the classification of issues as either tasks, defects, features, or enhancements.
the part of the project associated with the issue you are querying to find. If you don't choose a component or subcomponent, the query addresses all issues for the project.
a subset of the component you selected in the previous field. If you don't choose a sub component, the query includes all issues for the component.
default values for this fields are NEW, STARTED and REOPENED. When searching for issues that are UNCONFIRMED, RESOLVED, VERIFIED, or CLOSED, remember to change this status field appropriately.
the qualification of issues with a status of RESOLVED, VERIFIED, OR CLOSED. All resolved issues must be assigned one of these values.
queries for issues by their rank of importance using the following scale: P1 is highest priority, given to issues that should be addressed as soon as possible; P5 is the lowest priority.
is the type of computer the issues is associated with. This field is most critical when searching for defects. When querying for other types of issues, it may not be necessary to make a selection in this field.
is the type of operating system the issue is associated with. Again, when querying for other types of issues, it may not be necessary to make a selection in this field.
The release of the software associated with this issue. Leaving this field unselected queries all versions of the selected project or component.
Target milestone
queries for issues associated with different project milestones, if your project has these. Milestones typically are dates when certain features or overall versions are expected to be completed.
lets you query for issues by the username of assignee, reporter, QA contact, cc list, or added comments. A duplicate field lets you further refine queries based on this criteria. To search for issues associated with a username:
  • Type a portion of a username into the text field.
  • Select fields to query for association with that username.

The second field enables you to look for two different usernames. If you specify both, then only issues matching both are returned in your query results. For example, this is useful to find issues "created by Ralph" and "assigned to Fred."

You can also use the drop down menus to specify whether you want to match username by doing a substring match or exact match of a fully specified username.

Miscellaneous query fields
Additional input fields let you further qualify queries by issue number(s), date changes, number of votes, and changes in field values.
allows you to query on the one-line abbreviated description of the issue used by default in reports and query results.
allows you to query by text string from the longer, detailed issue description.
allows you to query by the web page location associated with issues, when applicable.
Status Whiteboard
allows you to query on the field defined by the project owner (or users with Issue Tracker administrative permissions). Input values to query by this field thus depend upon how it is being used in a particular project.
allows you to query on the keywords defined for the project. If the project administrator has not defined any keywords, this field will not appear on the Query page. To view a list of the keywords defined for this project, click the Keyword link next to this field.

Those who prefer to devise their own query schemes beyond options provided in these from fields provided can set up Boolean chart queries.

Query Search Options

You have several search options to choose from while performing a query:

Natural language search is the default search option.

Natural language search allows you to search the Issue Tracker database using words that you might use while looking for information related to those words. If you are not sure of the exact words that you need to obtain information on a particular subject, you can try the search using words that seem closely associated to the information you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for "Hawaii" as the vacation spot and you search for "vacation" and "island," chances are that you might find information on Hawaii because the same text that has the search words "vacation" and "island" would probably contain the word "Hawaii.".

However, this search is likely to yield better results if at least one of the search terms is directly related to the topic.

The search returns results that approximate your requirement based on several criteria, such as:

If you use a string of words in your search, the search engine disregards some of the words that are considered common. Words like "then," "the," "some," "and" and other articles, prepositions and conjunctions are disregarded during search to save time and database space. The rationale behind this criterion is that there is a high incidence of these words in the sentences and the results will throw up hits that are irrelevant to what you were looking for. This suppression of common words or "stop words" becomes an integral part of natural language search to make the search more meaningful.

For example, if you searched for the text "audio and video appliances", the results list the occurrences of "audio," "video" and/or "appliances" in any combination and ignore "and" as this is a frequently occurring word.

If you are searching for "video" and half of the database rows contain this word "video" it is then deemed common and ignored in the search. If a word occurs in less than half the database rows then this word will figure in the search results.

Short words are ignored. Any word with less than four characters is considered short.

To use the natural language search in queries, click Query and scroll down to use any of the search fields Summary, A description entry, URL, Keywords or Status Whiteboard.

Sorting and customizing query results

Before submitting a query, you can select to sort by issue number, importance, or assignee. After you submitted a query during an Issue Tracker login session, you have the option to "Reuse the same sort as last time."

Once you view the query results, clicking on any of the column headings will sort the displayed results within that column.

Using the links at the bottom of the query results page, you can also:

To add the target milestone for each issue to your query results -- and you should do so when a particular issue is slated for release --

  1. Do a query (or click "view assigned issues").
  2. Click the "change columns" link at the bottom.
  3. Click the "target milestone" check box.
  4. Submit.

The target milestone column will now included for all your subsequent queries because login sessions are cookie-based. You can unmark this checkbox or mark others at any time to change your customized query results.

Remembered queries

Once you've set up a fairly complex query to ferret out certain issues, you can tell the Issue Tracker to "remember" your custom queries as a time saver. Using the options just above the Submit query button, you can save your most recent query under a unique name and reuse it anytime you are logged in to the Issue Tracker. You can also change and reset the default query that the query page loads during your login sessions.

To include your custom, named queries in the footer of the query page, click the "Edit prefs" on any of the Issue Tracker pages and select the "Page footer link." All of your named queries have the option to be included on every page or only on the query page.

Tracking issues by assignee

To view a list of project issues assigned to you, click the My Issues link in the Issue Tracking page.

Once you have invoked the Issue Tracker, you can also click the My issues link in the secondary Issue Tracking tool bar.

You have two options for viewing other project members' assigned issues:

You can copy the URL of a query's result and paste it into an HTML file to help you create quick access tools for the project. For example, you could create a page listing project members by name with links to their specific list of issues by querying on the assigned to field for each user and pasting the resultant URL into an HTML page listing the project members. This page could then be added to the Documents and files section of the project to give members a quick and easy way of viewing the lists of issues assigned to themselves and other project members.

Running queries not supported by the query fields

You can perform some searches that are not supported by the query form by using the issue list script to build queries based on the URL. You can add other criteria to these queries.

For example, if you wanted to see all issues reported against the X platform and assigned to user "jwz," you could ask for all issues assign to jwz, then edit the URL in the "Location" box, adding the clause "&rep_platform=X-Windows" to the URL.

Here is a list of some of the field names you could use for additional unsupported searches ...

Managing query results

After running an Issue Tracker query, you can view or download the query results in several different formats by clicking one of the buttons below the query results table.

Formatting query results as XML

The Format as XML page allows you to define the file containing the XML representation of your query results. You can choose whether to include issue attachments or the DTD in your export file as well as whether to display the file in the browser or download it to your local drive. You can also define the file name.

Including the DTD in the export file is provided as a convenience for those who may be unable to reference the DTD across a network. Under most circumstances, doing so is unnecessary.