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More 3.2 improvements

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To get you even more excited for the upcoming 3.2 release, we wanted to share a few highlights from all the work being done on the next version. We’ve ripped into so many pieces around the entire system, there is hardly anything left untouched – an exciting and scary feeling for a point release (3.1 -> 3.2). We could just as well have pulled “a Mozilla” and called it 3.5, but for the sake of our own (and your) sanity, 3.2 it is🙂

So, what are all these highlights, I hear you whisper in the corners. Read on to get a glimpse!

Updated theme

The first thing you’ll notice after logging into 3.2 is the updated visuals. While changing a few colors here and there is easy, the theme work that has gone into 3.2 is far from superficial. All UI elements have been reviewed, updated and improved wherever we saw there was a need for a better implementation or design.

All the major UI elements, such as buttons, dropdowns, headers and the menus have been updated, which makes 3.2 feel even fresher than before. We’re also making a conscious effort the get rid of the “Windows XP / Disney” look that can sometimes be a bit overwhelming (pastels, I think it’s called).

The end result is a crisp, clean look with much more room for content and with a lot less “extras”. In the 2.1 -> 3.0 process a lot of stuff was just kept around for the sake of not wanting to remove functionality, but in 3.2 we’ve looked critically at every part of the system and tried to make sure it plays together nicely.

Redesigned

One of the nice things with doing a theme update is that at the same time you get an excuse to do some clever design updates where it’s needed. Interface-wise, the easiest parts to notice are the two places where you’ll spend most of your time: viewing issues, and the project context. For the issue view updates, see the previous post about the changes made to this page. The project context – the context you’re moving around inside when selecting a project or a project issue / wiki page, has been completely redesigned to allow for a more fluid layout where we can better take advantage of the page. You’ll notice that the left information bar has been reduced – but we’re still using the sidebar “tabs” for navigation – and that there are now a few buttons placed in the top menu. We hope this will ease navigation for many of you.

The redesign also applies to some of the functionality – in 3.2 we’ve been able to take a good, hard look at the project hierarchy and release functionality, allowing us to rebuild this important part of the project management functionality from the ground up. The end result is a much better system for setting up your project, with releases linking to downloads (hosted on- or off-site), improved support for project editions, and a powerful new “release center” for managing releases. More on that later😉

The redesign has also let us move much of the functionality previously placed in project settings or in the configuration center into the project view directly. Some of this should never have been in the configuration / settings sections to begin with, but it’s better late than never, right?🙂 Examples includes email configuration, release management, milestone management (have we got news for you here) and project team setup.

New features

What would a new release be without new features? While some of the redesigned functionality will provide new features just by being more visible versions of the existing functionality, there’s also a bunch of “real” new features as well!

Project dashboard

One of the coolest new features is the customizable project dashboard. Just like the user dashboard where you can setup custom views for your own personal dashboard, you can now setup a default dashboard for any project (in 3.2 this is limited to only one dashboard per project).

The project dashboard now also have several new views you can add, including live statistics, client and team information, improved graphs, and custom searches.

Project planning

We’ve removed the scrum view. Don’t worry, it’s not really gone – we just merged it into the new project planning view we created for 3.2. This has kept all the functionality that existed in the scrum planning feature, but is no longer scrum / kanban-specific. This way, we can provide powerful planning functionality for you no matter if you use new, agile methods or would rather stick to more traditional development methodologies. Some of the feature highlights from the project planning section includes:

  • Drag and drop issue assignment between milestones / sprints – you can create / update / remove milestones on the fly, and (re-)assign issues between them and the backlog directly on the page.
  • Update estimations and time spent from the planning page – the planning page also lets you update time details for all issues in a bulk editing interface, and also keeps total milestone estimates up-to-date on the same page.
  • Color-coded issues – one of the nifty features from the scrum planning feature was the color coding of issues. This lets you assign a color to any issue (only visible in planning mode) to allow for easy visual recognition separate from other issue details such as status, priority, etc.
  • Smart milestone sorting – instead of a “first-come-first-shown” list of milestones, we now show them according to when they’re relevant. Set your milestone start and end dates, and the rest will be handled automatically.

There’s more, but we want you to try it out to get a good feel for it. Look out for the first beta, where you can play around in project planning mode all you want!

Incoming email support

Already mentioned in earlier blog posts, incoming email support has been added in 3.2. This means The Bug Genie can now both create issues directly from incoming emails, move them through your workflow, and lets you reply to email notifications to post comments, update issues and move them through the workflow directly from your email interface!

The incoming email support can be used totally without any server-side setup, but for better integration you should set up a cronjob checking for emails regularly. The incoming email accounts are created and updated from the project settings section of the project overview, and you can also see recent status there, as well as perform a manual check directly from the web interface.

Powerful project hierarchy

The project hierarchy now finally makes sense. You can now setup project editions, link releases to editions (or the project directly), link release information to download information and release notes, changelogs and milestones / sprints. The new release center which gives you all these options also integrates directly with the new “Releases” section available in the project overview. This page lists active and visible releases as well as any archived releases you want to keep available to your users. This new section also automatically provides users changelog information, release notes, download links and a way to report issues directly against a specific version!

The “Releases” section will also be split up in “project releases” and “edition releases” for any editions available, provided that the project has editions enabled. This also lets you manage and provide release information with more details to your users!

Project tools and minor features

In addition to the new features mentioned above, there is also a new tool to configure project icons which will be used for your project(s). These can be uploaded directly from the project settings.

Also included is a “Change workflow” tool, so you can change workflow to a new workflow even for existing issues. Previously, if you changed workflow settings for a project, it would not apply to existing issues since there was no functionality to convert the old workflow steps to the new workflow. This new tool gives you a wizard-style interface where you can migrate between workflows with ease.

 

When is it available?

As you can see, we’re very excited with the progress made so far, but we still have both polishing and changes left to do, so we’re not there yet. Remember that we’re on github, so you can always just check out the latest (UNSTABLE) version from the “next” branch, there.

The Bug Genie 3.2 is currently still on schedule for a mid-October beta release.

Written by Daniel André

October 2, 2011 at 16:09

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