Introduction to 3.3 – part 1

First of all, I just have to say sorry for not keeping this blog more up-to-date. There has been much to do with both life and work, and little time to blog. That’s about to change, so this blog post should hopefully work to liven up the blog again.

Now, with that out of the way, you’re probably wondering what is happening with the next planned version – version 3.3 – originally scheduled for release early this year. As you may have noticed, instead of launching version 3.3, I started a donation campaign to try and attract some attention to the fact that The Bug Genie is unfortunately a one-man show nowadays with little help from the outside. I will tell you how that went in a different blog post, but rest assured that version 3.3 is coming, and it’s closer now than it was in January!

When you upgrade from 3.2 to 3.3, you will probably not notice anything new directly on the frontpage – but as soon as you start navigating around, you’ll see what’s been keeping us busy.

This part will focus on one of the main views you will use in an issue tracker: the issue view.

Without further delay, let’s see how the issue view has changed between 3.2 and 3.3:

3.2 Issue view
3.2 main issue view
3.3 main issue view
3.3 main issue view

You can see straight off the bat that there are quite a few changes here. Let me take you through them.

Redesigned issue layout

While the issue layout in 3.2 works okay, it doesn’t work very well for getting an overview of the “main bits”. As you probably know, different issue type schemes can cause fields and data to “jump around” and appear in “random” places in the top area, which means getting a good overview can sometimes be very confusing. In 3.3 this has changed, and the layout is now more grouped to better highlight the different parts of an issue that you may want to focus on.

All the information about an issue has been moved to the left, and the description and reproduction steps is shown to the right (this view is actually similar to the view in 3.1, which also had details on the left and the main info on the right). As you will see from the next screenshot comparison, the tabbed bar with comments, code commits, etc are still present below these two sections.

The details sidebar

To the left you now have the “details sidebar” which is grouped into sections such as “Issue basics”, “People involved”, “Time tracking”, “Issue details”, “Attachments” and “Child issues”. Each of these sections can be collapsed by clicking the header, and the same goes for the entire sidebar which can be collapsed using the collapse link to the right of the “Issue basics” header.

  • Issue basics
    This section contains the very basic details of the issue, often used for categorization. Posted and last updated timestamps, the issue type, category and status.
  • People involved
    This contains a list of the people and teams involved in this issue – the original poster, the owner and the team or user curently assigned to the issue. As you can see from the screenshot, it also contains the number of people subscribed to this issue (subscribing to issues is the same as “starring” it) and you can click that number to see the actual list of people subscribed to the issue (new in 3.3).
  • Time tracking
    Version 3.3 introduces much improved time tracking, with better support for tracking time as an action. In 3.2, the “Time spent” field is similar to any other field, whereas in 3.3, time tracking features has been improved. This includes support for adding time spent (with comments and details) instead of simply “setting” it.
  • Issue details
    This section will contain the remaining fields not shown in other sections – including all custom fields – such as priority, severity, resolution, and more.
  • Attachments
    This has been moved from a tab to a more visible part of the UI, to highlight attachments better. The view is similar to the “Attachments” tab from 3.2, but is shown in the sidebar instead of semi-hidden under a tab. This should make attachment handling easier and quicker than in 3.2.
  • Child issues
    3.3 Child issues
    3.3 Child issues

    In 3.2, parent and child issues were shown under a “related issues” tab. In 3.3, the “parent issue” is not shown in this list, as it is mainly used for child issues. As you can see from the screenshot example to the left, child issues now also contains the issue state, and still contains the status and assignee of any child issue(s).

The issue main view

The “main view” still contains the description and reproduction steps – as well as any custom fields set up to be shown in the main view. There’s no big changes here, really.

The issue header

Well, hello there! The issue header has some cool new features:

  • Issue title
    Instead of showing the issue type, number and title in one long line, the issue type and number is now shown on the first line, and the issue title on a bigger, second line. The timestamps have been moved to the details view to allow more room for the title. In addition to this, there is an issue state label to show if the issue is open or closed.
  • Parent issue information
    Parent issue information in the title bar
    Parent issue information in the title bar

    Since the parent issue is no longer shown in the list under a tab, it is shown in the title area. For now it looks like this, which gives a good representation of the relationship, as well as some basic information about the parent issue. You can hover the parent issue to get the full issue title, and if there are more than one levels, it will show all levels up to the upper parent. There will probably be some kind of visual indication that the last part is the current issue (the one you’re actually looking at), but the main bits will look like this.

  • Issue navigation buttons
    You may also have noticed from the screenshots that the issue navigation buttons present in version 2 (that’s right, version two) have returned. These buttons let you move to the next / previous issue and next / previous open issue. When you’re working on a list of issues this can be very handy! I really wanted to have these buttons context aware, so that if you clicked a link in a search list it would actually use that list to determine the next / previous issue(s), but there are too many combinations of entry points and ways to mess this up, so for now it defaults to any next/previous and open next/previous.
  • The title bar when scrolling

    Title bar when scrolling down the page
    Title bar when scrolling down the page

    As you can see from the screenshot above, the workflow action buttons are now displayed at the very top of the title bar when scrolling. Not much to see here, it still looks and behaves identical as in 3.2.

Improved commenting

Commenting on an issue in 3.2 can be a bit hard. It “jumps” up and down when you comment or reply, and it looks a bit different depending on the action you’re performing. In 3.3 this has been improved:

Commenting in 3.2
Commenting in 3.2
Commenting in 3.3
Commenting in 3.3

Whether you’re replying, editing or posting a new comment, the comment input area now floats at the bottom right – gmail style. This has the advantage that you can scroll up and down while commenting, and still be able to type as you scroll. It’s much more unified and also looks a lot better.

This new commenting look is the same when commenting on wiki articles, which reminds me: the wiki improvements is the topic for the next blog post!

That’s all for today. Please leave your thoughts and feedback in the comment section, and keep in mind that your input may still decide the end result for all this in 3.3.

Until next time!


14 thoughts on “Introduction to 3.3 – part 1

  1. Wow, all those changes sound great! Certainly the new commenting “gmail style” popups. Is it an idea to also introduce this type of commenting for all action popups, instead of the grey overlays?

    Please remember that the proposed changes for the issue title information block are important. Lets hope you find a way to make the title block work great and look clear.

    1. You’re right, the changes are significant, but so far I can only see that they are for the better. The title area is already much more useful and conveys more information in 3.3 than in 3.2. I think it will work out great.

      The grey overlays actually work well as they do since they are modal, meaning you’re not supposed to do anything but the action in the popup. Making the transitions into popups like the gmail-style comment box will defeat this and introduce unfortunate race conditions.

      1. As I usually reply whenever it is brought up – it’s not something that’s being prioritized since I have very little experience with it.

        I’d love to include it, but would need someone to either get the basics started, or implemented completely. I would merge a pull request with Mylyn support within an hour if it ever arrived.

  2. Wow, this is great!

    I like the two things that I think would be useful also previews everywhere. Comment, issue and wiki pages etc… Instead of HTML entities real UTF-8 output: web page, email, remote procedures etc…

    You’re doing great, great things!

    1. I did read somewhere that for 3.3 the Wiki integration also will be way better. A big pro of TBG is the integration with a wiki. For many projects I work on the technical documentation always lies way behind. A good functioning Wiki should be the solution for the documentation problem in my opinion.

  3. One more thing is that it would be a good idea: library (document store)

    So I’m happy with the three well:
    – Preview in all forms
    – UTF-8 is everywhere
    – Document store per project

    I use the program yourself, then try to donate. 🙂

  4. Very good app and I found that improvements of layout would be great fit too.

    Is this possible to get version 3.3 for testing?

    1. Yes, the 3.3 version can be downloaded from the master branch. Be warned that it is still in development and is not compatible with the 3.3 release when it is out 😉

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