Online bug tracking software is an essential development tool that allows software developers to receive meaningful and relevant information on bugs (software errors) that their software encounter. To better understand how bug tracking software is helping software developers, it is necessary to understand how a bug tracking software works. Testers usually report all software bugs to a bug tracking software that is installed on the company's intranet. Developers then log into the bug tracking software and work on fixing all the bugs reported by the testers. Such bug tracking software is usually customized for each company and can only be used by testers and software developers working within the company.
Online bug tracking software is designed to work on a much larger scale than intranet based bug tracking software. Before software is available for purchase, a beta version of the software is released so users other than the company's testers can test the software. Beta versions of software are shipped to various destinations all over the world and are not restricted to a limited network. Not all beta testers are professional software testers; this means that a bug tracking system has to be user friendly so that all levels of users can report bugs easily.
Ideally, software is developed so that any software errors encountered are hidden from the user and a bug report is automatically generated. All a user has to do is decide if he/she wants to send the bug report to the online bug tracking software. In this case, the decoding and storing of information is taken care of by the online bug tracking software. Windows Error Reporting is an example of a system where bugs are automatically reported to an online bug tracking software.
Apart from automated error reporting, bug tracking software also allows testers to report bugs directly. Users can log onto the online bug tracking software and input any bugs encountered directly into the system. Direct error reporting ensures that users can enter specific details that an automated error reporting system cannot. Online bug tracking software has multiple advantages when compared to a stand alone bug tracking software. The first advantage is that online bug tracking software is almost always available to users, stand alone systems can register downtime due to various reasons, however all online bug tracking software servers offer 99% up time. It is virtually impossible for smaller software development firms to buy all the equipment required to create a 24x7 bug tracking system.
Larger companies also find it simpler to co-ordinate between various overseas branches by using a single online bug tracking software. It is not uncommon for a company to outsource its testing or development overseas and an online bug tracking system allows easy access to information around the clock. Standalone bug tracking software is usually developed from the ground up which is why it is cheaper to use an online bug tracking software. It is important to note that online bug tracking software is also customizable but it is cheaper as it does not have to be developed from scratch.