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HABF: A New Platform for Issue Tracking in LabVIEW IDE

Status: New

HABF?

 

An acronym for one of my favorite Spolskyisms. Great article, read it.

 

Background

 

When you discover what you consider to be a bug in LabVIEW's IDE or language, it's a difficult process to report the bug and track the bug's status as new LabVIEW editions debut. This idea addresses the transparency and facilitation of this process, and is meant to appeal to both those who create LabVIEW and those who use LabVIEW.

 

Problems with Current Issue Tracking Platform

 

"Platform" is a generous term for the current reporting and tracking process:

 

  1. The issue reporting procedure is undocumented - few seem to know how to report issues, fewer know how to track documented issues
  2. Issue tracking status is largely monitored by a squad of Dedicated Volunteer Bug Scrapers
  3. Duplication of effort (for users, AE's, and R&D) is probable since there is not a centralized, searchable repository
  4. Relies on unreliable methods including email, FTP uploads, phone conversations, forums...

Comparing LabVIEW Issue Tracking and Feature Tracking Platforms

 

Before the Idea Exchange, there was the Product Suggestion Center (PSC). What's that, you ask? It's a hole in the internet you threw your good Ideas into. Smiley Very Happy The Idea Exchange revolutionized Feature Suggestions by introducing a platform that allows an unprecedented level of public brainstorming and symbiotic discussions between R&D and customers. Further, we can watch Ideas flow from inception to implementation.

 

I want to see an analogue for Issue Tracking.

 

Proposed Solution

 

A web-based platform with the following capabilities:

 

  1. Allows users to interactively search a known bug database. Knowing the status of a bug (not yet reported, pending fix for next release, already fixed in new release...) will minimize duplicated effort
  2. Allow embedded video screen captures (such as Jing)
  3. Allow uploaded files that demonstrate reproduceable issues
  4. Allow different "Access Levels" for different bug types. View and Modify permissions should be settable based on User ID, User Group, etc... (Some types of bugs should not be public)
  5. Allow different access levels for content within one bug report. For instance, a customer may want a bug report to be public and searchable, yet attach Private Access Level to proprietary uploads.
  6. Allow collaborative involvement for adding content to Bug Reports, where any member can upload additional information (given they have Modify Access Level privileges)
  7. The Homepage of the Issue Tracker should be accessible and visible through ni.com (maybe IDE too, such as a GSW link)
  8. A more detailed Bugfix Report for each LabVIEW debut (cryptic subject lines on the current Bugfix List is not helpful)
  9. Specific fields such as Related Bug Reports and Related Forum Posts that allow easily-identifiable cross-referencing.
  10. An email-based alert system, letting you know when the status or content changes in bug reports of interest (:thumbup1:)
  11. Same username and logon as the Forums
  12. Bonus: Visible download links to patches and other bug-related minutiae

 

Additional Thoughts

 

  • I have used the Issue Tracking platform used in Betas, and the exposed featureset is too lacking to fulfill the spirit of this Idea
  • I realize the initial and ongoing investment for such a system is high compared to most Ideas on the Exchange. Both issue tracking and economics are sensitive issues, but the resultant increase in product stability and customer confidence makes the discussion worth having.
  • Just to clarify, a perfectly acceptable (and desirable) action is to choose an established issue-tracking service provider (perhaps one of NI's current web service providers carries an acceptable solution?), not create this behemoth in-house.

 

BugFeature.png

(Picture first spotted on Breakpoint)

 

Generally: you are voting for a platform that eases the burden of Issue Reporting, additionally offering a means of Issue Tracking.

 

My suggestions are neither concrete nor comprehensive: please voice further suggestions, requirements, or criticisms in the Comments Section!

Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEWDeploy, by Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEW
7 Comments
Trusted Enthusiast

I just discovered the most comprehensive LabVIEW bug reporting instructions I have seen. Steps that allowed me to find these instructions:

 

1. Reply to mje on LAVA

2. crelf responds with a link to the LAVA Bugs thread

3. Noticed a pinned thread called To report a bug to National Instruments

4. Followed link to Service Request Manager. Logged on, browsed around a little. I've never been here, but I could not readily find any instructions on how to report a bug.

5. Went back to LAVA thread and found third reply by Michael A linking to the LabVIEW Wiki. Bingo! The most comprehensive bug reporting instructions known, primarily written by "the usual suspects" Smiley Wink (that's a compliment, guys)

 

As far as I know, this Wiki remains the de facto instruction manual for LabVIEW bug reporting.

 

The problems I have with that Wiki are:

 

1. It was written primarily by community members (major thanks to these guys, but this is a responsibility better not to rest with the community)

2. It's over 3 years old

3. It's not syndicated or necessarily endorsed by NI

4. The document makes no mention of tracking bugs once reported (the lack of documentation reflects the lack of tracking capabilities, not author oversight)

5. The process it describes confirms the burden of bug reporting is on individuals and lossy communication mechanisms, where I would really like to see this burden lifted by a capable bug reporting/tracking platform.

Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEWDeploy, by Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEW
Trusted Enthusiast

An instance of a community member who would benefit from a structured platform for bug reporting and tracking.

Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEWDeploy, by Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEW
Active Participant
Active Participant

You got my kudo because I am this instance. And sorry NI for not feeling ashamed.

Active Participant
Active Participant

It is still complicated to report a bug. Even if the SRM (Service Request Manager) knows about my service contract. And even after reporting several bugs.

Half the data I enter in the form is not submitted to NI. Something must be done here!

Active Participant
Active Participant

 

When I submit a bug by Email it works like this:

 

  • First I select Email in the SRM
  • Then I fill out this form:

Bug Report Form 1.PNG

  • Then I check that there is no duplicate in the forum...
  • Forth I fill out this form:

Bug Report Form 2.PNG

 

 

  • What I see thereafter in the SRM is this:

 

Service request 111111: In work    NI Support Hotline: PHONE_NUMBER
Product LabVIEW Agent EMPLOYEE_OF_NI
Date Wed Jun 20 06:16:55 CDT 2012 Driver
 
Summary XXXXXXXX
Details

CRM Jobs                                 2012-06-20

 

Description: My description is here
xxxx
xxxx

Steps To Reproduce: My steps are here
xxxx
Workaround: What i wrote as workaround

 

 

  • What is missing
    • The information that it is a bug report (at least NI did also not see it)
    • the program version
    • the operating system
    • the titles (Description, Steps to ...) are there, but well hidden

 

 

  • Resulting in ...

It is no wonder that the employee at NI contacted me for knowing how to help me.

 

 

This is how it worked this time. I have also reported bugs by phone but this also required several round trips of calls and emails. Please help me and vote here!

 

Greetings,

shb

Active Participant
Active Participant

Sorry, the images are shown verry little and do not zoom. Bigger versions can be seen in my image gallery.

Trusted Enthusiast
Trusted Enthusiast