Yesterday, I encountered an article on Medium titled A Better Bug Tracker by Anthony Sciamanna. The author goes to great lengths describing why bug trackers are unnecessary and point to the problem in your development workflow. Further, Mr. Sciamanna quotes Uncle Bob Martin (self proclaimed Software Craftsman):


“Think about what it means to use a bug tracking system. You have so many bugs you need an automated system to keep track of them.”


Now, far being from me, to disagree with such software developer authorities. And I do partially agree with points made in the article. You should have zero-bugs policy. Yes, you should modify your process to reduce the number of it. Yes, you should write unit tests. Yes, yes and yes. However, both gentlemen either do not know the purpose of bug trackers or they just pretend they do not in order to promote their ways. Personally, I am not sure which is worse.

First of all. Unit tests are not a solve-it-all tool. Yes, they present de-facto specifications for your code. Yes, they do make you think about possible edge-cases. Still, the test is only as good as the developer that made it. Now, I expect some will start waving at me with code coverage reports. I am sorry to tell you. I have seen a code coverage of 100% and unit tests that weren’t worth the electricity used to produce them.

Next, bug/issue trackers were made for people to log bugs, features, tasks etc that they cannot attend to at this very moment and I am pretty sure that there isn’t a single bug tracker out there that was made with an intention of encouraging developers to produce bugs.

Every developer I know, keeps some sort of log for features that need to be implemented, bugs that need to be fixed and tasks that must be performed (either in Notepad++, Excel or JIRA) and I am pretty sure the author of said article as well. The question is why do we, developers, log bugs? The answer is simple. So they don’t get lost or forgotten. Yes, I get fix bugs-first policy, but let’s say you are just fixing a bug and now a new bug report gets in. Should I stop fixing the bug I am currently working on? No. I will log the new one and continue working on my existing work.

I am glad to hear that Mr. Sciamanna and Uncle Bob Martin can hold everything they have in a queue in their head while doing continuous context-switching (or maybe, they are just not that busy). I am, sadly, not of that sort. If you tell me two things at once while I am doing something completely different, you will be lucky, if I fully remember one. Hence, I tend to write things down. And here is where bug tracker comes in handy. I use it to log ideas for new features, bugs, tasks that await me during the day, the full Monty. Sure, you can use excel spreadsheet for that, but doesn’t that spreadsheet then becomes a simple bug tracker?

Not using a bug tracker does not imply that your software doesn’t have bugs. Much like sticking your head in the sand doesn’t make your rear end invisible to innocent observers on land. It makes you look stupid, though.