Posts Tagged ‘bug tracking software’

Video of OnTime 11 Launch Event

This past Tuesday, July 12th, Axosoft launched a major new version of OnTime. Although this was the 11th major release of OnTime, this one is different. It’s different because we had a different mindset when we started working on it. Instead of asking “what new features do we want in OnTime 11” as we normally did when we started work on a new version, we were asking a different question: “How can we make a project management tool that’s enjoyable to use, is simple to learn, is fast and allows a software engineer to stay focused on what’s important?”

It became very obvious that enjoyable products have two main common traits: They are brilliantly simple without compromising features and they are exceptionally fast. That’s how one would describe Google’s Search engine or GMail or iPhone or Facebook or Twitter or virtually every other product that we love.

Simple and Fast. That became the catch phrase. “We need to make it faster” was a common theme throughout the development of OnTime 11. “We need to make the feature discoverable” was another. We became a little obsessed. We compared OnTime performance to GMail. We implemented keyboard shortcuts to make things even faster. We kept working on it with the goal of making OnTime the fastest project management tool for software development teams.

I think we’ve done it. This Tuesday, we launched OnTime:

Watch the OnTime 11 Launch on YouTube

We also worked on pricing. We decided to make 2 major pricing announcements:

I can’t but help think that we’re on the verge of a major shift at Axosoft. We’ve raised the bar of expectation of ourselves and I’m very excited to see where things will lead.

A Tour of OnTime V11 Beta

May 31, 2011 34 comments

It’s finally here! The OnTime V11 Beta is now live. If you’re in a hurry, go here to signup now:

Try OnTime V11 Beta Now
(Hosted New Accounts Only – others see timeline below)

If you’re not in a hurry, I think you might like the information in this article:

Top 12 Things You’ll Love About OnTime V11

OnTime V11 is an amazing upgrade. We focused 100% on the web user experience. There is so much new that it’s hard to know where to start. So I’m going to focus on the top 12 new things that I think you’re going to absolutely love about OnTime V11…

#1: A Brilliant and Simple Main Page

You don’t have to sacrifice power to get simplicity. Products such as the iPhone proved that with a disruptive new UI and so much new power in a smartphone that never existed before. Could that be done for a complex bug tracking and project management system? For the past year, we’ve been working on that challenge and this is the result.

Screenshots don’t do it justice, but lets try anyway:

There are a ton of new features here, but some users want nothing more than a spreadsheet-like list of the items they want to work on. No problem. Hide the unwanted sections and now the UI looks like this:

While in this mode, taking the mouse pointer over the hidden section hotspots will cause the sections to re-appear.

#2: Keyboard Shortcuts

If you are a software developer, the last thing you want to do is to spend a bunch of time in the project management software. At Axosoft, as much as we are proud of the work we’ve done to make OnTime great, we recognize that the time a developer spends in OnTime is essentially “project overhead.” So our goal is always to reduce the amount of time it takes to perform common tasks. That’s where keyboard shortcuts come in.

We modeled the keyboard shortcuts of OnTime after the keyboard shortcuts of Gmail. So if you are a Gmail user, you’ll feel right at home. Just hit the [Enter] key to view an item. J and K to move back and forth. U to go back up to the grid. C to create a new item. Shift-C to create a new item in a new window.

Hit the ? key to see the shortcut keys:

Once you get used to the keyboard shortcuts, you’ll never go back!

#3: Light-Speed Detailed View

Wanna view the details of an item? Hit the [Enter] key and before the [Enter] key bounces back, OnTime will be showing you the details of the highlighted item. It is incredibly fast. Trust me, you’ll be surprised at how fast it is. Here is what the new view item looks like:

Just as important as how fast the new Detailed View of an item loads is how fast it will go away and put you back at the main grid. Hit U and you’re back up to the main grid, exactly how you left it.

Another great thing to try while in the detailed view mode is to hit the J and K keys to go to next and previous. Again, each new item will open faster than the keys can bounce back.

#4: Auto Save Details

Ever spend 15 minutes writing up the details on how to reproduce a bug and then your browser crashes? Maybe you have to leave, so you close your laptop lid and two hours later, your session has timed out and you’ve lost all your details. Well, no more!

The new Auto Save feature which is inside the new HTML editor of OnTime V11 is saving your work to a local cache as you type. In the event of a crash, loss of connection or time out, no worries. Just bring back the browser and go back to the item you were editing and click the HTML control’s new “Reload AutoSave” button and voila! Your work is safe and sound:

#5: ScratchPad

The new ScratchPad feature in OnTime is like NotePad, except better in the following ways:

  • Automatically saves your notes as you write them
  • Allows you to create an unlimited number of notes
  • Automatically names them based on date/time, but allows you to rename the note easily
  • It’s a rich HTML editor which allows you to format your notes
And just like NotePad, your notes are private to you:

One great feature of the ScratchPad is that you can open it in its own window. You can even close the main OnTime window and have your ScratchPad always running.

#6: Item Details

The new accordion style for item details allows you to have multiple detailed sections open at the same time. As you select an item, all the details you care about are shown to you in one place. If you like the details at the bottom of the page in tabs (like in V10), you can do that too. Use the new “Throw Down” button to move the side accordion sections to the bottom of the screen. You can have some details at the bottom in tabs while other details are on the side accordions like this:

You can also hide all the sections you don’t use to reduce the clutter.

#7: Drag-and-Drop Attachments

Drag-and-Drop in a browser-based app! That is, unless you are using Internet Explorer. Don’t get me started on Internet Explorer, but for whatever reason, Microsoft doesn’t want to play along with the rest of the browser world. As a result their market share has taken a hammering. It’s gotten so bad that I don’t know very many developers that use IE as their main browser.

Anyway, if you want this cool new drag-and-drop feature, it will work in Google Chrome, FireFox and Safari, but not in IE:

The attachments section also shows you thumbnail previews of the attached files:

#8: Quick Filters

OnTime is all about filters. You can quickly filter the items in the grid by any Project, Release, User or Customer simply by clicking on them in the left accordions:

In the above screenshot, the main grid is filtered by the selected project, release and user. Even more importantly, we’ve added quick filters to all the list, date and user fields in the main grid:

Click on a quick filter button and you can immediately choose how to filter by that column.

#9: A Smart Burndown Chart

The burndown chart in OnTime shows the amount of work remaining for a given sprint or release by day and it looks like this:

In OnTime V11, the Burndown chart is super smart. For example, as you move from release to release, on the left sidebar, it will automatically update the burndown chart to reflect the currently selected release.

Sometimes, work on a given sprint or release might be done before or even after the official start and end dates. In such scenarios, the new burndown chart in OnTime will automatically adjust the start and end dates of the chart so that the work that is outside the start/end dates  of a sprint can still be seen on the chart.

You can also hover over a bar in the chart to get values and trending information. It’s the fastest and best burndown chart we’ve ever had.

#10: All Items Tab

The new “All Items” tab lets users see Defects, Features and Incidents in a single place. The benefit of such a tab is to be able to see all the work that’s assigned to you. You can even group the work by the type of item it is:

You might ask “why have the individual Defects, Features or Help Desk tabs at all if I can view them all from the All Items tab?” The answer is that based on a user’s role or current activity, they might only be interested in a particular type of item. People in Support rarely venture out of the Help Desk items. Likewise, testers might be focused on the Defects in the system.

#11: Open in New Window Button

As you add, edit or view items in OnTime, you can easily throw them into their own dedicated window:

I love this feature because it allows me to continue working in the main grid while allowing me to add, edit and view a bunch of other items at the same time.

#12: Current Settings

So you have your view Grouped, it’s filtered by 2 different fields, it’s sorted and you did a search. How do you know what the current settings of what the grid is showing? Simple, just look at the new “Current Settings” bar. It gives you all that information at a glance:

What’s great about this new bar is that it lets you quickly remove and adjust these settings directly from the settings bar. Try it. You’ll love it!

The OnTime V11 Beta Timeline

We have been using the OnTime V11 Beta here at Axosoft for more than a month. While it has some minor beta-related issues, it’s a very stable and becomes more stable every day (the beauty of a hosted solution). The beta is ready for production use. However, we didn’t want to take any chances, so the rollout of OnTime V11 Beta will be like this:

  • Right Now – As for right now, OnTime V11 Beta is available for new Hosted (OnTime Now) accounts. Initially limiting the beta to new accounts will help us ensure we iron out final issues before upgrading existing customer databases.
  • June 13th – We’ll make the beta available to all customers, both hosted and installed:
    • Existing hosted (OnTime Now) customers will have the option to switch back-and-forth between V10 and V11. Each user will be able to use the new V11 or the old V10 interface during the beta.
    • OnTime V11 download files for  installed customers will also become available on this date.
  • July 12th – Final Release of OnTime V11 for both installed and hosted customers.

For customers who upgrade to OnTime Web V11, to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible, each user has the ability to switch to the V11 interface at a time of their own choosing.

What About OnTime for Windows?

Let me start by saying that I have been a big fan of OnTime for Windows. I also recognize that we have a lot of OnTime Windows users. Historically, most of us at Axosoft have also preferred the OnTime Windows user experience to the OnTime Web user experience. All of that changes with OnTime V11.

While we fully intend to continue the support and development of OnTime Windows, we also recognize that the future of business applications is the Web. We had to make sure that the user experience of OnTime Web was as good or better than the OnTime Windows product. It had to be as fast or faster. It had to be as easy or easier. It had to become so good that users would prefer OnTime Web over OnTime Windows.

With V11, all of those goals have been accomplished! If you like OnTime Windows, you’re going to love the V11 Web interface. Plus, web-based apps have the added benefit of being able to access the system from anywhere and not having to install a new version of the product on each and every user’s machine. If you go with the OnTime Now Hosted solution, you are also always on the latest version of the software.

Go Hosted With OnTime Now – It’s Better!

Since OnTime V2.0 was released in 2003, Axosoft customers have had the choice of going with installed or hosted. With 8 years of hosting experience under our belt, we’ve learned a thing or two about building a fantastic hosted environment for OnTime. Specifically we’re proud of the following accomplishments:

  • We are in 9 data centers around the world! As part of our effort to provide maximum performance and uptime, OnTime is hosted out of 9 different data centers around the globe. We have data center locations all over the US plus Canada, the UK and Australia. During the signup process, users are able to choose the data center that has the highest performance to their location. The signup form will automatically choose the data center that is closest to the user’s location based on IP address.
  • We have never  lost customer data! We have been hosting OnTime for hundreds of customers for 8 years now and we have never lost a single bit of customer data. Even though backups are also made on a nightly basis, we have never even had to restore customer data from backups either (although we periodically test this to make sure we’re on top of it in case we ever need to).
  • Availability and Uptime have been exceptional! OnTime Now customers rarely experience downtime outside of maintenance hours. Over the past 8 years, the outages could be counted on the fingers of your hands and have rarely lasted more than a couple of hours.

The best part about going hosted is that you don’t have to worry about anything. Super fast redundant hardware setup, check. RAID redundancy for storage, check. SQL Server Installed and Tuned, check. Nightly backups, check. Active monitoring to ensure uptime, check. Lower cost of software, check. Lower IT costs, check.

Switch From Installed to Hosted – It’s Easy!

If you are currently an OnTime installed customer, regardless of which version you are on, switching to OnTime V11 in our hosted environment is a breeze. All you would need to do is backup your database and send it to our sales team (you’ll use the Axosoft drop box from Transfer Big Files). You’ll be up and running in one of our 9 data centers with all your current data and settings intact, usually the same day!

If you have maintenance, there are usually some incentives for switching from installed to hosted. Contact the Axosoft sales team for details.

Watch the Video

The following video highlights some of the features above and some others that didn’t make my top 12 list. It’s a great overview:

Watch the V11 Beta Video on YouTube

Try it Now

Ready to try OnTime V11 Beta? Signup for a Free 30-day, 10 User account now:

Try OnTime V11 Beta Now

And be sure to let us know what you think. You can discuss the product in the OnTime V11 Beta Forums.

Top 9 New Features in OnTime V8.1

May 29, 2008 11 comments

Axosoft’s flagship product, OnTime (which is a software project management tool: bug tracking, feature management, team wiki and helpdesk), is constantly being improved. It’s been less than six months since its last major release, and we’ve already made tremendous improvements that will surely please even its most demanding user (usually, me).

In this article, I’m excited to share some of my favorite new features.

New Management Console

Over it’s 8 major releases (and countless minor releases), OnTime has flourished into an unbelievably powerful product. It keeps tracking and managing more as it matures. It keeps acquiring more of the “nice touches” software development teams appreciate. If there is a cost to all of this, it’s the fact that the complexity of the product has increased, a bit, too.

To help address this problem, we created a visual map of managing the OnTime system. Take a look:

OnTime V8.1 Management Console
OnTime V8.1 Management Console Screenshot (Web & Windows)

The new Management Console allows most management functions to be accessed from a single location.

“Hey, the Tools > Manage menu was a single location, too!” you say?

Sure, but what’s great about this console is that it provides:

  • visual grouping of management categories, clustering related management features together (for example managing users and security roles are closely related);
  • visual workflow cues for which order to perform management tasks (for example, you probably want to work on custom fields before designing a field template);
  • detailed tool-tips that explain exactly what each management item is for.

The Management Console also trivializes another task: it effortlessly communicates what you can do with OnTime. With just a 10-second glance users can see that it’s possible to create custom fields, field templates, get email notifications or setup POP email accounts that will be automatically checked with OnTime.

With the new Management Console, I’m betting 90% of existing users will learn something new about OnTime, and 100% of new users will appreciate this feature for the instant crash course in functionality and for providing such a great place to get started.

New Color-Coded Items

Ever wish you could quickly see high priority, open items, items in a particular workflow step or items that are assigned to you without having to sort, filter or re-group your list? Well, now you can! OnTime V8.1 adds item color-coding so that items in various statuses, priorities, severities or workflow steps will naturally jump out at you. Additionally, items assigned to you can appear bold, so you won’t miss them.

This is an incredibly powerful feature that is guaranteed to enhance productivity. Take a look at this screenshot:

Demonstrating Color Coding in OnTime V8.1
OnTime V8.1 for Windows Color Coding Screenshot

OnTime V8.1 Color Coding in Web
OnTime V8.1 for Web Color Coding Screenshot

In this case, you can see that high priority items are highlighted in yellow, critical items are red and items assigned to me (administrator in this case) are bold. Users can decide what, if anything, gets highlighted and which colors to use.

New Email Tab

If you use OnTime to manage your support incidents via email, you’re going to absolutely LOVE the new Email tab. The new email tab allows users who regularly respond to incoming emails to use an interface that is optimized for managing emails rather than incidents.

The result is a huge improvement to productivity for customer support reps.

OnTime V8.1 Email Tab
OnTime V8.1 for Windows – New Email Tab

OnTime V8.1 Email Tab
OnTime V8.1 for Web – New Email Tab

Now support reps can respond to a email-related tickets from a central place designed to manage emails. Users can also search emails, group, filter and sort emails as one might expect from a email-focused work area. 

Wiki Pages Through Customer Portal

The new Wiki page feature in OnTime V8.0 has been tremendously popular. We have seen teams use Wiki pages to collaborate on everything from the creation of standard procedures to team directories to useful web-links to descriptions of major components in their projects (and everything in between). But one type of wiki page that teams couldn’t create, until now, was a page that was visible (and even editable) by their customers.

So, in OnTime V8.1, you can determine whether or not wiki pages are visible and editable in your OnTime Customer Portal. This is a great way to collaborate with customers, share common documents: installation instructions, FAQs and more. You can even permit customers to create and modify documents through the new Wiki tab in the OnTime Customer Portal.

OnTime V8.1 Customer Portal Wiki
OnTime V8.1 Customer Portal Wiki

Move and Easily Close Main Tabs

While the ability to rename OnTime’s main tabs has been in the product for a long time, the visibility of the tabs was controlled only by security privileges. If you had access to a tab, you saw the tab no matter what. The order of the tabs was also carved in stone. So if you’re a support engineer who basically lives in the Incidents tab (the 4th tab), you couldn’t put that tab in the first position and you couldn’t get rid of the other tabs you don’t use.

All that has changed with OnTime V8.1. You can rename tabs (as before), remove them and add them on the fly and determine the order too! Even better is that the settings are saved on a per-user basis, so each user can determine their own tab order or whether or not they want the icon or text to be visible. We think this new enhancement adds a nice finishing touch to the customization of the main OnTime tabs.

Here are two screenshots to illustrate:

Customization of OnTime Tabs

In the above screenshot, you can see the Incident tab being dragged to the first position and only 2 other tabs are visible (all other tabs have been turned off).

OnTime V8.1 Tab Customization

In the above screenshot, you can see 5 tabs turned on with only icons visible (the text has been turned off) and the default order of the tabs has been changed.

Big Notification & Alert Improvements

Alerts have been significantly improved with the following new features:

  • Filter alerts can now provide users with notifications on their own assigned items only, versus all items that meet the filter criteria.
  • Filter alerts can now remember the previous results each time the filter is triggered, and only notify a user if the results have changed since the last time it sent an alert notification.
  • Alerts can be set to recur at a specific time on a daily or weekly basis. You can even set up a scheduled alert to only happen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am if that’s what you want.
Here is a screenshot of the new Alert Schedule:

OnTime V8.1 Alert Schedule
OnTime V8.1 for Windows – New Alert Schedules

OnTime V8.1 for Web - Alert Schedules
OnTime V8.1 for Web – New Alert Schedules

Email notifications are getting an improvement too with the separation of edit notifications from item detail notifications. For example, it’s now possible to receive an email notification when an attachment is added or when a new SCM file is associated to an item or when a new email arrives about a particular item.

Big Performance Gains for OnTime Web

With each new release of OnTime, we have made it our mission to improve some area of performance, while still adding more functionality. With V8.1, the focus has been on Web performance improvements. Here are some of our accomplishments:

  • Add/Edit Pages now load more than 30% faster in IE and more than 50% faster in FireFox
  • Home page has received visual improvements, but still loads slightly faster than before
  • Changing from Projects tab to Customers and Users tabs is now noticeably faster
  • Switching main tabs (defects/features/incidents/etc.) is now noticeably faster
You’ll find that OnTime outperforms any existing product with a comparable feature-set. With that said, there’s always room for improvement and we’ll continuously be on it with each new release!

Support for Visual Studio 2008

We might not be able to keep up with Microsoft product names (Visual Studio, then Visual Studio.NET and back to Visual Studio again), but we keep up with their releases and OnTime V8.1’s Visual Studio[.NET] add-in now supports both VS.NET 2005 and VS 2008. In fact, it even supports Visual Fred 2008.

Lots of Nice Little Touches

There’s a lot more in V8.1. With all these new features, a .1 release is a little misleading. We should probably be calling it OnTime V8.5. Here are some minor improvements that you might find useful:

  • Ability to send SMTP emails through SSL (that means Gmail works now!)
  • Automatic update of actual time spent when work log entries are added
  • Incoming Emails about an existing item can now trigger a workflow change (such as re-open a closed incident)
  • Improvements to default security roles for new databases
  • A new User Resources screen that allows new users to get the most from OnTime
  • Improved item-lock management
  • OnTime Express now has unlimited security roles
  • Ability to search for customer and user email addresses when sending an email
  • Added “Not Like” operator for filters

And of course, we’ve fixed numerous “unadvertised features” (aka bugs).

We think everyone is going to love OnTime V8.1. If you’re currently an OnTime V8.0 user, a V8.1 upgrade is a must-have and if you’re the user of on an older version of OnTime, what are you waiting for?!?! The productivity improvements offered by the new wiki pages and the slew of other improvements in V8.0 and V8.1 are definitely worth the 10-minute upgrade time, so get to it!

The Release Candidate for OnTime V8.1 is available now and the final release will be available in June:

OnTime V8.1 was released on June 11th: 

Get OnTime V8.1 Now


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