Last-modified: 2007/03/01 Version: 9.0b

Problem Management Tools Summary

This information is now obsolete and is retained online only for archival purposes.

Introduction

This was the newsgroup comp.software.config-mgmt "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) posting of a Software Problem Management tools summary. This is part 3 of the 3 part FAQ. Please review all parts before submitting suggestions or questions to the FAQ editor.

The information contained in this summary is a consolidation of data obtained from a variety of sources around the Internet, but primarily from articles and comments posted on the comp.software.config-mgmt newsgroup. Additional information occasionally is emailed directly to the author. Check the date above to see how recent the information you are reading might be.

Sharing Of Information

This document, as a collection of information, is Copyright 1995-2002 by Dave Eaton. It may be freely redistributed unedited in its entirety provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It may not be sold for profit or incorporated in commercial documents without the written permission of the copyright holder. This article is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. The content is the sole responsibility of the author and contributors, and does not necessarily represent the position of their employers nor an official position or opinion of any company. Please contact the FAQ editor regarding changes.

Other Information

Various products mentioned in this FAQ are the trademarks of their respective companies.

All parts of this FAQ are posted to this newsgroup on or about the 22nd of each month. (This is done manually and sometimes work interferes with this posting, please excuse any delays.)

Like most FAQ lists, these parts are archived at rtfm.mit.edu (and various other sites which archive FAQs.) The parts are named:

and may be found in directory pub/usenet-by-group/comp.answers/sw-config-mgmt. Those new to the newsgroups should read news.announce.newusers for general information.

For those with World Wide Web access, hyperlinked HTML versions of these documents are available via: http://www.daveeaton.com/scm/
(If you type in this URL, remember that it is case sensitive.) These are updated throughout the month as changes come in. A letter is added to the version number and the date is changed with each edit to help you determine if you've already seen it.

What this is not.

If you are not sure what we mean by CM (or SCM), please see our definition in question [1.2] of FAQ section 1. If you still think this will help you with your PC hardware or application configuration, you are mistaken. Please see question [1.10] of FAQ section 1 for some suggestions of other more appropriate newsgroups for your question -- do not post it to comp.software.config-mgmt. Thank you.

Similarly, this FAQ is intended for tools which address the problem management needs of the software development process. While some of these products also may be used to perform "Help Desk" and other activities, that is not the focus of this group or this FAQ. For "Help Desk" tools, refer the Help Desk FAQ posted by Phil Verghis at http://www.philverghis.com/helpdesk.html.

This is not a definitive list of all available tools, nor is it intended to be. It is not a recommendation or endorsement of any of the tools mentioned. As noted above, it is a composit of opinions from the comp.software.config-mgmt newsgroup. If you have a tool you would like others to know about, please join the discussion.


** What's New this Month? **

1. Various edits.

Still Needed

Some tools have been mentioned in the newsgroups, but contact information (company name, address and phone or ftp location) as well as user comments are needed so they may be included in the report below. If you are a user of such a tool, please send a paragraph or two containing your comments and experiences as well as supplier contact information to the FAQ editor.

Table of Contents

1. Summary
2. Problem Management Overview
3. Commercial Vendor Contact List
4. Problem Management Tools Generally Available Free
5. Commercial Problem Management Tools
6. Other Tools
Appendix A. References and Sources of Information
Appendix B. Prob. Mgmt. Tools with World Wide Web sites

1. Summary

History

The first posting of this FAQ was in April, 1994. Since the newsgroup was relatively new at that time, the early FAQ was 'jump started' with information obtained from the following sources: Since then, it has been updated and changed substantially as readers have supplied additional information to the comp.software.config-mgmt newsgroup and directly to the editor.

Contributions

In addition to some of the vendors themselves, most information summarized here comes from newsgroup posts and email received from end users. Our gratitude is been extended to all who have contributed.

Instructions for adding or changing information in this FAQ may be found in section 1.8 of part 1, the general FAQ for the comp.software.config-mgmt newsgroup.

Not Official Statements

Please use the summary below in the spirit with which it has been supplied: for information only. These statements are composites and do not represent official positions by any particular responder's company. Remember that these users may not be commenting on the current version of a product. It is recommended that you do your own research before making a tool decision for your company.

2. Problem Management Overview

Tool Capabilities

Tools marketed as problem management tools may fulfill different functions. While not a comprehensive list, some common of the common capabilities are: Some organizations only need one of these functions, while others need both. Many organizations choose to integrate their problem management and configuration management tools to gain better control of their development activities and to improve quality.

Tool Packaging

Problem management tools may be purchased in any of at least three distinct packaging methods: Be certain you determine your needs and confirm that the tool you select fulfills your needs.

General Advice

Although the statements below do not relate to a particular tool, they may provide valuable ideas for those implementing problem management. If you determine the best tool for your needs is one hosted on UNIX systems, but you must have access to it from PCs as well, consider using X-Server software on the PCs.

3. Commercial Vendor Contact List

Vendors

Platform availability and products are continually changing, please check vendors for current information and trade publications for new entrants. This should not be considered a complete list of all available tools. As of this writing, these vendors could be contacted as shown in this table.

Since vendors are continually changing platform availability and upgrading their products, it is suggested you consult with them directly for current information before making a tool selection.


                         Commercial Products
 Product                  Vendor Address            Platforms

 +1CR                     +1 Software Engineering   Sun (SunOS and Solaris)
                          2510-G Las Posas Road,
                          Suite 438
                          P.O. Box 6041
                          Camarillo, CA 93011
                          tel.: 805-389-1778
                          info@plus-one.com

 AccuRev/Dispatch         AccuRev Inc.              Solaris, Compaq Alpha Unix,
                          62 Harvard St.            HP-UX, IRIX, RS/6000, FreeBSD,
                          Brookline, MA 02445       Linux (Intel and PowerPC),
                          tel: 617-566-3914         WinNT Win2K client/server, Windows
                          fax: 617-566-5035         9X clients.
                          info@accurev.com          Mac, more Unix, Java "soon"

 Aegis                    Abacus Systems Pty Ltd.   PC (MS Windows
                          27 Ellindale Avenue,      variations only)
                          McKinnon VIC 3204
                          Australia
                          tel: +613-9576-7355
                          FAX: +613 9576-7396

 AllChange                Intasoft Ltd.             PC (MS-WFW, MS Windows
                          Tresco House              Win95/98, WinNT), Sun Solaris
                          Westpoint Court
                          Exeter EX5 1DJ UK
                          tel.: +44 (0) 1392-447780
                          FAX:  +44 (0) 1392-447781
                          sales@intasoft.co.uk

 Apriori                  Computer Associates       Server: HP-UX,
                          International, Inc.       IBM RS/6000, Sun 4
                          One Computer Associates Plaza
                          Islandia, NY 11749, USA
                          tel.: +1 631 342-5224     Client: MS Windows,
                          FAX:  +1 631 342-5329     X-Windows (Motif, Open
                          cainfo@cs.com             Look), character based i/f

 BugBase                  Archimedes Software, Inc. PC (Windows)
                          2159 Union Street
                          San Francisco, CA 94123
                          tel.: 415-567-4010
                          FAX:  415-567-1318

 CCC/Harvest              Computer Associates       HP-UX, IBM RS/6000
                          1 Computer Associates Plaza  OS/2, Win/NT)
                          Islandia, N.Y. 11788      Sun (contact vendor
                          tel.: 1-800-225-5224      about others)
                          FAX:  1-516-342-5224

 Distributed Defect       IBM Corporation           Apollo, HP 9000,
 Tracking System                                    IBM RS/6000,
 (ClearDDTS)              1 New Orchard Road        DECstation & VAX
                          Armonk, New York 10504    running Ultrix,
                          tel.: 1-888-SHOP-IBM      Sun (SunOS & Solaris),
                          FAX:  1-800-IBM-4YOU      PC (SCO UNIX)

 ClearQuality             Clarify Inc.              HP-UX, IBM RS/6000
                          2702 Orchard Pkwy.        SGI, Sun
                          San Jose, CA 95134
                          tel.: 408-428-2000        Client on Mac,
                          FAX:  408-428-0633        PC (MS Windows, WinNT,
                                                    and Win95),
                                                    UNIX running Motif

 ClearQuest               IBM Corporation           PC (WinNT, Win95/98/2000)
                          1 New Orchard Road
                          Armonk, New York 10504
                          tel.: 1-888-SHOP-IBM
                          FAX:  1-800-IBM-4YOU

 Census                   MetaQuest Software Inc.   Server:
                          416 de Maisonneuve West   PC (WinNT, Win95/98)
                          Suite 401
                          Montreal, Quebec          Client:
                          Canada                    PC (WinNT, Win95/98) and
                          tel: 514-341-9113         Web browser (PC/Mac/UNIX)
                          FAX: 514-341-4757
                          info@metaquest.com

Change Synergy            Telelogic AB              HP-UX, IBM AIX,
                          (World headquarters)      Linux,
                          PO Box 4128               PC (MS WinNT, Win2K)
                          Kungsgaten 6 SE-203 12
                          Malmö, Sweden
                          tel: +46 (40) 174700
                          FAX: +46 (40) 174747
                          info@telelogic.com

                          US headquarters
                          Telelogic North America Inc.
                          9401 Jeronimo Road
                          Irvine, CA 92618 USA
                          Tel: +1-949-830-8022
                          Fax: +1-949-830-8023

 Control First            Repository Technology     PC (DOS)
                          tel.: 708-515-0780
                                800-776-2176

 Control First is also sold as:
 TRUEtrack                TRUE Software
                          300 Fifth Avenue          PC (DOS)
                          Waltham, MA 02154
                          tel.: 781-890-4450
                          FAX:  781-890-4452
                          info@truesoft.com

 Defect WorkFlow (DWF)    SoftQuest Systems         PC (MS Win95, WinNT)
                          P.O. Box 1124
                          Rehovot 76267
                          Israel
                          tel.: 972-8-940-9727
                          info@softquest.co.il

 DTS                      Open System Consultants   any UNIX host supported
                          Pty Ltd                   by Perl
                          24 Bateman St
                          Hampton VIC 3188
                          Australia
                          tel.: +61 3 9598 0985
                          Fax:  +61 3 9598 0985
                          info@open.com.au

 ExtraView                Sesame Technology         Servers: UNIX, Linux
                          269 Mount Hermon Road     WinNT
                          Suite 100
                          Scotts Valley, CA  95066  Client: Any platform hosting
                          tel: (831) 461-7100       Netscape or MSIE,
                          FAX: (831) 461 7104       PalmOS on Palm VII Wireless
                          info@sesame.com

 GLOBETrack               GLOBEtrotter Software     Digital Unix, HP-UX, 
                          300 Orchid City Dr. #131  IBM RS/6000, Linux (Intel),
                          Campbell, CA 95008        SGI, Sun (SunOS/Solaris),
                          tel.: 408-370-2800        Web interface for PC/Mac
                          FAX:  408-370-2884
                          info@globes.com

 IssueView                IssueView.Com             PC (Windows)
                          17 El Camino Corto
                          Walnut Creek, CA 94596
                          tel: 510-304-1096
                          Support@IssueView.Com

 KeepTrack!               3L Ltd.                   (was PC based, but
                          Peel House                 it appears this
                          Livingstone                product may be
                          EH54 6AG                   no longer
                          Scotland                   available)
                          tel.: +44 506 41 5959

 Lotus Notes              Lotus Development Corp.   PC (DOS, MS Windows,
                          55 Cambridge Parkway      WinNT, OS/2), Macintosh,
                          Cambridge, MA 02142       HP-UX, IBM RS/6000, Sun

 NeumaCM+                 Neuma Technology
                          Corporation
                          1730 St. Laurent Blvd.,
                          Suite 200,
                          Ottawa, Ontario,
                          Canada K1G 5L1
                          tel.: 613-738-3156
                          FAX: 613-738-7210
                          sales@neuma.com

 OmniTracker              OmniNet GmbH              Clients: Win95/98/NT/2K
                          Orchideenstrasse 39,      Web-Front, Java-Frontend
                          90542                     Server: WinNT/2K
                          Eckental, Germany
                          tel.: 011-49-9126-259790
                          iwe@omninet.de

 PR-Tracker               Softwise                  PC (Windows 95, 98,
                          tel.: 425-513-0415        WinNT, 2000, ME)
                          or:   888-324-3988
                          FAX:  425-513-0516
                          or:   888-324-3980
                          sales@prtracker.com

 Problem Tracker          NetResults Corporation    PC (Win95/98/NT)
                          444 High St.
                          PO Box 1238
                          Palo Alto, CA 94302-1238
                          info@n2r6.com
                          tel.: 650-473-3933
                          FAX:  650-473-3934

PVCS Dimensions           MERANT                    Bull, DEC (VMS, Ultirx,
                          701 East Middlefield Rd   Unix), H-P, ICL, Sequent,
                          Mountain View, CA 94043   Sun, PC (WinNT coming)
                          tel.: 800-872-6265
                          FAX:  650-404-7217

                          Corporate Headquarters:
                          The Lawn
                          22-30 Old Bath Road
                          Newbury
                          Berkshire, England RG14 1QN
                          tel.: +1635 32646
                          FAX:  +1635 33966

 PVCS Tracker             MERANT                    PC (Windows)
                          701 East Middlefield Rd
                          Mountain View, CA 94043
                          tel.: 800-872-6265
                          FAX:  650-404-7217

 Qualit Defect Manager    Qualit, Inc.              PC
                          801 W. El Camino Real
                          Suite 359
                          Mountain View, CA. 94040
                          tel.: 415-964-4525
                          FAX:  415-964-4512
                          qualit@netcom.com

 Siebel                   Siebel Systems, Inc.      Server: DEC Ultrix,
                          1855 South Grant Street   HP-UX, IBM RS/6000,
                          San Mateo, CA 94402       Sun, VMS, others
                          tel.: 650-295-5000        Client only: PC
                          or:   800-647-4300        (Windows, WinNT)
                          fax:  650-295-5111        Macintosh, MIPS
                          info@siebel.com

 Razor                    Visible Systems           Sun (both Solaris and
                          248 Main Street           SunOS), HP, SGI,
                          Oneida, NY  13421         RS/6000, Digital Unix,
                          tel.: 315-363-8000        Linux, PC(Win95/98,
                          FAX:  315-363-7488        WinNT)
                          razor_sales@visible.com

 Remedy Action Request    Remedy Corp.              Server: AT&T, HP-UX,
 System (ARS)             1505 Salado Dr.           IBM RS/6000, Motorola,
                          Mountain View, CA 94043   SGI, Sun
                          tel.: 415-903-5200        Client: Above plus
                          FAX:  415-903-9001        PC(Windows, Mac)
                          remedy@remedy.com

 SWBTracker               Software with Brains, Inc. PC(Windows 95, 98, NT4)
                          649 Branch Dr.
                          Toms River, NJ 08755 USA
                          sales@softwarewithbrains.com

 TeamTrack                TeamShare, Inc.           Server: PC (MS WinNT,
                          1975 Research Parkway,   Win2000)
                          Suite #200
                          Colorado Springs, CO 80920
                          tel.: 888-832-6742       Client: Web browsers MSIE & Netscape
                          FAX:  719-599-4498
                          salesinfo@teamshare.com

 Track for Windows        Soffront                  PC (Windows, soon a 32
                          1806 Milmont Drive        bit version for WinNT
                          Suite 169                 and OS/2)
                          Milpitas, CA 95035
                          tel.: 408-263-2703
                                800-sof-front
                          sales@soffront.com

 TrackRecord              Compuware Corporation     PC (MS Windows, WinNT,
                         31440 Northwestern Highway and OS/2)
                         Farmington Hills, MI 48334
                         tel.: 248-737-7300

                         marketed by
                         Compuware NuMega Lab
                         9 Townsend West
                         Nashua, NH 03063
                         800-4NUMEGA

 TrackWise                Sparta Systems, Inc.      PC (MS Windows)
                         1 Bethany Road, Suite 90
                         Hazlet, NJ 07730
                         tel.: 888-261-5948
                         FAX:  732-203-0375
                         sales@sparta-sys.com

 Vantive Quality          Vantive Corp.             HP-UX, IBM RS/6000
                         1890 N. Shoreline Blvd.   Sun
                         Mountain View, CA 94043
                         tel.: 415-691-1500        Client on Windows
                                                   PC (WinNT Planned)

 Visual Intercept         Elsinore Technologies,    PC (MS Windows 3.x,
                         Inc.                      Win95, WinNT)
                         7200 Falls of the Neuse Road
                         Suite 302
                         Raleigh, NC 27615
                         tel.: 919-532-0022 ext.408
                         FAX:  919-532-0023

                         jlm@ciinc.com

4. Problem Management Tools Generally Available Free

Free But Perhaps Not Fully Supported

There are a few freely available (Open Source) problem management tools. Generally you must transfer it from an archive site on the Internet using a tool such as FTP or a Web browser. In some cases the tool will need to be compiled at your site and in some cases there is a license fee. Most come bundled with adequate documentation. Such tools generally are provided without support, so it may not be advisable to use them on some projects.

Bugzilla

Bugzilla is the problem management tool used by the Netscape Mozilla team. and available from mozilla.org. It is Web-based, flexible, written in Perl and uses MySQL as its database back-end. Bugzilla is Open-Source software. Updates are available via CVS. See http://www.mozilla.org/bugs/ for download information. Other tools available through the Mozilla project include LXR which lets you browse the latest version of the source code, Bonsai for tree control (smile), and Tinderbox for knowing when the tree is in flames. More information concerning these tools may be found at http://www.Mozilla.org/tools.html

Debian Bug Tracking System

The Debian Bug Tracking System (debbugs) is a set of scripts which maintain a database of problem reports. Key features include complete input and manipulation of bugs by email. Various lists of bugs are available via email or the Web. The system runs on Unix and expects to have its own (possibly `virtual') mail domain. It is available at: ftp://ftp.chiark.greenend.org.uk/users/ian/debbugs/ Information may be found on the Web at: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~ian/debbugs/

GNU GNATS

GNU GNATS (GNU Problem Report Management System) is copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation and freely available according to the terms of the GNU General Public License.

This product which helps track software problems or change-requests. Some of its features include:

Responders believed that linking GNATS and the ClearCase task examples (/usr/atria/examples/task) should not be too difficult, though no responders seem to have tried this.

GNATS can be obtained from one of the GNU mirrors or from Cygnus Support.

For example, GNATS may be found via anonymous FTP at ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/gnats/ or ftp://sourceware.cygnus.com/pub/gnats. A web interface to gnats, gnatsweb, is distributed with gnats itself.

TkGnats information and the latest version of TkGnats may be found at http://www.cuug.ab.ca:8001/~macdonal/tkgnats.html.

JitterBug

JitterBug, developed for managing the samba-bugs bug reports and now used on other projects, is web based and written in C. It is released as free software under the GPL. Information may be found at http://samba.anu.edu.au/cgi-bin/jitterbug and a guest interface to the rsync JitterBug provides a reasonable demo at http://samba.anu.edu.au/cgi-bin/rsync The non-guest interface has many more features, of course. A french version of JitterBug may be found at http://jitterbug.websitewatchers.com/

OpenTrack

OpenTrack (OT) began as a UNIX-based tracking system used to manage defect reports and enhancement requests filed against offerings, tools, or projects. Each report is stored as a Change Request (CR) in a plain file containing project-chosen fields that describe the defect or enhancement. The user interface is text-based and presented through the user's standard editor. Each project established in OT is configurable through definitions files and TCL procedures. There is an MS Windows NT port available which uses the Sleepycat database and is web-based. Additional information and download may be found at: http://www.accurev.com/ot/

PTS, XPTS, and Web/PTS

Problem Tracking System (PTS, XPTS, and Web/PTS) by Dean Collins provides an easy way to report problems, and is oriented towards system administration, though it is no longer under active developemnt. It consists primarily of an X application. There is a simple text-mode and command-line interface for reporting problems. Latest information is available on the WWW at http://www.halcyon.com/dean/pts/pts.html or by anonymous ftp at ftp.halcyon.com/local/pts.

PTS

PTS is a web-based project/problem management system which uses a SQL server back end. PTS has been rewritten into Keystone, a far more flexible and powerful ticketing / project management system. Both are available at http://www.stonekeep.com. PTS is free, and Keystone is free for up to 10 concurrent users, after which there is a small fee requested.

wrek

Wrek is written in perl 5 and uses your your Web server and browser as its interface and offers an email connection. It is simple, functional, and Y2k Compliant. Additinal information may be found at: http://www.math.duke.edu/~yu/wreq/. Its "cookie based" authentication system may be the best, but .htaccess and UNIX passwd authentication options are also supported. Most aspects of a support group can be configured from a web page with its own group password.

5. Commercial Problem Management Tools

Growing Number On Market

It is impossible to provide user's comments concerning all the available tools. A brief summary of the tools mentioned most frequently on the Usenet newsgroup comp.software.config-mgmt is provided below so that your site may decide if it would be appropriate to consider one of these tools. These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinion or experiences of the author of this document.

Contact information such as address and phone number may be found in the Commercial Vendor Contact List, elsewhere in this document.

+1CR

+1CR from +1 Software Engineering allows you to submit, list, view, query, print, and administer problem reports. +1CR supports process management, which ensures that when a file is checked in using +1CM, the problem report number exists and its status allows for check ins. It runs on any Sun supporting an OpenWindows, Motif, or CDE windowing environment. User comments are requested. Please send them to the FAQ editor. (see bottom of this FAQ). A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.plus-one.com

AccuRev/Dispatch

AccuRev(tm), from AccuRev Inc. is client/server, built on top of AccuRev/CM (shares the same database), integrated with AccuRev, runs on all of the same platforms as AccuRev/CM, and is completely configurable.

Aegis

Aegis from Abacus Systems is an affordable and easy to use help desk and incident management system. It will help you organize client requests, change requests, and product defects. Aegis friendly, intuitive user interface makes it a painless approach to providing a high level of support and service to your clients. It provides a history of precisely what's been done.

Its features include:

A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.abacus-systems.com/

AllChange

AllChange from Intasoft is a configuration management system including integrated problem management and change requests (known as CRs). Its features include: A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.intasoft.co.uk/intasoft/

Apriori

Apriori by Computer Associates (formerly Platinum Technology, formerly Answer Systems, Inc.) is a family of integrated applications to improve performance of support and help desk teams. Newsgroup chatter has been very light. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.platinum.com/products/dataw/applsres.htm

BugBase

BugBase is a PC-only tool which keeps track of problems and provides on-screen reports as text, pie charts or bar graphs. The database tracks the status, severity, urgency, and type of the defect, as well as providing for a brief description of the problem. Other fields allow additional information to be included. Sorts may be based on any field. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.bugbase.com/

CCC/Harvest

CCC/Harvest provides problem management as a stand-alone tool or in conjunction with other software development tools from Computer Associates (formerly from Platinum Technology). Electronic review and notification of status changes is part of the problem life cycle management provided. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.ca.com/products/ccm/

ClearDDTS

ClearDDTS (formerly DDTs by QualTrak) from IBM/Rational (formerly Pure Atria) may be used as a stand alone product or in conjunction with the ClearCase SCM tool. Some of the DDTS advocates had been using the tool for several years and claimed they could not imagine functioning without it. While "call tracking" is a form of problem management, the manufacturer says it is not designed to provide sophisticated call tracking. It does do a very good job of problem management and metrics gathering. The email interface allows notification of new problems and changes of status as well as submission of defects from email.

The tool's character-based terminal interface origins is still evident even in the newer X-Windows version, causing some users to find it harder to use than a full GUI tool. Despite that drawback, it has many strong supporters.

The product includes a Web-based interface called WebTracker which allows for submission and querying of records in the ClearDDTS database. It provides most of the functionality of the native ClearDDTS client, including the ability to modify a recorf and generate management reports.

One popular feature of ClearDDTS is its distributed nature. ClearDDTS supports the sharing of information between project teams located at different locations. With ClearDDTS' subscription feature, a remote location can subscribe to a local project and maintain a copy of all records associated with that project in a remote database. The information is kept in-sync through an email interface.

ClearDDTS is integrated with Purify. A developer who finds a run-time error can submit that error directly into ClearDDTS. The Purify output will be included as part of the record in ClearDDTS.

The ClearDDTS and ClearCase configuration management integration has been shipping for a while and seems to be very popular. A number of users report a high degree of satisfaction with this integration.

There is a simple "query language" that allows extracting "all bugs submitted against product-x by person-y between date-1 and date-2 that have priority greater than z." Beginning in Nov. 1995, ClearDDTS began including an SQL database as part of the product. It also provides an SQL interface to the Oracle database.

Advantages

Disadvantages Summarizing their installation, one person said, "ClearCase is truly a productivity tool for the engineer/programmer and DDTS is a productivity tool for the project manager."

A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.ibm.com/software/awdtools/clearddts/ MS Windows users may want to look into ClearQuest at http://www.ibm.com/software/awdtools/clearquest/

ClearQuality

ClearQuality is part of Clarify Inc.'s Service Management System. While ClearSupport provides high volume call tracking, ClearQuality provides defect tracking. Information it keeps includes priority, severity, module and description. It allows related information to be attached by the user. In addition to Motif on UNIX platforms, ClearQuality's client may be run from PCs and Macintosh machines. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.clarify.com/.

ClearQuest

ClearQuest from IBM/Rational may be used as a stand alone product or in conjunction with the Rational Suite toolkit. It is also integrated with a variety of other tools from Rational, including ClearCase, Purify, Quantify, PureCoverage, TeamTest, and PerformanceStudio.

ClearQuest is a flexible system, allowing the designer to create data fields, forms, life cycles (i.e. state machines), and process rules via either Perl or VBScript. ClearQuest uses a RDBMs as the back-end datastore, supporting Sybase SQL/Anywhere, Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.

ClearQuest provides the end-user with both a Win32 and Web interface. Customizations and administration are done on via a Win32 interface. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.ibm.com/software/awdtools/clearquest/

ClearTrack

ClearTrack was Rational's (actually Atria's) change request managemen (CRM) system that tracked defects and enhancement requests throughout the entire software development and maintenance process. It could be used as a standalone system or in conjunction with Rational's ClearCase software configuration management product. Used together, ClearCase and ClearTrack provided a change management solution. Over time, this product has been replaced by Rational's ClearDDTS and ClearQuest and is noted here only for historical reference.

Census

The MetaQuest Software Inc. product Census is an MS Windows-based issue tracking system that can track defects, enhancement requests, test cases, timesheets, support calls, and more. Some of its features include:

A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.metaquest.com/

Change Synergy

The Change Synergy problem tracking tool from Telelogic (which acquired Continuus Software Corp., formerly CaseWare, Inc.) is excellent and is integrated with their CM Synergy tool, providing a tightly integrated package.

The system supports problem submission (either through a graphical user interface or electronic mail), on-line queries, problem reporting, and correlation of change requests to project components. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.telelogic.com/

Control First

and

TRUEtrack

TRUEtrack, sold by TRUE Software provides an interface to TRUEchange. This product is also sold as Control First by Repository Technology and provides problem tracking capability for the configuration management product PVCS.

Defect WorkFlow (DWF)

Defect WorkFlow (DWF) from SoftQuest Systems is a PC-based defect tracking and change management system for software systems. A web interface permits reporting defects and changes over the Internet. DWF contains a process based workflow for recording defects and changes, analyzing them, fixing them and testing them. The testing phase supports testing of multiple software releases before closing the defect/change. Documentation updates are linked to the defect and change that has to be handled. An evaluation copy can be downloaded from the supplier WWW site at http://www.softquest.co.il/.

DTS

DTS is a commercial web-based defect and trouble tracking system from Open System Consultants. It is suitable for use by ISPs and software developers and includes email gateways, management statistics and reporting. DTS runs on any Unix host supported by Perl, including Solaris, SunOS, Linux, FreeBSD, Digital Unix and many others. It with any SQL database supported by Perl DBD/DBI, including Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Microsoft SQL, Ingres, mSQL, mysql etc. Full source code is included. A full working demo and product details are available on the supplier WWW site at http://www.open.com.au/dts/.

ExtraView

ExtraView by Sesame Technology is a completely Web-based issue tracking and workflow management system designed for ease of setup, configuration, and customization. ExtraView conforms to the installer's processes and workflow requirements, helping a company to provide a better product to its customers.

Features include:

A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.sesame.com/ and http://www.extraview.com/.

GLOBETrack

GLOBEtrack by GLOBEtrotter Software is an integrated Web-based bug and customer support tracking system providing a complete set of high-quality product defect and customer support management solutions. GLOBEtrack is easily installed and designed to be used immediately after installation with predefined bug and support tracking templates and reports. Also, it is customizable, you can make simple changes quickly, or you can implement extensive changes to tailor GLOBEtrack to fit your specific needs. It runs on several Unix platforms and a Web based interface makes the product available to users running X-Windows servers on other platforms. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.globetrotter.com/.

IssueView

IssueView by IssueView.Com is customizable Windows based bug tracking software. It has a multi-project Explorer style interface. Tracking projects are displayed in a Tree on the left, and issues within the selected project are displayed in a powerful datagrid. IssueView supports custom Filters, Reports, Attachments, Drag-and-Drop, and much more. Both Microsoft Access and SQL Server databases are supported. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.IssueView.com/,

KeepTrack!

Consensus of responders was that KeepTrack! was rather restrictive and that it is no longer available on the market.

Lotus Notes

Not surprisingly, a Lotus representative replied that they use Lotus Notes for Tech Support Calls. All customer incidents are tracked from phone call through world-wide escalation. (Although Lotus claimed to market the application and customization they use, there was no response to an email request for more information.)

Others using Lotus Notes admitted they had not tried a commercial system built specifically for problem management. Most used email and/or automatic email from Lotus Notes as part of their implementation. Depending upon how each site builds the database and forms, a Lotus Notes form may include version, client, module, priority, status, additional text, and more. Prioritization and review can be handled, though the descriptions of some implementations sounded awkward.

Advantages

Disadvantages Although reliability and up-time seems adequate, performance and scalability tended to be a problem when using Lotus Notes as a problem tracking system. Even on 50 MHz 486 machines, several users reported situations such as:

NeumaCM+

NeumaCM+ from Neuma Technology Corporation provides a comprehensive problem reporting and tracking system. This problem tracking application may be used as a standalone system, or it may be fully integrated with your complete NeumaCM+ application suite. A problem can be defined as a deficiency in a product or process that represents a deviation from the product, requirement or specification. For any problem entered in NeumaCM+, the system tracks critical information such as who originated the problem, the status and priority of the problem, and the description. NeumaCM+ maintains a full audit trail of all actions relates or associated to that problem report. It can be highly customized by the user. A web interface is also available. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.neuma.com.

OmniTracker

OmniTracker by OmniNet GmbH is a professional action and request management and tracking system available for a broad spectrum of service delivery organizations and application areas such as: Help-Desks and Call-Center, Quality-Management, Service-Management, SLA-Management, Activity-Management, Problem- and Bug-Management, Change-Management. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.omninet.de/.

PR-Tracker

PR-Tracker by Softwise includes features such as customizable data entry, workflow, views and queries; one click queries; reports; email notification and attachments. PR-Tracker Web implements problem tracking over the internet or an intranet with the same user interface as PR-Tracker. PR-Tracker and PR-Tracker Web can be integrated so that data collected from both products can be stored in the same database.

More information and downloads are available on the supplier WWW site at http://www.prtracker.com

Problem Tracker

ProblemTracker by NetResults is a Web-based tool for bug tracking and change management. Some of the features include

A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.problemtracker.com/.

PVCS Dimensions

The configuration management tool PCMS Dimensions PVCS by MERANT (formed by the combination of Micro Focus and Intersolv) includes an embedded software development process management capability which can be used for problem management. Based on an Oracle database engine, it is SQL compliant. Reports are that the system as a whole is very bureaucratic and time-consuming, adding a lot of overhead to the development process that couldn't be justified by the rewards. These comments have been disputed by several others in the newsgroup who claim PVCS Dimensions imposes no more process overhead than the user/organization has itself chosen to use. The organizational policies are definable within the PVCS Dimensions "control plan".

Interactions with other tools is limited but being improved. It is integrated with a graphical desktop in Digital's COHESION Team/SEE.

PVCS Tracker

The PC Windows-only tool PVCS Tracker (formerly DCS) came highly recommended by those who responded. It may be used in stand alone mode or may be networked. UNIX systems may access the database via lan manager and PC/NFS.

The integration with PVCS provides a development platform for PC users. Tracker has been improved for use on large projects/large development groups and the product can now use the major client/server DBMSs as the backend database engine. Alternatively, you can use the integrated dBASE 5.0 as the backend.

A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.merant.com

Siebel

The former Siebel/Scopus Technology products QualTEAM and ProTEAM have been replaced with a new offering combining features from Siebel's product and these, which Siebel acquired.

A user writeup and description of the new product is needed. Please submit comments to the newsgroup and directly to the FAQ editor.

A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.siebel.com/

Razor

Razor, from Visible Systems Corporation (formerly from Tower Concepts) is a highly configurable problem tracking system, which comes complete with an integrated file version control package.

Issue form templates are defined and tailored by each work group to contain information that will meet their needs. These forms present themselves on screen as Motif windows, employing text fields, check boxes, choices etc, for such information as...

Each new form is automatically numbered and entered into the Razor database. These forms can then be edited and routed to team members electronically, avoiding the clumsy paper and homegrown systems that have become the norm in many companies. Every change to the form is recorded and time stamped with the user's login name, providing complete accountability for changes. Approval and signature lists can be configured into the system to make the package as open or restrictive as each site deems necessary for their process.

The product is also takes advantage of email connectivity. Users are able to submit new issues to the database through email messages, and to use email to configure queries and reports which are generated and returned by email. Their database synchronization capability provides automatic coordination of multiple databases at remote sites. Razor's easily parsed ASCII database allows users to generate their own scripts for report generation and process control.

A company representative stressed that it is extremely easy to try out their product. Both documentation and a full copy of the product for evaluation are available by FTP. New releases and patches are handled in the same manner. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.razor.visible.com

Remedy ARS

The Action Request System (ARS) by Remedy Corp. is a flexible client/server solution which is available on a wide variety of platforms.

Users report that the system is effective and very flexible. Its 'help desk software' is but one of the functions available in this vertical application builder oriented toward business process management. The AR System is not an out of box solution but rather one for which effective deployment requires careful process analysis and at least tailoring of the sample application schemas provided with the product.

The rich set of active link (client side, not supported by ARWeb) and filters (server side) provide extensive opportunities for validating inputs, triggering external events, computing defaults based on other input fields, etc.

Remedy offers the ARWeb product for WWW access to Action Request System installations. An on-line demo is available from the Remedy web server. Via the WWW, users can submit new Action Requests (what ever they are called in the local context, .... help requests, bug reports, etc.) and they can perform QBE searches of the data base. Using the search facilities, they can check the status of prior requests as well as look for similar problems from other users. Other ARSystem facilities require an actual AR System client for access (modify, delete, etc.).

A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.remedy.com

SWBTracker

Software with Brains, Inc.'s SWBTracker is bug tracking and release management software for small- to medium-sized software development companies. It supports multiple users, customizable defect classifications, automatic e-mail notifications, customizable reports and queries, and defect submissions by remote users. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.softwarewithbrains.com/

TeamTrack

TeamShare's TeamTrack Workgroup is a secure and configurable solution, created to map, track and enforce the life of development projects. Like our enterprise solution TeamTrack, TeamTrack Workgroup uses the same technology to provide a solution for professional product development, quality assurance, technical support, and help desk teams. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.teamshare.com

Track for Windows

Track for Windows by Soffrontis a customizable Defect Tracking and Technical Support database, designed to help deliver quality products on time by tracking and automatically informing of the defects in the product, the project completion time, the system configuration and other related information to everyone who must be informed. TRACKWeb is server software that enables you to interact with a Track Database using standard Web browsers. TRACKRules is a rule definition system which allows a systems administrator to define complex conditions which activate both mail notifications and field updates, thereby ensuring proper maintenance and execution of business rules, process flow, and communication. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.soffront.com.

TrackRecord

TrackRecord by Compuware Corporation (who acquired UnderWare, Inc.) is a fully configurable client/server change request management system integrated with Visual SourceSafe Safe, PVCS and others. It has dynamic reports keeping each user on the system up to date with the information they are interested in. It also has full web client capability and email integration for remote users. TrackRecord is extensible through its Active X automation interfaces.

TrackWise

TrackWise from Sparta Systems, Inc., is a highly customizable and powerful tracking tool for PCs running MS Windows. It can implement defect tracking, change request management (CRM), customer complaints, and many others. It uses standard SQL relational database systems (RDBMS). Querying, performing quick searches and report generation is performed via point-and-click. No formal "query language" is required. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.sparta-sys.com

Vantive Quality

Vantive Quality by Vantive Corporation is an integrated change management system with links to several configuration management systems. In addition to status tracking, it integrates with popular email packages, providing automatic routing of problems. Vantive Quality is integrated with other Vantive tools to provide such features as Help Desk support.

Visual Intercept

Visual Intercept by Elsinore Technologies, Inc. is a problem management tool which is integrated with Microsoft's Visual SourceSafe. The company was formed by some former leaders of One Tree Software, the original authors of SourceSafe before it was purchased by Microsoft. A supplier WWW site is available at http://www.elsitech.com.

6. Other Tools

There are other such tools available today as well as new ones entering the market. Check the appropriate industry periodicals for additional listings.

Appendix A. References and Sources of Information

For additional information about the topic discussed here, consider the following sources of information in addition to various industry periodicals and new data from the vendors themselves.
Usenet Newsgroup
[1] The Usenet newsgroup comp.software-eng articles and associated Frequently asked Questions (FAQ) lists comments on software tools from newsgroup readers world-wide. That FAQ is archived at site rtfm.mit.edu in the directory pub/usenet/news.answers/software-eng under the names part0 through part3. Instructions for finding the other parts of the FAQ for this newsgroup, comp.software.config-mgmt, are provided in the section 'Other Information' above.
Windows NT Tools
[2] Microsoft Win32 Products & Services Catalog. Published in 1993 by Microsoft Corporation as part number 098-5230. Copies may be requested from Microsoft Corporation; Systems Marketing; One Microsoft Way; Redmond, WA 98052 or email: win32cat@microsoft.com
Open Systems Tools
[3] 1994 Open Systems Products Directory. Published in 1994 by UniForum for their members. ISBN: 0-936593-28-8. Uniforum; 2901 Tasman Dr., Suite 205; Santa Clara, CA 95054-1100.
Various products mentioned in this message are the trademarks of their respective companies.


Appendix B. Problem Management Tools With World Wide Web Sites

As the popularity and accessibility of the World Wide Web (WWW) has grown, tool vendors and dedicated users have begun providing tool information on their WWW servers. The content may vary widely, and some will contain significant marketing information, rather than technical details. On any particular attempt, network traffic, server traffic, or server outages may prevent access to the information. All servers may not be accessible from all sites. The related WWW servers which have been reported to this FAQ editor are: Additional CM related information available on the WWW is listed in section 1.7, Where else can I look for configuration management information?, in the "General Questions" portion (a separate posting) of this FAQ.

If you are aware of other WWW Servers which should be added to this list (or any which should be retired), please notify the FAQ editor.


--------------- End Of comp.software.config-mgmt FAQ Part 3-------------

(This message does not represent an official position of any company.)

--
 Dave Eaton
 FAQ editor
 Preferred contact: via online form
 email: dwe -at- arde.com