Sunday, September 13, 2009

Navigating Trac Tickets

The Trac project management system allows users of the system to perform queries for tickets. In Trac, tickets are entities that help keep track of outstanding tasks, bug fixes, or basically anything the needs to be accomplished for a given software project. Trac default set of useful ticket queries that users can easily execute. The default set of ticket queries allow interested parties to common groups of tickets such as those belonging to a particular developer.

When viewing a ticket, Trac displays a set of links in the top right of the screen that allow the user to view the previous ticket or the next ticket. There is also a link to return to the the query results. The next ticket and previous ticket links are useful because tickets can be navigated without the need to return to the query. However, the ticket order is based on the ticket number. This presents a problem if the user is only interested in navigating back and forth between tickets in the current query result set. The next ticket can always be completely irrelevant to the tickets the user is interested in.

The really useful aspect of the link back to the query results is how the presentation of the query results can change. Tickets that have been edited while you were viewing a specific ticket, change appearance in the query results once the user returns to the query results. You will also notice that the current user is part of the URL back to the query results.

This feature is incredibly useful in a high paced development environment with many developers. It also helps if a small group of developers are collaborating on a small group of related tickets because changes to tickets by other people become immediately apparent.