Filing bugs in the Flex public bugbase

So by now you’ve undoubtedly played around with either Flex 2.0.1, or the Flex 3 beta and you may or may not have encountered what you suspect is a bug. What next? Well, enter the public bugbase, JIRA. You can find the public Adobe Flex Builder and Flex SDK bugbase over at http://bugs.adobe.com/flex/, and you’re greeted with a few different options:

  • Search (Browse without registration) — Pretty much just what it says. Allows you to search the public bugbase for bugs without logging in or registering for an account. Searching is always recommended before filing any new bugs as it reduces the amount of duplicate bugs, and you may find that your particular bug has been fixed in a newer build of the SDK. Although you have a couple options, this view is somewhat limiting since you can really only view the bugbase (you need to register and log in to submit bugs) as well as browse certain projects to see fancy charts and graphs of where the reported bugs are versus each component/release version/who the bugs are assigned to/whether a bug is open or closed/a breakdown of bugs by priority/bugs by assignee/etc.
  • Login –If you have registered already, click here to log in to the Flex Bug and Issue Management System. If you haven’t registered, click the following link “Register / Create new account”. Note that you must be logged in to log bugs in the public bugbase. If you’ve signed up in the past but forgot your password there is a “Forgot Password” link on the login page that will let you enter your username and have a new password mailed to you. Forgot your username? Well, we got you covered as the Forgot Password page has a link to the “Forgot Username” page which lets you type in your email address and have your username emailed to you.
  • Register / Create new account — If you haven’t yet registered for an account in the public bugbase system, this is the place to go. Registration is simple and only consists of a few, easy to answer, form fields. Just type in your desired username/password (and confirm it)/full name/email address (in case you want to subscribe to bugs or wish to ever retrieve your username/password in the future — we won’t spam you)/and finally just type in the word you see in the capcha at the bottom of the page. That’s it! Six fields and you’re on your way to public bugbase goodness.
  • Bug Standards / Community process –Click here to see all sorts of useful notes and instructions for getting involved in the community, creating new accounts, browsing existing bugs, voting on existing bugs, reporting new bugs, tips on writing good bugs (Tip: always include source code with steps in how to recreate the behavior — upload SWFs and screenshots as well), how to submit source code, and finally a list of frequently asked questions (the FAQ, if you will).

It is also very important to note that the bugbase isn’t just for filing bugs. This is the main place to file any enhancement requests and other things as well. And the coolest part of the system is that Adobe uses the exact same system. No more separate bugbases for internal and external users.

Now that we’ve taken a look at the main page, lets look a bit deeper at the inside of the bugbase in question. Start by registering and logging in. After you’ve logged in, you’re greeted by the main dashboard which lets you easily see any bugs you’re voting on, watching, any items assigned to you (in case we need more information on a bug you’ve filed), as well as any saved filters you may have. If this is your first time here, there are a few default filters you are given:

  • Community Issues (without enough votes) — All issues in “community status” waiting on votes. According to the FAQ: “Bug reports only get reviewed by the development team once it receives support (votes) from others in the community.” While we certainly do our best, not all bugs can be read by the development team, here we rely on the user’s to vote for issues that need attention (as opposed to possible minor bugs or enhancements for which there are easy workarounds). Voting for bugs is one of the most important steps in the process (well, that and reporting bugs).
  • Items Assigned to Me — All unclosed items assigned to me.
  • My Current Logged Bugs — The bugs you have logged that have not yet been closed.
  • My Total Logged Bugs — All the bugs you have ever logged.

You can also create your own custom filters. For example, if you wanted to monitor all the bugs or enhancement requests filed against the Alert component in the Flex SDK project.

In the upper-right corner of the screen you should see your user name if you are logged in, and three links:

  • Filters — Launches a pop-up window which lets you access your saved filters, or manage any existing filters you may have.
  • Profile — This is your own little control panel where you can see your reports (things you’ve voted on, or are watching), your operations (change your password, dashboard configuration, filters, preferences, edit profile, etc) as well as a quick look at any assigned open bugs you have on any of the projects you have access to (such as the ActionScript Compiler, Flex Builder, Flex Documentation, Flex SDK, etc).
  • Log Out — Log out of the bug base.

There are also two icons in the upper-right corner:

  • [Printer] — View a printable version of the current page.
  • [Help] — Get online help about Using and setting up JIRA.

(to be continued…)