Track Issues More Productively

Hookmark solves one of the biggest problems with using issue tracking systems, like Bugzilla, Trello, Trac and Jira: quickly navigating to and from bug reports. You almost always need to consult one or more of the following types of information resources:

  • information in your own records, such as your own notes, task list, emails, screenshots, etc.;
  • files that are in the issue tracking system but that you downloaded to your Mac for local viewing;
  • a Finder folder in which you locally aggregate files pertinent to the issue;
  • files in your organization’s documentation management system(s) (e.g. specifications, processes, user manuals, technical notes);
  • source code (checked out from Git, Subversion, Mercurial, etc.);
  • web pages pertinent to the issue (on intranets and the web); and
  • other entries in the issue tracking system (possibly even third-party issue tracking systems, such as Radar).

That’s a lot of information, in many different places, in all kinds of software!

Here’s where Hookmark comes in. Every issue (or bug, or defect) has a unique web page address (URL). With Hookmark, you can privately link the issue’s URL to any of the above information.

As a result, you get these benefits:

  1. When you visit the web page, you will see your links to the related information (e.g. your notes, tasks, etc.)
  2. Obviously, you can use these links to navigate from the issue page to the linked information.
  3. Because Hookmark links are bidirectional, you can immediately navigate back from the related information to the issue (back and forth).
  4. You don’t need to worry about where you stored the related information, or where it lies in a deeply nested repository/folder!
  5. You can close the repository folders, web browser, and emails; your links will be maintained.
  6. When you return to the issue (perhaps hours, days or even weeks later) your links will still be available — Hookmark immediately restores your context!

This doesn’t just save you time. It reduces frustration and mental fatigue. It keeps you in a state of flow. You spend more of your mental energy focused on the core issues and much less on information management.

It also helps you do better work, because you can generate and re-use information that might otherwise be too difficult to access.

Additional benefits: non-destructive, private, shareable links

As if the ones listed above were not enough, there are yet more benefits to using Hookmark with issue tracking systems:

  1. Because Hookmark stores its links in your link database, Hookmark links do not modify the source or target files.
  2. Your hooked links, visible in the Hookmark window, remain private.
  3. You can of course share links copied via Hookmark with others (see Collaborate More Productively with Email, Cloud Storage, Version Control Systems and More).

There are several other major benefits of using Hookmark, but we would like to draw your attention to one particular feature, Hook to New, because it is especially useful for issue tracking.

“Hook to New” from any issue (bug, defect) page

Link new notes to an existing bug page

Any time you want to take a personal note about a Bugzilla issue, all you need to do is access the issue in the browser of your choice, and use Hookmark’s “Hook to New” command. Hookmark will create a new note in the app of your choice, name it, store it, and bidirectionally link the note and the issue page. Then write whatever you want. Or draw whatever you want, because the note could be in a graphics program, or any scriptable app.

Thereafter, you can instantly navigate back and forth between the note and the bug. Whether it is one hour or one year later, your note will still be there, tracked by Hookmark.

Draft your bug reports in the app of your choice

You don’t need to be a cognitive scientist to know that web browsers are not designed for writing. Let’s face it: even the best web writing tools are awful compared to the best writing apps (like BBEdit, Drafts, and Bear writer). When you write in a web browser, you can easily lose your context in a jungle of windows and tabs. What’s more, web browsers are filled with distractions, and your brain associates them with too many non-work things, like news, Twitter, and Facebook. If you accidentally (or even deliberately) quit your web browser, you typically lose your work. Oops!

It’s usually best to draft a new bug report, or long bug comment, in a great app (like BBEdit), and then to copy and paste the result into the bug tracking software’s web page … provided you have a tool like Hookmark that makes navigating between the bug page and your draft lightning fast!

Here’s a bug authoring process that uses Hookmark and Bugzilla:

  1. Create a new Bugzilla issue.
  2. Invoke Hookmark’s Hook to New command (takes a second).
  3. Write the bug description in your default text editor (mine is BBEdit, with some help from TextExpander).
  4. Select the bug description and copy it to the pasteboard.
  5. Navigate back to the Bugzilla issue (takes a second with Hookmark).
  6. Paste the bug description into the new bug.
  7. Fill out the other ‘new bug’ fields.

The only “extra” steps are #2 and #5, which only take two seconds. However, you save a ton of time and mental energy by writing in a great writing app that has all the features you need (find/replace, regular expressions, capitalization, numbering, etc.)

The right tool for the job

You wouldn’t think of hammering a nail with a screwdriver. Why would you use a web browser as a word processor? Use Hookmark to link bug report pages to your notes, work in progress and more.

Be more efficient with bug tracking: save time and mental energy

You know that bug reports don’t exist in isolation. Every second you spend searching for information that you have previously accessed is wasted time and mental energy that could be productively used (or spent resting!)

You will see that Hookmark’s slogan holds true once again:

File less. Search less. Access.

Use Hookmark to navigate between bug reports and any information (just about) anywhere :). Save your time and your mental energy; rejuvenate.

We at CogSci Apps use Hookmark with Bugzilla and all our other systems

We ourselves use Hookmark with Bugzilla every working day! Every bug report and every new feature is tracked in our problem tracking system. We use Hookmark multiple times, every day to navigate between all that information.

Don’t just take our word for it. Instead…

If you develop any technology, you probably use an issue tracker. Whether you are a software developer, product manager, project manager, tech writer, or QA specialist, you spend a lot of time with issue tracking systems.

So, don’t just take our word for it. Discover how Hookmark can make your issue tracking life much easier by downloading Hookmark today.

Hook is now called Hookmark! See the FAQ for details.