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What is Trac Hosting?

Developers who want a streamlined bug tracking system will enjoy Trac.

Trac is an issue tracking system with enhanced wiki. It is Web-based, so you can manage it from anywhere with a browser. The system is intentionally simple, so as not to disrupt established project management routines. Written in Python, Trac is licensed under a modified Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license. It is open source.

Features include, but are not limited to: timeline of recent activity, project management tools, Roadmap for upcoming project milestones, tickets, rich site summary (RSS) feeds, iCalendar export, and wiki markup.

Version control systems are also known as revision control. They help teams track changes during development. Trac is tightly integrated with two version control systems: Subversion (SVN) and Git. Several other systems are work with Trac as well.

Some hosting providers offer quick installation or instant setup of Trac with their plans. Other providers have Trac hosting plans specialized for team developing. Team plans include multiple instances of Trac and allow multiple users. Many hosts package Trac plans with SVN.

Developers who want issue tracking and project management without all the bulk of the huge project management software options will find Trac a powerful and flexible tool.

Trac Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Trac?

    Trac is an open source, web-based application for project management and bug tracking used primarily by software development companies. Designed to be an enhanced wiki for development teams, it also includes an interface to connect with many version control systems. It was built using the Python programming language by Edgewall Software and originally released in 2006 and is available today under a modified BSD license.

  • What are some good reasons to use Trac?

    Trac touts itself as a "minimalistic" software for project management, and its mission is to be a management tool that can "stay out of the way" so developers can focus on writing great software. Companies that want a project management tool that doesn't disrupt their existing development processes should find Trac to be a nice addition to their productivity suite. Some important features of Trac include wiki markup for issue descriptions, cross-linking between pages for fast referencing, timelines for tracking current and past progress, milestone tracking, and version control system integration with SVN, Git, and others.

  • Are there any reasons not to use Trac?

    Because Trac touts itself as intentionally simple, a software development company that is in search of a solution for its entire business operation may find Trac to be lacking in certain areas. For example, Trac does not provide any features for project and task management for CRM or time tracking. Because of this, Trac will be a tough sell for established software development companies looking to scale customer base, manage manpower, or monitor any type of project ROI with one system. If you are simply looking for a project management solution for your development team, Trac is an option you certainly have to consider. If you are looking for a truly integrated, enterprise suite of tools, this might not be a good solution for your business.

  • What are the alternatives to Trac?

    Depending on how you intend to use Trac, there are a variety of alternatives you can consider. If you are looking for an open source application for managing development projects that tie into SVN or Git, alternatives like Indefero or GitLab may be viable solutions. For task and project management of development projects, perhaps Taiga or TaskBoard will serve a purpose. If bug tracking is a problem you need to solve, then Mantis Bug Tracker may work as well. At a quick glance, Indefero appears to be the most comprehensive alternative to Trac of the options listed above.

  • What are the requirements for Trac web hosting?

    In order to self-host your Trac installation, you will need one to install three software packages - Genshi, Python, and Trac's setup tools. You will also need to select one of the three database options - SQLite, PostgreSQL, or MySQL. Trac can be hosted on a variety of Linux, Mac, Windows and UNIX platforms. Depending on your preferred version control system, you will also need to install either Subversion, Git, or a comparable system.

  • Are there any additional specific hosting recommendations?

    If you are considering hosting Trac using a CGI-capable web server, you should probably find a different solution. Edgewall Software specifically points out that CGI server hosting and usage of Trac as a CGI script is "highly discouraged". Instead, you will probably want to make sure you host Trac on an AJP, Apache, or FastCGI capable web server. There is also a standalone server option for more advanced development companies interested in running Trac on their own environment.

  • Do I need to be concerned about installation?

    Trac can be installed on a wide variety of platforms, and there is extensive documentation for installation on all compatible server types. Assuming you review the documentation on the official Trac website from Edgewall Software, there really shouldn't be anything to make you concerned with installing Trac on a server. Of course, if you run into major issues with installing Trac, it is probably best to consult your hosting provider.

  • Is there any reason not to use a one-click installation wizard?

    If your hosting provider offers Trac as a 1-click installation and you don't plan on integrating it with a less common version control system than SVN or Git, then the 1-click installation should be a fine option for installing Trac.

  • What does self-hosted mean? I don’t have to run a server myself, do I?

    Self-hosted web applications do not require YOU to personally own a server and manage it to host your app. Instead, self-hosted simply means that hosting is not provided directly by the development team that created Trac. In order to use a self-hosted project management and bug tracking system like Trac, you will need to contract a hosting provider before building and running your application.

  • Can I host Trac on a shared hosting plan?

    There are some customizations for installing Trac that may make it tough to host in a shared hosting environment. Furthermore, if you are going to add a version control system, you are likely going to need a dedicated hosting solution - whether it be a virtual private server or bare-metal server.

  • Do I have to know how to program to use Trac?

    If you are going to use Trac, chances are really good that you have some experience with programming. After all, it is a software development tool for project management and bug tracking! But because there are several items that require configuration for setting up Trac and granting access to users, it is probably a good idea to have someone work on Trac that has programming experience.

  • Do I need managed hosting in order to use Trac as my project management and bug tracking application?

    The answer to this question depends on your answer to the question "how much responsibility are you willing to accept for the maintenance of your website?" The more complex your application becomes, the greater your need will be for professionally managed application hosting. Shared hosting often comes with some managed services included. If you have a dedicated hosting solution, however (which is often what is required to use Trac), managed services are likely required as part of your agreement. This is the case with any self-hosted applications for project management - not just an open source platform like Trac.

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