MantisBT Introduction and Resources

One of the most important and difficult aspects of software development isn't creating something from scratch, but patching it up when things go wrong.

No matter how gifted a developer may be, no one creates perfect software the first time around. The more complex a piece of software is, or the more people get involved, the more difficult it is to keep track of all the moving pieces. And if you're developing your software for others to use, not just for yourself, you know that you can never predict what the end user is going to do with it. (There's no such thing as "idiot-proof" software!)

When it comes to identifying and reporting bugs, coordinating your team, and developing fixes, you need a system.

Why Use a Bug Tracking System?

Using a bug tracker has a number of benefits:

  1. Prioritize your workflow: As bugs are identified and tracked, you can mark them as low or high priority and spend your time working on the most important and urgent fixes.
  2. Stop wasting time: When you're tracking bugs, you can see whether an issue has already been fixed. If a similar problem comes up, you can easily see how it was handled in the past, instead of duplicating your own work or reinventing the wheel.
  3. Get to know your product: When you're able to see all the known issues at a glance, you can get a better idea of where development stands and the state of your product, and how far you have left to go.
  4. Identify patterns: By tracking bugs over time, you'll be able to spot patterns. You might discover an underlying issue that means you need a broader fix than just patching individual bugs, or you might realize that a junior developer on your team could benefit from a mentorship with a more experienced developer.
  5. Coordinate with your team: Keeping track of bugs all in the same place enables your team to be all on the same page. Everyone gets an identical picture and understanding of where you're at in the development process.
  6. Alleviate client concerns: As a software user, it's more reassuring to be able to submit an official ticket to an organized system and get a confirmation number, rather than feel like your complaint is disappearing into a void. A reporting system helps to give them an outlet for their frustrations, and makes you look more professional.

Bottom line: What's the alternative to bug tracking software? Maybe a whiteboard in the office, various emails scattered throughout your inbox, or just your excellent memory.

But none of those methods will give you all the benefits of a dedicated bug tracking system listed above.

Why Mantis Bug Tracker?

Mantis Bug Tracker is a free, open source bug tracking system that's web based. It uses PHP and MySQL. You can install it on your website and it has a web interface in HTML and CSS. There's also a separate software-as-a-service version called MantisHub.

One issue with some bug trackers is that they're too complicated. If you're working by yourself or with a small team, or your project is relatively simple, you may not need a ton of extra features that other bug tracking systems force you to use. MantisBT is simple, intuitive, and easy to get started with, but it also has advanced features available via plugins, making it more flexible for complex systems.

One of Mantis' popular features is its customizable email notification system. You can set email notifications whenever a change is made, and each user can customize and filter the type of notifications they receive. RSS feeds are also generated to keep track of issues, and you can even integrate with Twitter via a plugin for live notifications of bug fixes.

Another of MantisBT's most lauded qualities is its simple and intuitive interface. Instead of spending time wrestling with the program, you can quickly set it up and just get started tracking and fixing bugs.

MantisBT Resources

Ready to get started with Mantis Bug Tracker? Check out these resources to get started on the right track.

Installing and Setting Up MantisBT

  • How to Install Mantis Bug Tracker: this tutorial video walks you through installing Mantis, step by step.
  • How To Install a Fresh MantisBT: here's a short tutorial that explains how to install Mantis in a very easy-to-understand way.
  • Mantis Bug Tracker Administration Guide (PDF): this guide is the ultimate resource on everything from system requirements and installation, to working with custom fields, to contributing to the MantisBT project yourself.
  • MantisBT Recipes: the official MantisBT wiki has several guides on customizing your setup, from changing the number of columns in the display, to integrating Mantis with DokuWiki or phpFreeChat.
  • Adding Custom Fields: here's a simple tutorial from the Mantis Hub on adding and configuring custom fields.
  • MantisBT Plugins: a list of official and third-party plugins you can use to customize your installation of MantisBT.

Getting Started Using MantisBT

Using MantisHub

  • Quick MantisHub Overview: watch this unofficial video demo of MantisHub to see how it works and decide if it's right for you.
  • MantisHub Video Tutorials: check out the official video tutorials on how to sign up and get started with the software-as-a-service version of Mantis Bug Tracker.

Contributing to MantisBT

Summary

Mantis Bug Tracker is an easy way to help you better manage your development projects. With the resources we've provided here, you should be on your way.


Further Reading and Resources

We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to coding and development:

  • Mantis Hosting: find out what web hosting companies offer good deals that include MantisBT.
  • Ubuntu Primer: learn all about one of the most popular Linux distributions — an excellent base for MantisBT hosting.
  • Object-Oriented Programming: learn about the wide range of object-oriented programming languages — some may surprise you.

Would the Internet Survive the End of the World?

Have you ever wondered what a major catastrophe would do to the internet? Check out our infographic, Would the Internet Survive the End of the World? It's possible we could all be destroyed but the internet would live on.