At Testuff, we regularly survey our customers every year to find out what bug trackers they use when testing and developing software. In previous years, we noticed some interesting trends.
For example:

  • More than 25% of users don’t rely on any official bug tracker. To be fair, some of these respondents use email or paper & pen – so they’re not totally flying blind.
  • Users overwhelmingly prefer premium bug tracking tools over free or open source alternatives.

Well, we’ve just finished collecting the data for this year’s survey. And the data are consistent with what we’ve observed in the past. Just to give you a quick rundown, the new bug tracking percentages for the top 4 category groups include

  • 25.00% Jira
  • 15.00% FogBugz
  • 12.86% Email
  • 10.00% None (not to be confused with email)

You’ll notice that open source platforms aren’t represented at all. And the “None” category trails the group with only 10% representation . This group may be relying on Testuff own bug tracking module of course.

Why Software Testers Increasingly Embrace Premium Bug Tracking

When we first started these surveys a few years ago, we chalked the discrepancy between open source and premium bug trackers to novelty. Open source solutions take a while to win a critical mass. And there simply hadn’t been enough time for these free alternatives to make significant traction.

But it’s several years later now. And premium bug trackers have actually gained more market share over their open source counterparts – not less.

How could this be?

Not only is open source technology free, but it’s also renowned for its speed and flexibility. After all, with many contributors perpetually improving the code, you would think that open source bug trackers would eventually dominate the pack (we’ve written extensively about the benefits of having “many hands” when developing and testing code).

But then again, perhaps this isn’t so surprising given the true cost of open source software. In the long run, users realize that they’re better off sticking with commercial platforms – even those that charge higher upfront costs.

Why Testers Prefer Hosted (SaaS) Solutions Over Local Installations

Another interesting trend we observed is the growing preference for hosted solutions – as opposed to local ones. These observations are consistent with the general worldwide trend of putting more tools and data in the cloud instead of on local, physical servers.

Why Software Testers Prefer Bug Tracking Over “No” Tracking

Probably the most noticeable trend, however, is the rise of bug tracking software in general. The percentage of users not using any tracker at all has fallen. But this only makes sense given rising software development costs and the increasing demands of the market. Releasing easily fixable errors into the public is something most companies can’t afford to do.

The only real surprising thing is why 10% of software testers don’t use any bug tracking at all. These are professionals who obviously understand the importance of test management software (after all, they’re already Testuff customers). But they have yet to embrace bug tracking software as a natural follow-up (some might even call it a prerequisite).

And this gap exists despite the fact that Testuff seamlessly integrates with more than 27 premium and free bug trackers on the market (including email).

To be fair, our software testing suite also comes with a scaled-down bug tracking module. Apparently, for many (about 10%…) it has grown to be enough as a bug tracking solution.

High Quality Costs Money – Poor Quality Costs More

Anyway – there are no judgments here. Just simple observations about the gradual shift towards premium, hosted bug tracking solutions, as opposed to open source alternatives (or no solution at all).

It appears that software testers all over the world increasingly demand quality – and are prepared to pay for it. Doing so ensures they produce better products (and protects against releasing buggier versions).

And you know what – this is how it should be. For in addition to being software testers, we’re also software consumers. And it’s comforting to know that others take debugging and tracking as seriously as we do.

As one final question, however, we would love to hear why some of you haven’t invested in a bug tracker – even a free one. Please leave your comments down below.