Developer Area/Bug Status

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The status, priority, milestone, tags in Launchpad are used by the Mahara core team for effective bug management. This page describe the current use of these features.

Status

The bug status reflects the current state of the bug. When the new bug is reported it obtains "New" status automatically (unless specified otherwise) and then usually goes through a number other statuses depending on developer actions and decisions. The list below describes each of the statuses and provides useful hints on status changes.

  • New - The status field is automatically set to "new" when a bug is created.
  • Triaged - Once we've looked at a bug and decided on a priority and a milestone, it's changed to "triaged". Triaged is for bugs we haven't tried to reproduce.
  • Confirmed - Status is changed to "confirmed" once we've been able to reproduce it or to "incomplete" if we need more information to be able to reproduce it.
  • Invalid , Wont fix, Opinion - These are statuses that effectively close the bug.  "Invalid" is for things we don't really think are bugs at all, or maybe they're bugs but not bugs in Mahara. "Won't fix" is self-explanatory. "Opinion" is a softer version of "won't fix" and indicates to the reporter that there is reasonable disagreement about whether the bug is a bug or should be fixed (and invites more comments).
  • In progress - The bug is currently being worked on.
  • Fix committed - A fix is committed to git. Bugs which have been fixed only in the commit author's local branch or personal clone repository, or submitted for revision should not be marked as "Fix Committed" until they appear in the master (or stable) branch from which releases are created (which will happen when the change on the revision system is marked as merged).  Any time a bug is marked as "fix committed", the milestone field must also be updated to the next planned release milestone on the appropriate branch, and if the bug is still unassigned, it should be assigned to whoever provided the patch.
  • Fix Released - Status is flipped to "Fix Released" once there is a stable release (i.e. a tarball), which includes the fix (alphas, betas and release candidates don't count).

Periodically, the core development team will go through the open bugs, decide what should be fixed before the next release and update the status and milestone fields accordingly.

Importance

Importance is highly subjective, but here are some rough guidelines for how we use them in Mahara. A bug with the following importance might have some of these characteristics:

  • Critical: Use only when we should drop everything and fix this ASAP
    • Prevents Mahara from functioning entirely
    • Causes data loss or other irreversible problems
    • Likely to be encountered by many users
    • Security flaw that doesn't require any user account on the site
    • Something that must get done before the next release
  • High
    • Obviously "broken" to end user. Visible error messages, wrong item being deleted, etc.
    • Likely to be encountered by many users
    • Security flaw that requires a logged-in user account on the site
    • Usability problem that causes extreme inconvenience
  • Medium
    • Incorrect behavior, but a workaround is possible
    • Unlikely to be encountered by most users
    • Security flaw that requires an admin account and/or has limited consequences
    • Usability problem that causes major inconvenience
  • Low
    • Works correctly, but doesn't follow best practices
    • Affects very few users
    • Easy workaround is available
    • A minor deviation from security "best practices", but not close to exploitable by itself
    • Usability problem that causes moderate or minor inconvenience
  • Wishlist
    • Not a bug
    • Suggestions for new features & functionality

Tags

We encourage the use of tags to group bugs together! Some recommended tags:

  • bite-sized: A bug with a trivial fix. We use these during training to introduce new developers to Mahara's development process.
  • snack-sized: A bug that is slightly harder than bite-sized. We use these during more advanced Mahara development training events.
  • ie9, ie10, ff, chrome, opera, safari, etc.: A tag that indicates a browser-specific bug.
  • front-end: A bug that requires a front-end developer, i.e. for CSS, HTML and Javascript changes.
  • mysql, postgres: A bug that only affects one type of database.
  • fastcgi, nginx, windows: A bug that's only present when running Mahara in a non-standard environment.
  • usability: Indicates a problem area in Mahara's user interface; i.e. things that are difficult for users to figure out, or tasks that are annoying or difficult to accomplish.
  • ldap, note, blogs, tinymce, groups, etc.: Tags that indicate which plugin or part of Mahara a bug affects.
  • regression:
    • Functionality that used to work, but stopped working after a known code change.
    • It's helpful to use git bisect to find the exact code change that introduced the bug, so that you can correct the underlying problem.

Security

Bugs with security implications should be marked as Private Security in the This report contains information that is... option. See this page for more info: Security

When the bug fix for a security bug is released, its status should be changed to Public Security. Or, if a bug is already widely known, or if it's a very low-priority security bug, it may be advisable to change it to Public Security even before its release.

Milestone & "Affects"

Affected versions

The "Affects" column indicates which series' of Mahara the bug is present in. In most cases this will include the current development series. You should check to see whether the bug is also present in the current three supported releases.

Milestone

The milestone is used for three main things:

  1. as a TODO list for an upcoming release
  2. as a record of when a bug was fixed
  3. as an extended changelog for a given release

You can decide whether & which milestone to apply based on the bug's status:

  • Triaged, Confirmed, or In Progress: Assign a milestone if:
    • We want to get it in the next possible release
    • And/or a developer has actually started implementation on it
  • Fix committed: Always assign a milestone, indicating the next stable release for the branch.
  • Fix released
    • Usually a bug in this status will have passed through "Fix committed" first, so it will already have a milestone.
    • Exception: Sometimes an old bug in the tracker turns out to be no longer present in the latest release because some unrelated piece of code solved the problem. In those cases, you can change the bug's status to "Fix released" but give no milestone.
  • Won't fix: A bug in "Won't Fix" status should not have a milestone.

Backporting

We don't backport all bug fixes to all versions of Mahara. For the full details see: "Supported Versions: Definition of support"

Here's how we record backporting decisions in Launchpad. If you know a bug is present in older Mahara release:

  • Supported release, Will backport: Mark the series as "affected" and give it a Milestone.
  • Supported release, Won't backport: Mark as "affected", no Milestone, status "Won't Fix". Marking it as affected and "Won't fix" lets us know we already made a backporting decision, so we don't accidentally rehash the same discussion.
  • Unsupported release: These are never backported. Sometimes, for informational purposes, it can be useful to mark the most recent unsupported & non-fixed branch as affected and "Won't Fix". But it's entirely optional. Example:
    • The current stable release is 16.10. Older supported releases are 16.04 and 15.10.
    • I find a bug that turns out to be a regression introduced in Mahara 1.6, and will be backported to 16.04 and 15.10.
    • Result: I may mark the 15.04 release as affected and "Won't Fix", to let people know at a glance that the bug goes back earlier than 15.10.

Relevant links