Creating and Editing Releases

Another way to categorize cases within a project is by the release of the software. You'll want to have one release in FogBugz for each release of the software that you plan to make. Even when a project is just getting underway, you can probably visualize the first several releases: Alpha, Beta 1, Beta 2, RC1, RC2, 1.0, and 2.0 might make a reasonable initial set. Unless you have an overwhelming number of development and testing resources to call on, you probably need to project your releases into the future. That way, as you're considering bugs and feature requests, you'll have the flexibility available to assign them to future releases. It's a fact of software life that we rarely get everything we want into the first (or second, or third) release of a project.

You'll find two sections for releases on the project editing screen: Releases (This Project) and Releases (All Projects). FogBugz ships with a release called "Undecided" as a default global release (that is, one that's available to all projects). If you don't do anything to create more releases, every project will let you assign cases to the Undecided release, which doesn't have a particular due date. To edit a global release, go into any project's editing screen. Another useful global release is one named ASAP for things that need to be done right away. The ASAP release doesn't exist by default, but as you'll see shortly, it's easy to create one.

To create a new release, click one of the Create New Release links on the project editing screen (which one depends on whether you want the release to be available only in this project or to be available in all projects). This will open the screen shown in Figure 3-7.

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Figure 3-7. Creating a new release

Figure 3-7. Creating a new release

To create a release, give it a name (such as "1.0" or "Third beta") and assign it a release date. You can change this date later, but you should try to pick a realistic date in the first place so that people can budget their efforts. The other property you can set for a release is whether it's assignable. After a release has already shipped, it doesn't make any sense to assign new cases to it. You should set the Assignable field of the release to "No" to prevent new cases being assigned to a release that has already shipped. This also makes the list of releases shown when you enter a new case shorter by not showing this release at all.

■Tip You can use plain language such as "next month" or "pnext Tuesday" in the Release Date field, and FogBugz will convert the text to an actual date when you tab out of the field. You can also click the calendar icon to choose a date on a calendar.

When you click OK to create a new release, FogBugz will return you to the project editing screen. You can edit the details of a release by clicking the edit icon or the name of the release. Note that you can't delete a release. If you no longer want a release to be available, edit the release and set it to be nonassignable.

The date of a release doesn't necessarily need to be a date. You can also use "(None)" to create a release with no date. But you can't use arbitrary text as the release date. If you want to tie a release to an event rather than a calendar date, set the release date to "(None)" and set the name of the release to the event, for example, "ASAP" or "Never" or "After VC Funding".

All of the assignable releases for a project will show up in the Fix For drop-down list when you enter a new case for that project. By default, new cases will be assigned to the Undecided global release, but whoever reviews new cases should assign them to their proper release quickly. This makes it easier to tell how much of the workload is assigned to each release.

As the date for a release nears, you'll probably want to create a filter to see all of the features and bugs that are assigned to that release.

When a certain release is coming up, you can create a filter to see all the features and bugs that need to be fixed for that release. Figure 3-8 shows how you might create a filter for a particular release. Note that you need to select the project first to see all of the releases for that particular project in the release drop-down list. In this case, the user is also choosing to focus only on active, open cases.

Note For more information on working with filters, see Chapter 2.

When you fix a bug or implement a new feature, before you resolve the case, double-check that the Fix For setting is correct; that way a filter on a past release can also be used as an historical record of which bugs were fixed in that release, and which new features were implemented for that release.

FogBugz also allows you to create release notes tied to a particular release and to update these release notes as you close cases assigned to the release. I'll discuss release notes in Chapter 4.

Don't confuse releases and versions. When you're entering a new case, you pick the release from a drop-down list, and enter the version as free-form text. The release is when you plan for the bug to be fixed or the feature to be implemented. The version is when you spotted the bug. Typically, you'll have more versions than releases; if you're using an automated build process, you probably have one version per day, or even more.

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Use this screen to set up a filter of cases you want to see, and how they should be sorted. The filter is remembered until you change it.

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Figure 3-8. Filtering by release

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