[tor-dev] Survey on Tor Trac usage and how you manage your tasks

Karsten Loesing karsten.loesing at gmx.net
Mon Sep 12 13:57:16 UTC 2011

On 9/6/11 11:01 PM, katmagic wrote:
> Sorry for the late reply — I haven't checked my email in a while — but
> I'm replying anyway because I've some strong feelings on this issue. In
> short, Trac sucks. My issues with it are as follows:
> 1. The design sucks.

You're right, it needs more green!

> 2. There's no AJAX. Now, I know a lot of people on this list hate Web
> 2.0, but I really think its irrational. Especially over Tor, reloading
> pages as many times as Trac makes you do is time consuming and
> cumbersome. Of course, I'm not advocating making it *require*
> JavaScript, but it would certainly be a nice feature.

This isn't something we can influence.  Well, assuming that we want to
keep using Trac for a while.

> 3. An unreasonable number of pages must be navigated through in order to
> perform simple functions. The difficult of doing this prevents people
> from finding bugs, and therefore discourages contribution.

Can you be more specific how we could fix this?

> 4. There are too many options. There are oodles of options that must be
> fiddled with every single time a ticket is created, and if one makes a
> mistake, it's not possible to go back and edit the ticket.

The survey had questions about all statuses and ticket fields to
evaluate their usefulness.

The fact that it's not possible to go back and edit a ticket may be a
permission problem.  What permissions are you missing?  On the other
hand, you can always add another comment saying what you really meant.

> 5. Searching for tickets is a confusing and somewhat difficult task. In
> order to search for one's own tickets, for example, one must navigate a
> menu with FORTY choices with unclear labels.

Do you mean the custom query form?  Which parts of it do you find hard
to understand for new users?

> 6. Searching in general doesn't work very well. Whatever algorithm Trac
> uses for search is awful.

I don't think we can change this.

> 7. Trac sends email about your own modifications, and about a lot of
> things people probably don't want email about (i.e. every comment on a
> ticket). A significantly improved method would be to offer notifications
> on the website itself.

I think two other people stated that they don't want to have emails for
their own modifications.  Actually, I find that useful, because I'm
using my inbox as an archive that I can search even when I'm offline.

I'm not sure what you mean with notifications on the website itself.

> 8. Trac does not integrate with Git. It should allow you to reference
> commits from tickets, and reference tickets from commit messages (viewed
> in the web interface). Being able to close tickets from commit messages
> would also be useful.

We need to install the Git plugin for that.  This is one of the things
we should change, yes.

> 9. HTTP Basic authentication could be confusing for some users. A
> cookies-based system would probably be easier, and allow for persistent
> logins (which most people consider a good thing).

I don't think we can or should change this.

> 10. "Points" are annoying. I'm not personally a fan of 'agile
> development', and I really don't want to get notifications about it.
> Again, finer-grained control over notifications would probably solve
> this.

Finer-grained control over notifications is probably the answer.

> Because of these reasons, I think Trac actually discourages
> contribution. It's *much* easier to report a bug, say, on GitHub than on
> Trac, and it's much easier to get updates about progress on it; both of
> which are things that are important to the average person reviewing a
> bug.

I still believe we should first try to tweak Trac to fit our needs
before moving on to the next tool.

Thanks for your input!


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