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Bugzilla: You annoy me.

by on Feb.11, 2009, under General

So I’ve been working on a little web app that talks to Bugzilla via PHP that, when finished, will be a custom interface to Bugzilla that’s more simplistic and easier to use than the generic Bugzilla install.

HOWEVER…

After building a nice generic class that handles communication between PHP and Bugzilla, I’ve learned all about Bugzilla’s LACK of decent server-to-server communication mechanisms. Yes, they have an XMLRPC interface that would be well-suited for this type of thing, but it’s largely incomplete and lacking some significant features such as search. I’ve discovered that many devs that have written apps to talk to Bugzilla use some interesting (and possibly problematic) work-arounds that post information to the same places that Bugzilla’s own HTML forms goto. The problem with this? Decent error handling. In order to get error handling from this thing, you gotta dig up the relevant tags of HTML, pull out the message and hope that this setup NEVER changes between various versions (which it may very well do).. In my opinion, this is totally gross and sheizer-like.

And the fact that I have no method of retrieving a list of classifications without actually physically querying the database is a bit of a deal-breaker for me.

So, I’m pondering writing my own back-end for this app.. Will it take a while? Probably… but as is with anything custom, it may take a while, but you’ll end up with something that fits your needs MUCH better than trying to shoe-horn an existing package into your current processes.

Bugzilla, I like you.. For bug tracking amongst devs, you’re excellent… But alas, you do not serve my needs in this case.

2 Comments for this entry

  • Max Kanat-Alexander

    The WebServices interface is improving and should be getting better and better with each new release.

    Also, you’re welcome to try and add the functions that you want, yourself, or file bugs requesting them! When we have actual use cases, we’re much more likely to add functions for them.

    -Max

  • Brendan

    Hey, I found your class while poking around for a PHP interface to Bugzilla–thanks for putting it together! It works great except that Bugzilla, as you mention, returns blank arrays when you try to search through xml-rpc.

    BUT! It does provide machine-readable search results another way: through Atom feeds that are generated automatically from GET query strings sent to search. It’s still a far cry from good error handling, but at least it’s a step up from screen-scraping, and you can just pull out bug IDs and use the bug retrieval methods to pull them up individually.

    Anyway, I started some functionality today that won’t exactly be pretty, but is pretty close to optimal in terms of RSS-parsing overhead just to dig out bug IDs. Have you abandoned this project or would you be interested if I developed it further?

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