Bug Tracking Process
This article documents the current Joomla! bug tracking process from the time a new bug is reported to the time it is closed.
Joomla! bugs are tracked in the follower trackers:
- Joomla! CMS Issue Tracker - Active. This is for issues that affect version 3.0 and later.
- Joomla! 2.5 Bug Tracker - Active. This is for issues that *only* affect version 2.5. For issues that affect 3.0 and later, use the Joomla! CMS Issue Tracker (see above).
- Joomla! 1.5 Bug Tracker - Active. This is for issues that *only* affect 1.5. For issues that affect 2.5 and 3.0, use the trackers above. Note that version 1.5 is no longer under active development.
- Joomla! 1.0 Bug Tracker - Closed
The process is normally started in one of two ways: the bug is added to the respective tracker, or a user reports the bug in the Joomla! Bug Forum for the given maintenance release.
Issues reported on the forum
JBS members scan the forums to determine when issues need to be put into the tracker. If the issue can be reproduced, is clearly a bug, and there are step-by-step instructions for how to reproduce it, it can be entered into the tracker with a status of Confirmed. If it is not as clear-cut, it can be entered with a status of Open, so that other JBS members will know it needs further investigation.
Issues directly reported to the tracker
When an issue is added to the tracker, the status will be either 1. Open 2. Confirmed 3. or Pending depending on the situation. If the issue needs more investigation, then it should be set to Open. If the issue (1) is a bug and (2) can be reproduced and (3) has good test instructions, it should be set to Confirmed. If it meets the three Confirmed criteria and also has a good patch attached, it should be set to Pending. See below for more information about the status codes.
Most issues are priority 3, or Normal. The artifacts are prioritized according to the following characteristics:
Normal: (3) Issues that are hindering advertised behavior but the application is still workable. Examples would include parameters not working as advertised, language files not loading as expected, etc.
Minor (4): Minor loss of function and generally annoying behavior. May include less common platform or browser specific problems that while they may be technically major in those environments, they represent a minority. Also include missing translation strings.
Trivial (5): Cosmetic problems, misspelled words, graphically misaligned object, less common issues with parameters, etc.
The bug squad takes care of the Joomla releases. For example, that means getting the 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3, 3.0.4 etc releases ready by fixing problems that come up. The idea is to make the release increasingly stable and take care of issues that come up. At the same time, it is vitally important not to break anything that is working. That's called software regression and it's not something you want at this stage.
In the trackers there are several common statuses, mainly: open, confirmed, pending, ready to commit.
- Open means it's reported, but it hasn't been determined for sure whether it is a real bug or not. Many Open issues are not actually bugs. If the issue fits into one of the categories below, then the status is changed as indicated and the bug is closed:
- Cannot be reproduced. We have tried the same thing the reported did but the software appears to work correctly. (In many cases, more information is needed to be able to reproduce a bug. See "Information Required" below.) Change status to Unable to confirm.
- Has already been reported in a different issue number. Change status to Duplicate report and add the number on the duplicates tab.
- Is a known limitation of the software. Change status to Known issue.
- Is a feature request, a mistake made by a user, or is the way the software is intended to work. Change status to Not a bug.
- Is a bug with an extension or some other external program or a server issue that will not be addressed. Change status to Not Joomla! core.
- Information Required is used if we need more information from the person who reported the issue to decide about the issue. For example, there are questions about how to reproduce the problem or other questions about the issue. If we get the information we need, then we can continue processing the issue. If we don't get the information within two weeks, then we can change the status to Unable to confirm (or another of the closed status codes if that is more applicable).
- Needs Review is used if we need a JBS Coordinator, Development Coordinator, or other experienced developer to review the issue. This is different from Information Required, which means that we need more information from the person who reported the issue.
- Started means that JBS has checked the issue, but is not quite sure if the issue is an actual bug (i.e. confirmed), and that there is discussion going on about the issue, which doesn't require additional information from the person who reported the issue'.
- Confirmed means that JBS has confirmed that this issue is a bug in Joomla! that should be fixed. That's when the JBS tries to solve it or consults with the development team about a solution. At this point there should be clear step-by-step test instructions that indicate how to reproduce the problem. For version 1.6, use the Test Instructions field for this information.
- Pending means that a patch has been submitted that a JBS member or development coordinator or appropriate leadership team member believes fixes the bug. If needed, additional test instructions are entered for the issue. Every Pending issue should have instructions that tell the tester how to reproduce the problem and make sure the patch fixes the problem.
- In Progress means that an issue is being worked on. This will most likely be a situation where the issue was set to Pending but there were problems with the patch that require additional work. It also may be a case where the issue is complex and will take some time to solve. JBS members can participate in In Progress issues but generally should not start coding before discussing with others working on the issue already.
- Ready to commit means that (in general) two separate people have successfully tested the same patch file, and it works correctly with the patch. Note that, for some issues that are more complex or higher impact, we may need more than two people to test or may need to test on multiple platforms. For simple issues, such as fixing typos in language strings or comments, one tester is enough.
- Fixed in SVN means that, after reviewing the code, the JBS commit coordinators have determined that the patch is good and the change has been committed to the Joomla! codebase. At this point, it will be part of the next Joomla! maintenance release.
The flowchart below provides a visual guide to how the process for resolving bugs works.
You do not need to be a member of the JBS to help fix bugs in Joomla. Anyone can report bugs, test patches, or submit patches. If you want to help with resolving bugs, go to the Tracker. You can help resolve Open issues as outlined above. You can create and submit patches for Confirmed issues. Or you can help test Pending issues. To report about what you have done, login to joomlacode and add a comment. You'll be amazed at how much impact you can have and how good it feels to contribute to the Joomla! project.
If you have any questions, or are interested in joining the JBS, please contact the JBS Coordinator.