How to report a bug (or request a new feature)

tea supplies.png

As developers of custom software, we like getting bug reports. Bugs are inevitable but once we know about them we enjoy fixing them and ensuring that they don't recur.

As a customer you want the bug fixed as soon as possible while experiencing a minimum of disruption. To help us do this we need a good bug report.

There are only three parts to a good bug report!

  1. Descriptive Title
  2. Steps to Reproduce
  3. Results: actual vs expected

1. Title

This will be the subject line when you email support@dovetail.ie.

How would you describe the bug in less than 60 characters? The title should briefly describe the problem in a way that uniquely identifies it for the future.

Please be specific, like these two examples:

“Registration form crashes when adding UK addresses”

“Unable to upload large files to website”

Please do not just use something vague and generic like “Error” or “Project Xxxx”. That doesn’t help identify the bug at all.

2. Steps to Reproduce

These are crucial. They are instructions from you to us, telling us exactly what we should do to see the bug with our own eyes. We need to recreate the issue before we can fix it.

Please give instructions starting from a known state, such as launching the software or logging in to a website. Tell us exactly what you were doing and what data you used. It could all be relevant to finding the bug.

Here is an example:

  1. Launch Internet Explorer
  2. Go to our live website
  3. Log in as john@example.com
  4. Click on "Add Delivery Address" in the menu
  5. Enter this address: 3 Bermhill Lane, Holywood, Northern Ireland BT18 9JN
  6. Click the "Save" button

3. Results

Finish up by telling us what results the system gave you, including any error message.

Highlight the difference between what you expected and what you got. It may be obvious to you, but it is often not obvious to us. We need clarity to be able to find the bug, and to avoid asking you for more information.

Here is an example:

Actual result: a large yellow error message appeared on the screen “x000065135464 Object reference not set to an instance of an object”

Expected result: I expected the new delivery address to appear in the details for john@example.com

 

That's all you need! Just send us those three parts and we can get to work on it. Of course, feel free to add anything else that you think may be useful, but above we have described the minimum.