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Goodbye BzDeck, Hello Bugzilla.
tl;dr: We have decided to abandon BzDeck and instead bring all the UX innovations to Bugzilla to help make it a modernized, productive, competitive issue tracking system.
BzDeck was originally born in 2006 as a small Ajax-y demo application that looked like the Mozilla Thunderbird email client. It has always been a personal Sunday project, interrupted intermittently for months and years, but somehow evolved through several scrap-and-build attempts. The current version is built with the most latest web standard technologies such as ECMAScript 2017, Service Worker and Web Animations API, which is super exciting from engineering perspective, but there are still many user-facing features we have to implement. And it’s quite challenging because we are trying to replicate very complex software by using incomplete API sets.
Meanwhile, Bugzilla itself is struggling with the lack of UX direction and the competition with newer, simpler issue trackers including GitHub and Kanban board offerings. Except for the modal bug editor recently enabled on BMO, the fundamental user interface of Bugzilla has hardly changed since the beginning in spite of the Make Bugzilla Pretty Contest held in 2011, and it obviously looks outdated. Though Mozilla is not investing much in Bugzilla, it’s important to remember that the 18-year-old product is used everyday by hundreds of Mozillians, as well as for various other projects.
From the personalized inbox, quick search, multiple attachment uploads, to notification centre and mobile/offline support, we have a bunch of great ideas to improve the usability and productivity for Bugzilla users, so why not have all of them in the Bugzilla core rather than a somewhat unreliable third-party app? Or, do we want to eventually waste another 10 years? — Certainly not.
As such, we have just ended our long-running experiment to make real change now (as said by Canada’s young prime minister.)
Taking the global header redesign as a starting point, we are aiming to overhaul the existing UI elements and the frontend codebase on BMO, then add more useful new features. Bugzilla’s 20th anniversary ought to justify the drastic UX improvements. As Mozilla promotes, Bugzilla should also be built with the best and latest web standards. It may take years anyway to accomplish everything we suggest, but our goal is crystal clear: making people happy.
UX does matter, and we are so thrilled to move on to the next chapter!
Kohei Yoshino, on behalf of the BzDeck team
P.S. Follow @BugzillaUX on Twitter for further updates on Bugzilla UX improvements.