As you might expect, we rely heavily on Sifter on our own process. In fact, we route virtually everything we do through Sifter. Whenever we begin a significant new feature or change to Sifter, it goes through a pretty consistent process. This process has evolved organically as we've grown, and it's slowly becoming second nature to help us ship faster and better.
We maintain multiple projects within our own Sifter account. Some of these are related to Sifter itself while others are simply areas of other ongoing work. Some of these projects are further organized by milestones or categories if their scope warrants it.
While bug and issue trackers can certainly help provide structure to your team's workflow, it still depends heavily on how individuals use that workflow. If it's too structured, and people feel boxed in, your team probably won't receive the full benefit, but if it's not structured enough, the lack of organization can be just as detrimental.
Lately, we've been receiving reports of some Sifter notifications being caught in Google's spam filters. So, if you use Gmail or Google Apps, and feel like you've been missing notifications, that's likely to be the source of the problem. This should help provide some insight as well as next steps to prevent the problem.
This update was primarily about sweeping interface updates so that Sifter does a better job of taking advantage of available screen real estate. By itself, this is really just one step towards making Sifter work better on all screen sizes including mobile.
Howdy, folks. It's been quiet around here, and despite the lack of timely updates here on the change log, we're on top of things. We're hard at work on some big updates, but here's a few of the relevant fixes from the last couple of months.
We've always believed that notifications are best when kept to a minimum. Send too many notifications and they start to lose their meaning. However, a side effect of that is that it was difficult to pull additional people into a conversation. With our latest update, we've corrected that problem.
You can now add markup to comments and notify additional people using @mentions.
Traditionally, Sifter has had a very simple policy of no markup allowed in descriptions or comments. While I always realized that it wasn't a perfect solution, I felt that it was the best solution for Sifter for a variety of reasons. Over time, my opinion on this has evolved, and Sifter will now escape markup instead of stripping it.
We've completely overhauled file uploading to make it easier than ever to add attachments to issues and comments. We also started expanding the available data returned with API requests.
File uploading in Sifter has always been rather basic to say the least. Today, that changes. We've drastically improved the file uploading interaction in several important ways to make it easier and more pleasant to add files to your issues.
You can now follow and unfollow issues with a single click. On the surface, this is a tiny change, but behind the scenes, we're paving the way for some huge improvements to Sifter's notifications.
We want to maintain a presence on Twitter for communicating with our customers. However, as a support channel, it's atrocious. We do our best, but asking for help or answers via Twitter makes it difficult for us to help.
Lately we've been spending more time working on some big upcoming features, but we've made time for some other small improvements as well.
Tagging can work very well for personal sites like bookmarking or photos, but when you introduce it into a group setting for software that tracks issues, things can get ugly. Typos, different people using different words for the same thing, somebody forgetting to add the right tag to a specific issue. It all adds up to issues slipping through the cracks, and that's not good.
Accountability is a significant component of bug and issue tracking. From an assignment standpoint, having a single responsible party ensures that there's a clear line of responsibility in resolving an issue. However, it's just about resolving issues. We believe all team members should be directly accountable for any actions that can affect the team.
Reporting bugs and issues is all about clear communication. It's difficult to always know exactly what information will help get to the bottom of things, but there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind. Investing up front in providing high quality information will help ensure that the issue is resolved quickly and effectively.
Over the years we've heard more than a few requests for custom statuses. Sifter currently offers three fixed statuses: open, resolved, and closed. No renaming them. No adding new statuses. It's simple, but surprisingly flexible. On the surface this decision may appear crippling to some, but rest assured, that's far from the case.
This release was about improving daily summaries as well as making it more convenient to move issues between projects. There were also a handful of minor bug fixes.
Sometimes, it's easy to overlook the fact that a software project, or any project for that matter, is about more than just tracking technical information. There are inevitably many other types of data that are useful to track and discuss. In our case, Sifter was explicitly designed to be flexible enough for all of it.
In the name of simplicity, when we setup new projects, we don't automatically create categories or milestones. Not all projects or teams need them, so we didn't want to be be presumptuous. Unfortunately, that created some confusion and misunderstanding.
This evolved into a rather ambitious update. It's nice by itself, but more importantly, it removes the last major hurdles for some notification enhancements so we can start on them next. We've also managed to sneak in a handful of performance improvements over the last couple of weeks as well.
Over the weekend, we'll be releasing some really nice updates to Sifter that will first and foremost make it more pleasant to use, but also make way for the real notification improvements. We've also made some performance improvements over the last couple of weeks as well.
This update was primarily about improving our bounce handling and notification when a receiving mail server blocks Sifter notifications and other emails due to spam and content filtering. With these notifications, we want to let people know that some emails aren't getting through, but we will still attempt to deliver future notifications to the email address.
Sifter has traditionally had a very simple and inflexible system for notifications. We're working to improve this, but there are some underlying truths that can help provide context to our solutions and the reasoning behind them.
After our identity refresh we decided it was time we had something to hand out to people that we meet and are interested in Sifter. After more than 4 years, we finally made some cards for Sifter.
By itself, this is a pretty straightforward release, but it's another one where we're doing a lot behind the scenes to make way for some more exciting stuff. The best way to sum up this release is that we're making it much easier and more efficient to move around within Sifter.
This release was all about improving the navigation throughout Sifter.
Let's be honest. Bug tracking isn't sexy. It's a tedious but necessary part of ensuring high quality software. When you're working at the scale of companies like Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, or one of the other huge software companies, it can go to another level entirely. Regardless of the context, there's a human side of the process that is frequently taken for granted.
Priorities are tricky. They can be subtly complex or wildly simple. They can factor in severity, effort, value, or any variety of facets. They can be expressed in words, due dates, or relative values. The approaches are countless, and the advantages and disadvantages of each are just as plentiful.
Have you ever looked at something later in a project and thought "Why did we do it that way?" or "What did we do to fix that problem?" By ensuring you and your team always enter detailed resolutions, you can make it easier on yourselves down the road.
While only available to admins, one of the great features of Sifter is the ability to move issues between projects if they are mis-filed or otherwise simply need to be associated with a different project.
Anytime you setup a filter in Sifter, you can use your favorite bookmarking tool or your browser to add it to a list for later. Whether it's a keyword search, a certain sort and filter combination, or just a list of the issues you want to work on this week, it's only a bookmark away from being easily accessible in the future.
Sifter's identity is changing. Until recently, it's generally been an afterhought, but that's starting to change an evolve as we get a clearer picture of what we want to be when we grow up. Combined with the increasing number contexts within which an identity lives these days, we decided it was time to update our identity.
A few additional usability enhancements to the updated issue listing page.
Just doing some cleanup and tweaking to get the issue listing updates running smoothly.
We've been working hard on the issue filtering and searching functionality the last few weeks. We've improved performance, added some useful features, and generally made issue filtering a little more powerful. By itself this is only an evolutionary update, but it's a big step in paving the way for some great future enhancements.