Managing bugmail overload

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Posted by: stak
Tags: mozilla, bugmash
Posted on: 2012-04-01 03:13:42

Do you suffer from bugmail overload? Do you often declare bugmail bankruptcy? Have a set of bugmail filters so complex they break every time you change them? If so, this post might be for you!

A few months ago, I too was a chronic sufferer of bugmail overload. The best approaches to handling bugmail I could glean from my fellow Mozillians revolved around using Gmail, tuning email preferences in Bugzilla, and filtering heavily. The problem, however, is that I like getting bugmail. I like being able to watch a component and stay on top of what's going on. It's not so much a case of getting too much bugmail, as it is a case of not being able to process it fast enough.

So I decided to write a bugmail dashboard that would solve this problem. In a nutshell, it scrapes incoming bugmail and extracts all the relevant pieces of information, stuffing them into a MySQL database. A web-based front-end then displays that information in a very compact representation that allows me to view large volumes of bugmail efficiently. Here is a screenshot of what it looks like. And here is a random subset of features:

  • Presents information from multiple bugs on the screen simultaneously, so you don't have to wade through different emails to read everything.
  • Prioritizes bugs into columns; the leftmost column is most important and rightmost column is least important.
  • Marking stuff is as viewed is done on a per-bug basis (using XMLHttpRequest so it's nice and responsive).
  • Marking one bug as viewed moves the next bug up so you don't even have to move your mouse, kinda like Firefox's tab close buttons!
  • Interface is very mobile-friendly so you can easily process bugmail on your phone during idle moments.

I've been using and improving this dashboard for a couple of months now, and it's getting stable enough that others may want to try it out. I still consider it "alpha" quality though, largely because it's non-trivial to set up and get going. If you're interested in trying it out, grab the source from and take a look at the README.html file for instructions on how to set it up.

If you have any feedback, please send me email and/or file bugs in github and/or submit pull requests!

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