Bug Reporting: OK; Next on Plate: Ticketing System

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Three months ago I asked for advice about bug reporting systems. I got feedback from Eric Snowdeal who mentioned RT: Request Tracker (which looked too generic to my taste), while Doug Kaye had "used Bugzilla on a few projects with good results" but wasn’t the one who had to install it. Belatedly, thanks to both of you for your emails. People from TrackStudio and JIRA also sent additional information.
After letting the issue rest for a while, I finally decided to install Mantis, low release number or not, since several people such as Brad Choate use it and didn’t seem to complain. Mantis worked well enough for us so far (I installed it myself, it’s real easy), though to tell the truth we’ve loaded only 29 bugs and features in it for the time being, so I have to test how the interface scales, but it looks usable enough.


Now the next building block I need to implement is a ticketing system to handle customer support requests. Here are our requirements:

  • Direct email submission: ability to log emails sent by customers into a MySQL database (to be integrated with our subscriber/customer database).
  • Web-based management: ability for staff to review and handle requests, individually (i.e. by ticket) and as an aggregate (logs and stats).
  • Ability to assign priorities.
  • Personalized auto-responders, i.e. the ability to trigger auto-response emails with self-help instructions.
    Nice but not essential features include:

  • Spam filter.
  • Send mass replies.
  • Predefined response templates.
  • Ability to expose ticket history to customers through a web interface.
  • Live chat.
  • Customer knowledge base/FAQ.
  • Staff knowledge base/FAQ.
    Any important feature you think I’ve forgotten?
    And here’s a round-up of what I’ve found so far:

  • Cerberus HelpDesk
  • InnovateHelpDesk
  • OmniStartLive
  • eSupport
  • Perldesk
    I get a good vibe out of Cerberus, and I like the PHP/MySQL/Smarty combination. Your real-world feedback (olivier_travers (at) scifan.com) about the products above or others I should consider, will be very appreciated. Cheap is better, and integration with our existing MySQL database is a prerequisite. If the whole code is protected (for instance many PHP scripts are encrypted with ionCube, regardless of the happy happy open source propaganda) it’s going to be useless too (that might in fact be the case for some of the products listed above).

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