Recently we updated our issue tracker to the latest version (5.1.7) of Countersoft Gemini. It seems like the application was built up from the ground up, and we now have a lot of new cool features. I spend a good part of my day in “Gemini”, as it is the truth we live by. I realize though, that if you are just an occasional visitor, it may be less obvious how things have changed.
1. Receiving email notifications
This first tip is a very simple one. By default the option to receive notifications by email is turned on in the application. Depending on your own preferences, especially after you’ve seen some of the next tips, you may want to turn off these notifications. If you keep them on, it is good to know that you will not receive individual notifications anymore, however, these will be grouped together depending on the filters that you’ve set. A typical notification email will look like this:
2. Filter on Version
In this version of Gemini, filters play a very important role. Filters make it easy for you to follow a group of tickets, or just one. And once you follow those tickets, you can also set notifications for them. Let’s look at an example. Suppose I am interested in all the tickets that are being worked on for DotNetNuke 7.1, and I’d like to include the ones that already have been closed by our QA team.
After I am logged on to the site, I can select the DotNetNuke Open Core project, either from the Gemini Start Button, or from the project list in the main view.
In the left hand side of the screen that appears, I am selecting “(7.1.0) Major Release” at the Version filter, and I will also include “Closed” at the filter options selector.
At the time of writing, this gives me 87 issues.
3 Save your filter
Since I am interested to keep track of this, I don’t want to do this same filtering procedure every time I log on to Gemini. Luckily, I don’t have to do that. I can Pin my newly created filter for later usage. In order to do that, click the little pin icon at the right hand side of the application header.
A new “Card” will appear in the Navigation area of the page:
This Card is stored with your user details, so it will be available every time you log back on. There are a couple of cool things you can do with cards. You can rename your card, subscribe to events for items that are covered by this card, you can update the filter, and you can use the card to create a new one (duplicate). The rename and subscribe features are available when you right click the card. For the subscribe option, it looks like this:
Now, whenever someone comments or updates on a ticket that belongs to this filter, you will receive an email notification. However, even if you have set your profile not to receive any emails from the system, you will still receive a visual notification if something changes in the filter. Let’s see what happens if I add a comment to one of the tickets. First, I see that something happened to 1 ticket, notice the 1 in the blue bar:
Also, if i now hover over the card, I will see a list of all the items that changed. This popup also has a “Clear” option, that will clear the notification.
And finally, if i click the card, the filtered list view is updated, and will highlight all the items that have changed with a yellow background:
The nice thing about this is that you don’t need to set email alerts if you don’t want to, as you will be updated on the new situation every time you log back on to the application.
4. Creating an issue
When you are ready to create your first issue, there is one important thing to remember. Without very good steps to reproduce an issue, it will be very hard for us to fix that issue. So be sure to include clear steps that show how the issue can be replicated. Include the version in which you found the issue. And if possible, do a quick screencast where you show the exact issue. There are different ways to do that, but Jing, the free tool from TechSmith is used very often.
Creating a new issue is as simple as clicking the large + sign on the title bar:
5. Track your own issues
Another useful filter is one that shows all the tickets that are created by you. If you are still in the previous filtered view, you first must go back to a view that allows you to pin a new filter. You can do that either by duplication the current filter, by clicking the duplicate icon:
Or by going back to the main view of issues (which will retain your filter settings, but it will clear the card selection), by selecting the DNN project from the Gemini Start button again.
Assuming that you also want to included closed issues in your filter, make sure that the Options filter and the Version filters looks like this:
And in the Keywords filter, type in your own name (or the name you used to register with). For me, that looks like this:
Once you pinned this filter, and renamed it accordingly, you will now have a shortcut available to your own issues, which allows you to track what the status of those issues is.
6. Change Log and Road Map
This new version of Gemini has a bit of a hidden way to access the change log and other reports of a project. The good thing here as well though is that after you got to the change log, you can easily create a pinned card for this, so next time around you are just one click away from it. In order to access the change log, select the Changelog option from the Project Dropdown:
Similarly, you can also easily get to the Roadmap from the same menu. Once either in Changelog or Roadmap view, you can select the version to report for in the left hand side of the screen.
7. Change column definitions
The default columns in the filtered views do not show all the fields that we use when working with issues. It helps greatly to add those fields. The columns selector allows you to easily change the columns in the grid.
My personal favorites, in this order: Title, Type, Priority, Severity, Components, Version, Status, Resolution, Reported By, Resources, Created and Revised. Once you selected the columns you like, you can change the order by just dragging them to the spot you want. Remember if you do this in a saved filter, to update the filter by clicking the check icon in the title bar.
8. Project Summary
If you are interested in the overall status of the issues that are currently being worked on, then the Project Summary offers a great overview. Again, this report is somewhat hidden in the menu system, so if you plan to use this view more than once, just pin it to the nav pane. You can get to the project summary using the following steps:
- Select “Reports” from the project menu:
- Select “Project Summary” from the reports menu:
Will Strohl wrote a great blog post about Participating in DNN though Social Media. Gemini is also a great way to participate. Although we do try our very best to create flawless software, the reality of any large software product is that bugs do creep in. You can help fixing these by logging any issue you find in Gemini. If you feel your issue is not handled in the right way, one thing you can do is tweet about it, using the hash tag #DotNetNuke. There is always a number of DNN Corporation employees following that hash tag, so that helps in creating more visibility. Of course, every issue needs to go through the triage process, where we decide whether or not the issue can and should be fixed.
If you have any questions about Gemini, let me know, either on Twitter, or as a comment here, or with a direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org
(this is a cross post from my personal blog)