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Bugzilla 5.0 Adds New REST API and More

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Two years after its last release, Bugzilla has reached version 5.0. The bug tracking tool adds many new features and improvements, such as the ability to add tags to comments, new group membership checking, improved web service API, and more.

  • WebServices API: Bugzilla 5.0 adds a new REST-like endopoint that will allow clients to use standard HTTP calls. The already existing XML-RPC and JSON-RPC endpoints have been deprecated and will be likely removed in Bugzilla 7.0. A big improvement brought by the REST-like interface is support for API key, so clients do not need to use cookies or a user’s credentials.

  • Bug comment tags: Tags can now be used to filter bug comments. This can be useful to thread conversations by tag, mark specific comments as important or spam, etc.

  • Membership checking: A new more flexible policy has been established to determine who can view a bug. Whereas in the past a user was required to belong to all groups the bug was in, a new setting, which is default in 5.0, allows anyone who belongs to any group the bug is in to view it. This new policy, though, being more relaxed, might accidentally expose bugs to the wrong people.

  • Improved caching: Bugzilla can connect to a Memcached server to reduce the number of database queries that are executed and thus improve performance.

A complete list of changes can be found in the release notes.

Bugzilla, originally developed by Mozilla and made open source in 1998, was at some point a kind of standard among error tracking tools. Although still in use at many organizations and in many projects, it has lost some of its appeal in recent years in favour of cloud-based bug tracking tools such as Jira and GitHub. Among the drawbacks of Bugzilla in comparison to cloud-based issue trackers are its complex installation and configuration process, outdated UI, limited customizability, and lack of commercial support. On the other hand, Bugzilla has good performance with large bug databases, an extensive grouping feature for issues and users, advanced search.

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