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Thread: Bug Report and Feature Request System Instructions

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    NewTek Social Media Chuck's Avatar
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    Bug Report and Feature Request System Instructions

    Dear LightWave Users,

    Those who have participated in the Open Beta program are aware that we have switched our bug reporting and feature request database to a new system. Bugs and Feature Requests from all sources will now be received in this new system, giving us a unified and more modern management tool for our bug reports, feature requests and development management.

    Here are the new email addresses and the web form link (add (at) newtek (dot) com to complete the address):

    Bugs:.........................LW-Bugs

    Feature requests:........LW-Features

    Technical Support:......LW-Support

    Link to Web Form:.......NewTek 's FogBugz Web Form

    When you use the link above you should see a web form where you can use the "New Case" link to enter a bug report, feature request, or support question. Just fill out the necessary fields, and submit. The "Log On" links are not used - just ignore them. (Please note, we do plan to replace the generic page with a NewTek-specific page shortly. Please check here for the updated link.)

    New Bug Report and Feature System Basics
    For those curious we're using FogBugz from Fog Creek Software. If you aren't familiar with Fog Creek developer Joel Spolsky's "Joel on Software" musings on practical approaches to many development issues, we highly recommend them. We also recommend that you take a look at the FogBugz Web Site to familiarize yourself with FogBugz.

    In the past, when bugs or features were submitted via the email addresses handled directly by the development team, the policy was that these did not receive any kind of response, unless the bug wrangler determined that additional info to try to confirm the bug was needed. There was not even automatic acknowledgement of the receipt of the report. With the new team, the policy was changed and acknowledgements of reports became standard, although there was not necessarily correspondence beyond that; and with this new bug database, not only are the reports acknowledged, but the person submitting the report has a means to check status of their reports.

    How to Use the New System:

    Submit via Email or Web form, with Content
    The system will receive reports via email or our webform, and you can include one or more attachments. We ask that you always include content that will reliably reproduce the bug. If you are able to produce the bug reliably using stock content that ships with LightWave, then you would not need to send content as an attachment, but please carefully include filenames and as complete a description as needed to make sure the development staff will get the proper scene and content or specific objects from our content library, and apply the proper steps to replicate the bug.

    Include just one bug or one feature request per submission.
    Because each bug or feature request will need to be evaluated individually and assigned to the appropriate engineer, it is best to report just one bug or feature request in a single email or web form report. When multiple items are in one report, each may need to go to different engineers, complicating the handling of that report. Our staff can certainly break up multiples, but we'll have more time to tend to solving issues if we can avoid extra overhead as much as possible.

    Keep the Case Ticket You Receive.
    The system will reply with a tracking number and with a link to a web form where you will be able to check the status of any bugs that you have reported.

    Use the Case Number to Send Additional Information or Content
    The new system allows the development staff to correspond easily with the person who has reported a bug. It also allows you to send additional information or attachments in response to such correspondence, or if you feel you have discovered additional useful information. You simply use the case number portion of the tracking number in the subject line of your email, as in "Case XXXX," to send new information at any time, and it will automatically be added to the case entry in the database.

    Report All Bugs - and Duplicates are Useful!
    Don't hesitate to report any bug you encounter, even if you feel we have likely had a report on it already. Duplicates help because users may encounter a given bug in a different way of manifesting, and will describe things in a different way, plus provide unique content that may show a different aspect of the bug. This will help add up a more complete picture than a single description, which helps us to pin down the source of the bug and resolve it quicker. Duplicates also help us determine how many are being affected by a bug (or how many desire a proposed feature, if you submit a feature request).

    If your Support Request Identifies a Bug, No Need to Report Separately
    If you enter a support request and the Support staff determine that the cause of your difficulty is a bug, the unified system lets us direct the existing report to the developers so that it can be addressed. There is no need to enter a new report via the LW-Bugs email or the web form.

    A Note on Attachment Limitations
    Do exercise some judgement regarding attachments - if the attachment would really be too large for email, we recommend you use the web form to submit your report, or provide a link in your email, and we'll download it promptly and attach it to the report.

    Content is Confidential
    Please note that NewTek staff will observe strict confidentiality if you need to provide proprietary content to illustrate a bug. Proprietary content submitted via the bug reporting system or to our Technical Support staff will be regarded as fully under NDA. Do not share your Case Ticket with others if you have submitted confidential content.

    What to include in your Bug Report
    • Submit just one bug per report.
    • Make the subject line a brief description of the bug.
    • In the body of the report, describe the bug as fully and clearly as you can. What did you expect to see in the operation you were doing, and what actually happened.
    • Provide the simplest content that you can work up that will show the problem.
    • Provide a list of repeatable steps that will reliably cause the problem.
    • Identify the build in which you encountered the problem.
    • Describe the platform and configuration on which you are running LightWave.


    What to include in your Feature Request
    • Submit just one feature per request.
    • Make the subject line a brief description of the proposed feature.
    • In the body of the report, describe the proposed feature as fully and clearly as you can. What is the tool expected to accomplish, and how will it improve workflow?
    • Provide the list of steps you would expect in applying the tool.
    • Provide the content, such as GUI mockups and operational step images that will illustrate the feature.


    Tip: Use an Email Address that will not Change
    FogBugz will show you all of your other submitted reports when you use a trouble ticket link. However, those will be only for the reports submitted with a given email address. If your address changes, then you would need to use one link related to each address to check all your reports. Note that the administrators cannot edit the correspondent on a report, even in the newest version of FogBugz. To make things as easy as possible for yourself on tracking your reports, you may want to establish an email address that you can use permanently regardless of changes in your IP provider, and submit all your reports using that address.

    Notes on the Use of the Feedback Agent
    The Feedback Agent is now available, and will help users to provide the 3D Team with the most possible information about LightWave issues they encounter. It can create a log of the problem or crash situation, and can email the log to NewTek's bug reporting system.

    Procedures for FeedBack Agent Reports:
    • Please Edit the "Exception in LightWave" portion of the default subject line to include a description of the problem, such as "Crash in Modeler when hit all keys on keyboard at once."
    • Please be sure to list steps to duplicate the problem in the Brief Description field.
    • Please attach the content with which the problem was encountered.
    • You will not usually have to fill in the "To:" field. Feedback Agent knows to send to the LW Bugs address if this is left blank.
    • You need to put a valid email address in the "From" field, or the system will not be able to send you a reply, nor will an engineer if any follow-up is needed to replicate the bug. In many cases, this leaves us no choice but to close the bug without being able to address it.
    • You may need to fill in your smtp-server information if Feedback Agent does seem to be able to send out email.

    Following the above steps will make your feedback report a fully useful bug report.
    Last edited by Chuck; 08-16-2011 at 09:45 AM.
    Chuck Baker
    Senior Manager of Communications
    NewTek, Inc., Vizrt Group
    NewTek.com
    LightWave3D.com
    NewTek USA Facebook
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    Software Developer's Dilemma: The better the new feature, the more feature requests it will generate. - C. Baker
    Please note that any statements regarding future product development are forward looking and subject to change without notice.

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