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Jolt Awards 2014: The Best Utilities

, August 05, 2014 The best programming utilities of the year
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Productivity Award: JetBrains YouTrack 5.2.1

The world of defect tracking tools has been successively dominated by Bugzilla and, in recent years, by JIRA from Atlassian. A scrappy competitor has been wrestling its way to the top in the last few years and is increasingly gaining traction as an excellent option: YouTrack, made by JetBrains, the same company that ships a variety of IDEs that have won Jolt Awards in the past, especially the IntelliJ IDEA environment for Java.

YouTrack carries many of the same elements found in the IDEs: a remarkably intuitive and elegant UI, a feature set that is complete without ever feeling heavy, and favorable pricing. Like JIRA (and unlike Bugzilla), YouTrack has grown from simple defect tracking to workflow management. The idea being that every defect and every new feature is captured in the tool and from there work for sprints is organized and progress tracked (hence, the product name). It need not be used this way, of course, but the simplicity of the UI makes such an approach attractive.

It supports both Scrum and Lean methodologies and allows you to define the custom fields and workflows that best suit your needs. In addition to the expected email and IM issue notifications, team members can vote on issues to help prioritize bug fixes. The Web-based UI is both desktop and mobile browser friendly, and the integration among other Web services such as TestRail, Zendesk, and OpenID are welcome additions.

Overall, if you are seeking an intuitive and highly capable Web-based project and issue tracking service, JetBrains YouTrack is worthy of your most thoughtful consideration.

— Mike Riley and Andrew Binstock

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