What happens if FogCreek adds reporting to FogBugz?

In a comment on my last post, Jon asked:

The only red flag that jumps out is what happens when FogCreek adds reporting to FogBugz?

That’s a very good question, and one I’ve been very aware of from the beginning.

When I first started this project I had no idea what would be in FogBugz 4.0, I always expected that they would include at least some simple method of extracting to a file. This question was probably one of the biggest contributors to my slow start on this project, I was always afraid I’d be wasting time as FB4 might have this feature and everything else I desired.

I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I saw FB4 for the first time and found that there still were no inbuilt extract functions! :-)

FogBugz 4.0 was an absolutely huge update to FogBugz, tonnes of stuff was added that we users have been crying out for, but reporting was still missing. I don’t know the actual reason for not adding an extract function, this is complete conjecture, but I expect it’s down to Joel and the crew’s commitment to making FogBugz a developer tool, not a management tool. The docs still point to ways to create reports with Excel or Access, but at present FogCreek aren’t going to help you any further. You can’t even find this reporting related documentation on the main index of their online help, I had to search the Knowledge Base to find it.

If Fog Creek were to add an extract function to FogBugz, which I’m sure would be pretty simple (I considered creating a plugin myself) then I’m sure my current target customer base will erode to next to nothing, for that particular feature anyway.

There is of course plenty of stuff in CaseDetective other than reporting that people have been asking for of FogBugz but have yet to get. Simple things like being able to see more than 7 columns in the grid view, having different columns on view per filter rather than a single global view, being able to sort by certain columns missed out of FogBugz at present. And there are tonnes of things I’ve got lined up to make it much more attractive, I’m not going to talk about them here, but I’m really chomping at the bit to get to developing them as I know how much of an impact they will have on my customers productivity (for the better of course).

If Fog Creek decide a desktop companion of their own with extract/reporting functionality would be a good idea, then I really am going to have a problem! When Project Aardvark was announced I had a good couple of weeks of nail biting until some hints from Joel indicated that the new project had nothing to do with their existing products put my mind (almost) to rest.

But, as I pointed out in my series of articles called The Big Think – Part 1, 2, 3 and 4, in the end I’m in this for the experience, not the money. This is very much a learning exercise as I don’t believe the market is very big anyway, but hopefully this will be a stepping stone to a whole raft of tools for my customers to enjoy using, and for me to enjoy creating.