FogBugz On Demand

So, the cat is finally out of the bag, Joel Spolsky has announced FogBugz On Demand, a professionally hosted version of FogBugz.

In my opinion FogBugz On Demand is a wonderful idea, it vastly reduces the barriers to getting up and running with FogBugz, if you have an internet connection and a few dollars at hand ($21 per user per month), you’re all set. No install, no server needed, no backups or upgrades to worry about, sign-up and go.

Some of us have been privy to the existence of FogBugz On Demand for a few months now, as frequenters of the Business of Software discussion group were let in early to beta test it. The deal was very good for being a beta tester, two users for free, perfect for the MicroISVs and such like that make up the Business of Software group.

Although FogBugz On Demand is a great deal at $21 per user per month, considering you’re not needing to pay up front for licenses, don’t have to worry about maintaining a server, backing up the database, or upgrading software, I do think Fog Creek have missed a trick.

I think Fog Creek would do well to extend the free license deal to any new account beyond the existing 45 day free trial, maybe just a single license for free, but preferably two per account.

Consider the hapless developer who finds himself in a new project with no feature, bug or inquiry tracking facilities. Imaging that poor sole being able to create a FogBugz On Demand account in just a few seconds, and start entering features and bugs to be implemented or fixed, passing the URL to their customer(s), fellow developer(s) or tester(s). Happy days! Suddenly the developer can have a central repository of all the work they have to do, can keep track of discussions related to the cases and project design and development (via the in built discussion groups functionality), and know when they have completed the work for each release. Even if the client hasn’t got a system of their own to track the project effectively.

And who knows, after the developer has given the spare free login to their manager, development partner, prime customer representative or favourite tester, how many others on the team are going to want to get in on the act rather than just use the public interface functionality? Now the customer has given the authorisation for 5 users of FogBugz On Demand for the remainder of the project. Next project they add another 5 users, now those two free logins have turned into $210 per month, every month, for this one client of the developer alone.

And once they have got comfortable with the great features of FogBugz (and the fabulous additions coming in FB6), maybe they’ll decide to buy the self-hosted version for all departments in the company.

Just how many contractors are there floating around from poorly setup client to poorly setup client? I suspect metric butt-loads!

As I said, FogBugz On Demand is a fantastic idea, it just needs to get one foot in the door as a couple of free licenses (not just a 45 day trial), and I think it’ll do very well indeed.


UPDATE 2007-07-11 15:40: Both Joel and Eric have contacted me to let me know that there is a “Student and Startup Edition” of FogBugz On Demand, that gives you the exact same two users for free functionality that I was whinging about being missing. It’s an option within the “Your Account” page for everyone. It has not been advertised just yet for fear of overloading the servers at a time when lots of people will be testing out the new service.

So, all my millions of readers, don’t go sign up for your free two person FogBugz On Demand Student and Startup Edition account at the same time, or else you’ll get me into trouble!


How does FogBugz On Demand impact CaseDetective?

Those who know anything about CaseDetective for FogBugz will know that it currently talks directly to the FogBugz database. With FogBugz On Demand being hosted by Fog Creek, there isn’t going to be any way to get to those SQL Server databases, it’s just not going to happen, they’re locked away tight. In fact, Eric Nehrlich from Fog Creek was kind enough to email me as soon as the beta was announced to tell me that there fact, and offer to help me in any way he could in getting any requirements championed for improvements to the FogBugz API for FogBugz 6.0.

As such, I’ve been emailing back and forth with Eric and Michael Pryor for a few months as Michael made progress with the spec and then development of the upgraded FogBugz 6.0 API.

With any luck the new API for FogBugz 6.0 is going to have enough information for me to reproduce all the basic functionality in CaseDetective that my customers rely on, not only so that I can support the huge changes in FogBugz 6.0, but also FogBugz On Demand.


So, the fun begins.

Just how am I going to cope with such fundamental changes to the data retrieval method for CaseDetective?

Will the next version of CaseDetective for FogBugz use the same code base, or start from scratch?

Will the next version of CaseDetective for FogBugz still be developed using REALbasic even?

Will the next version of CaseDetective for FogBugz have any other improvements?

There’s only one way to find out … stay tuned for the next post!

No comments.

  1. Ian, we are offering a “Student and Startup Edition” of FogBugz On Demand, which is exactly what you are suggesting. If you have 1 or 2 users, you can use FogBugz On Demand for free indefinitely. It’s not currently very well advertised (oops), but if you go to the Your Account page of FogBugz On Demand, you’ll see the option to switch to that version if you have 1 or 2 active users.

  2. Thanks Eric,

    Joel beat you to it actually, he emailed me about the “Student and Startup Edition” being a continuation of exactly the same offer us MicroISVs had during beta. I just didn’t know whether it was to be made public, and was waiting for a response back from Joel as to whether I could correct my article.

    I guess that’s another cat out of the bag, so I’ll update my article with the new information!