Category: administration

Your MantisHub Data at your fingertips

exportdata

The beauty of hosting with MantisHub is that you will never need to worry about the retention, accessibility or integrity of the data stored in your MantisHub issue tracking system.

All the advantages of cloud hosting are at your fingertips. Like logging into your system from any place or any machine securely.  No need to worry about the security of your servers or disaster recovery. MantisHub hosting is robust, reliable, and secure, with daily backups of your data.

With all this convenience, you still have access to export and extract your data in several ways. Whether you need to integrate it into another system, play around with some numbers, produce reports or simply for peace of mind, you’re covered with these features.

Download all MantisHub data

Any administrators within the system can access the backup option from the Manage page. From here they can generate a full backup of your MantisHub to get a snapshot of the database at any point in time. When you generate a backup, two zip files will be available for download :

  1. database and configuration” file which contains a MySQL dump of your database and your configuration files.
  2. attachments” file containing all attachments uploaded to your system.

You can upload the db.sql file to a local MySQL service for verification and access it from your favorite database viewer and analytics tools.

With the attachments, extract the zip files to get access to the attachment files.  The attachment file names will be encoded and will have to be correlated with the database to get the file meta-data.

Here’s the KB article for more information on generating and downloading backups.

As MantisHub already create a full daily backup of your data you will probably never need to use it but it may be what you need to tick some boxes on your corporate policies checklist for security or data retention.

Printing Reports

The filters within the My View page can allow you to display a specific set or subset or your issues. If you’re not yet familiar with how to use filters, check out this article and get to it as it will save you a heap of time trying to find the information you need.

Once you have grabbed the issues you are interested in, you have the option to Print Reports.

print reports

To print it, just click the button. You can print all the listed issues or further cull the list and just display those selected. There are two options to print to; to a Microsoft Word document or HTML and it will include the Issues Details view of your issues.

Step by step instructions can be found in this KB article.

Exporting to CSV or Excel

There is also the option provided to export issue details to CSV or Microsoft Excel also from the View Issues page. This means you can do a whole lot more with your data because you can plug these into other systems to manipulate how you want. For example, MantisHub has some in-built reporting but if you’re looking for specific statistics on your issues this option can allow you to generate graphs and tables using Excel or some other application that allows CSV import.

It’s important to note that you have to define what issue fields and information you want to be included in the export. This needs to be configured in the Managing Columns section. This can be configured at a project level by the administrator [Manage – Manage Configuration – Manage Columns] but users can override this within their personal preferences [My Account – Manage Columns]. All fields that can be exported (including your custom created fields) are listed in the All Available section. Have a read about it in the Managing Columns KB article. And help with exporting can be found in this article :).

If you have Mantis Time Tracking feature turned on, you can also export this information to Excel or CSV to get some statistics on time your team spent working on issues. This is available through the Time Tracking page that is added to the menu when you enable Mantis time tracking.

API

For the technically savvy you can access information from your MantisHub through our API. This does require programming knowledge and can be a super powerful tool for pulling specific information from your system and manipulating it as needed. You can retrieve details of your projects, configuration, users, issues and filters. And the API is continually expanding so keep an eye out. To read more about MantisHub API options check out this KB article.

So if you’re looking for that flexibility while still getting the convenience of secure, reliable service, there’s your data on a silver platter :).

User Access and Team Collaboration in MantisHub

istock-business-users-chatting-animate

You will rarely be using MantisHub issue tracker in isolation. As long as you have an internet connection you can be on a remote island connected to MantisHub but I bet you won’t be the only one on. Hopefully you have a whole team of users, reporters, managers, stakeholders, collaborators that you can bring together to make your visions a reality. That’s the goal right?

So lots of users with different roles and different access. Some sensitive data you don’t want everyone to see. Actions and functionality you only want specific users to perform. Does this sound like you? 

User access options within MantisHub are quite extensive and you’ll find there is so much you can do in this space. Let’s go through what functionality you’ll come across. 

Inviting Users, Access Levels and Workflow thresholds

First of all let’s assume you want to give users login access to your MantisHub. For these users your first step is to invite them to create a password and login. To create a user account you just need to enter a username, email address and a real name. These all should be unique. You will also need to define their access level. You have 6 to choose from. As usual with access levels the higher levels inherit the functionality of the lower level with some additional permissions. You can head to ManageManage ConfigurationPermissions Report and Workflow Thresholds to see exactly what each access level can do but here is a brief summary below:

  • Viewer – this is for someone who has read-only access to view the issue details.
  • Reporter – these are users that will create issues, add notes and view issue details after creation but cannot handle (be assigned) or update issues.
  • Updater – adds the ability to update issue details.
  • Developer – adds the ability to handle (be assigned) issues and view private notes.
  • Manager – can also manage projects including adding users to a project and creating categories, versions and linking to custom fields. They also get access to reporting.
  • Administrator – full system access to all projects and issues as administrative functions.

Users accounts are created by administrators via the ManageManager Users section. When creating a user you are defining their global access for public projects. You can define a different access level for the same user at a project level which will override their global access level for that project. So for example someone can have reporter global access but for a specific project they can have developer access.

While the above listed user access levels are the default settings and should make sense for most setups (that’s kinda why we made them that way :)) you can tailor what functionality these access level have via Workflow Thresholds. Head to ManageManage ConfigurationWorkflow Thresholds and you can tweak it. Perhaps for example you want a reporter to be able to close the issue once it’s complete or move it to another project.

When a user becomes inactive, MantisHub recommends you disable users rather than deleting them. This way they no longer have access to your system but you retain your user history as well as saving a user license.

 

Public or Private

If you want any control over who sees what in your MantisHub you need to consider making your projects private. Public projects will be available to all users in your MantisHub according to their access level. If you wish to set up MantisHub such that users can only see the projects you specify, then you should make projects private, only administrators will have access to these projects by default. You can then go in and specifically add the users to the projects that they need access to. Projects are public by default on creation but within MantisHub you can also configure the system so that the default for new projects is private.

You can add further restrictions by making use of private issues or private notes within your issues. This allows you to have your developers, managers and administrators collaborate on issues without exposing your internal conversation to the viewers, reporters and updaters. By default only developers and above can see all private notes and issues or change the view status. Reporters and updaters can only see their own private issues and notes. This is configurable in your Workflow Thresholdsas well as whether your users are able to see the option to set an issue or note to private. You can also define whether they are public or private by default through configuration options.

Alternatives to creating accounts. 

There are a few alternative to having your administrators create a heap of user accounts to allow others to submit or view issues in your MantisHub.

1. Self Sign-up

Some companies may want to open up their tracker to allow users to sign up and create Reporter accounts themselves within their system. This is particularly common with open-source software projects and other wide-spread software. This way your users can sign up themselves whenever they wish to submit issues to your tracker. Administrators will get notifications of all new signups.

In these cases, companies may also pair this up with a simpler option for Viewer accounts by enabling anonymous access. This makes your MantisHub public projects viewable without requiring a customer to login. This can also enable search engines to index your MantisHub issues.

2. MantisHub Helpdesk

Another option for companies, is to use MantisHub Helpdesk to allow customers to email in issues. This is typically used as a customer support or service desk solution. Customer can email your MantisHub email address (or you can re-direct your company support email address) to automatically create issues within your MantisHub tracker. Your internal team can respond to issues by adding public notes that will trigger responses to the customer. You can also still collaborate internally with your team behind the scenes using private notes. Your email reporter (and any cc’d parties) will get notifications of creation, public note additions and closure of their email submitted MantisHub issues. All without needing direct access to your system.

 

Team Collaboration

Your MantisHub users can tap into a few other features when collaborating as a team.

Notifications

It’s a delicate balance knowing what to notify the team of in your system. You want to avoid having users filter out any MantisHub communications or just deleting them. Have a think about all the ways you can keep your team across what’s happening including those mentioned below to keep from spamming the team. Don’t forget you also have the timeline in your My View dashboard.

  1. @mentions – This feature is a particular favorite of mine. We use it to death and it’s super handy. Pull other users into issue for comment by @ mentioning their username within the issue. They will get an email notification with your note and a link to the issue so that they can respond or take action as requested. This way you can retain ownership of the ticket and still have advise or help from a colleague as needed. @mention emails avoid duplication, so if you are have been mentioned in a note and receive an @mentions email you will not received the ‘Note added’ email notification as this is now redundant.
  2. Email notification settings – You can set what activity your team gets notified of in MantisHub. This can be set quite flexibly for the system as a whole, or for specific projects and access levels. Users can even override the system settings in their own personal account preferences. MantisHub also provides a way for you to turn on logging for email notifications to help you troubleshoot any issues you might have if it’s not working as you expect. Again, have a good think of what you want to turn on here as the last thing you need is inbox overflow. You may even want to consider saving users from unnecessary emails but not adding them to a project they wont be using or changing their access level for the project. Last things to note here is that you can turn verbose or non-verbose notifications depending on if you want to get just the updated content or all the issue details.
  3. Monitoring – if you don’t necessarily want notifications for all issues within a project and so have only default or limited notifications set but are particularly interested in one issue, you can add yourself as a monitor of an issue to receive all notifications relating to it. Another use-case is that perhaps you have reported an issue and as reporter are notified of all status changes and updates and yet you have a college also needing to keep across the issue, you can add them as a monitor of the issue.

Project Management

Your managers and team can keep track of project version/release progress and updates  using the Changelog and also project roadmap goals using the Roadmap page. These pages are available to all users by default but this again is configurable via workflow thresholds and configuration options.

The summary page for statistical information and graphs on your MantisHub usage is initially only available to managers and admins but can also be tailored via configuration option view_summary_threshold and using the user access level codes to set the minimum.

So you can see there is so much you can do with MantisHub to manage you users. Just taking a bit of time to plan out how you set up the team and your customers interactions will make things run that little more smoothly for you. Jump onto our knowledge base here or follow the links in this article to find out about even more options that we didn’t get a chance to tell you about as well as specific step by step instructions. And you can always reach out to the support team with any questions.

May your team grow and prosper ;).

 

December ’15 updates

In December we rolled out a bunch of new updates including:

  • Using API Tokens to access MantisHub for enabling generation of tokens to be used by services and apps to connect to MantisHub without sharing user’s passwords.
  • Understanding Email Notifications via EventLog Plugin – often actual email notifications are different from administrators expectations due to MantisHub config or user preferences.  Installing this plugin helps administrators figure out the reason why users get or don’t get notified about a change.
  • Support for issue notes as a column that can be selected via Manage Columns.  The typical usage would be to export issue notes to CSV or Excel.
  • Support for exporting billing information to CSV or Excel, providing users with the ability to edit the information in Excel before sending to clients.
  • Custom field “required on resolve” wasn’t being enforced.
  • Disallow deletion / disabling of last administrator to make sure administrators can’t lock themselves out.
  • Fix for email notifications on update where email notifications on issue updates were not triggered when email notification configurations were overriden.
  • MantisTouch was updated with several fixes and improvements.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our users a Happy new year.  Best wishes for 2016.

Understanding Email Notifications via EventLog Plugin

Often users are not sure why user X did or didn’t receive an email notification about an action on issue Y.  We have added support for EventLog plugin which when installed helps answering this question by showing the action, its timestamp, who triggered the action, the high level description, and why users were added or removed from the notification list.

To install the plugin, administrators can go to Manage – Manage Plugins and click the install link next to the EventLog plugin.  This will start the process or recording such diagnostic information.  Once done, you can go to the same place and uninstall the plugin.

If the behavior is different than you expect, then it will likely be due to configuration or user preferences.  Feel free to contact support for help.

Here is a screenshot showing some sample output for the EventLog plugin that administrators can access by going to Manage – Event Log.

eventlog_screenshot

Providing visibility into plan usage

MantisHub now has a new feature to keep you across your MantisHub usage as well as the status of your plan.

If you’re wondering how many team members, issues or projects you have, administrators can now readily access that information via your ‘Manage’ page.

plantab

This is useful in particular for following the status of your plan and the current thresholds set. So you can see for instance how many team members you have or if you might need to upgrade to a higher plan for added features.

Check out Plan Information KB article for further details.

MantisHub Support Portal

We’ve just launched our new support portal to replace our blog and docs sections of our website.  The new support portal provides several benefits to our customers like:

Search – Search is now a core feature of our documentation, providing customers with the ability to easily find the answer to their questions.

Conversations – Customers can engage with contents, ask questions, provide feedback, etc.  This wasn’t easy before in the context of existing documentation.

Voting – Customers can thumbs up / down an article to give us feedback on whether they found it helpful or not.

Sharing to social networks – Customers can now easily share our blogs and articles to their preferred social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Support portal integration in in-app support – Our in-app support widget, which is now visible in the “Manage” section of your MantisHub, starts off with providing answers from our documentation which may answer the user’s questions right there.  If that is not the case, then the questions are sent to our support team that would then respond.

Reducing friction for publishing – With the new portal, we have simplified our process for publishing new content.  Hence, with that we should be publishing more content quicker, providing more customers with instant answers.

Let us know your thoughts about both the content and infrastructure.  We are always looking for ways to simplify our offering and get customers productive and focused on their projects.

Upload your own logo to your MantisHub

We’ve just rolled out the ability for administrators to upload their company logo to their MantisHub.  This can be done as follows:

  1. – Prepare a logo image file in .png format with size less than 50K.  If image height greater than 80 pixels, it will be reduced to 80 pixels.
  2. Click “Manage” – “Manage Configuration” – “Logo”
  3. Select the file to upload and click “Upload”.
  4. Click the browser refresh button.

Any simple image editing tool can be used to change the logo file format and resize it while maintaining the aspect ratio.  For example, on Windows, Paint Brush (pbrush.exe) can be used to get the job done.

On demand backup support

In addition to our daily backups, we now offer MantisHub administrators the ability to create and download a backup of their data on demand.  This can be done as follows:

  1. Login as administrator
  2. Click “Manage” – “Backup”
  3. Click “Request Backup” button

This will create two backup files “database and configuration” file and “attachments” file.  Clicking on any of the links will download it via the browser.

Note that going back to the “Backup” page will show the last backup done.  Use the “Request Backup” to create a fresh one.

This feature is part of our commitment to make your data available to you at all times.

Introducing MantisHub – MantisBT as a Service

MantisBT has been known for being easy to setup across a variety of platforms due to it being a PHP app that is designed to reduce installation friction.  However, often users wanted a quicker way of getting started.  They didn’t want to worry about setting up a web server, installing MantisBT, managing it, doing backups, upgrades, and being on point to answer support questions.

As a first step, we offered one-click installs for MantisBT.  That helped customers to get started quicker, but they still had to worry about security patches, upgrades and support.

I’ve been working on making this better for a while, and I’m now happy to announce the launch of MantisHub.  MantisHub is for MantisBT what GitHub is for Git.  It is MantisBT as a service.  Allowing users to signup and be up and running in less then 1 minute.  They can then try MantisBT for a month and then decide whether they want to continue using it or not.  No credit card required until the end of the trial period.

MantisHub also offers MantisTouch for mobile access.  Allowing your users to get a mobile friendly interface when accessing your MantisBT instance from any modern phone.  Just visit http://yourmantishub.mantishub.com/m/ to get the MantisTouch interface.  This is a $100 value.

Through running MantisHub service, the experience of running MantisBT at scale will provide good insights and customer feedback loop that will translate into contributions to MantisBT open source project.