Online Service Aims To Get The Bugs Out

Elementool helps testers track locations, error messages, and lines of affected code.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

March 4, 2003

2 Min Read

Undetected software bugs are a drain on the productivity of U.S. business, and a small New York company has launched a low-cost, online service to help trim the losses.

Yaron Sinai, founder and CEO of Elementool Inc., says its Web-based bug storage and reporting service can help software testers to keep track of the locations, error messages, and lines of code containing bugs more effectively than alternative approaches, such as an in-house software package.

"You don't need to buy software that you won't necessarily use in the future," he says, noting that some companies install their own bug-holding systems, then cease to maintain them once a major project is completed. By paying a fee that might range from $19.99 to $59.99, a development team can store thousands of bugs along with the related information about them, then refer to it as a project progresses.

Software testers typically find hundreds or thousands of potentially show-stopping bugs in a new development project. The more effectively they do their jobs, the more likely that resulting applications will run without interruption.

Nevertheless, many bugs escape the testers' net and go on to plague operations for years to come. The National Institute of Standards and Technology estimated in its report "The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Software Testing" a year ago that failure to catch software glitches and bugs resulted in an annual loss in productivity ranging from $22.2 billion to $59.5 billion.

"If you don't use a proper tracking tool, you lose a lot of information. The test team finds all kinds of bugs. To make use of that information, you need some kind of tool," Sinai says.

Elementool calls its hosted service Bug Tracking, but it has no relationship to the popular Bugtraq mailing list that circulates the latest findings of major glitches in commercial software ( Rather, Bug Tracking 4.0 is more of a repository of bugs for a given project, with testers and developers allowed to log in, examine the bugs that have been found, work on fixes, and keep a well-ordered record of their work, Sinai says.

The service includes a reporting capability that can be customized with filters to assemble a set of similar bugs and their fixes. The service is available at Customers included Ernst & Young, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Prudential Financial, and Warner Brothers, say company spokesmen.

Sinai says U.S. software accounts for 80% of the bugs in its repository, European software, 15%; and Asian and other locations around the world, 5%. Asked if that means U.S. programmers produce buggier software, Sinai grins and says no, they produce more software and in some cases test it more rigorously than in other parts of the world.

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About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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