More custom field revisions

Christopher Hicks chicks at
Tue Apr 29 13:53:15 UTC 2003

On Mon, 28 Apr 2003, Sean McAfee wrote:
> Imagine this scenario.  A company is ready to bring its new Bugzilla
> installation on-line.  Some group has come up with a list of ten products
> (call them "A" through "J") each of which will require ten custom fields
> ("A1" through "A10", "B1" through "B10", etc).

Imagine your 10 products where half of the fields are needed in common
between them all.  Then 40 entries would simply be boring reentry of
information already available.  Imagine the same 10 products where
(shockingly) all 10 fields are shared across all 10 products.  9 out of 10
times you go through the form you're reentering the same information over
and over again.  That sounds very dull and error prone to me.

> If custom fields are not shared, the administrator simply creates the
> required products, then creates the fields within those products,
> working down the list he was given.

Or working down a common list over and over and over again.

> If custom fields ARE shared, the administrator must search the entire list
> of fields for common purpose.  For example, the set of fields { A1, B2,
> F7, G3 } might all logically refer to the same thing, and so be represented
> by a single custom field.  Other such sets might be { A10, B10, ..., G10 },
> { E4, G5 }, etc.  Hopefully they were assigned the same or similar names
> to start with, but maybe not.

Or when adding custom fields give the admin a list of products to add them 

> Creating a single additional product with its own custom fields would
> require an intimate knowledge of every custom field in every product,
> so that the new custom fields can be merged with the existing set.

Not if you turn the problem the other way around as I just mentioned.  
It's easy enough to have a drop down when adding/editing a given custom 
field that lists the available products and hopefully includes a "global" 

Consider an organization where some of the custom fields are global custom
fields.  Each time you add a product someone has to rememeber which fields
those are and what their paramaters are and manually readd them in.  Or 
you automatically get the "global" custom fields.

The only danger I see possibly being caused here by lack of intimate
knowledge is that somebody might end up with two custom fields meaning the
same thing.  Most of the time this shouldn't cause a problem and if it
does it should be a single simple SQL update to fix it.  This danger is
also mitigated by sharable custom fields since there will probably be
fewer fields to worry about.

> Also, perhaps "frobinage level" means different things in the context of
> products Foo and Bar.  If fields are shared, and names must be unique across
> the entire Bugzilla installation, one of them must be renamed.

Or frobinage level means the same thing across the 10 products and now you
have prod A frobinage level and prod B frobinage level and prod C
frobinage level and prod D frobinage level and prod E frobinage level and
prod F frobinage level and prod G frobinage level and prod H frobinage
level and prod I frobinage level and prod J frobinage level.  Each of
these has been carefully entered so as to otherwise be consistent.  
Hopefully there won't be much acrimony when prod C guys get 88 characters
of frobinage and the rest only get 8, but it seems best to avoid it.  :)

And then a new methodology cult arrives on the doorstep and proclaims that
frobinage is pagan idolotry (or evil or passe -- pick one) and must now be
called chromeplatinage instead.  You're stuck fixing 10 things instead of
one thing.  I've worked places where this sort of thing happened
regularly, but thankfully not in a long time.

Hopefully at some point we'll have access to these things in bug lists, so
now you have 10 columns for the same field.  Bah!  My personal bugzilla
has a dozen products in it.  Each represents a major client so I can give
that client access to just their issues without the other clients getting
to see.  ("Why is Chris fixing other people's problems before mine?  Oh
no.")  One of my desired custom fields is to be able to have a server name
field so that I could try to do all the work on a given server at the same
time.  Having to search 12 fields for this wouldn't help much.


The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It
will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.
-Robert Maynard Hutchins, educator (1899-1977)

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