New Work: LadyBugz, a FogBugz Client for Mac

I'm happy that my company just released the version 1.0 of LadyBugz, a FogBugz client for Mac.

If you just heard FogBugz for the first time, it is a "bug and issue tracking, project management, help desk software" service. FogBugz is a product of FogCreek, one of whose founders is Joel Spolsky, the software luminary behind Joel on Software and Stack Overflow.

What Zonble and I like about FogBugz is that it fits the needs of a software company well. The nature of our work requires a good issue tracking tool, but we also need to communicate with clients and customers. Many issue tracking tools are not designed with support department in mind, and this is where FogBugz does it just right.

As we used FogBugz more and more, it became natural that we wanted to create a native Mac client for it. It's interesting that many good Mac and iPhone applications these days are client software to well established services. Tweetie is a good example. We also happened to know one thing or two about working with successful web services. So we decided to create a Mac client to FogBugz that we want to have the best of the two worlds: good web service delivered with a fast native interface.

The version 1.0 of LadyBugz gives users an integrated case and event browser, a case editor, and a mail composer. Those three components correspond to the three areas in which FogBugz excels: project management, bug and issue tracking, and help desk / customer service integration. It also comes with snippet support, an important feature for people who do frontline support services. Good help desk features are what make FogBugz stand out among similar services, and we would also like to design LadyBugz with both engineering and support departments in mind.

We had the first beta version up and running in mid-November last year, and since then we used it every day for our project management and product support. Like many applications with ambitious feature sets, LadyBugz also underwent architectural changes and total rewrites. We've also decided to target solely on the latest Mac OS X (10.6) so that we can leverage great tools like Grand Central Dispatch-backed NSOperationQueue, blocks, and many user interface improvements. The aim is to create smooth user experience with good technical performances.

Since this is our first full-featured Mac application, and also our first commercial product developed as an independent software vendor, we really hope LadyBugz brings good value to FogBugz users. And just like any version 1.0 software, this is really just the beginning of many great plans ahead. We want to spread the words, and will continue bringing out great things to our users.

Finally, I'd like to thank Mike Ash, Jeff Johnson and Lee Falin of Rogue Amoeba, Joe Goh of Phone Journal, Pierre Bernard of Houdah Software, Justin Williams of Second Gear, and Evadne Wu of Iridia Productions for having given us many suggestions that shaped the application. I'd also like to express my gratitude to the authors of the open source libraries that we use, including Sparkle and many others—they are a major force that makes the Mac developer community strong and vibrant.

LadyBugz is commercial software, with an individual license for US$55. You can download and try it with full features for free for 21 days. It also has a presence on Twitter, so follow us and let us know how we do.