For helpful advice on making your bug reports more valuable see this insightful article by Brett Simmons of Ranchero (makers of NetNewsWire).
Bugs generally fall into one of two categories: minor bugs that you can work around and major bugs that prevent you from accomplishing your work. While we are interested in all bug reports, it is the ‘show stopping’ bugs that command our immediate attention.
Fortunately, most bugs fall into the first category. For those, please take some time and read the suggestions in the next section. But if you are facing a major bug, you might want to jump immediately to the Urgent Bugs section below.
|Before submitting a report|
|Check our Online Resources||
You can save yourself some time and frustration by checking to see if your problem has already been reported by other users.
Starting in 2009, all bug reports are stored in our online database: techdb. Before you report a bug, be sure to search techdb (see below) to see if your bug has already been reported.
Major bugs (or bugs that may be particularly confusing or affect a wide range of users) are given a permanent technote on our site. There are also sections of our site that detail differences between Classic Helix and OS X Helix. The easiest way to find these pages — regardless of where they are found — is to use the search field that appears in the upper right corner of every page (except our home page). Just type your search phrase and press Enter (or Return).
If you would rather browse the site, start at the user support home page where you can find our user support policy. After that, we suggest visiting the technical services home page which contains links to the various resources we offer.
|Try the Latest Version||
If you are using an older version of Helix, please either upgrade to the current version and retest, download the current demo and retest, or read through the release notes for the newer products and see if we haven't already fixed your bug.
Since we took over the ongoing development of Helix (starting in June, 2002) we have fixed hundreds of bugs in Helix. Some are easy to describe; others are very low level and are seen in the form of "general flakiness and instability."
And since we began the process of converting Helix to run natively in OS X (including Intel-based Macs) we have released numerous updates addressing the many shortcomings of the early OS X native "Preview Releases." If you are using the OS X version of Helix and aren't using the latest release, chances are you are missing out on many bug fixes already available.
|Talk to Us||
Of course, you are encouraged to contact us about the problem you are seeing. If you haven't talked to somebody here at QSA ToolWorks about the bug you are seeing, and you haven't been able to find it in our online resources, please contact us. We may already be aware of the bug under a different name. We may be able to help you isolate the bug and perhaps offer a workaround to help you avoid the bug until we can fix it.
|Reporting a bug to QSA ToolWorks|
|Creating Reports with Maximum Impact||
The best bug reports are those that combine detail with simplicity. If you can reduce a bug to a series of straightforward steps — and perhaps even create a small collection that demonstrates the bug — you have virtually guaranteed that your bug will be looked at (and probably fixed) in our next release.
How To Create Incredible Bug Reports is a web page that details what we look for in a bug report. It explains how to reduce a bug to a simple sample that best helps us quickly understand (and fix) the bug you are seeing.
How To Get Your Bug Fixed is an informational page that discusses the nature of bug reporting and provides hints that will help you get our attention with your reports.
All bug reports are now filed through our online database: techdb. Instructions for accessing techdb are found here.
When you are logged in to techdb, use the items in the Bug Reports menu to search for your bug in the existing reports. If you find your bug has already been reported, read the discussion to see the progress and join in on the discussion if you have information that might help us fix it.
If you can not find a similar report, create a new one. Step-by-step instructions for filing a report in techdb are found here.
|Stay in Contact||
If you need immediate help, or you have a question that requires an answer, you must contact technical support directly: Filing a report is not enough!
Reporting a bug is not the same as asking for help. When you report a bug through techdb, it is reviewed by our engineering staff, and sometimes we ask questions to help clarify the bug. When we have enough information, the report is then assigned to an engineer. This is a process that typically takes weeks or months!
|Keep In Touch||
Once your report is in, it is very important that you check techdb later to see the current status of your report. You can follow it through the various stages (e.g. Confirmed, Assigned, Fixed) but more critically, we may have follow up questions for you to help us understand the problem better.
Remember: our bug reporting systems is a communications forum, not just a place where you drop a report into a black hole and 'hope' we work on it one day. If we have questions only you can answer, we can't effectively address your bug until you answer. So please follow up on your reports.
Mac OS X captures the exact nature of the crash in a ‘crash log’ that is extremely helpful in finding the root cause of a crash.
If you are experiencing crashes in a Mac OS X Helix product, read this FAQ page for a detailed explanation of how to send that crash log to us.
|Getting Immediate Help||
If you are experiencing a crash and are looking for immediate help, here are some step-by-step instructions:
|Lost? Call Us!||
In a crashing situation it is easy to be overwhelmed with all of the information gathering that must be done, so if you find yourself not knowing what to do next, forget all of that and contact our technical support department. The phone number and email address are found here.