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Gnatsweb User Guide

Introduction

The Gnatsweb interface is a front-end to the GNATS problem tracking system used to create, view and modify GNATS problem reports. Support organizations can use it for tracking of issues related to products that are supported (i.e. software, hardware, documentation, etc.) Problem reports are used to notify responsible parties of problems. When the problems are looked into, the problem reports can be edited and email gets sent to all interested parties.

The Gnatsweb help is divided into the following sections:

For more information about GNATS, see the GNATS home page.

Please note that newer versions of GNATS allows a great degree of customization, such as addition of custom fields, etc. This help file describes default installations of Gnatsweb and for customized installtions, it may not be accurate.


Login Page

The login page is used to login to the GNATS system. The first time Gnatsweb is used, this page is presented. After the first time, the main page is displayed because the settings are stored in cookies on the machine that has the web browser running. There is a button on the main page that takes the user to the Login Page. This button is used to log out and clear all credentials stored on the user's machine. It is also used to select a new database if desired. There are several controls on the screen:

User Name: (textbox)
This is the GNATS user name to login as.
Password: (textbox)
This is the GNATS password for the user name. For installations that have been modified not to require passwords, this textbox will be absent.
Database: (combobox)
This selects the database to login to. The dropdown menu lists all the available databases.
Login (button)
This logs into the selected GNATS database.

If the user name and password are correct, the main page will be shown.


Main Page

The main page is used to select the various operations within the GNATS database. There are seven operations available from this page:

Create Problem Report: (button)
This button displays the Create Problem Report Page. It is used to create a new problem report. If the user has an access level which is too low to create problem reports, this button will be absent.
Edit Problem Report: (button and textbox)
This is used to edit an existing problem report. The Problem Report Number is entered into the text box and either the ENTER key is pressed or the Edit button is pressed. This button will only be present if the user has sufficiently high access level.
View Problem Report: (button and textbox)
This is used to view an existing problem report. The Problem Report Number is entered into the text box and either the ENTER key is pressed or the Edit button is pressed.
Query Problem Reports:
This button displays the Query Problem Reports Page. Used for querying of existing problem reports.
Advanced Query:
This button displays the Advanced Query Page. Used for complex querying of existing problem reports.
Log Out:
This button displays the Login Page. Used for logging out and clearing all login information stored in the user's browser and for selecting a different GNATS database.
Help:
Displays the Gnatsweb User Guide.

Create Problem Report Page

The Create Problem Report page is used to create a new problem report. Depending on how the GNATS database is set up, the fields and controls on this page may vary. In the following we describe the fields that are present in a standard installation. Fields that are required to be nonempty are emphasized with a different color, by default red.

Reporter's email: (textbox)
This is the person filing the new problem report. This is necessary because someone without access to the GNATS database may be the Originator (described below).
CC: (textbox)
Carbon copy the problem report to this email address. This is useful for sending a new problem report to interested parties. Future changes to the problem report are not emailed to this address.
Category: (combobox)
This combobox allows the selection of a category which the problem report should be filed under. Category names might for instance correspond to product names.
Synopsis: (textbox)
This is a short description of a problem. This is used in the Query Page and the Advanced Query Page.
Confidential: (combobox)
This combobox selects whether or not the problem report is confidential. This is useful since in-house problem reports don't necessarily need to be seen by the public.
Severity: (combobox)
This has three options: critical, serious, non-critical. This is a best guess (i.e. if the hardware catches fire, it should probably be critical). When creating a problem report, the severity level is often merely an educated guess. It will often be changed later on, based on the assessment of the GNATS administrator or the person responsible for the problem category.
Priority: (combobox)
Like severity, this is merely a guess at the priority level of the problem.
Quarter: (textbox)
What quarter the PR falls into.
Class: (combobox)
The class (type) of the problem. This is also a guess.
Submitter-Id: (combobox)
The valid submitter identification. If this is unknown, leave the default setting. Otherwise select the one desired.
Originator: (textbox)
An email address of the person reporting the problem. This is often the same as the Reporter's email address.
Release: (textbox)
This should include the installed version of the product which the problem report applies to, together with identification of applied patches, updates, fixes etc. Accurate information in this field is often critical for tracking and diagnosing the problem.
Environment: (textbox)
A description of the environment where the problem occurred. Important information might include hardware make and model, operating system name and version, system patchlevels etc. In general: the more, the better.
Description: (multi-line textbox)
A full description of the problem. Good descriptions become good solutions. Bad descriptions make problems hard to solve.
File Attachments: (textbox and button)
Used for uploading a file to the GNATS database together with the PR. Text files, pictures, anything that is relevant for the problem.
How-To-Repeat: (multi-line textbox)
This is a description of the steps necessary to recreate the problem.
Fix: (multi-line textbox)
If a workaround or fix has been determined, this is the place to put that information.
Submit (button)
This submits the problem report to the GNATS database. Email will be sent to several recipients, depending on how GNATS is configured. By default mail goes to the Reporter's email and Originator's email addresses, and all other parties listed in the CC: field. The responsible person and the people on the GNATS category notify list also get copies.
Reset (button)
Reset all fields to defaults. Most the textboxes are cleared and the comboboxes are set to their defaults.

Edit Problem Report Page

The Edit page is used to modify a problem report when a solution or fix has been found, or when any other change to the problem report is required. Many of the fields parallel the Create Problem Report Page (consult that section for a description of the other fields), but others are specific to the edit page.

Some fields have a textbox labeled Reason Changed just below them. If the field above has been modified, the Reason Changed field must be filled in. This is used for tracking the changes to various fields deemed important enough to require an explicit reason for change.

Here are the fields on the edit page that come in addition to those on the Create Problem Report page:

Responsible: (combobox)
This is the identity of the individual who is responsible for handling the problem report.
State: (combobox)
The current state of the problem report. Usually this field is changed by the Responsible person as the handling of the problem report progresses.
Class: (combobox)
The class (type) of the problem report.
Release-Note: (multi-line textbox)
This field is usually used when a problem report has been closed and incorporated into a new release of a product. The release notes are then usually collected for use in an update report to be distributed with the released software.
Submit Edit (button)
This submits the changes to the GNATS database. Another page is displayed with the results. If fields are missing or incorrectly filled out, the changes necessary to fix the problem are displayed. By using the 'back' button in the web browser, the user can go back to the problem report, correct the errors and resubmit.
Audit-Trail: (multi-line text display)
This is a cumulative description of all the changes made to this problem report.

View Problem Report Page

The View page is used to display a GNATS problem report without changing it. It has the same fields described in the Create Problem Report Page and the Edit Problem Report Page, together with two additional buttons and a link:

Edit (button)
This displays the edit page.
View audit-trail (button)
Because the Audit-Trail field can get quite long, it is only displayed when this button is clicked.
send email to interested parties (link)
This is for sending email to the parties interested in this problem report.

Query Problem Reports Page

The Query Problem Reports page is for simple searches of the problem report database. It displays the Query Results Page. The fields are "anded" together for the search, meaning that all the criteria selected must match each problem report searched in order for the report to be included in the results. There are several selections that can be made:

Submit stored query (button and combobox)
Often repeated queries can be stored from the Query Results Page. This selects a previously stored query. If no queries have been stored, this field is not displayed.
Category: (combobox)
This will select any or a specific category to search.
Severity: (combobox)
This will select any or a specific severity to search.
Priority: (combobox)
This will select any or a specific priority to search.
Responsible: (combobox)
This will select any or a specific responsible to search.
State: (combobox)
This will select any or a specific state to search.
Ignore Closed (checkbox)
This selects whether or not to ignore closed problem reports (ignore is on by default).
Class: (combobox)
This will select any or a specific class to search.
Submitter-Id: (combobox)
This will select any or a specific submitter-id to search.
Originated by You (checkbox)
Allows you to limit queries to reports originated by yourself. Note that Originator and Submitter-Id are different fields.
Synopsis Search: (textbox)
This will search the synopsis field for the text entered.
Multi-line Text Search:
This will search any the multi-line text fields for the text entered.
Column Display: (multi-select listbox)
This selects the columns to be displayed in the query results table. The selection is stored by the web browser, so the next time a query is requested, the columns selected for the previous query will be selected by default.
Sort By: (combobox)
Selects which field to sort search results by.
Reverse Order: (checkbox)
Allows you to reverse the sort order. Highest-numbered PRs first, for instance.
Display: Current Date (checkbox)
This selects whether or not to display the current date and time on the query results page. (This is on by default).
Submit query (button)
This submits the query and the Query Results Page is displayed.

Advanced Query Problem Reports Page

The Advanced Query Problem Reports page is not for the faint of heart. This is a very complicated form with many features. There are three buttons and a combobox to start the search:

Submit stored query (button and combobox)
Often repeated queries can be stored from the Query Results Page. This selects a previously stored query. If no queries have been stored, this field is not displayed.
Submit query (button)
Submit the advanced query, and display the Query Results Page.
Reset (button)
Reset the form.

There are four sub-sections to this form:

  1. Search All Text
  2. Search By Date
  3. Search Individual Fields
  4. Display

Any one of these sub-sections can be used separately or together for complex searches.

Search All Text

There are two types of searches on all text:

  1. Single-line text fields
  2. Multi-line text fields

Regular expressions can be used in searches.

Search By Date

The Search By Date sub-section allows you to limit the range of problem reports according to various time parameters. There are six self explanatory fields available:

  1. Arrived After
  2. Arrived Before
  3. Modified After
  4. Modified Before
  5. Closed After
  6. Closed Before

The dates are entered in a string like: 1999-04-01 05:00 GMT. Though the date matching scheme is pretty robust, it should accept quite a few formats.

Search Individual Fields

The Search Individual Fields sub-section is used for matching based on a specific field in the GNATS problem report. All the fields have a textbox for doing regular expression searches. Where applicable, fields have a multi-select listbox that can be used. When nothing is entered for the textbox or selected in the listbox, those fields are not used in the match. The available fields may differ depending on the way GNATS is set up, but here are the valid matchable fields in a default installation:

Each field is described in the Create Problem Report Page or the Edit Problem Report Page sections of this user guide. The 'state' field also has an 'Ignore Closed' checkbox to ignore all closed problem reports.

Display

This sub-section is a multi-select listbox that is used to set the displayable columns in the Query Results Page.

Below this is a row entitled "Display". The checkbox "Current Date" in this row controls whether or not the current date will be displayed on the query results page. (This is on by default).


Query Results Page

The problem report table displayed shows the problem report numbers as links to the View Problem Report Page. In order to sort the table by the contents of a specific column, click the column heading.

Near the bottom of the page is a link marked "View for bookmarking". Normally, specific Gnatsweb pages can't be bookmarked, but by clicking on this link and using the bookmark function of your browser, you can get a bookmark for this particular page.

Below this again is the "Reverse sort order" link which allows you to reverse the sort order of the currently displayed query results.

Below the bookmarking link is a text entry field and a button to store a query selection. Stored queries are accessible from the Query Problem Reports Page or the Advanced Query Problem Reports Page. This provides for a quick way to repeat often-made searches without having to make all the selections again.