Speedy Bugzilla search for developers

I stumbled across this today entirely by accident, and I felt I had to write about it. What I’m about to tell you may or may not help you, but if you are interested, read on.

First, the disclaimer. I mainly use freedesktop.org’s bugzilla. And I will base my story on their bugzilla. If you use another bugzilla installation this may or may not apply to you since each site can add its own customization to it.

Named tags in Bugzilla

First, I need to explain what named tags in Bugzilla are, and how they work.

You may not have noticed this, but in Bugzilla, you can add your own custom tags to each bug report. To add a new tag to a bug report, scroll down to the bottom of the bug report to find the footer area which shows up in pretty much every page in bugzilla. It should look like this:


If you haven’t added any named tag to any bug report before, you won’t see any pre-selectable list of named tags in the list box on the left. Just type in a new tag in the tag box in the center, and click Commit to add it to the bug. If you are already in a bug report, the ID of that bug should be pre-filled in the bug number box (as in the screenshot). For now, I’ll add a new tag named “come back later” and click Commit.


You’ll see a page like this when you commit. When you click on that link labeled “come back later”, you’ll get to the list of all bugs that have that tag. Pretty easy, isn’t it?

Note that named tags are yours and yours only. They are visible only to you, and usable by nobody but you. It’s entirely private. When you add a tag to a bug report, it won’t send notification to whoever is watching that particular bug (unlike CC or whiteboard). And someone else may use the same tag in his or her account, and that won’t interfere with yours. But, since named tags are associated with your account, you need to have an account, or else named tags won’t be available.

Bugzilla Add-on for Firefox

Now, most of us spend the majority of time inside a web browser. If you are a developer, you may spend more time inside your editor than in your browser, but you’ll probably still spend a fair amount of time in the web browser. And you are like me, you use Firefox as the browser of choice. If you don’t use Firefox, that’s fine. I’m all about choice. But what I’m about to tell you probably won’t apply to you.

Firefox has an add-on for Bugzilla. It allows you to query Bugzilla directly from its search box at the top-right corner. Installing the extension is also very easy. When you visit your Bugzilla of choice (which in my case the freedesktop bugzilla), click on the icon on the left side of the search box, and click “Add Bugzilla” to add that to the list of your search engines.


You can add multiple bugzilla’s to this list; you just have to follow the same step in each bugzilla you wish to add to your list. For instance, GNOME’s bugzilla gives you “Add GNOME Bugzilla” entry in the same menu.

Get to your bugs fast!

Once you’ve set all these up, getting to the list of bug reports associated with a named tag is very quick. All you have to do is to select Bugzilla as your search engine, type tag:"named tag" in your Firefox’ search box, hit Enter, and you’ll jump right to the list. If your tag includes a space, you’ll need to surround it with double quotes.


Very easy, and very fast. It doesn’t get any better than that.