Playing with Lighthouse

Today I played around with Lighthouse, a site for tracking the issues and features of your project. It's very simple, but in a good way. I have used several issue trackers, like phpBugTracker, Quality Center, and Mantis to name a few and Lighthouse has a different feel about it. In a word, it's all about simplicity.


For one, Lighthouse has but a few options for the ticket status: new, open, closed, invalid, and on hold. Other than categorizing which milestone the issue can be delegated to, there's not much left for structured organization. There is no severity, no priority; however, there are tags. Tags are your way to add any kind of priority or severity. The good: You can add any organization that you want. The bad: You can add any organization that you want. That means that communication would have to be very good between the team as to what conventions are used if you want to rely on tagging for additional classifications.

Application Integration

I'm a SVN user, so I was pleased to see that Lighthouse and SVN can play nice together. Simply create a post-commit script in your subversion repository to submit your changeset to Lighthouse and it works. The magic really isn't in that it sends the changeset to Lighthouse, but rather that you can add commands in your comments to change the status of a ticket. You can change the state, add a tag, and set the milestone for an issue all in the comments. No need to go back to Lighthouse to update it.

There is also supposed to be integration with emails. Upon getting an email notification on an issue, you can reply to that email and then that message will be added to the ticket too. I say "supposed to" because I can not been able to get that to work.


Even though you don't have access to the Lighthouse database, you do have access to all of your data via the API. The good people at Lighthouse have created a small ruby library to use that implements ActiveResource. Would you like to find all of the tickets for a given project? Try using Project.find(:first).tickets. Always good if you would like to make a CHANGELOG file or do any other reporting that Lighthouse does not offer.

User Interface

It's nice looking, unlike Mantis which is very not. It feels quick and snappy and is very usable. Not much to say here except that it's probably my favorite of the web issue trackers.

The Payment Plans

This is a pay service, but there is a free account. So feel free to tool around and get to know Lighthouse. But I do feel that the service is a little pricey. The Personal plan offers more projects and more users, but no public projects. That would mean you would need to upgrade to the Bronze package. Personally, I would like the features of Bronze, but would like the price tag of Personal.

The plans go all the way up to Platinum at $120. I am curious as to how many people have signed up for that service. I don't think Lighthouse is worth that considering that there is no fancy reporting and crazy customizations that often times larger groups require that.


I think I may look into using this for a personal project. The integration and ease of use is terrific, plus it looks really good. Since I am a cheapskate, I may just continue to use Mantis or try using Trac or Collaboa


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