Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Remedy - free the attachments!

I've inspected a lot of issue tracking databases in the last few months - JIRA, Bugzilla, TeamTrack, ClearQuest, Trac, GNATS and Remedy1 - but the one I want to consider in this post is Remedy (a.k.a. the "Remedy Action Request System", part of BMC Remedy Service Management from BMC).

Remedy stores attached files in the database and compresses them to save space. That's fine, and they provide a compiled API library to talk to the running server application and extract and decompress the files. But if you're trying to get the data straight from the database, you're out of luck. Searching suggests that the file compression is some proprietary form of zlib but that's it. No source, no algorithm, nothing!

If you're providing an API to extract the data, why not show the customers the source? I suppose they might want to hide changes in the compression algorithm from users, but I can handle seeing that. I'm all for using carefully constructed APIs but not at the cost of the data being locked into one database.

1 I know, I know, you're thinking "wow, those toolsmiths sure do live life in the large!"