Whether it's a blog, a wiki, or even Twitter, when you have a system with a lot of information, some method of tagging that information with easy-to-remember words or phrases makes it much easier to find. Request Tracker already provides a large amount of metadata to categorize and find tickets including the queue they are in, various dates associated with ticket activity, status, and content like the subject and correspondence. But often you want some way to categorize tickets within a queue into sensible groups.
You can add custom fields to track well-defined attributes and many users add multiple fields to fully describe and categorize tickets. But in some cases a defined dropdown list may not be flexible enough. You can allow free-form entry, but that can result in many different variations on what are really the same value, like bug, bugs, issue, and defect all to categorize a bug ticket.
We have just released a new extension called RT::Extension::Tags which provides a simple tagging mechanism that solves both issues. It provides free-form entry, but with autocomplete so as you start typing you can see similar values that may already exist. If you do need a new value, just type it in and RT will recognize that it's new and add it to the list so other users will now see it via autocomplete in the future. And once the values are added, they become links to a search of all active tickets which that tag.
As mentioned above, you can do much of this with RT's standard custom fields. In fact, the tags extension uses a custom field along with a scrip, action, and condition, all standard RT tools. But the tags interface does offer additional flexibility for end users which may encourage them to better categorize tickets. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
Header photo by Annie Spratt .