Dead simple issue tracker
Merge branch 'master' of https://github.com/marekjm/issue
Fix statistics command
About the config file



You can also use your local clone with git send-email.

#Dead-simple, no-bullshit, command line issue tracker

Issue is a command line issue tracker with dead-simple interface, and no-bullshit philosophy.

#Command-line issue tracker?

Issue has only one interface - the cli issue tool written in Python 3.

#Dead-simple interface?

The command line tool is built around simple actions, e.g. opening, closing or commenting issues. All of basic concepts map to a command:

  • issue open "<message>" to open an issue,
  • issue close <unique-id> to close an issue,
  • issue comment <unique-id> "<comment>" to comment on an issue,

#No-bullshit philosophy?

Issue provides machinery for those few things that are really neccessary:

  • opening issues,
  • listing issues,
  • closing issues,
  • commenting on issues,
  • sharing issues with other programmers,

Notice the word programmers. It is not a tool intended to be used by general audience.

It is created for those people who spend numerous hours a day in front of a black screen filled with code, shell commands and debugger output. They don't need the distraction of switching to a web-based issue tracker but still may need to note problems with the code. This program is created for them - to not break their workflow, but to be easily intergrated into it. Written with the UNIX spirit in mind, it does one thing and (hopefully) does it well.

All the extra features are written while keeping in mind that the target group are programmers. For example, there is a issue slug command that generates branch names based on issue messages.

#Quick to start and almost configuration-free

These are the only commands you have to run before you can initialise a repository and start creating issues:

# set your credentials...
$ issue config --global set author.email "john.doe@example.com"
$ issue config --global set author.name "John Doe"
# initialise the repository
$ issue init

And you are ready to run. For more help, you can use:

$ issue help -vc | less -R

This command will give you an exhaustive overview of the commands and options.

#It's really dead simple

Issue is written with the intent to keep the workflow optimised, and reduce distractions to minimum.

Consider these steps:

  • issue open "Crash on big numbers" - open an issue,
  • git checkout -b $(issue slug --git deadbeef) - create new branch using branch name generation (or use issue slug -BC deadbeef)
  • gdb ./a.out - debug the program,
  • vim ... - create a patch,
  • git commit -m 'Fix the crash on big numbers' - commit the fix,
  • issue close -g <git-commit> deadbeef - close the issue (you can use a Git commit hash, or HEAD to specify commit)

Two additional commands to open and close an issue.

#Features when needed

Issue provides you with more than just open and close commands. This FAQ will provide examples of common tasks that you can perform using the tool.

The deadbeef string will be used to provide a placeholder for an issue ID.

#How do I put a comment on an issue?
$ issue comment deadbeef 'A comment'

If you do not supply the comment text directly on the command line, an $EDITOR will be open for you, with a message reminding you what you wanted to do:

$ issue comment deadbeef
A comment
# Type a comment.
# Lines beginning with '#' will be ignored.
# Issue deadbeefd2eece78dbf8f98e357ba0af65f7e180:
#  > Dummy issue
#  >
#  > A dummy issue's description.
# vim:ft=gitcommit:
#How can I get a list of stored issues?
$ issue ls              # all issues
$ issue ls --open       # only open issues
$ issue ls --closed     # only closed issues

Issue also provides you with more sphisticated methods of listing issues.

#How do I filter the list of stored issues?
$ issue ls "your" "filter" "terms"

The --open and --closed options also work:

$ issue ls -o "memory"  # List all open issues related to "memory".
$ issue ls -c "test"    # List all closed issues related to testing.

You can also filter by time.

List all open issues created during last two weeks, that contain the keyword "deadlock":

$ issue ls -o --since 2weeks "deadlock"

List all issues closed today:

$ issue ls -c --since 8hours

List all open issues created in the previous week:

$ issue ls -o --since 2weeks --until 1week

List all issues with tag "bug" created more than 3 days ago

$ issue ls --until 3days --tag bug
#How do I put a tag on an issue?
$ issue tag 'bug' deadbeef

This will put a tag bug on the issue deadbeef. The full example would be like this:

$ issue show deadbeefd2eece78dbf8f98e357ba0af65f7e180
issue deadbeefd2eece78dbf8f98e357ba0af65f7e180
opened by:    John Doe (john.doe@example.com), on 1970-01-01 23:59:59.000000

    Dummy issue
$ issue tag bug deadbeef
issue deadbeefd2eece78dbf8f98e357ba0af65f7e180
opened by:    John Doe (john.doe@example.com), on 1970-01-01 23:59:59.000000
tags:         bug

    Dummy issue

A tag must be created before it can be assigned to issues. This prevents typos and frustration when looking for issues tagged with docs and not finding the one accidentally tagged doca.

#How do I create a new tag?
$ issue tag new 'tagname'
#How do I list all available tags?
$ issue tag ls
#How do I display issue details?
$ issue show deadbeef
$ issue chain link deadbeef f1eece

This command will "chain" the issue f1eece to deadbeef. This will be visible in the output of issue show deadbeef.

An issue cannot be closed until all issues that are chained to it are closed. In the example above Issue will not allow closing deadbeef before f1eece is closed.

#How do I get some statistics?
$ issue statistics

This will give you an overview of the repository:

  • how many open and closed issues it has
  • the total, average, and median lifetime of open and closed issues
  • the total, average, and median lifetime of all issues without the division into open and closed
#How do I track issue repository within a Git repository?

Issue creates its repository inside a .issue directory. Since it is a hidden file any reasonable .gitignore will opt out of tracking it. Here are the rules you need to put inside your .gitignore file to enable tracking of the relevant bits of the issue repository:


Paste this rules after the .* rule and Git will track issue diffs and comments without tracking all the other files that can be crated locally (using less data when either cloning or pushing - "yay!" for efficiency).

After that, you can just periodically use git add .issue and commit changed issues like any other file.

#How do I avoid typing all this?

Yeah, typing issue statistics can get old really quick. Lucky you, Issue commands may be abbreviated (funny that the word meaning "shortened" is a long one). So instead of typing issue statistics you can just type issue st. The shortest string that uniquely identifies a command will work.

As another example, instead of using issue tag new foo you can use issue t n foo.

#How do I create a branch name based on an issue?
$ issue slug deadbeef

Then you can either create a command like this one:

$ git checkout -b $(issue sl deadbeef)

...or use the shortcuts built into Issue itself:

$ issue sl -BC deadbeef
#How do I reming myself what I was doing?
$ issue log

The log contains a list of events that happened inside you local repository. This log is not exchanged between repositories as every developer has their own log (the fact that Alice checked the deadbeef issue does not mean that Bob also did and would pollute his log).

#How do I get help?
$ issue help -vc | less -R

This will give you a long, long wall of text that lists every option and command that Issue provides. The -v (or --verbose) is there to enable recursive help screen display, and -c enabled colours.

Alternatively, you can get a help screen about just a single command:

$ issue help -c ls

or a even a single option:

$ issue help -c ls --open

#Arcane features: Issues distribution (HERE BE DRAGONS!)

Note that using the built-in features for issue distribution is discouraged. They are slow, inefficient, and not really tested. It is much better to just track issue repository as a normal directory in your Git repository.

Issue is designed as a distributed system, with a pull method for data distribution. A peer must explicitly pull the data and cannot push it. Currently, Issue can use only SSH for issue distribution.

Remote nodes are managed with remote command:

  • issue remote set --url <username>@<hostname>:<path> <remote-name> - to set a remote,
  • issue remote set --key <key-name> --value <data> <remote-name> - to set additional info for a remote,
  • issue remote ls [--verbose] - to list available remote names (include --verbose to display SSH URLs in the report),
  • issue remote rm <remote-name> - to remove a remote,

Before peers can fetch data from a node, it must pack its repository to announce what is available from it. Each node should maintain an up-to-date pack of itself. Pack is updated with issue --pack command.

Obtaining data from a node is simple:

  • issue fetch --probe <remote-name> - to probe a remote and display how much data it holds that is locally unavailable,
  • issue fetch <remote-name> - to fetch locally unavailable data,

Every node in the network operates as a peer to others, and there is no central one.


Configuration file is located in ~/.issueconfig.json. See sampleconfig.json for a minimal configuration file.

#Slug formats

      "slug.format.default": "@foo"
    , "slug.format.foo": "foo-issue-{short_uid}-{slug}"

To add format foo add a slug.format.foo key to your config. Keys available in the format string are:

  • short_uid: inserts short UID of the issue
  • parent_short_uid: inserts short UID of the parent issue
  • slug: inserts slug of the issue

#Prevent branching from non-master branches

    "slug.allow_branching_from": [ "master", "devel" ]

Use the slug.allow_branching_from configuration value to set the branches from which creating new branches is allowed. Issue will complain if you try to create a branch (using issue sl -B) from a branch not on this list.


Issue is published under the GNU GPL v3 license. Mail me if you would like to use the software under a different license.


Issue requires a recent version of Python 3 (any above 3.6 should be good).


  • CLAP: at least 0.10.1 (must be installed from Git)
  • unidecode: at least 1.0.23
  • colored: at least 1.3.93 (optional; provides colorisation)