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Geertjan's Blog

  • September 2, 2011

Life = Give & Take: Please join NetCAT 7.1!

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
Life is give and take. You've been using NetBeans IDE for a while now, maybe some years already. You've built up a lot of experiences and have a variety of opinions on the quality of the product. Maybe it's time for you to formalize your feedback and participate in the NetCAT program. 

What's the "NetCAT program"? Read the interview I did during the past week with one of my cool colleagues (they're all cool, of course, but some are cooler than others), Jiri Kovalsky:

Hi, Jirka, who are you and where do you fit in the NetBeans world?

My name is Jiří Kovalský and I am NetBeans Community Manager working at
Sun/Oracle since 2000. In this role I have a unique opportunity and also
responsibility to cooperate with active members of the NetBeans
community and in this way support its wider adoption.

As a member of the
NetBeans Quality Engineering team I am also responsible for the quality of
the NetBeans Debugger.

I live in Bohumín, Czech Republic, and work from home 4 days a week. I am
married and I have three kids and one wonderful wife.

What is NetCAT and what's it's history?

The NetCAT abbreviation stands for "NetBeans Community Acceptance Testing"
which is just a fancy name for the NetBeans Beta testing program.

Its
purpose is to gather volunteers from the NetBeans community who then
actively test NetBeans development builds and provide timely feedback
about the quality and performance throughout the stabilization phase.

NetCAT
typically takes 3 months and around 100 participants join. Since its
first run, in 2004. NetCAT became very popular and it's now an essential part
of NetBeans releases.

To date, almost 800 volunteers participated in this
Beta testing. In 2008 the GlassFish project copied NetCAT's basics and
created its own clone called FishCAT. :)

What are the highlights for you of NetCAT?

The most recent thing that impressed me was the concept of "tribes". In NetCAT
7.0, we tried to divide all participants into small teams (which we call "tribes") around
particular features. These teams then took part in real certification processes
of milestone builds, including the final release itself!

They were given official test
specifications and, after their testing, they delivered test reports and
decided if the feature was ready (Go) or not ready (NoGo) for the release.
This was a huge help for us, especially in times when QE team was strongly understaffed.

I was extremely impressed by the professionalism and amount of work that was contributed
and it proved that the tribes approach paid off.

What kind of people are you looking for, when, what are the deadlines for the NetCAT program for NetBeans IDE 7.1?

First of all, we are looking for volunteers who can spare at least a few
hours weekly to stay active from September through November 2011.

Secondly, the volunteers should be programmers (primarily Java, PHP, or
C) with at least an intermediate level of knowledge. No other special skills are
necessary, not even experience with NetBeans IDE! :)

When I ask the most productive NetCAT participants what their motivation for participation was, the
typical answer I got was:

  • "To make the IDE I depend on even better"
  • "To give something back to my favorite tool which is free"
  • "To learn something new!"

So if your attitude is similar, please join
NetCAT 7.1
!

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