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Frequently Asked Questions about NetCAT

What is the basic purpose of NetCAT?

Simply put, the goal of this program is to get active Apache NetBeans community members involved in testing the Apache NetBeans IDE development builds. Participants will provide feedback on product usability, quality and performance. In return, these volunteers are given an opportunity to significantly influence the quality of the Apache NetBeans IDE. It is important to stress though that the NetCAT program is about quality acceptance and not about feature design.

This program is the successor of NetCAT program, which was formerly run by Oracle Inc.

How can I participate in NetCAT?

If you have experience with software development and would like to help NetBeans become the best IDE, simply fill out the registration form and also subscribe to netcat@netbeans.incubator.apache.org mailing list after submission of the registration form via Subscribe button. If you are interested in our previous discussions, browse through the web archive of the NetCAT mailing list.

Can you describe my responsibilities if I join NetCAT?

As a member of the NetCAT team you will be expected to provide us with feedback on the two functional areas you chose to focus on. Though it is perfectly acceptable to only evaluate milestone builds, we would truly appreciate it if you used and tested the daily development builds.

The main communication channels are JIRA and netcat@netbeans.incubator.apache.org mailing list, your input may also be requested via additional surveys or online IRC meetings during NetCAT program. At the end of the program, you will be asked to submit a Community Acceptance (CA) survey in which you can express your opinion as to whether or not the new main features are ready for release.

What are NetCAT tribes?

NetCAT Tribe is a group of NetCAT participants focusing primarily on testing one particular functionality area such as Debugger, PHP or Maven. Tribe members review and keep up-to-date test specifications for their functionality area, then perform full or sanity testing and eventually provide either Go or NoGo recommendation according to a fixed schedule.

If I become NetCAT tribe leader, what will my tasks be?

The most important time for a tribe leader is when NetCAT enters the full testing phase of the new version. S/he should consider the strengths amongst his/her tribe members and distribute the functionality to be tested accordingly among those tribe members who agree to the full testing. The full testing takes several weeks. During that period tribe leader should check progress with individual members, keep them motivated until the end of the full testing, help them resolve potential issues along this struggle and communicate with NetCAT coordinator, particularly when obstacles arise. This coordination could take an hour or two every week.

Tribe leaders should perform tasks similar to the above during certifications of milestone builds (Beta, Release Candidate build, Final Release build). However, these certification periods are each just a few days long.

Additionally, it is much appreciated if tribe leaders organize a review of the test specifications their tribe will use and together try to update these if time permits before Beta.

Can I become the NetCAT coordinator?

Yes. We are actually looking for leaders who are willing to help coordinate NetCAT programs. As the NetCAT coordinator you will be responsible for:

  • monitoring progress of development and preparing NetCAT schedule
  • updating NetCAT web content mainly prior to start of the program
  • sending an invite message and promoting the program to assemble enough NetCAT participants
  • forming NetCAT tribes, finding their leaders and supporting them throughout the program
  • maintaining Synergy (users, tribes and test runs) to have development builds fully tested and Release Candidate build certified
  • watching quality status and progress of stabilization through JIRA bug dashboard and discussions on NetCAT mailing list
  • if needed encouraging higher participation in the program by writing weekly status reports, organizing online meetings, creating online surveys etc.
  • creating final Community Acceptance survey, processing and publishing its results
  • helping get the approval from necessary Apache NetBeans stakeholders for the release
  • closing the program by creating satisfaction survey among NetCAT participants, evaluating their activity and announcing the best contributors

If you feel you could do the tasks above and you can afford dedicating between 2 and 5 hours weekly to NetCAT coordination, please let us know!

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