In this article I relay my experiences of testing the NetBeans 7.4 IDE.
In preparation for the upcoming release of NetBeans 7.4, they need to verify that their software has been properly tested in order to make sure that any new features are correctly implemented, old bugs have been properly fixed and any new bugs have not been unintentionally introduced.
It is almost impossible to catch and fix all bugs before a software is released, and not everything will have been thoroughly tested in time for its final release.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have a good test plan for your product in order to get as efficient use of the time leading up to the release deadline and make sure that everything that can be tested is tested and is tested properly.
One of the dangers when testing a software and fixing bugs is when someone tries too hard to find and fix any and all bugs and ends up not solving any of them properly, this might be because of an overwhelming number of bugs that will be too many to solve all at once or because of not having dedicated quite enough time to any of the fixes so that it can be properly implemented.
A good way to avoid falling into this scenario is to make a test plan. A test plan is a document that details a systematic approach to testing a piece of software, it is divided into all the areas of a software that will be tested, with detailed test specifications for each one.
The test specification is written for a particular scenario that needs testing and it describes how it will be tested, it also highlights useful information such as any resources that are required for the scenario being tested, what steps to take to properly test it, what results are expected at the conclusion of every test and a way to measure whether a particular test has failed or passed.
For this purpose, NetBeans have designed a well designed test plan with a clear layout that shows which features in their product is being tested, which area of their product those features belong to and on which operating system a particular test will be tested on.
It details any features that have already been tested, by who, any notes relating to whether the test passed or not and is color coded to make it easy to get any needed information at a glance.
Their test specifications are equally detailed with information on who the owner of the test plan is, when it was last updated, what resources or projects are used in the test spec, has highlighting on various important parts for quick reading (e.g. expected results) and it is broken down into small manageable sections or “Test Suites” to test slightly different areas of a feature.
This has made it very simple to join in and take part in the testing for NetBeans 7.4. All you have to do is make sure you have the latest nightly edition of NetBeans with all the latest bug fixes, pick a test specification that hasn’t yet been tested on your OS, and just read through all the steps and follow each one, then simply compare the results attained against the results that are expected on the test spec and see if the test passes.
One of the great things about testing the NetBeans IDE is that you tend to come across many features that you never knew existed, a lot of the times when working with IDEs you spend little time getting to know the IDE past knowing the basics and just using it to get on with your own projects. However, all of these useful features that you may not spend the time to experiment with need to be tested, and taking part in the testing makes you aware of a lot of these features and gives you an understanding of how to make use of them. For example, did you know you can do a rectangular selection of your code on NetBeans?
At IDR Solutions, we also need to test our products before we release them; taking part in the testing of NetBeans can be really useful as it demonstrates how another software company does their testing and how helpful and effective and efficient testing plan can be for speeding up testing while ensuring that all things are properly tested.
Finally, having taken part in the testing means that my name is among the list of testers for NetBeans and I can be added to their NetCAT mailing list, this recognizes my efforts as a tester for NetBeans and privileges me to information relating to the testing of features of NetBeans 7.4 and any future releases.
What kind of experiences have you had with testing? Would you like to share your experience in testing your products? Let us know!
This post is part of our “Testing Articles Index” in these articles we provide a guide to Testing.