August 8, 2006

Mozilla calls on user community today for testing

Author: Lisa Hoover

As Mozilla prepares to release updates for its calendar applications Sunbird and Lightning, project developers are calling on the user community to participate in the final stages of testing. Mozilla has proclaimed today as Test Case Writing Day, and users worldwide are encouraged to participate.

Participants may submit test cases on any aspect of either program, from scheduling and printing to searching and device syncing. Previous test case writing experience is not required, and at least three team leaders will be available on the #calendar-qa channel on irc.mozilla.org throughout the day to answer questions.

All data will be collected on the Mozilla wiki and, to sweeten the pot, Mozilla is offering $25 gift certificates to its online store to the two people who submit the highest number of test cases.

The Test Case Writing Day effort has been spearheaded by Clint Talbert, a developer with Mozilla and employee of Simdesk Technologies, a company that provides on-demand computing services. "I have been developing code with [Mozilla] since the beginning of the year, and in April I volunteered to help organize the Calendar QA effort, since I also have QA experience," says Talbert.

Talbert says he expects between five and 15 participants to write test cases today, but that number may fluctuate as the day progresses. Talbert would like to collect about 40 cases by day's end, two for each category being tested in the current product. "Of course, people will work on the pieces that they are interested in," he says, "so, we'll see."

Developers will use the data collected today to test the 0.3 version of Sunbird and Lightning with Litmus, Mozilla's Web-based test case tracking tool. Originally created as a replacement for TestRunner, Litmus has been used to test versions of Thunderbird and Firefox, but the tests run for Mozilla's calendar applications will be a first.

Talbert says it will take one or two days to compile the data received during today's test case write-a-thon. "I created the test template so that it would easily copy/paste into Litmus; however, I'm going to have to edit several of the test cases as I import them."

Final release of version 0.3 is expected by the end of August, so project developers will hold the first ever Calendar Test Day on August 22. Talbert says it will be "just like the Firefox and Thunderbird test days," when the user community is invited to help Mozilla find bugs and test the upgrade process prior to final version release. Talbert invites people interested in being a part of Calendar Test Day to watch for future announcements at the Calendar QA home page.

Sunbird is a cross-platform standalone application that brings basic calendar functions to the desktop while Lightning is an extension for use directly in Mozilla's Thunderbird email application. Though both applications share some of the same code, Sunbird and Lightning are developed independently of each other.

Talbert says there are about 10 regular contributors to the projects but many more who offer their help on a more sporadic basis. "On any given day, I'd say we average about 20 people logged in to our #calendar developer forum [on IRC].

Project developers consider this release to be a completion of the overhaul and rewrite that was begun on the heels of the last release. Sunbird 0.3 offers several new features, including drag and drop support on all views, improved preference dialogs, and better printing capabilities. The new version of Lightning will include a foundation of iTIP/iMIP support, "go to date" functionality, and horizontal and vertical rotatable views.

Once version 0.3 is released, Talbert says the development team is looking ahead to 0.5. "We're committed to driving the calendar project to its release."

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