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Mozilla Calls on User Community Today for Testing 80

lisah writes "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. The Mozilla Calendar Team has proclaimed today as Test Case Writing Day and users worldwide are encouraged to participate. Mozilla developer Clint Talbert tells NewsForge that today's event is a pre-cursor to the Calendar Test Day Mozilla will hold later this month prior to the final release of version 0.3."
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Mozilla Calls on User Community Today for Testing

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  • Profit! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:19PM (#15868306) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: "There will be a reward for the two people who write the most test cases. They will each receive a $25 gift certificate to the mozilla store.

    I like the idea of having the users contribute like this. Something that I really like about Mozilla is the fact that its users are given a big voice. Not all OSS asks for so much input from non-coding users. I always look forward to new releases, too, as the organization seems to wait to release instead of rushing crap.

    • 1. Use Mozilla
      2. Write Test Cases
      3. ???
      4. Profit!!!

      I finally know what the ??? is!!!
    • Re:Profit! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LS ( 57954 )
      As someone who's worked as a quality engineer for years, a good QA engineer gets paid something close to a good software engineer. I currently work as a software engineer, and I can honestly say that in some ways testing software is much more difficult than writing it. With the amount of money the Mozilla foundation brings in, putting aside a microscopic $50 as a prize for quality assurance is a bit of a joke. How about something a little more meaty guys?
    • Sweet, how many copies of Mozilla could I buy with that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:30PM (#15868397)
    I know it's only alpha so I shouldn't complain, but every time they release a new version, I have to enter all my dates again because they've changed the storage format again. I don't suppose this time will be any diferent. I've got a lot of history that I don't want to lose. I think I'll stick with v2 until they relese 1.0.
  • by Kunta Kinte ( 323399 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:33PM (#15868427) Journal

    Lightning supports CalDAV [] for sharing calendar information. Apple announced yesterday that Leopard iCal Server and the iCal application will both talk CalDAV, they released the server at []. Bedework [] is making a lot of progress as an institutional calendar server.

    Oracle has a CalDAV stack. IBM has some stuff in the works as well.

    It looks like exchange will have a fight on its hands very soon.

    I've been helping on a CalDAV plugin for Outlook called Open Connector [], which allows Outlook to take to CalDAV servers like Apple's and Bedework. We always need help, if you have a lot of experience developing COM apps in C++, come help out.

    • Will Open Connector allow for synchronisation as well or will it only provide import/export? i.e. can I synchronise my work calender (which uses Outlook/Exchange) to a second server and sync that one with my own PC/phone/PDA/whatever?
      • Will Open Connector allow for synchronisation as well or will it only provide import/export?

        It does allow you to view/modify events on a CalDAV server in Outlook as if it were on an Exchange server.

        i.e. can I synchronise my work calender (which uses Outlook/Exchange) to a second server and sync that one with my own PC/phone/PDA/whatever?

        That's the plan, though things are buggy still. We haven't completed sharing, though individual calendars work.

        The connector is different from import/export filters

        • Sorry, offtopic but I am just curious:

          If Open Connector replaces the local message store and transport layers, will it also make it impossible to use Exchange and CalDAV server alternately? In order to achieve synchronisation between calendars on an exchange server and calendars on a CalDAV server, something has to support both at the same time or at least alternately. (I am not experienced with Lotus, so I don't know how this stuff works there).

          Or is the own implementation still supporting Exchange as well
          • If your goal is simply to replicate data from an Exchange server in a CalDAV server, I can't help but think it'd make more sense to simply provide a proxy that talks CalDAV on one end and Exchange on the other end and translates the data direct from the source. Certainly less troublesome than constant two-way syncing, especially if that syncing is done on the client.

            • True if you are a network administrator. However, I am not. I can install plugins but I doubt I can get another connection to the Exchange server than the company provided Outlook.

              I agree that your option would be ideal if I could get it set up properly...
              • To fast on the submit button:

                I do not only wish to replicate one way, I need the two to be sync'ed. So a entry made at a client should appear at the secretary and an appointment made by the secretary should appear on my pda/phone
    • I've been using the Outlook 2003 remote calendars [] plugin which is effective in allowing you to share your calendar on Outlook with Thunderbird / Evolution etc.
  • by Yuioup ( 452151 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:43PM (#15868499)
    Is Mozilla going to incorporate automated testing into the project?

  • by jhfry ( 829244 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:46PM (#15868519)
    Who better to test something then those who will use it. Now of course there are betas and automatic reporting that also help... but there is nothing like the developers asking their users for feedback in a very humble way like this.

    It's their way of saying, our software is probably full of holes but with your help we can make it better.

    MS tried that with XP and their error reporting feature. From what I understand, their success was amazing with that tool... however I never felt someone say that they felt appreciated for submiting their error reports.

    Gotta love companies who realize that it's the users not the software that make their product great. Give users what they want, make them feel like they are appreciated, and most of all respect them; keys to any truely great software (or any other product for that matter). Now if only we could get the RIAA and the rest of the media companies bent on making fair use mean fairly usable to understand what customers want.
  • by XanC ( 644172 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:47PM (#15868531) test Firefox for massive memory leaks and general instability on Linux?
  • My test case... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 ( 10537 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:52PM (#15868568) Homepage
    Use and more specificly write _valid_ RFC 2445 compliant (aka iCal) files. Last I checked, Sunbird kinda made up it's own almost-close format, making it's own little walled garden.

    And didn't they ditch iCal support in .3 in favor of their own custom format someone decided was cooler? Some of us actually use and crosslink the files from our calendar program, phpicalendar, email etc, and this was a rather fatal mistake by the Mozillians that made it useless.

    Good thing every other mail/calendaring program on the planet now supports the format, correctly usually, and stores things in it. I'm afraid in this case the open source solution is light years behind Apple (no surprise) and even Microsoft (they arent even trying).
    • Sunbird and Lightning never ditched the iCal support (.ics files) in favor of a custom format.

      What they did, was to change the internal storage format from .ics to a SQLite SQL database (which is Open Source of course) for performance reasons since .ics files were never meant for local storage purposes.
      Before the switch to SQLite Sunbird/Lightning would become awfully slow or even unusable with larger .ics files (files with a few hundred events and/or tasks). Since a lot of users complained about this, the
      • Re:My test case... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by littlematt ( 225419 )
        > Sunbird and Lightning never ditched the iCal support (.ics files) in favor of a custom format.
        True. Go to File > Export... and look! It's trying to save as an .ics file!

        > What they did, was to change the internal storage format from .ics to a SQLite...database...for performance reasons...
        Performance wasn't the only reason for the switch. In fact, in some particular situations, the SQLite backend is actually slower than 0.2's .ics backend. However when manipulating files with hundreds or thousands
  • Sounds like a job for a business analyst, IMO.
    • Who better to write test cases than the people using it? Having an analyst go in and test certain cases which they feel are important is not going to take the perspective of the average user. By welcoming the input of a wide variety of skill levels, they can learn how to better tailor the Mozilla products to a broad user base, not what a business analyst comes up with. The reason MBA's are seen as so necessary is because they come up with tasks that make them look necessary. Cut out the BS, and just go
  • Not so interested (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogie ( 31020 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @03:11PM (#15868707) Journal
    IMHO the ship has passed and everyone who was interested in a calendaring solution from Mozilla moved on to something else years ago because they got tired of waiting. The project has just sat for too long without gaining any traction. Vista's calendar will end up taking over for Windows users and I don't see many Ical users jumping ship. Of course *nix users have several of these programs to choose from. Business users will continue to stick with Outlook. I've been a Moz booster for many years now but I simply just can't get excited about this project.
    • Re:Not so interested (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SilentTristero ( 99253 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @04:13PM (#15869234)
      > Business users will continue to stick with Outlook

      Don't be so sure. We're a small mostly-Windows shop (Win/Linux/Mac for developers, Windows for the admin/sales/mktg folks) and we have no M$ servers. Linux-based mail/dns/fileserver infrastructure. Everyone uses Tbird/Ffox, no IE. Outlook doesn't really play well into that kind of environment; so we REALLY need shareable calendars. Right now Chandler & Sunbird aren't far enough along for real business use (at least not a couple of months ago); even event notification was unreliable in Sunbird. iCal is OK but Mac-only. Vista for us is a far-off upgrade.

      So at least some of us are very interested in recent Chandler and Sunbird progress.
      • Yup, I agree. I couldn't guess the size of this market, but definitely small businesses and orgs who have gone the FF/Tbird on Windows desktops and Linux-for-servers route could really use such a solution -- Vista is definitely a long way off for a lot of small businesses.
      • We had a similar issue. We are a small organization, 15 workstations plus a few Mac and Linux machines. There is one Windows server, but its hardly used for anything. We use Scalix [] as an exchange replacement, and it works really well for us (especially since we can use the community edition because of the number of users). I would suggest you atleast give it a look, it has calendaring, shared folders, free busy, delegation, etc -- plus, its based on many open source tools that you might be familiar with
  • I am skeptical... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rjstegbauer ( 845926 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @03:12PM (#15868716)
    Something tells me that users should not be writing test cases.

    I know I don't want my users doing that for my code.

    Besides, whatever happened to "Test First"?

    Enjoy, Randy.

  • Not me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @03:16PM (#15868754)
    Last time I tried a Sunbird supposedly beta release, it was so buggy that is just wasn't useable (at all). It would lose data, scramble it around, crash randomly, use 100% of my processor, etc. I was permanently scared away from Sunbird if that's what they called a beta. I would've loved to use Sunbird, but that was a long time ago, and we've since moved onto Outlook because we 1. were tired of waiting and 2. didn't have anything remotely useable in the meantime.
    • Sunbird is AFAIK still in alpha, which means it will break completely for some users, and most likely show bugs for all users. I've been running 0.3 alpha 1 & 2, and I'm impressed with the stability & usability of a product so far away from 1.0. Now if only they could use a non-binary format, so I can start CVS-ing my calendar...
  • build system (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @03:21PM (#15868796)
    I would like to get involved with Mozilla/Firefox and in a couple of cases have earnestly tried, checking out the gigantic repository, and reading up on XPCOM and trying out samples, but the checkout/build procedure is just so teeth gnashingly horrendous, I eventually just run away screaming. Some goes for OpenOffice.
  • Does it implement the email reminder? If so, PASSED!
  • IIRC, last time I tried to load my GooCal calendar into Sunbird, Sunbird went kinda' wonky. I believe it had something to do with all day events. That and/or the times shifted.

    I think it may have been Google's different interpretation of the iCal spec, like failing to put an end date on the event, but was something that could easily be detected and corrected for on the input side.

    It pretty much made me stick with just GooCal.
  • Sunbird/Lightning for Linux x86 have had a critical bug -- cannot click on 'recipients' field. Retested with last nights builds, bug still there. The product is basically useless with this bug.

    Similarly, current Xulrunner 1.9 nightly builds run very slow -- need to revert to the version from Sept. 2005. Xulrunner is relevant because to help with Sunbird you need to know XUL. Learning XUL, you cannot even find a "Hello World" program to get started, instead the tutorials at try to wow you w

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