NetBeans 6.1 Umbrella Doc Plan



This plan is the umbrella plan for all Sun Information Product Group (IPG) staff members who are contributing to the NetBeans IDE 6.1 release. This doc contains information on general approach, key milestones, etc. Docs with more specific information on deliverables are linked from this plan.

Approach and Types of Deliverables

Our guiding principle is to focus most on the documents that help further product adoption (both in attracting new users and keeping them). We value impact and usability of documentation over completeness. We consider the following to have the highest impact (in rough order of impact):

  • Flash demos (both standalone and embedded in tutorials) that show the power of the IDE and provide practical instruction
  • Short introductory tutorials focused on basic IDE features to familiarize users with the general IDE workflow
  • Installation and upgrade instructions as well as notes on system requirements (Note: the shorter these documents are, the better. In particular, the Known Issues section of the release notes is very low impact)
  • Effective import guides
  • Effective inline text in the UI to orient users
  • Tutorials that demonstrate the workflow and well-annotated source code for creating common use-case applications (e.g. web apps tied to a database)
  • Context-sensitive help (accessed by pressing a Help button or F1) in JavaHelp format for complex and ambiguous parts of the UI
  • Procedural help in JavaHelp format

Overall Release Themes

This release is a minor release with a focus on performance and small new features.

We plan to provide new and update existing documentation to take into account new and changed features such as:

  • new JavaScript editing features
  • support for new Ruby/Rails standards
  • MySQL support
  • new web services standards
  • sharable project libraries
  • other features shown in NB61DocCoverage.

Special Doc Planning Considerations ("Doc Themes") for This Release


  • Fine-tuning of learning trails to clarify what docs are available and how they fit into the overall learning structure
  • Solidify tutorial conventions and apply them for better readability, searchability, and consistency (to create consistent user expectations)


  • Fill in gaps of standard docs that were not updated in time for 6.0
  • Move conceptual information (such as on programming technologies) from the online help to the web
  • Rework help to make it clearer what applies generally, what applies to Java, what applies to C/C++, what applies to Ruby, etc.
  • Continue optimize docs helping users to migrate from other environments
  • More aggressive use of text directly in the UI (with a focus on problematic/non-obvious UI)

Not Covered By This Plan

  • product information pages (such as those at www.netbeans.org/features/
  • tutorials, technical articles, and demos created by non-IPG teams (though IPG staff may provide some editorial assistance)
  • wiki.netbeans.org content (though some ad hoc work may be done by doc team members)
  • BluePrints
  • bundle release documentation
  • docs for DVD distributables


The Docs Team depends on:

  • UI stability after feature freeze - we need the UI to remain stable after feature freeze for us to deliver our docs to the l10n team on time. Where (the inevitable) late changes occur, they need to pass through higher resistance to make sure that various teams are directly informed about them.
  • Engineering and QE review of doc plans and doc deliveries. Such reviews provide valuable perspective and sometimes important factual corrections.
  • Web team to handle the staging of web docs, the pushing of the web docs to the live site, and troubleshooting when glitches in the web infrastructure occur

Others depending on the Docs team

  • Web team for timely staging and review of docs
  • L10n team for clear planning on docs to translate and on timely and complete handoffs. L10n planning page: PromotionHL10n

Doc Milestones (draft)

Doc milestones are set against the overall release milestones that are shown at NB61Milestones.

Note that the dates in this table will change if the milestones that they are tied to (e.g. beta 1 release) change.
Milestone Estimated Date Actual Date Notes
Feature Freeze Feb. 25, 2008 All requests to changes in inline text requested.
Help freeze/L10n hand-off 1 (Code freeze - 1 week) March 24, 2008 March 31, 2008 L10n picks up help from l10n kits
L10n hand-off 2 - tutorials, release doc drafts April 7, 2008 April 24, 2008 concurrent with branch being made for beta 2, most help sets final, some web docs handed off; L10n picks up docs from l10n kits
FCS, L10 Handoff 3 - release docs April 21, 2008 April 24, 2008 L10n picks up release notes and final docs tweaks

Doc Deliverables

  • In most cases, 6.0 tutorials will be slightly updated to work for both 6.0 and 6.1 (the URLs will stay the same). The changes in content will be minor (though some wording and HTML coding for things like TOC and required software sections will change)
  • There will be several new tutorials

See this link for list of all deliverables and handoff dates to the L10n team

See the following links for details on the various docs that are being delivered:


The Docs team for this release consists of 9.5 writers covering the following areas:

Coverage Area Number of Writers
Platform, base IDE tools, and Java IDE 3
Web applications, database, Java EE, and web services 3
Mobile applications 1
SOA Tooling (including XML) .5
Ruby IDE 1
Installer (Dev guide + installation instructions) .25
PHP .75

Much of the work of these writers will be spent on docs that will apply to both 6.0 and 6.1, especially where there are outstanding 6.0 documentation gaps.


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