NetBeans 6 Umbrella Doc Plan



This plan is the umbrella plan for all IPG docs groups who are contributing to the NetBeans IDE 6.0 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 focused tutorials focused on basic IDE features that provide users quick successes
  • 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

Besides continuing to provide easy-to-use introductory docs and clear learning paths for all kinds of IDE users, we plan to provide docs to highlight the main release themes:

  • Java Editor (Project Retouche)
  • Sun Java tools consolidation
  • Scripting and Web 2.0

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


  • Consolidation of docs deliverables and processes in line with the consolidation of the packs into the main release
  • More aggressive use of text directly in the UI (with a focus on problematic/non-obvious UI)
  • Modified process with Localization (10n) team (such as a revised hand-off schedule) to streamline interaction with the l10n team and decrease lag time between English and ML release


  • 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

Not Covered By This Plan

  • product information pages (such as those at www.netbeans.org/products/
  • 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 CD/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

We are proposing the following doc milestones, which are oriented toward incremental release dates (e.g. betas, release candidates) and toward L10n handoffs. Here is the the main schedule: http://wiki.netbeans.org/wiki/view/NB6Schedule. 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 Notes
Feature Freeze June 15, 2007 All requests to changes in inline text requested.
Beta 1 - 14 days, Docs Handoff 1 Sept. 3, 2007 concurrent with branch being made for beta 1, mostly help being handed off, L10n picks up docs from l10n kits
Beta 2, Docs Handoff 2 Oct. 22, 2007 concurrent with branch being made for beta 2, most help sets final, some web docs handed off; L10n picks up docs from l10n kits
High Resistance, Docs Handoff 3 Nov. 12 final help sets handed off, most of the final web docs
FCS, Docs Handoff 4 Dec. 3, 2007 L10n picks up release notes and final docs tweaks

Doc Deliverables

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 XX writers covering the following areas

Coverage Area Number of Writers
Core IDE (including Profiler and Java EE support 3
Web applications (including visual web applications 4?
Mobile applications 2
SOA Tooling (including XML) 4
Installer (Dev guide + installation instructions) 1


# Category Risk Description P I E Trigger Risk Mitigation Approach Contingency Owner
8. Resource May need to pull Tools writers off of NB to cover other upcoming projects, such as JavaFX 0.4 0.5 0.2 Other projects are being spun up and the tools docs group is being asked to contribute documentation to sources other than nb.org and projects other than nb60. Try to get as much of netbeans 60 documented before these projects reach maturity, identify most important feature areas and document those first to make sure our key features are covered. Delay or cancel updating some existing tutorials for 60, focus less on online help, possibly give only minimum docs attention to non-essential features. John Jullion-Ceccarelli
9. Resources There is not enough domain knowledge about Ruby and Rails in the organization to provide top-class code samples and tutorials 0.8 0.5 0.4 We're building the tool, but not many of us have ever used the language. Need someone who is an expert to provide code samples and guidance for docs. Identify people in org that have experience and make sure they are staffed to it. Look for help from community. Reduced amount of docs Ruby docs. John Jullion-Ceccarelli.
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