NetBeans Community Docs Program Reaches Milestone:
200 Contributions (and Counting!)

There are a lot of people in the community who really want to help others learn.

An important milestone for the NetBeans Community Docs program was reached on August 7, 2008 when it received its 200th contribution. The program, managed by NetBeans documentation writer and blogger James Branam, has managed to attract more than 80 NetBeans users and enthusiasts to provide tutorials, screencasts, and other learning materials for the purpose of helping to inspire and support the NetBeans user community. Says Branam, You might say it's documentation by the community for the community.

James Branam

James Branam manages the NetBeans
Community Docs Program

The Community Docs program started a year and a half ago and has grown tremendously. Response to the program has been nothing less than overwhelming, says Branam. There are a lot of people in the community who really want to help others learn.

In addtion to the tutorials and screencasts mentioned above, contributors also provide FAQs and technical articles, as well as tips and tricks for use by other community members. It also serves as a resource for documentation on the official netbeans.org web site, where contributions from the program have been included in the learning trails. In some cases, community-contributed docs have been turned into official NetBeans documentation.

With (at last count) 82 active contributors, some have obviously contributed more than once, and one person has contributed more than ten times. The rate of returning contributors indicates that contributors are satisfied by the way their contributions are being showcased to the rest of the community, says Branam, who has managed the program since its inception.

Upward Trend in Community Participation

It is our job to ensure that each contributor gets the proper recognition for their contribution.

In addition to maintaining the program, Branam pores over NetBeans user blogs and similar sites, taking note of entries that might qualify as contributions to the pool of NetBeans knowlege. He often solicits these users to contribute their know-how to the program by submitting an article. He also works closely with Varun Nischal, the contribution coordinator, and Amit Kumar Saha, the content manager for the program. Both assist Branam in maintaining the level of content quality in submitted documentation.

Both Saha (who has recently been employed by Sun Microsystems) and Nischal blog regularly. Nischal has been particularly active as contributor, also re-designing the wiki page and the archives. In addition, he is the most frequent blogger about the program, according to Branam.

It is our job to ensure that each contributor gets the proper recognition for their contribution. Branam adds, My colleagues Amit and Varun have been very important in sustaining the momentum of the program.

NetBeans Community Dox Contributions Upward Trend

That the program has momentum is clear from the accompanying chart, showing a mostly consistent upward trend since the program began. If Branam's projections hold true, August will mark the program's second record month in a row. (At the time of this writing, Community Docs had already received its 208th contribution.)

In addition, the program has just launched an official weekly newsletter. It serves to highlight the most recent contributed docs, presents the topmost contributor of the week, and reports news of interest to the docs community. Any articles that are provided by Dream Team members are pointed out, and one item is chosen for special mention in the Spotlight of the Week.

In addition, the program currently has its own blog, mailing list, and wiki (see Further Reading below). Plans are being made for a NetBeans plugin to aid in the formatting and creation of various kinds docs to help contributors to the program achieve a certain level of quality and consistency. Also, plans are being laid for an evangelism program aimed at encouraging even more contributions.

Further Reading

NetBeans Community Docs Wiki
NetBeans Community Docs Blog
Docs Archive
James Branam's Blog
NetBeans Community Docs Newsletter
NetBeans Community Docs Newsletter Subscribe
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