From Bioinformatics.Org Wiki
The BIRCH Testers group is a group of BIRCH users who volunteer to test new and existing features of BIRCH, and to provide feedback to help improve the BIRCH system. Feedback includes:
- BIRCH Development versions as well as the current stable release
- Bugs identified
- New features suggested
- 3rd party applications to be incorporated into BIRCH
- suggestons to improve the user experience
What is involved?
- As new features are added to BIRCH or bugs fixed, BIRCH needs to be tested
- Testers will test new features or bug fixes in either of two ways:
- On their own computers (MacOSX or Linux only). We are especially interested having a number of MacOSX testers, since there are often surprising differences from one Mac to another.
- By using a BIRCH test system on the campus CCL or other platform.
- How often? - Requests for testing will go out to the group as needed. Sometimes weeks will go by with no requests. Other times, there may be several requests sent out within a 2 or 3 week period.
This should not involve a large time commitment. Fixes and new features will only be announced to Testers after some internal testing to make sure they appear to work. If we have a large enough group of Testers, then even if some testers simply don't have the time that week to test a given feature, there will be enough who are available to do the test, in any given week.
The testing process will probably go something like the:
- New feature or fix is announced by email
- New Development version of BIRCH is available on CCL system, or for download
- Testers go through test protocol. This may be a simple set of instructions, or something more elaborate, in the style of a BIRCH tutorial.
- Testers reply by email with results of the test and comments. It is critical that results be explained as precisely as possible, with enough detail to describe the result unambiguously. Where useful, testers should attach screen shots, system messages or output files to document results.
Who we're looking for
At present, this program is limited to students and staff at the University of Manitoba, but it may be expanded to BIRCH users elsewhere as we gain experience in the program.
In particular, we would welcome students already familiar with BIRCH, such as those who have taken the following courses:
- PLNT2530 Plant Biotechnology
- PLNT3140 Introductory Cytogenetics
- PLNT4610 Bioinformatics
Currently, BIRCH supports only MacOSX and Linux, so participation is limited to users of those systems.
What's in it for me?
- The opportunity to learn some of the practices of bioinformatics software development
- More experience using bioinformatics software
- The opportunity to influence the development of bioinformatics software to solve the problems in which you are interested.
- Letters of Reference describing your participation in the program. These could be for job applications, scholarship/fellowship applications, or when applying to graduate schools.