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TZen: Community Powered Innovation with the PlanetAikon platform

planet-aikon-logoPlanetAikon is a forum that allows “community powered innovation”. It is a Pune-based startup which allows its members to “connect, collaborate and co-create”. It strives to be a unique innovation ecosystem bringing together a community of ideators, contributors and sponsors – in other words, it connects the guys with the bright ideas, the guys with the money, and the guys with skills and time to implement the idea.

This is the story of TZen, one of PlanetAikon’s success stories. It is written by Prateek Dubey and originally appeared on the PlanetAikon Blog, and is republished here with permission.

TZen – The Tool whose Time has Come

Hi- I am Prateek Dubey and I have a Story to share with You – The Story of Tzen

The Inspiration and the Rationale

It all started when Zensar Technologies Testing Center of Excellence decided about 2 yrs ago to develop a test tool which will be used for Manual Testing for Projects in Zensar and to encourage use of Test Tools among associates. Add to that the prohibitive cost of branded Testing tools and the Training & Upgrade costs associated with it were the significant business drivers which strengthened our resolve to build such a tool.

Zensar Technologies Limited
Image via Wikipedia

We developed our first Test Tool prototype which was a Test Management Layer over an Opensource Defect Management Tool called “Bugzilla”, which was based on technologies like CGI, perl and mysql.

We soon realized that our prototype was not going to fulfil the future requirements of Test Management, as CGI was slow and handling large data in an efficient way was a challenge. This was the time when we started a new prototype which was based on new AJAX Technology. An article about a newly introduced web services concept called REST sparked further ideas. After a month of design and re-design we finally had a draft design ready. We chose php for implementing our web services to support the development of a quick, easy to understand and highly responsive tool. We wanted this application to be a full-fledged WebTop Application, keeping in mind that we were designing it for the future. We came up with a prototype which was named “TZen” by our project manager Vishal Wani. Vishal encouraged us to do a Demo of our Prototype to some internal projects. The Demo was an instant hit as nobody had ever seen a Web Application which loaded only once and then ran on the browser as a Desktop Application.

With Vishal’s and Testing Practice Head Prem Apte’s continued support, we started development of our product with help from Testing Community in Zensar. As we developed TZen further we were facing serious technology challenges as “Ajax” was a new technology and we were at par with rest of the world in exploration of the same. Thus, every time we ran into an issue we had to resolve it mostly by ourselves. We were also using Technologies like Yahoo UI library and Dojo, it took us around 6 months to come up with a first fully functional TZen prototype. We deployed it at various projects and got a lot of feedback on our implementation, TZen was still very basic in functionality and we still had a lot of work to be done. During this time we had a lot of organizational changes in team and finally we were left as a 2 member team from a 4 member team.

Reinventing TZen with Community Powered Innovation

TZen went slow for about 6 months until recently when it got revived by a Zensar Opensource Innovation initiative with the help of Planetaikon Platform. We started with significant doubts about what we could achieve through an Open Community involvement. But with support of NASSCOM (under their Innovation Initiatives) and the leadership at Zensar we soon found ourselves inundated by requests from individuals from other companies to join this initiative.

  1. We had the usual initial teething issues as folks were adapting to working on a on-line collaborative co-creation platform (as against meeting face-to-face or the “business-as-usual” of e-mail exchanges).
  2. We got a lot of feedback from participants which led us to shortlist 27 (twenty seven) new features to the existing version of our tool.
  3. Those who contributed did so because of their passion to create something and did so in after-office hours and on weekends. In approximately 5 months time we were able to come up with our Release 1.1 with those 27 additional features which we have again contributed back to the community.
  4. Our Vision is to develop TZen into the most successful Opensource Test Management Platform. Our Team size has now grown to 66 (Sixty Six)!
  5. TZen is designed ground up to be Opensource and Agile development compliant product. It can be developed quickly and tested easily. This was recently re-integrated when a small set of students with only a few days of TZen exposure, created a “Commenting System” for TZen , which is going to be featured in the next TZen release again a validation of the value that communities can provide

TZen – A Snapshot

TZen provides most features that a Test Management Tools must have. These include:

  • Requirement Management
  • Test Plan Management
  • Test Case Management
  • Test Execution Management
  • Defect Management (integrated with Mantis)
  • Reports and Exports at various levels

The Road Ahead

As we progress, we look forward to the community to help us take this product to new heights. Some of the features we plan to include are

  • Extensive graph and Chart support
  • Flexible Imports
  • Custom Fields
  • Server pull services and more….

TZen has got a lot of business, technical and innovation opportunity ready to be explored and taken forward, improvements at every level are in progress.

We are now throwing open another call to professionals who are keen to participate in taking TZen to its next high. We are looking for Php 5 developers, Testing Domain Experts, Usability Domain Professionals and Testers.

Come add to our adrenalin and let us show the world how the audacity of Ideas can be supported by the passion of communities.

Join us @TZen on Planetaikon. We are counting on YOU.

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Comments

4 responses to TZen: Community Powered Innovation with the PlanetAikon platform

  1. Lavanya says:

    Hi Prateek and the entire TZen open source community – am so proud of the progress you guys have made.

    Open is the way – i am quite convinced.

    Hope the team wont stop at this – and brings out many more upgrades of this and also creates other superior innovations through communities.

  2. nandita says:

    Wow,

    This is something refreshingly new concept…there are so many sites talk about Ideas and Innovation but no such application or site which have execution facility.

    Thank you PuneTech for this article.

    Nandita

  3. Bugzilla should not be run as CGI, but as mod_perl (mod_perl is similar to mod_php, but it is more powerful) – it is much faster this way.

  4. Thanks Alexander for your input..
    I would be glad if you join the Tzen Community at Planetaikon.com..
    I have inmplemented some 2-3 UI level javascript features for Tzen.. using YUI 2.6 library.. Like tree node right click menu, Richtext editor, list drag drop, Calender.

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