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Thread: software release stages

  1. #1

    software release stages

    Sometimes a build known as pre-alpha is issued, before the release of an alpha or beta. In contrast to alpha and beta versions, the pre-alpha is not "feature complete". When it is used, it refers to all activities performed during the software project prior to software testing. These activities can include requirements analysis, software design, software development and unit testing.


    [edit] Alpha
    The alpha version of a product still awaits full testing of all its functionality and is not feature complete, but satisfies all the software requirements. As the first major stage in the release lifecycle, it is named after alpha, the first letter in the Greek alphabet. Alpha level software can be considered approximately 35% complete, and typically includes temporary material and multiple product-breaking issues.

    The alpha build of the software is the build delivered to the software testers, that is persons different from the programmers, but usually internal to the organization or community that develops the software. In a rush to market, more and more companies are engaging external customers or value-chain partners in their alpha testing phase. This allows more extensive usability testing during the alpha phase.

    In the first phase of testing, developers generally test the software using white box techniques. Additional validation is then performed using black box or grey box techniques, by another dedicated testing team, sometimes concurrently. Moving to black box testing inside the organization is known as alpha release.

    [edit] Beta
    A beta version is the first version released outside the organization or community that develops the software, for the purpose of evaluation or real-world black/grey-box testing. The process of delivering a beta version to the users is called beta release. Beta level software is between 60% and 70% complete, generally includes all features, but may also include known issues and bugs of a less serious variety.

    The users of a beta version are said beta testers. They are usually customers or prospective customers of the organization that develops the software. They receive the software for free or for a reduced price, but act as free testers.

    Beta versions test the supportability of the product, the go-to-market messaging (while recruiting Beta customers), the manufacturability of the product, and the overall channel flow or channel reach.

    Beta version software is likely to be useful for internal demonstrations and previews to select customers, but unstable and not yet ready for release. Some developers refer to this stage as a preview, a prototype, a technical preview (TP) or as an early access. As the second major stage in the release lifecycle, following the alpha stage, it is named after the Greek letter beta, the second letter in the Greek alphabet.

    Often this stage begins when the developers announce a feature freeze on the product, indicating that no more feature requirements will be accepted for this version of the product. Only software issues, or bugs and unimplemented features will be addressed.

    Beta versions stand at an intermediate step in the full development cycle. Developers release either a closed beta or an open beta; closed beta versions are released to a select group of individuals for a user test, while open betas are to a larger community group, usually the general public. The testers report any bugs that they found and sometimes minor features they would like to see in the final version.

    An example of a major public beta test was when Microsoft started releasing regular Windows Vista Community Technology Previews (CTP) to beta testers starting in January 2005. The first of these was build 5219. Subsequent CTPs introduced most of the planned features, as well as a number of changes to the user interface, based in large part on feedback from beta testers. Windows Vista was deemed feature complete with the release of build 5308 CTP, released on February 22, 2006, and much of the remainder of work between that build and the final release of the product focused on stability, performance, application and driver compatibility, and documentation.

    When a beta becomes available to the general public it is often widely used by the technologically savvy and those familiar with previous versions as though it were the finished product. Usually developers of freeware or open-source betas release them to the general public while proprietary betas go to a relatively small group of testers. Recipients of highly proprietary betas may have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. A release is called feature complete when the product team agrees that functional requirements of the system are met and no new features will be put into the release, but significant software bugs may still exist. Companies with a formal software process will tend to enter the beta period with a list of known bugs that must be fixed to exit the beta period, and some companies make this list available to customers and testers.

    As the Internet has allowed for rapid and inexpensive distribution of software, companies have begun to take a more flexible approach to use of the word "beta". Netscape Communications was infamous for releasing alpha level versions of its Netscape web browser as public beta releases. In February 2005, ZDNet published an article about the recent phenomenon of a beta version often staying for years and being used as if it were in production-level [1]. It noted that Gmail and Google News, for example, had been in beta for a long period of time and were not expected to drop the beta status despite the fact that they were widely used; however, Google News did leave beta in January 2006. This technique may also allow a developer to delay offering full support and/or responsibility for remaining issues. In the context of Web 2.0, people even talk of perpetual betas to signify that some software is meant to stay in beta state.

  2. #2
    good one
    gr8 info
    thank u

  3. #3
    good one
    gr8 info
    thank u

  4. #4
    ha thank u max
    a special thanx for ur encourage for evry post

  5. #5
    nice i read it already in my 2nd yr..BCA.

  6. #6
    oh its ok terminator i think u recolected the info once again


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