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Alpha vs Beta Testing a New App

Critical issues and bugs are addressed and fixed immediately in Alpha Testing whereas issues and bugs are collected from the end users and further implemented in Beta Testing. Alpha testing is the first phase of validating whether a new product will perform as expected. During an Alpha test, internal staff try out the product and identify potential problems.

Alpha testing vs. beta testing

Feature flags also act as a kill switch so that you can gradually roll out features to users to test performance and if something goes wrong, you can just as easily roll it back or turn off the buggy feature. It is the first chance to test how the software will behave in real-world settings and observe how your end-users interact with it and what the user experience looks like. Up until that point, tests were focused on testing specific parts of the software but alpha testing, on the other hand, looks to see if the software as a whole functions correctly. Some software is kept in so-called perpetual beta, where new features are continually added to the software without establishing a final “stable” release. As the Internet has facilitated the rapid and inexpensive distribution of software, companies have begun to take a looser approach to the use of the word beta. This testing ensures that users will get a better experience while using the application.

What comes first, alpha or beta testing?

It is comparable to user acceptance testing, another kind of quality control. The main goal of Alpha test is to fine-tune a software product by uncovering and fixing faults that were not addressed during the initial phases of development. Better quality digital products yield significant business benefits over the long term. Beta testing with real users plays a role in achieving that goal, as users will catch functional or usability issues that elude in-house testers, designers and automation. Usually, we are referring to system testing done by your QA team. However, there are other forms of testing that are equally important to understand.

To put these two terms into context, once the development team has been given the green light by QA, the application or feature under development is sent to users for testing. Separate code deployments from feature releases to accelerate development cycles and mitigate risks. Beta testing is a way these managers can observe usage behavior and analytics to confirm that users are interacting with the product as expected. They may also run experiments and A/B tests of features to decide which one to choose for a general release. To be more specific, you may go for a closed or open beta test. In an open test, anyone can use the product but users are given a clear indication that the product is a beta version so they know that it’s still a work in progress.

Which one to choose: Alpha or Beta Testing?

Also, keep in mind that since the software is still in the development stage, alpha testing doesn’t provide in-depth testing of the functionality of the software. In other words, the main purpose of this test is to uncover any bugs or issues to resolve them before the final product is released to users. It helps ensure bug-free functionality by carrying out tasks that a typical user may perform. Alpha testing is typically run on internal users by the QA team to make sure that the software meets all expectations and is working as it should. Thus, it represents an opportunity to evaluate the performance and functionality of a product release as well as obtain feedback from technical users. Beta testing helps you to take feedback from your end and real-time users.

Many software companies use beta testing to find out if a new feature will be popular with users. A good example is Apple, who preview new iOS features in their beta program. Many of these features make it to the new release, but some don’t, and others may get delayed to a future minor release. Other companies may choose to do A/B testing of features before deciding which to choose in the final release. Alpha testing is an essential step in the product release process, although one that is sometimes bypassed in favor of moving directly to beta testing. Meanwhile, open beta testing is completely accessible by members of the public.

Automation Testing Cloud

Testers will typically log issues in a bug tracking platform or communicate them directly to the development leads. The release cannot exit alpha testing until all major issues have been resolved and the product reaches “feature lock” where no additional functionality may be added. Alpha tests can also be conducted using both “white alpha test definition box” and “black box” methods. All final critical bugs are fixed and your users or clients are overall really happy with the outcome of your project. Beta testing is the second phase of user acceptance testing for customer validation. It comes after the alpha phase when the platform is considered approximately 80-90% complete.

Prior to beta testing, software testing techniques largely occur in testing or staging environments. While you can catch key defects in these environments, you won’t catch them all. Complete beta testing requires testing software on as many combinations of devices, OSes, browsers and platforms as possible. In software testing, testers typically evaluate a product against a set of internal documentation and customer flows. Alpha testing can be a very long and tedious process because it should test all combinations of user flows. This is because it is about real users checking and accepting that the software does what it should.

Beta testing explained in three sentences

Alpha and beta testing is one of the most critical phases of software development and can get pretty hectic. That’s why many SaaS teams use AI-assisted bug resolution platforms like Bugpilot, for precise information to address user-facing bugs quickly and get the software in shape for a live setting. A feature flag is a software development tool that helps decouple deployment from release, giving you full control over the release process. With feature flags, you can perform beta tests by enabling features for certain users and turning them off for everyone else. Some software products (e.g. Linux distributions) also have long term support releases which are based on full releases that have already been tried and tested and receive only security updates.

Alpha testing vs. beta testing

A feature complete version of a piece of software has all of its planned or primary features implemented but is not yet final due to bugs, performance or stability issues. In this blog, we are going to discuss the two important types of testing, Alpha and Beta testing that comes under User Acceptance testing. Both the testings are done on already tested products to get the real flavor of how the particular product will be used by real users. These two testings are based on the feedback of real users and different teams and it is achieved through different functionalities and techniques. In the first phase, software developers, performing white box testing, catch bugs or issues using specific debugging tools or software. That means not only does it check the system’s internal structure or design but also ensures input and output functionality.

Shift Left Testing with -BDD

It helps to detect designing and functionality errors at an early stage. Developers can spend 1-3 weeks on beta testing depending on the size of the app. The typical duration of a Beta Test will vary depending on its objectives. It is an opportunity to hand over the application to a few users before handing it over to the general public.

  • These two check forms together enhance a product’s performance and lifespan.
  • It is the final test before shipping a product to the customers.
  • Beta testing is performed after the successful conduction of alpha testing.
  • Reliability and security testing are typically conducted during beta testing versus alpha testing because a stage/lab setting is not suitable for those environmental tests.
  • In some instances, organizations might conduct individual outreach to find users that match a particular description.
  • If a user goes to the trouble to participate in a beta testing program, it is often because they care about the product and/or the brand on a deep level — in other words, a brand champion.

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