Sunday, July 15, 2007

Software life cycle (Alpha & Beta Version)

              A software release is the distribution, whether public or private, of an initial or new and upgraded version of a computer software product. Each time a software program or system is changed, the programmers and company doing the work decide on how to distribute the program or system, or changes to that program or system.

            The software release life cycle is composed of different stages that describe the stability of a piece of software, such as Pre-alpha,alpha,beta,Release candidate,Gold

Origin of 'α' and 'ß'

            The term beta test applied to software comes from an early IBM hardware product test convention dating back to punched card tabulating and sorting machines. Hardware first went through an alpha test for preliminary functionality and small scale manufacturing feasibility. Then came a beta test to verify that it actually correctly performed the functions it was supposed to and could be manufactured at scales necessary for the market, and then a c test to verify safety. Beta tests were conducted by people or groups other than the developers. As other companies began developing software for their own use, and for distribution to others, the terminology stuck and now is part of our common vocabulary.


            pre-alpha release before alpha or beta, is not "feature complete". 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.


           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.


           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.

Release candidate

          The term release candidate refers to a version with potential to be a final product, ready to release unless fatal bugs emerge. In this stage, the product features all designed functionalities and no known showstopper class bugs. At this phase the product is usually code complete.

Gold or general availability release

          The gold or general availability release version is the final version of a particular product. It is typically almost identical to the final release candidate, with only last-minute bugs fixed. A gold release is considered to be very stable and relatively bug-free with a quality suitable for wide distribution and use by end users. In commercial software releases, this version may also be signed


1 comment:

fastfastlane said...

Great site Senthil!

Famed you and your blog on blogging to fame :-)

Keep up the good work!

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