Alpha, Beta Testing! What Are They?
The primary purpose of software testing is to detect failures, so that these defects may be corrected. Testing can only identify the stages at which it does not function properly. The scope of testing includes examination of the code and the execution of that code in various conditions. The summary may be like what it was supposed to do, what it is doing and what can be done to remove that defect, if any.
In the current culture of software development, a testing team may be separate from the development team. The software testing may provide the way to correct the development process.
Every software product has a target audience. Software testing is the process of making this assessment. Therefore, the organization can assess the mood of its end users, its target audience and its purchasers.
Alpha testing is the first step of the acceptance testing. It is performed to identify all possible issues and bugs. The aim is to carry out all the normal tasks that a user may perform. Alpha testing is carried out in a lab environment and normally the testers are the employees of the developer organization.
Beta Testing of a product is performed by actual users of the software application in the actual environment. You may say that it is the user acceptance test. Beta version of the software is given to a limited number of end-users of the product to obtain feedback on the product quality. This testing reduces product failure risks.
Beta test can be conducted in the following ways:
- Product is given to the target market to get the related data for Product improvement.
- Product is given via online channels and data can be gathered from anyone and used for product improvement
- Product is given to the internal group of an organization and feedback is taken to make improvements in the software.
- Product is released to the market for getting feedback on specific features of the program.
Phases of Testing:
The following are the various phases in a normal testing:
- Software is a model. User Interface is almost complete but all the features are not yet completed.
- Software is nearly complete and is internally tested for bugs or issues.
- Software is complete and is released to a limited user base. The aim is to get customer feedback on the product and make changes in the software accordingly.
- Based on the feedback, changes are made to the software and the bug fixing is carried out.
- Software is released.
Advantages of Alpha Testing:
- It provides better view about the reliability of the software at an early stage.
- It helps simulate real time user behavior and environment.
- It may detect many serious errors with respect to design and functionality.
Disadvantages of Alpha Testing:
- In depth functionality of the software cannot be tested as software is still under the development stage, that may lead to dissatisfaction between developers and testers.
Advantages of Beta Testing:
- It reduces product failure risk as it has got customer’s validation.
- Beta Testing permits a company to test post-launch infrastructure.
- The product’s quality can be improved through customer’s feedback.
- It is cost effective.
- It creates a goodwill in the market and increases customer satisfaction.
Disadvantages of Beta Testing:
- If testing is carried out inside a company in a controlled environment, the results can be controlled but there is no control in the real-world beta testing.
- To find the right beta users may be a challenge.
Alpha and Beta Testing are indispensable in software testing life cycle. Alpha testing helps simulate real-time user environment. Beta testing helps provide authentic feedback of the software from real users.