Alpha and Beta Testing
Alpha testing is a kind of acceptance testing which is carried just before the software release, the first phase of which is carried out by the developer team itself and the second phase is conducted by Software Quality Assurance Team.
Alpha testing is kind of complete test only, just the test is done by the team itself. In the alpha testing, all the possible attributes, which are functional or non-functional are tested. Alpha testing is the major form of acceptance testing, in which the software is tested fully from the end-user perspective.
In Alpha Testing, not only, the software is tested, but also the necessary fixes are made into the software. There are certain modes in alpha testing like we can develop a prototype, and then apply all the realistic values, into the software and see the result.
Goals of alpha testing:
- Test the software beforehand, so that there are no chances of finding an error after the software has been released.
- Let the software team know, that what is the efficiency, usability, and scalability of the software they have built.
- Test the software in a lab environment, so that as the error is reported the bug is fixed, directly in the current time.
- As this is also an acceptance testing, but not done by the customers, but by the team, therefore, the software is delivered to the customers, so there are more chances of troubleshooting it by crossing all its thresholds.
- Reduce the release time for the software.
There are not many steps involved in Alpha testing if the software is not that much bigger. The main steps are:
- Check the design specification along with the functional and non-functional requirements.
- Develop the test case which checks almost all aspects.
- Develop a test plan.
- Implement the test plan
- Keep a record of the defects.
- Retest after the issues has been fixed.
- Iterate the steps until the requirements are fulfilled.
There are two different phases of alpha testing. They are listed below:
The first phase testing is carried out by the team developers itself. This may also consist of software engineers or developers which belongs to the same company, but is not involved with the software. In this phase almost 70 to 80% of the user's perspective of using the software implemented by the team itself.
The second phase is purely a quality assurance phase and not in any case, there should be any check for the functional requirements. This test is totally carried out by the software quality assurance team and is, the last phase before the software is going to be used by the customers.
Below are some of the major advantages of alpha testing:
- This is the only testing which can be trusted on attributes like the usability, scalability, and performance much before the software is released.
- Alpha testing is also performed by the quality assurance team of the software team so that the quality is assured before the release of the software itself.
- Alpha testing is a very procedural way to check whether all the requirements of the customer are met, as per mentioned in the SRS documentation.
- Alpha testing, the main modules are tested separately, without integrating all the modules which are smaller in size. This helps in locating the error in a much better way.
Beta testing may be also designated as a customer or market-oriented testing. This testing is done by the friendly set of customers or sometimes, by all the customers of the existing product, the upgraded version of which is being tested.
This is extremely beneficial testing, but at the same time, a very risky one.
In Beta testing, the software is produced to the customer, as if the complete or almost complete software is launched. The customers see new and complete software and can become judgemental on it.
Beta testing can sometimes be released as a prototype, of which the customer is known, as then the customer behavior of using the software is analyzed. It may be important to note that, sometimes the complete and full version of the software is launched into the market.
This is done, so that if the customers find issues in usability, or finds any error, the team gets the chance of fixing them, without the reputation of the industry being compromised.
Beta testing is done, to get the software used in the real environment, by the real world users and not inside the lab. This is done, to check directly, whether the software performs as expected or as per the user's expectations.
Sometimes. it can be done, that the software can be released with some modification of functionalities which are not mentioned in the SRS documentation. Now when the software, is in the hand of the people, the customer's review is checked.
Now, if the customers are satisfied with the new functionalities, then as per the review and the majority of voters, the software is kept intact.
- To see how the software behaves in the real world environment. The compatibility modules in the outside environment are very different from the one the software was in. It used to be in a lab environment, where all the add-ons were fixed, but in the real world, everything may be that much available, so it is a new challenge.
- Providing the customer with the true experience of using the software. Here, the customer will not follow any formal rule or documentation, instead, they would just use it whatever they want., without thinking of any risk or software crash. Because this is totally a customer oriented process.
- The main goal of the Beta Testing remains with the fact, that as the software is presented to the real world, so the software is fetched to the market, and the reviews made on this software will also detect the market demand for new features, which can be added if seen affordable.
- Their software is tested under standard lab-conditions, and with an operating system with better performance. Now when the same software is in the market or in the user's hand, there is less possibility, that the software gets the same platform. Now it may get an outdated OS, to be installed on. This is a challenge.
- A few people were there in the team, who have already performed all the requisites in the Alpha Testing. Though intelligent, a few people cannot think about all the aspects what millions of less smart people can think. This is the reason, that the Beta release is considered as a major step in software testing.
- When the software is released in the market, not only optimistic but also critics will be there. It is most important to note that, criticism is better than praise sometimes, and so is applied in Beta Testing also.
- Usability and comfortability are one of the main concern of software testing, and these two attributes can only be analyzed when the software is fed to its customers. As all human being is different so just by guessing other person's comfortability, a market for software cannot run.
- In Bete Testing, the software comes under different challenges, such as bad internet bandwidth, an updated OS, low addressable memory, degraded technical environment, power failures, etc. Therefore, it is good to understand the market, by placing the software in extreme conditions.
This is a very crucial point of time when to launch the Beta version to the users.
Because not only, the users or the customers, but also the competitors are looking for the beta launch, so that they can imitate some of the feature and functionalities and integrate into their software and realize that before the first one is released.
And also, after the release of the software, the functionalitie