Alpha is a first letter of Greek alphabets, followed by beta. This order continues in the testing field, also. Alpha testing is followed by the beta testing.
Beta testing is an off-site user acceptance testing of a software product, done after the completion of alpha testing. It is carried out at client's or customer's site by the end-users or stakeholders. This is the last testing phase, before software's entry in the Market. Beta testing may be seen as the second phase of testing after the completion of first phase comprising of unit, integration and system testing.
The main goal behind beta testing is to place the developed software application in the hands of the intended users under real-world environment & conditions in order to evaluate and assess product from users-perspective, which may prove to be useful in exploring defects that are not desirable in final release of the software product.
You all must be aware of beta versions of the software that are released to restricted numbers of user to accept their feedback and suggestion on the quality improvement. Below given are the two of the types of beta version release.
Closed beta version is released to bunch of selected and invited people.
Open beta is opened to public. Any user as a tester can evaluate and assess the beta version to provide relevant feedback and reviews, in addition to detection of flaws(if any) to improve the quality of the final release.
This releasing of beta version is oriented by the beta testing process.
This type of testing, may broadly be categorized into two types
It, generally involves the testing of the software product by the large number of the people or target audience before the final release. Organization decides to make software product open to public on any specific date before its release announcing that specific date.
This witnesses the large participation of the public to use and evaluate the software product and accordingly, report the bugs (if any found) to the organization, along with the suggestions in order to improve the software quality.
Contrary to open beta testing, closed beta testing is carried out by the selective and limited number of persons, which are being invited by the organization. The software product is not opened to the public.
Acceptance testing is the last level of testing that comprises of alpha testing and beta testing to ensure the market release of flawless product. Alpha testing is done at production's site by the professional tester itself, whereas beta testing is performed at user's site (in Real world environment) by the group of intended users (Beta Testers).
After performing the in-house testing of the application in the form of alpha testing, system is handed over to the users to carry out the beta testing of the system, i.e. as soon as alpha testing of the application gets over, beta testing phase starts.
To gain more insight to the differences between these two testing types, read our related article on Alpha Vs Beta Testing.
"Keeping in account the characteristics of beta testing, it may be concluded that the beta testing may be considered desirable for the organizations as it provides feedback of the real-users, useful in improving the software quality, just before its final release."
Explore some of the notable points to be considered while performing beta testing of the system in our related article beta testing check-list.