New app releases can come with a lot of stress and chances of bugs. That’s where alpha and beta tests come in. Now it may catch many by surprise and we understand. Unfortunately, in the IT industry, in order to speed up the development cycle, many organizations skip these crucial steps. But, in reality, alpha and beta tests are called ‘field testing’ for a reason.
A Bit About Bugs & Bug Fixing
Few people realize that the testing process of any application starts prior to any development and that’s because it’s directly linked to the risks involved, target deliverables, and system connections of the specific project. Hmmm.. but how exactly? Well, for starters, the whole purpose of conducting tests is to ensure that everything lines up with the clients’ expectations or not – including quality assurance. With better quality assurance measures, the bug occurrences can be reduced, thus lowering the development costs if they were discovered later in the phase. In fact, fixing bugs can get more tedious and annoyingly expensive with the advancement of each phase in a project. Here’s why:
- Bugs are called so because of their ease of hiding in plain sight. To get rid of them you need to first analyze and then copy these.
- If the bug is in the form of, for instance, a design error, then you may need to cross-check and update all your design files and specifications.
- Post fixing, bug fixes need to be deployed, tested in the development, staging, pre-production, and production environments respectively.
- Additionally, if your app is in the App/Play Store, it would then need to be sent for the review process that can take several days. On completion, you’d need to add the bug fix update under the respective section of your app on the AppStore/Play Store.
Alpha & Beta (A/B Testing)
In the app development scenario, there are different types of software tests conducted and then recorded in detail as test documentation and protocol for future reference. The test documentation is the rosetta stone to align the quality measures of the project as well as carries insights for further improvement.
Also known as one of the ways of acceptance testing, it is performed for early identification of all possible issues, prior to launch in the app market. Conducted by internal testers of an organization, the primary purpose of this testing is to simulate real users and test the kind of tasks they may perform via black box and white box techniques.
- Specifications of business and software requirements
- Cumulative test cases for overall requirements
- Adequate testing environment
- Executable QA build
- Implementing a test management tool and matrix for saving test cases, recording defects, as well as assigning relevant test cases for each design requirement.
The Alpha testing can only be exited when each of the test cases has been successfully executed and verified. In case of any serious issues, the alpha testing isn’t over until these are sorted and wrapped up – meaning there can’t be any other features further added in all the test cases. Deriving a detailed report on the test summary, followed by signing off the alpha testing is the final condition to be met for the project to move to beta testing.
First things first, beta testing is conducted by ‘real users’ in a ‘real environment’ and is also known as one of the types of User Acceptance Testing. Prior to the release of an app, this kind of test is a lifesaver in terms of product performance, reliability, security, and quality validated by customer feedback. Perhaps one of the best features of beta testing is that it can take a handful of days to complete since it uses only black-box testing.
- If the project comprises the signed-off document on alpha testing, only then can it qualify to undergo alpha testing.
- Good-to-go on the beta version of the app
- Ripe environment for the public release of the app
- Ability to track real-time issues via the right tools
Once all major and minor issues at hand are resolved, along with the feedback and the delivery of the beta test report – the project can finally complete its beta testing phase.
So…Why Should You Conduct Alpha and Beta Testing?
Criteria must be reconsidered at every stage of an investigation – is an unwritten law in software development, especially for software testers. Just as they’re named, Alpha testing gives you the feel of a real-time end-user environment and shapes the candidate for beta testing. Beta testing, on the other hand, is a reality check based on customer feedback if they like your app. Now that’s something to have before your app is released, especially when it’s about your business, and it’s never too late to fix any bugs or make any changes.
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