Current Date :March 5, 2024

Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Testing- What Is The Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the words alpha and beta meant in software testing? And what about the gamma? Well, alpha (?) and beta (?) are the initial two letters of the Greek alphabet, and maybe that’s the reason why they are the first and second phases of software testing. These terms begin back from the time the first commercial data processing machines were used. The hardware first passed through an initial alpha test for testing the introductory functionality of the product. Then came into existence the beta test which incorporated people other than the developers to validate the end-user functionality.

Let us understand each aspect of all of the 3 software testing phases:

 Alpha Testing

Alpha testing is a kind of internal testing performed for Commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) by a highly skilled group of testers and engineers at the developing site to detect bugs that were initially not detected.

This dedicated team observes the behavior and notes of the product down the differences.  It usually includes testing the product by imitating the real user environment by conducting tasks that an actual user might perform. Once the software passes the alpha test, it is recognized fit to be used for the next phase, i.e. beta testing.

The term ‘alpha’ can be distinguished based on the projects it is used for. In the event of a web application, alpha testing can be defined as an online application that has access via personal invitation, to collect initial feedback from the users for improvement and bugs.

Pros of Alpha Testing

  • Primarily used as usability testing which is performed by internal developers who develop the app or by the testers
  • Critical problems or fixes can be addressed by developers immediately in Alpha testing
  • This is one of the fast ways of receiving approval from the customer before proceeding to the process of delivery
  • Any major or minor modifications, which might have been missed in the requirement collection phase, can be fixed at this stage itself

Cons of Alpha Testing

  • Data presented by the consumer usually doesn’t represent the actual data. Data generated by testers/team might need a pre-approval from the customer
  • Since alpha testing is just the usability testing, reliability and security is not implemented
  • The key users of the system deployed by the consumer might not be the actual system users in reality and may be unaware of the functioning of it.
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Beta Testing

Beta-testing basically deals with imitating the end-users input to assure release readiness. It’s considered the last stage of testing and involves distributing the products to beta test sites and individual users. Some other tests may also involve testing a free trial of the product downloaded from the internet. The product is then tested by users in real-time to detect bugs that are left to be fixed. It is also used to define the quality of the product.

Beta testing also incorporates many sub-tests if needed, for some software, particularly for PC games. These tests are recognized as Open beta tests and closed beta tests. The closed beta test is followed shortly after the alpha test ends and is limited to only a few selected beta testers. The latter that involves testing by the general public is then known as the open test.

Pros of beta testing

  • This testing helps in recognizing the gaps between the actual implementation and the requirement gathering. This may add/remove few elements
  • Any requirement which may not have been obtained initially in the contract is worked upon thereby decreasing the product failure risk via customer validation
  • The Beta test assures the application runs in a real business environment with live data
  • The after-sales service requirements may be recognized in beta testing. Any support required for future implementation can be learned and arranged accordingly.

Cons of Beta testing

  • Discovering the correct beta tester or a group of testers can sometimes be difficult
  • Since the testing is conducted in a real-time environment, you cannot have any control over the testing mechanism

Gamma Testing

Many of us have been swirling around the term ‘Gamma’ thinking about its importance. It is the third and last testing phase just before the release of the app.

Since being the last phase of the testing, Gamma does not incorporate any enhancements and modifications to be made to the product, only the part of the code that is wicked or tending to influence the performance of the product can be changed. It verifies the performance and functionality of the product ensuring the product is completely ready for use by the end-user.

Pros of Gamma testing

  • You can be assured of the security and functionality of your application just before its market release. It does not bring any possibility of modification and changes unless the identified bug is of high importance.
  • This testing is performed directly without any in-house testing being repeated. Hence, protects a lot of time
  • You can be well sure about the application’s readiness, satisfying all the requirements stated by the customer

Cons of Gamma testing

  • There is very limited scope for the team to update or modify the code, and if there is any, it might hamper the performance of the application
  • Due to heavy deadlines, growing pressure, and shorter development cycles, many organizations manage to skip the Gamma testing phase

Also Read: Why Are QA Testers The Backbone Of The App Development Process?

Conclusion

Software testing is as important as any other method of software development. It not only helps you gain confidence in your build but also assures a flawless experience for the market. So next time, don’t forget to do your homework about alpha, beta, and gamma testing for enhanced quality.

When it comes to QA, nothing is better than having the right people in charge. That’s why we ensure that everyone in our team is qualified and accredited on some of the industry’s best practices. 

At TestUnity we have an expert team of QA Engineers. This enables us to give our clients the support they require to make sure that their software hits the market in the right circumstances. Contact us for a free consultation and see for yourself why TestUnity’s QA approach is the best choice for your software.

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