Software needs to be tested thoroughly by individuals in real-world applications. Quality assurance only goes so much. Real world usage is critically important when releasing software.
Beta releases are often a great way for software developers to test their applications.
There are usually two types of beta releases. They are the open and closed releases. An open beta is often released to the public. This makes it open for individuals who can access it to give feedback on the software.
A closed beta is often released to a specific group of people that are trusted. The advantage of the closed beta is that there is a closed-knit of individuals that can have constant communication resulting in better bug fixing and modifications.
Software developers cannot know every situation that their software will be faced with.
- Will the software be able to handle thousands of records without breaking?
- Will the software be able to work on different environments?
- Will the software have a lot bugs that its unusable?
Most software releases beta versions of their software, often a numerous. CakePHP, a PHP framework is known to release numerous beta releases before releasing a release candidate.
User Interface Usability
Software are also often given feedback about how usable in terms of its User Interface are. Diablo III, a gaming software had a ton of beta releases before they finally launched. This gave way to a ton of changes on different parts of the software.
Beta Releases are often full of bugs that might cause crashes on computers. Its often more risk for individuals to use beta releases.
Beta releases, often a part of a software development cycle, eventually makes its way to release candidates. Release candidates are likely almost done and only tweaks are need needed until it reaches a stable release.