A SOFTWARE RELEASE LIFE CYCLE is the sum of the stages of development and maturity for a piece of computer software : ranging from its initial development to its eventual release, and including updated versions of the released version to help improve software or fix software bugs still present in the software.
* 1 History
* 2 Stages of development
* 2.1 Pre-alpha * 2.2 Alpha
* 2.3 Beta
* 2.3.1 Open and closed beta
* 2.4 Release candidate
* 3 Release
* 3.1 Release to manufacturing (RTM) * 3.2 General availability (GA) * 3.3 Release to web (RTW)
* 4 Support
* 4.1 End-of-life
* 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Bibliography
Usage of the "alpha/beta" test terminology originated at
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
Pre-alpha refers to all activities performed during the software project before formal testing. These activities can include requirements analysis , software design , software development , and unit testing . In typical open source development, there are several types of pre-alpha versions. Milestone versions include specific sets of functions and are released as soon as the functionality is complete.
The alpha phase of the release life cycle is the first phase to begin software testing (alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet , used as the number 1). In this phase, developers generally test the software using white-box techniques . Additional validation is then performed using black-box or gray-box techniques, by another testing team. Moving to black-box testing inside the organization is known as alpha release.
Alpha software can be unstable and could cause crashes or data loss. Alpha software may not contain all of the features that are planned for the final version. In general, external availability of alpha software is uncommon in proprietary software , while open source software often has publicly available alpha versions. The alpha phase usually ends with a feature freeze , indicating that no more features will be added to the software. At this time, the software is said to be feature complete .
"Beta Test" redirects here. For the film, see Beta Test (film) .
Beta, named after the second letter of the Greek alphabet, is the
software development phase following alpha.
Beta testers are people who actively report issues of beta software. They are usually customers or representatives of prospective customers of the organization that develops the software. Beta testers tend to volunteer their services free of charge but often receive versions of the product they test, discounts on the release version, or other incentives.
Open And Closed Beta
Developers release either a closed beta also called private beta or an open beta also called public beta; closed beta versions are released to a restricted group of individuals for a user test by invitation, while open beta testers are from a larger group, or anyone interested. Private beta could be suitable for the software that is capable to deliver value, but is not ready to be used by everyone either due to scaling issues, lack of documentation or still missing vital features. The testers report any bugs that they find, and sometimes suggest additional features they think should be available in the final version. Examples of a major public beta test include the following:
* Early customers purchased a "pioneer edition" of the WordVision
word processor for the
Open betas serve the dual purpose of demonstrating a product to potential consumers, and testing among an extremely wide user base likely to bring to light obscure errors that a much smaller testing team might not find.
A release candidate (RC), also known as "going silver", is a beta version with potential to be a final product, which is ready to release unless significant bugs emerge. In this stage of product stabilization, all product features have been designed, coded and tested through one or more beta cycles with no known showstopper-class bugs. A release is called code complete when the development team agrees that no entirely new source code will be added to this release. There could still be source code changes to fix defects, changes to documentation and data files, and peripheral code for test cases or utilities. Beta testers, if privately selected, will often be credited for using the release candidate as though it were a finished product. Beta testing is conducted in a client's or customer's location and to test the software from a user's perspective.
Once released, the software is generally known as a "stable release". The formal term often depends on the method of release: physical media, online release or a web application.
RELEASE TO MANUFACTURING (RTM)
The term "release to manufacturing", also known as "going gold", is a term used when a software product is ready to be delivered. This build may be digitally signed , allowing the end user to verify the integrity and authenticity of the software purchase. A copy of the RTM build known as the "gold master" or GM is sent for mass duplication if applicable. RTM precedes general availability (GA) when the product is released to the public.
It is typically used in certain retail mass-production software contexts—as opposed to a specialized software production or project in a commercial or government production and distribution—where the software is sold as part of a bundle in a related computer hardware sale and typically where the software and related hardware is ultimately to be available and sold on mass/public basis at retail stores to indicate that the software has met a defined quality level and is ready for mass retail distribution. RTM could also mean in other contexts that the software has been delivered or released to a client or customer for installation or distribution to the related hardware end user computers or machines. The term does not define the delivery mechanism or volume; it only states that the quality is sufficient for mass distribution. The deliverable from the engineering organization is frequently in the form of a golden master media used for duplication or to produce the image for the web.
GENERAL AVAILABILITY (GA)
Milestones in a product life cycle: general availability (GA), end of life announcement (EOLA), last order date (LOD), and end-of-life (EOL)
General availability (GA) is the marketing stage at which all necessary commercialization activities have been completed and a software product is available for purchase, depending, however, on language, region, electronic vs. media availability. Commercialization activities could include security and compliance tests, as well as localization and worldwide availability. The time between RTM and GA can be from a week to months in some cases before a generally available release can be declared because of the time needed to complete all commercialization activities required by GA. At this stage, the software has "gone live".
RELEASE TO WEB (RTW)
Release to the web (RTW) or web release is a means of software
delivery that utilizes the
During its supported lifetime, software is sometimes subjected to
service releases, patches or service packs , sometimes also called
"interim releases". For example,
When software is no longer sold or supported, the product is said to have reached end-of-life, to be discontinued, retired, or obsolete, but user loyalty may continue its existence for some time, even long after its platform is obsolete—e.g., the Atari ST and Sinclair ZX Spectrum .
* Computer programming portal
* Paper launch
* Release automation
* ^ "Encyclopedia definition of alpha version".
PC Magazine .
Archived from the original on 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
* ^ "The Next Generation 1996 Lexicon A to Z". Next Generation .
* Continuous Delivery: Reliable
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