Software: Alpha vs. Beta vs. MVP

When a new piece of software is being developed, it goes through the software development life cycle. Before a piece of software is fully developed, it often goes through several phases where the software is improved, and bugs are fixed. The main phases for this life cycle include the alpha phase, the beta phase, and the MVP. But what do these life cycle phases mean?

Alpha Phase

One of the initial phases of the software development cycle, the alpha phase, is the first phase where software is tested. In this phase, software developers test the internal structure, known as white-box testing. Developers take an internal approach to the software and utilize their programming skills to design test cases that test the software’s code. Software is akin to a system of interconnected networks that will create a specific outcome when programmed and connected correctly. Developers will input certain information into a software’s code. If the software is designed well, the code will put out a specific output. With white-box testing, errors in the code can be found and fixed. White-box testing occurs in three levels: unit testing, integration testing, and regression testing. In unit testing, a code is tested for defaults before it is integrated with other previously tested code. In integration testing, the interaction between integrated code is tested. Finally, in regression testing, previously tested software is tested again to ensure proper functionality.

Beta Phase

In the beta phase, the software is known as betaware. For betaware, the software component is technically completed software, but betaware often contains many unknown bugs that must be accounted for to avoid software crashing and data loss. Beta testing is used to help track down these bugs, and usability testing is utilized to help mitigate user risk when operating the software. In addition, software developers will have a limited release of the beta version of the software either to the public or a private select group, giving the public a snapshot of the new software. Beta software can also be called a prototype. Its limited release to the public is vital to the beta testing phase to work out any usability error in finished software.

MVP Early-Stage Development and the Final Software

MVP stands for “Minimum Viable Product.” In the MVP stage of the software development life cycle, software developers successfully developed and beta tested the software. At this stage, the software is ready for its initial release to the public. It has been checked for the bugs that would otherwise cause usability problems for the general public and is prepared to be tested for feedback on the initial software. User feedback is crucial to the development cycle, as it gives developers an idea about how the public will feel about the initial products and what changes to the product may need to occur going forward., The MVP is a basic version of the product. It will be updated according to the feedback of public users deliver.

Maria is a writer at Enki Tech, a Downtown Santa Monica technology company that specializes in the development of high-quality, user friendly software, web platforms and mobile apps.

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