What is Alpha Testing?
Figure 1 – Alpha Testing
Alpha Testing is a type of Acceptance Testing performed by the testers who are part of the organization, in other words: internal employees. It is the final stage of testing and it is usually done to verify that an application is free of errors / bugs before being launched on the market.
This test uses black box and white box techniques and it is performed near the end of the development of the software and before Beta Testing.
What is Beta Testing?
Beta Testing is performed by real users and it is unstructured. It can be considered as a form of external User Acceptance Testing.
Users can freely use the application and then they are encouraged to give feedback about their experience. This test is more focussed on performance and scalability.
Beta Testing helps reduce product failures and provides higher product quality through customer validation that resulted from their experience with the application.
Alpha Testing vs Beta Testing
To clarify the distinction between the two, let's look at the comparison table:
|Alpha Testing||Beta Testing|
|It is done by internal testers of the organization.||It is done by real users.|
|It is an internal test, performed within the organization.||It is an external test, carried out in the user's environment.|
|Alpha Testing uses both black box and white box testing techniques||Beta Testing only uses the black box testing technique.|
|Identifies possible errors.||Checks the quality of the product.|
|Developers start fixing bugs as soon as they are identified.||Errors are found by users and feedback is necessary.|
|Long execution cycles.||It only takes a few weeks.|
|It can be easily implemented as it is done before the near end of development.||It will be implemented in the future version of the product.|
|It is performed before Beta Testing.||It is the final test before launching the product on the market.|
|It answers the question: Does the product work?||It answers the question: Do customers like the product?|
|Functionality and usability are tested.||Usability, functionality, security and reliability are tested with the same depth.|
- Alpha Testing is performed by internal employees of the organization and Beta Testing is done by users.
- Alpha Testing is done within the organization, while Beta Testing is done in the user's environment.
- During Alpha Testing only functionality and usability are tested, while during Beta Testing usability, functionality, security, and reliability are tested to the same depth.
- Long execution cycles may be needed for Alpha Testing while just a few weeks of execution make Beta Testing possible.
- Alpha and Beta Testing are forms of Acceptance Testing and they both try to determine how an application and its features behave.
- When the goal is to obtain the most comprehensive tests, both the Alpha and Beta Tests are typically run. That way, every application of the product can be tested and gather feedback internally and externally.
- Both of them ensure a good quality product.
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