Beta Testing

Before shipping a software to the customer or making it live to the end users, a software undergoes thorough testing. The testing done by internal team(known as alpha testing), is done to make sure that application's functionality works fine. The internal testing team tries to be in customer's shoes and use the application just like an end user.
In order to get the product's review or feedback from end user even before the final release of the product, we have a concept of Beta testing. Now, let's see the definition of beta testing, its features, advantages and disadvantages.

Beta testing definition

Beta testing is the testing done by end users at the end user's site.

It is also known as beta site testing or field testing. In beta testing, an advanced (stable) version of the application is released to a set of potential end users. The users test the application and provide feedback to the development team about the application's usability, functionality, performance and other quality attributes.

Some features of beta testing

  1. It is performed by a pool of potential end users to give an unbiased feedback of the product.
  2. It is performed at the end user's site.
  3. The beta test execution cycle is generally smaller than the in-house (alpha) testing cycle.
  4. Since the end users testing the beta version doesn't have access to the source code of the product, so it involves black box testing only.

Advantages of beta testing

  1. It provides an additional level of testing/product validation to the development lifecycle of the product.
  2. It helps in uncovering unexpected errors that are not anticipated by the in-house QA team.
  3. Many a times a large group of users is assigned the role of beta testing, this helps in greatly increasing the scope of testing.
  4. Usually beta testing is cost effective as compared to alpha testing.

Disadvantages of beta testing

  1. The bug reporting of the identified bugs is not proper and systematic.
  2. The testing and test environment is not well defined and under control of the development team. It is often hard to reproduce the bugs because the testing environment differ from user to user.
  3. There are lot of duplicate bugs in beta testing.
  4. If there are a lot of issues, this can cause negative publicity of the product as the person testing the software are end users only with no obligation to the development team.