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What Development, Alpha, Beta, and Final Mean for NetNewsWire

Development version

Is not feature-complete, is full of bugs, may not be at all stable, and is liable to change wildly at any minute.

Alpha

The app reaches alpha when:

  • It’s feature-complete
  • Has no known bugs

During the alpha period, the app is tested thoroughly. More tests are written. As many people as possible use the app and report bugs.

Beta

The app reaches beta when all bugs found during alpha testing are fixed and there are no known bugs. The app is believed to be in ship-shape.

More testing, however, is a good idea.

The code is considered frozen except for bug fixes, and any bug fixes are done with extreme care and the lightest possible touch.

Final

The app reaches final when the developers are confident that it’s ready to ship. It works as designed, has no known bugs, doesn’t crash, and is fast.

(Note: “no known bugs” is meant extremely seriously. That said, sometimes there are ambiguous weird cases that can’t be reproduced, and so there are exceptions to this rule. But we pretend most strenuously that that isn’t true. In fact, pretend you never read this paragraph, and we’ll pretend we never wrote it.)