Glossary Entry: Beta Testing

Quick Definition

When software is being developed, its creators may decide to bring in people from outside of the development team to help test and debug its features. This is known as beta testing, as it usually takes place during the beta* stage of development and it's a live test of the software's performance. The people who will be using the software during this time are known as beta testers*.

There are several reasons for doing beta tests. With many users trying things out, more bugs* can be identified and dealt with prior to the release of the project, making the final product more robust and usable. Another reason is that users often interact with software in ways that the developers didn't expect, so this helps highlight usability issues and troubleshoot things further. And of course, beta tests are also an excellent way to build up good PR and drive attention toward a project, as they provide the public with a taste of what's to come. Lastly, there are two types of beta tests: open betas* and closed betas*. See those pages for more information.

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