What is Alpha Testing?
By Sakshi Pandey, Community Contributor - December 20, 2022
What is Alpha Testing?
Alpha testing falls under the category of Acceptance Testing. Some unit or smoke tests of features may have been performed during the development of the software, however it is important to Alpha test the overall completed product in order to catch all possible issues and give the developers a chance to address them before real user tests are carried out.
Alpha testing is done by internal developer and QA teams, with its main goal being to ensure that the software is functional, reliable, and free of any defects or errors. Alpha testing generally attempts to simulate real user behavior by using black and white box testing techniques.
Black box testing is done by not taking into consideration the internal workings or algorithm of the software being tested. This kind of test simply evaluates whether the software is behaving as it should, by entering inputs that a real user might and evaluating whether the outputs are as expected.
White box testing on the other hand is generally performed by testers who have thorough knowledge of the internal code of the software. This kind of testing looks at the structure, code, design, and integrity of the software in order to identify points of potential improvement with regards to security, design, functionality, or usability.
When is Alpha Testing Done?
Alpha testing is the last phase of internal testing. Alpha testing is more thorough than all previous tests, and tests the overall software product end-to-end.
It is generally carried out right after software development before the software is handed over for Beta testing by real users external to the company. It is called Alpha testing since it precedes the Beta testing phase.
Difference between Alpha and Beta Testing
|Done before Beta Testing||Done after Alpha Testing|
|Performed internally by developers and QA test engineers||Performed by external real users|
|Performed in a test lab environment||Performed in a real user environment|
|Build release is called a Alpha Release||Build is called a Beta Release|
|Alpha Testing employs both Black and White box testing techniques||Beta Testing is done by real users and thus only employs Black box testing techniques|
|Alpha testing focuses primarily on functionality and usability||Beta testing is more diverse, and usability, security, functionality, and design are all provided the same weightage while testing the application|
|The goal of Alpha testing is to prepare the application for Beta testing||The goal of Beta testing is to prepare the application for release|
|Many test cycles may be required||Generally, fewer test cycles are required|
How to perform Alpha Testing?
Alpha testing consists of three major aspects. The first is pre-Alpha testing, which is cursory testing that is done in order to ensure that the system is ready for Alpha testing. This is followed by Alpha testing, where all the system’s modules and functions are checked and evaluated. Lastly, post-Alpha testing is carried out simultaneously. This is the stage where developers fix the errors found, parallel to the testers who continue testing and retesting the software.
There are two phases to Alpha testing:
Phase 1: During this phase, developers who have strong technical knowledge of the application carry out white box testing. Their goal is to observe the application at a lower level and ensure that it is reliable. This phase of testing looks at the application’s decision coverage, statement coverage, branch coverage, and other features at the code level.
Phase 2: This phase of testing is carried out by QA and mainly focuses on black box testing the application by individuals who do not have technical expertise regarding the application. This phase involves testing certain use cases, cause-effect testing, and decision table testing.
During these two phases, the general process by which Alpha testing is carried out is as follows:
- Alpha tests should be designed according to the functional requirements and design specifications agreed upon.
- These tests should be reviewed, and a test plan should be created.
- The tests should be executed, and defects found should be logged in a detailed manner using a traceability matrix.
- Developers will then fix the defects, and the test will be reiterated.
- Feedback should be collected from all participants for future improvements and review.
- Lastly, a summary report of the Alpha Test should be generated.
How to perform Alpha Testing using BrowserStack: Example
BrowserStack offers a real device cloud which provides access to 3000+ real mobile and desktop devices for Alpha Testing. It helps QAs perform functional tests and debug the application live using chrome and safari devtools on BrowserStack Live.
It makes the triangle of Test Execution > Logging Defects > Fixing Bugs, easier and faster through its video, text, and console logs, where you can debug and test in real time, and also share the findings with your team over Slack, Trello, or Jira.
Follow the steps below to get started with Alpha Testing of Website on BrowserStack Live.
- Signup on BrowserStack Live or Log in if you already have an account
- Select the device-browser combination to test on from the Live Dashboard.
- Enter the URL of the website to be tested. Using bstackdemo.com in this example.
- Testing the Add to Cart and Remove from Cart functionalities of bstackdemo.com.
- Verify clicking on “Add to cart” should add the item to the cart.
- Verify clicking on the cross icon on the cart pop-up should remove the item from the cart.
- Adding the Product to the Cart by Clicking on Add to Cart
- Removing the Product from the Cart by Clicking on the Cross Icon
Best Practices for Alpha Testing
- Consider various possible scenarios when designing test cases for Alpha tests.
- Ensure that the testing is done on the systems that the target users will use.
- Employ a good test lab.
- Recruit the right testers, individuals with traits similar to the target end-user, for testing.
- During test planning, create a traceability matrix to easily track and address defects found.
- Choose developers and QA with the right skill set to test the software.
- Ensure that feedback is collected from all participants and create summaries for future reference and improvement.
Every software application should be subjected to thorough testing prior to release. For the application to be appealing to the end-user, both testing phases, namely Alpha and Beta, must be carried out. These tests provide the developers with a good idea regarding the reliability of the software and reduce the risk of the product not receiving customer validation.
Essentially Alpha tests help improve the overall product quality and attempt to ensure the customer’s satisfaction with the product. Since the main idea behind developing software is to cater to the user, alpha tests are indispensable and vital to carry out before software release.
It is recommended to conduct Alpha Testing on Real Device Cloud to get more accurate test results and debug on the go, for delivering a high quality product. BrowserStack’s real device cloud is a great way to perform Alpha testing of your product under real user conditions.