(plural beta versions)
- (computing, technology) A development status given to a program or application that contains most of the major features, but is not yet complete. Sometimes these versions are released only to a select group of people, or to the general public. The testers are usually expected to report any bugs they encounter or any changes they'd like to see before the final release. This is the second major stage of development following the alpha version, and comes before the release candidate.
beta version - Computer Definition
A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to try under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing inhouse and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as a result. Beta testing is imperative when writing software because developers are too close to their products, and fresh eyes are essential. In addition, for Windows developers especially, it is impossible to duplicate the myriad configurations of PC hardware/software that exist, and beta versions test for potential conflicts as much as usability. In more closed environments such as the Mac and mobile phone platforms, beta testing is less about coexistence with other software and more about functionality and ease of use, the latter a long-standing joke in this industry (see user interface). See alpha test, beta test, release candidate and dogfooding.