The software product developed by the development team should undergo various testings to ensure that it meets clients’ requirements and works well in the real-time context. During the development of the software system, many critical issues arise. These issues may degrade the quality of the software. So, it is always necessary to tackle those issues and produce a premium quality product. Release Candidate testing is one of the techniques to avoid such critical problems.
The software development life cycle (SDLC) is how the development team develops the product, performs various testings, and then installs it. But, if the software product has defects and bugs determined by the users after its usage, users lose faith and express their dissatisfaction. However, such circumstances of user dissatisfaction are not favorable.
What is Release Candidate in Software Testing?
Release Candidate (RC) implies releasing a particular software product internally to verify whether the software product is free from defects and bugs. However, in the testing processes performed during the software development life cycle, all bugs and defects might not be discovered. This release candidate identifies the flaws that remained undetected during the development process.
The release candidate’s primary objective is to produce a high-quality software product with significantly fewer issues in it. Users of the software product always wish to have the software that runs hassle-free on the existing operating systems. Any problems in the software during the installation or while in use may lose the concentration of users.
When the software product undergoes release candidate testing and identifies bugs, the developers fix those bugs; the testing continues to ensure that changes made do not violate the existing functionality. After all the issues are resolved in the release candidate testing, software developers can release its software product. In short, release candidate testing ensures the quality, security, and functionality of the particular product.
The release candidate is one of the significant stages of the software release life cycle. Before we dive into the release candidate testing, we shall look at the software release life cycle.
Software Release Life Cycle
Software Release Life Cycle involves the development cycle of the software product right from the initial stage to the release stage. When the software is at the release stage, there are some chances that it may have problems or flaws in it. The development team fixes the issues and again releases the software, called the updated version of the initially released version. Doing this will enable developers to produce a fully-featured and bugs-free software system.
The software release life cycle involves different phases of the software. Each of the stages is described in detail below:
1. Pre-Alpha Releases:
The first stage of the software release life cycle is the pre-alpha stage. This phase refers to all the activities that are executed before the testing of the software product. These activities involve software designing, collection of requirements and their analysis, and actual software development. Additionally, the unit testing on the software is also performed before the pre-alpha version.
The Alpha phase is the next phase after the pre-alpha. At this stage of software development, all software testing activities are performed to ensure that it meets the business functionalities. Also, this stage includes software validation to verify whether the software product works well with real-time inputs. However, there are separate testing teams for software testing and software validation process.
The process of software testing uses the white-box testing technique. And the validation process is carried out using the black-box testing method or grey-box testing techniques. Such usage of the black-box testing is referred to as the alpha release. However, this phase may not contain error-free software. If the alpha software is released out, it may have critical flaws and undesirable issues for users.
However, at the end of the alpha stage, the software product has its exclusive features assigned. After this phase, no different characteristics will be added to the software product.
After the alpha stage of the software release life cycle, there is a beta phase. We know that the software is fully-featured in the alpha stage. In the beta stage, there may be multiple bugs and errors in the software. However, these errors may or may not be known to the developers and testers.
In the beta phase, the software is released in the market. It is the owner’s decision whether to release the software with limited audiences or with all. Doing this will ensure that the software product can work effectively with real-time environments. So, when the software product is brought in the real world, users will explore more bugs and errors.
Users who use this software product check whether it is compatible to work well with all business requirements. As mentioned above, the software product may release with limited users or will all. There are two types, open and closed beta.
In the open beta, the software product is released to a large number of groups. Also, the users who are interested in using the product can have access to it. It is also called the public beta. On the other hand, the closed beta implies releasing the software product to only limited groups. It is also called the private beta.
4. Release Candidate:
The stage after the beta software is the release candidate. The Beta version of the software has specific kinds of bugs and errors in it. The final release of the software should not have any type of defect in it. The release candidate phase detects the problems of the software product. It is called Gamma Testing. It ensures that the software product has no critical issues in it and is ready for release.
5. Release To Manufacturing (RTM):
Once the release candidate phase ensures that the software product is bug-free and ready to release, the software then moves to the grade of Release to Manufacturing. When the software product incorporates all features and is ready to manufacture, the client or the stakeholder verifies the software’s uprightness. This process is referred to as ‘going green.’
Another process involved in RTM is the ‘gold master.’ The gold master implies the final build before the release of the software product.
6. General Availability (GA):
The last step of the software release life cycle is the general availability. This stage implies that the software product is available in the market for purchase. Everyone who desires to use the software can use it as it goes live in the market. If the software product is delivered through the internet or web, it is called the Release to the Web.
All these above phases were the stages of the software release life cycle. Release candidate testing is the fourth phase that ensures no bug in the software remains undetected. Let us now focus on releasing candidate testing components, like version, release, and build and release process.
What is the Release and Version of the Software Product?
A version of the software product is the multiple stages of the product development that collectively forms the final product. For example, consider the software that has some functionalities in it. This stage is referred to as one version.
Suppose the product user requires adding some additional functions or changing the existing operations, and the software is updated accordingly. This stage of the software product is called another version or updated version of the previous one.
The release of the software product implies the final stage before the product gets manufactured. The software product has all features according to the user or client’s requirements and is ready to go for production.
Difference between Version and Release
In the above part, we have seen the definition of version and release. Let us now know the difference between the release and version.
|The version of the software is a particular stage that may or may not incorporate all functions.||When the software product is fully-featured and is ready for manufacturing, it is called release.|
|The version of the software occurs regularly and often.||The release is the final stage of software production. It happens occasionally and not frequently.|
|It is possible that a version of the software is in the testing process or has completed the testing process.||Unlike the version, the software product at the release state is thoroughly tested.|
|Developers are responsible for generating versions of the software product. The final version is handed over to testers.||When the software product is bug-free and fully-featured, testers bring the software into the market.|
The above table will surely help you clear the confusion between the version and the software product release.
Build and Release Process
The build and release process is the Release Management. As its name indicates, this process primarily highlights the designing and building software, developing code to implement functionalities, testing each functionality, releasing software for the manufacturing, and finally distributing it to users. This is the thorough process of the build and release.
The build and release process involves the number of stages in it. These stages may vary depending upon the requirements and needs of clients or users. But, the typical stages involved in the build and release process are as follows:
1. Version Control:
Version Control is used to give inputs to the software product. Once the product is developed, the version control system tracks the software.
2. Dependency Resolution:
In this phase, the tools and libraries required for the development of the software are determined.
The programmers write the code of the functionalities in the standard programming language, like C or any other. These types of languages are high-level languages and cannot be determined by the machines. So, the process of compilation converts the programming language into the machine code.
We are very well-known about the testing process. The software product undergoes testing and ensures that all business requirements and demands are satisfied. Manual testing or automated testing can be preferred.
5. Packaging and Composing:
All the data and documents required for developing and install the software product are combined in a single file. However, all packages are combined into a suitable format for distribution.
Once the software product incorporates all features and undergoes all testing processes, it is ready to release. This will be referred to as the final version of the product before entering the market.
The distribution phase involves making the software product available physically or through online platforms. The last stage is mirroring. In this stage, several copies of a software product are made obtainable.
Advantages of Release Candidate
Till now, we have seen all the essential elements of release candidates. Let us now look at the advantages of the release candidate testing.
1. Defect-free Product:
Users do not tolerate any bugs in the software. The release candidate testing assists software developers in producing defect-free and error-free products. At the time of release candidate testing, it ensures that no bug is present in the software product.
2. Premium Quality Software:
Release candidate testing ensures error-free software products. This, indeed, results in high and premium quality software products. Also, it provides that a particular product is reliable and highly secure.
3. Provides Feedback to Software Developers:
When the release candidate testing is performed, the software developers will be aware of its bugs. After they fix bugs, the release candidate testing tests the product again to verify whether the modified code works well.
The release candidate testing enhances the user experience of the software product. It identifies and fixes bugs present in the software and provides the bug-free product to the users. Later, we have covered the software release life cycle and its phases, where the release candidate is one of its stages. We have stated a clear difference between the software version and the release of the software product. Later, we focused on the entire build and release process. Hence, the release candidate testing offers a premium quality product to the users.