We have been running the Mignori beta testing program for a few weeks now, and we have done some changes to how we are working.
From now on, the Mignori development will be divided in two pre-release cycles: An Alpha program (the one we are currently running now), and a Beta program (when we feel the app is ready and we want people to use the app normally to see if they encounter any issues).
You can still join any of the pre-release testing programs, and you can join both of them or either one or the other. We will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
The Alpha testing program will release often incomplete and/or buggy builds. This has advantages and disadvantages for people in this phase.
First, every build we release is very likely to corrupt or delete Mignori’s data, so if you participate in this program, you have to backup often. In the initial development stage (which we are running now), you understand that the data you add to Mignori may get completely lost. This is because we do many database changes, but we don’t migrate the database to a new version every time. Instead, we start fresh with a new database and you test from there. Later Alpha programs will not have such high chances of losing data like the initial development stage does.
We will consider the development of Mignori 2.0.0-alpha.x as the initial development stage: Like you can see, the version number ends with an “x”. Any version number with this exact format and any number at the end like this will be part of the initial development cycle.
For example, these are builds for the initial development stage:
And these are not:
Any development we do in the app will start in an alpha stage later on. Bug fixes will first be released in Alpha builds, then in Beta, until they finally make it to the final release. Same with new features. When we start working on Mignori 2.1.0 for example, we will start with 2.1.0-alpha.1. Like we said, these builds are NOT part of the initial development cycle, so they don’t have a big chance of hurting your data like the initial development stage does. Alpha releases may have incomplete functionality, specially in the initial development stage.
One big advantage of participating in the Alpha testing fase is that we are trying to release builds in an Agile manner. We try to send at least one build per week with limited functionality to test, so testers can focus testing specific parts and catch bugs earlier. If you participate in the Alpha testing stage, you will see the app grow and change as we release new builds, not to mention you will be able to directly help us improve it.
One fantastic advantage of the Alpha testing phase is that new feature suggestions are much more likely to make it to the app. As we test the app modularly and in an agile manner, users can point us to better ways of doing things, suggest new features and where they could be added. It’s much easier to add new features when an app is in its initial development stage than when it is finished.
In general, people in the Alpha testing phase will have more direct contact with us. Because we will have fewer Alpha testers than Beta Testers, we have the option to work closer with people in this stage.
People in this stage will be added to our Fabric.io/Crashlytics account, so all Alpha releases will have to be downloaded from Crashlytics.
We need to reiterate that Alpha releases will be Agile as we can make them. This means that another advantage it has is that we can release builds more often, not having to deal with Apple’s TestFlight service. People in the Beta program will have to wait until Apple approves a new TestFlight version before being able to beta test.
People participating in the Beta Testing program will receives builds that we believe are ready to be released to the public, but we want to do some beta testing first. Releases in this program will include only working functionality and hopefully little bugs.
Of course, people in this stage can also (and should!) report bugs to us. All our contact channels are the same. The difference is new feature suggestions will be reviewed by us first, and later we may release a voting process with suggestions we “approved” that people want to see in the app. Most voted suggestions may get implemented first.
One advantage of this program is you will receive new versions of Mignori earlier than most people, but not as quick as people in the Alpha program. This because Beta builds will be released via Apple’s TestFlight service.
Joining the Programs
That’s it! If you are interested in joining one of our programs (or both), let us know! You can use the Contact Us link on this page, or let us know via Facebook or Twitter. You will have to provide a valid e-mail address for the Alpha program, and a valid Apple ID for the Beta one.