Here at Woollyinwales IT, we try to release new versions of Jomres as often as is practical to address bugs or supply new features.
If a release only has a small change or changes, we won't usually go through an Alpha/Beta/Release Candidate cycle instead preferring to trust that testing has performed it's purpose. Sometimes however the changes are wide ranging, in which case we'll go into a release cycle that sometimes has Alpha versions, usually has Beta versions and depending on the amount of changes, Release Candidate changes.
When we do release new, non-Stable versions of the software it will only be available via the Updates feature of Jomres. That way we can be sure that the user has already got some experience of the software before installing a potentially buggy version.
Version numbers in Jomres
As of V6 of Jomres we are now labelling Alpha/Beta/Release candidates as -3/-2/-1 respectively. So, the Beta version of Jomres v6 was 6.-2.0
Why do we release code that's not Stable?
We can test and test new code until we're blue in the face, but there's no possible way we can ever test the system under all possible conditions so we release Alpha/Beta/Release Candidate versions for our users to test. The intention is they will feed back to ourselves their experiences so that we can iron out any bugs before the code is declared Stable (IE. ready to be put on a production server).
What should I do if I want to test a non-Stable version of the software?
Firstly, never install it onto a live, production server that you rely on for your business. If you absolutely have no other choice then you can do it, but you should perform a full file and database backup before even looking at the Changelog.
When you've done that, make sure that your test environment is running an up-to-date copy of your production environment, as we'll only be testing against the most recent versions of the CMS.
Next, expect to get your hands mucky digging through the code/php error logs. If you come a across a showstopper that brings your server down then you'll have found a bug that we couldn't generate ourselves so we'll need help determining the cause so that we can fix it in a later version.
Finally, please don't be reticent about reporting a bug in the bugs board on the forum. Even if a bug has been reported once, you should still report it again (on the same thread as the previous report) as that will help us to judge the severity and extent of the bug. Obviously, if we've posted that we've fixed it in the next version, then there's no point in reporting it again but when the next version is available, please take note to test that issue again to ensure that the problem has been resolved.
*Note: if you do install Alpha, Beta or Release Candidate software onto a production server and something goes awry we are not responsible for returning your system to it's former state. If at all in doubt, don't do it, please.
What is Alpha testing?
Alpha testing is where the fix/change has been produced and has undergone some testing, but it may not have been tested to determine it's impact on the full package. We very rarely release Alpha standard code to our client base. If we do, you should not, under any circumstances, use it on a production server.
What is Beta testing?
Beta versions of our software is code that's been tested, usually on a number of Windows and Linux machines and it appears stable. We will then release it to the wider community hoping that they will do the same and feed back to us the results of those tests. If you install it, you should not, under any circumstances, use it on a production server.
What is Release Candidate testing?
We don't always have Release Candidate testing stages, as often as not we believe that the beta testing has highlighted all issues and we're confident enough to go straight to Stable. Sometimes though we might feel that it's prudent to have an RC testing stage in which case we'll offer a Release Candidate version to the community for testing. You really probably shouldn't install this on a production server, but the choice is yours.
What do you get for Beta testing the software?
Our eternal thanks, and the knowledge that people like yourself have tested the software on a variety of different servers so that together we can be confident that it's suitable to be installed in a production environment.