Stages of development


Pre-alpha refers to all activities performed during the software project before formal testing. These activities can include requirements analysis, software design, software development, and unit testing.


The alpha phase of the release life cycle is the first phase to begin software testing


Software in the beta phase will generally have many more bugs in it than completed software, speed or performance issues, and may still cause crashes or data loss

Perpetual beta

New features and functionality are continually added to the software without establishing a final “stable” release.

Open and closed beta

Developers may release either a closed beta also called private beta, or an open beta also called public beta; closed beta versions are released to a restricted group of individuals for a user test by invitation, while open beta testers are from a larger group, or anyone interested.

Release candidate (RC)

All product features have been designed, coded and tested through one or more beta cycles with no known showstopper-class bugs


Release to manufacturing (RTM)

Product is ready to be delivered

General availability (GA)

The marketing stage at which all necessary commercialisation activities have been completed and a software product is available for purchase

Release to web (RTW)

Software delivery that utilizes the Internet for distribution



To be discontinued, retired, deprecated, abandoned, or obsolete, but user loyalty may continue its existence for some time


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