Beta or Alpha?

Hey guys, as much as I love the potential of the new version, I’m running into way too many bugs to keep up. In my mind ‘beta test’ means the product is nearly production-ready, which means unit tested, system tested, and alpha tested by dedicated testing staff. The new version is buggier than anything I as a test department lead/manager would approve for beta testing by customers.

So ya got me twixt great potential and buggy reality. The bugs are each on the minor side – my writing hasn’t been stopped by them so far – but they add up to a product that’s not near reliable yet.

So what I’m going to do is just start a list of problems as they occur and post the list periodically without much explanation. I don’t have time for more than that. Any decent alpha tester will be able to plunk around and manage to reproduce the problems and prolly some other bugs along the way. I just can’t take more time than that away from my writing.

Again, loving the new version, don’t want to go back, but it’s not nearly there yet. Honestly, I’m considering getting a Mac so that I can start using that version instead. The capabilities Scrivener offers me as a writer are awesome. And I rarely get effusive about software, lol. And I’ve never before considered buying hardware just to use a single piece of software.

A different point of view…
I come years back from a formal software testing background. Trained and everything.
The cloud has changed things, a lot. And while I grumble, and say “How did they releases that?!?” I also appreciate how much faster my features improve in the cloud age.

I do a lot of work with a famous software company, that is using crowd sourced testing more and more.

  • The public is much more creative in finding use cases that no trained tester would.
  • More people try more things in a day, than a staff could in a month.
  • The public has very little process in their hardware mixes, though as I have moved from regular machine builds to notebooks for most of my work as has the public the wild hardware mixes are dying.

Alpha, Beta, RTM etc. are from the age of wired landlines and pay phones.

Even though Scrivner is not web-based, and it does still use version numbers, it is not a packaged product. No disks to burn, nor manuals to go to press. Updates are easy to post, easy to install. So bug triage should be different.

Does it kill data? don’t post the update.
Is it more annoying than the fixes and new features? delay release.
Is it a bug, that people can still get work down while it hangs out until later? Post the next version.

I bought a paid released update of product in the same market, and it freaked out when I put it on a 4K display. They were fast to fix it, weeks. but it was there.

I see the bugs. I see nothing here that would keep me from using as I am for REAL work. So what is that? Better than Insiders on some other software releases, better than Alpha for sure. I have run Alpha, software. This isn’t it. Its good enough I paid real $ I didn’t need to, because I am getting real value

So Beta? Lets call it a “Leading Edge” release.
Of course I am not near a need to compile my work, so what I need might be different than some about to publish.

If you go back through the history, Beta 1 was released at the same time as Mac v.3. Why? Because there are many users like myself who wanted to upgrade to v. 3, but who also worked on their projects on Windows or with Windows using collaborators, as I do. Given the incompatibility of the v. 3 format with Mac 2/Win 1.9 formats, the beta was released so that those who wanted could move up to v. 3. I waited until it had reached beta 9 or 10 before helping my collaborator to move up.

Mac v.3 went through a long period of in-house Alpha-testing before the Beta was released to a team of users; it was the best part of a year before it was then released fully.

Are the Win 3 betas more buggy than Mac v.3 betas, quite probably. But KB has the advantage of frameworks available in the MacOS Development environment; LAP and Tiho_D are having/have had to create many of those frameworks from scratch …

So, back when Mac v. 3 was launched, how do you think all those who work cross-platform would have reacted, if L&L had said, “Hey, we’ve launched this shiny, new, much-improved v. 3, but sorry, if you work cross-platform, you can’t use it for the next year or so until v. 3 for Windows is ready for launch, and you’ll have to continue with v. 2.”

And I agree with @WORDJOY that it is we users who turn up many bugs that the devs miss, because we are trying to do things that have never occurred to the devs,

Finally, using the beta is optional, and they put cautions on the download page about using it for important projects, which more and more people ignore. For what my collaborator needs, it is stable and not problematic and if one of our projects needs to be compiled, I do it on my Mac. Until she moved onto the beta, I found having to have our joint projects in v.2 and my own projects in v.3 intensely irritating.


Perhaps that might be why L&L has been honest and up-front since releasing Beta 1 that this isn’t production software and if you depend on your data being sound without jumping through lots of extra hoops, using the beta isn’t a great idea.

I’m on one those cross platform writers. Windows, Mac and even IOS. I am using the beta (started with 13) for real work. I love having the beta available. I feel secure since I open my project on my mac at least once a day, some days, that’s all I use.
I will admit the IOS version is not used heavily or often, think talking out a scene to correct a few lines of dialogue.

Wordjoy, that’s all fair and I’ve been out of the IT development game (software as well as systems) for quite a while. I’m all for crowd testing. And maybe ‘beta test’ now implies ‘crowd test’ and I’m just a dinosaur that didn’t get the memo. If I’d seen that this would be initial crowd testing, I might not have gotten involved. My project is too important to me to risk on software as raw as this beta has turned out to be. But now I’m kinda committed, especially since there’s no backwards path to the production version.

I’m also speaking as a current beta tester and giving relevant feedback comparing this exercise to other beta testing I’ve been involved in over the last several years. The volume and granularity of bugs in these ‘beta’ versions are far greater than the norm I’ve seen, and many of them are problems that any coder doing initial unit testing should have picked up on, let alone the QA testers prior to crowd testing.

I read the other comments and I’m not going to get into an argument about what ‘beta’ means. I might be a dinosaur in some respects, but I wasn’t born yesterday and software development isn’t foreign to me. With the admissions in my last comment, what I’ve said stands. I appreciate your jumping to the defense of the software. I love it too, otherwise I would have bagged it and gone back to Word. No need to convince me I’m ‘wrong’. This isn’t about that. And I hope the L&L people appreciate that I’m being honest and transparent about my involvement. My commentary is worth whatever they think it’s worth.

If you would rather use the production Windows version and have access to a Mac, you can use Scrivener for Mac v3 to load your project and export it in v2 format, which is compatible with the current Windows production version.

If you don’t have access to a Mac, DM me with your email address and I’ll reach out. I’d be happy to help you get your project back to a version where you’re comfortable with the stability of the product.

Hey guys, I’m back at it.

Yeah, I was venting, and many of you have good points. Times have changed, and I’m all for it. L&L is very up front, which is why I like them, and Scrivener is by far the best tool out there, as far as I’ve seen. Which is why it’s all the more frustrating when it tends to slow me down (vs. MS Word) in some regards.

Still, the downsides are minimal compared to the benefits vs. Word and verses v01.

So “beta” now means what “alpha” used to mean. Got it. No worries. I said my piece. I’m still here, right? :laughing: