How Does Release Candidate Testing Work?

By Sydney Wess / 2 November 2021

Release candidate testing is the final step in the process of testing an app before launch. Because it's such a critical step, companies should consider hiring a capable development team to guide the effort. 

Software development can be a long and laborious process, with many steps along the path from the initial conception of an idea to a full-blown public release. It's important for those steps to be followed carefully and correctly to ensure that the final form of the program or application is ready for widespread release.

Release candidate testing is a key part of this process. This guide will look at release candidate testings, why it matters, and how it typically works.

What Is a Release Candidate? 

Before we look at a definition of release candidate testing, it's important to understand what we mean by the term "release candidate." Put simply, a release candidate is a version of a program or app that is not quite in its final form. The release candidate stage comes after the alpha and beta phases, during which your development team should iron out most of the bugs and defects. 

However, there's still a risk of some errors and problems left in the code. Therefore, even though the terms "release candidate" and "beta version" are sometimes used to refer to the same thing, they're actually two separate parts of the software development puzzle. A release candidate is typically more advanced than a beta version, with fewer glitches and programs, putting it closer to a release. 

Usually, a release candidate build is released on an internal level and then tested thoroughly to ensure that critical problems are not present. This is where release candidate testing comes into play.

What Is Release Candidate Testing?

Release candidate testing is the process of testing a release candidate to ensure that any major issues that were present in the alpha or beta stages have been completely removed and to check that the software is ready for a real launch. It's basically the final round of testing and checking before a piece of software becomes ready to use for consumers.

Release candidate testing can take many forms, and the term itself is used to encompass all of the different testing activities that you can carry out to ensure that a software release candidate is ready to be used and able to carry out its intended functions.

During the process, development teams and software engineers actively tested the software, trying to break it and looking for issues or exploits that need to be fixed.

Release Candidate Testing Benefits

So why is release candidate testing carried out in the first place? Well, the ultimate aim of the process is to ensure that a piece of software is as good as it can be, fully functional and ready for its target audience. There are many benefits associated with the process:

  • Fixing Errors and Bugs: A typical software development process can be pretty complex, so it's easy for errors to be made in the coding or for minor bugs, glitches, and issues to appear that need to be removed before the product is released on a broad basis. 
  • Ensuring Functionality: If programs are released without thorough testing, they may not function as intended and could have no actual use to their target consumers.
  • Protecting the Company's Reputation: Not only can a buggy program fail to fulfill its designated function, but a poor quality release could impact the reputation of the developing company, too.
  • Preserving Loyalty and Trust: Consumers can quickly lose trust in companies or developers that release low-quality software programs, replete with bugs and errors. Release candidate testing helps to prevent this.

Release Candidate Testing Stages

As stated earlier, it's important to note that release candidate testing can encompass a wide variety of testing methods and practices. It's not just a straightforward method, nor is there only one set way of doing it. The process can vary based on different factors, and it may include some or all of the following stages:

  • Automated Testing: Automated testing, as the name implies, is carried out automatically in the background as the release candidate is being worked on. Engineers can incorporate tests directly into the code to check that it works, and these pieces of code are always running.
  • Manual Testing: Manual testing involves the hard work and efforts of development teams and engineers who actively test the release candidate build and find ways to break it, experimenting with different inputs and functions to look for bugs and problems.
  • Unit Testing: Unit testing is a part of release candidate testing that focuses exclusively on individual units of the program, checking that all of the critical code paths are functioning as they should. For example, unit testing might concentrate on one particular feature or function of an app.
  • End-To-End Testing: This type of testing is similar to unit testing but on a bigger scale. While unit testing is focused on little, individual units, end-to-end testing looks at multiple layers of the program's architecture, testing "slices" of the stack.
  • Smoke Testing: Smoke testing is another type of release candidate testing that essentially verifies that the program is stable and all of its essential parts work the way they should, like the UI, database, etc. This can also be referred to as stability testing.
  • Regression Testing: Often, release candidates aren't entirely new programs but new versions of existing programs, with new features and functions added. Regression testing is used in these cases to ensure that the old processes and features still work with the latest additions.
  • Load Testing: Load testing is designed to pressure the program by simulating different scenarios and adding multiple virtual users to see how the program can cope and perform under heavy workloads.

Sound overwhelming to your team? Try hiring a trusted app developer from The Manifest to handle app development processes for you.

Release Candidate Testing is Key for Successful Software Launch

As we can see, release candidate testing is a crucial part of the overall software development cycle. This step cannot be overlooked or ignored, as it's essential to verify that a release candidate is truly ready for release and that any bugs or issues from before are no longer present.

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