As part of our continual work to update existing products and release new products, sooner or later it's time for that software to be released to real-world stations to be used and tested in real life scenarios.
Each release usually goes through 3 public 'phases' as part of this release cycle: "Alpha", "Beta" and then "Full Release".
This article helps explain the differences between the different phases that each software version moves through.
What is the Beta phase (aka "Beta Version")?
When we develop brand new products or new versions of existing products we undertake a massive in-house testing programme designed to test the new release on as many different combinations of software and hardware as possible. However it is impossible for us to completely test every single feature on the almost infinite amount of different combinations of hardware and software that form modern PC's, so we usually initially release our software marked as a "Beta" version to catch any last few issues.
If no major issues are found, then it is upgraded to a "Full Release" at which point it becomes fully supported by Broadcast Radio Technical Support (see below). If any major issues are found, then we usually get these issues fixed and issue a new updated Beta version.
A Beta version of software is one that has completed intensive internal testing, as well as often being tested by a carefully selected range of external testers in "Live" situations around the world, and we feel it is now as "bug" free as possible and is therefore ready to be safely used by a broader set of users. What we can't guarantee is that an unusual combination of components or other software installed on a PC or maybe a certain rarer sequence of actions performed by a user may cause a problem with this version. This could be something as simple as a number or setting not staying when you go back into a screen, or something more dramatic like making the software close unexpectedly.
We often release updated Beta versions to fix problems found during further testing by ourselves or to fix a problem reported by users, and therefore users of Beta Versions are encouraged to download these updated Betas as they become available, so they don't find any issues that we have already found and fixed.
Beta Versions give you the chance to be involved in the testing and development of new products, as well as giving you a chance to evaluate new features in a test environment ahead of rolling out the update to mission critical computers.
Support For Beta Releases:
Beta versions are experimental and therefore aren't covered by our normal warranty. In other words, if there is problem with it, we may not be able to help you restore your system to a working state. Therefore, it should only be installed on a system that you are confident you can restore in the event of a problem. You should always back up your system before installing any software, but this is especially important before installing Beta software.
If you experience any difficulties with a Beta release, or have any suggestions for improvements, you should post these in the relevant product's discussion area in our Facebook Community Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Myriad5/
E-mails sent to Technical Support for Beta versions may have a delay in response due to the pre-release nature of the software. Also, we are usually unable to provide technical support over the phone or in person for Beta Versions.
YOU SHOULD NOT USE BETA VERSIONS ON MISSION CRITICAL COMPUTERS UNLESS YOU UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THAT THIS VERSION IS A BETA RELEASE AND MAY CONTAIN ELEMENTS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN FULLY TESTED. IT IS PROVIDED WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED.
What is the Alpha phase (aka "Alpha Version")?
When developing a new product, the very first stage of public testing is often referred to as Alpha testing. Essentially, Alpha testing is very similar to Beta testing but scope of the test is usually reduced to just a few public testers. Alpha release software is released in a very early state and is expected to include a number of unfinished features and hence is also likely to include a greater number of issues or bugs. It would not be advisable to install Alpha software in any mission critical situation or to configure Alpha software to use or interact with data or resources that are considered important.
Myriad Cloud versions:
Myriad Cloud uses the exact same release 'phases' of "Alpha", "Beta" and "Full Release" versions, and you can choose which version you want to run from within the Broadcast.Radio portal.
Important: There are 2 key parts to a Myriad Cloud station - Myriad Cloud itself which is the actual playout software that schedules and plays out your radio station, and Myriad Anywhere Cloud which is the "front end" that you use to control and administer the station. The rest of this article explains how to change which version of Myriad Cloud you are using, click here to see more information on how to switch between Full Release and Beta Releases of Myriad Anywhere itself.
To switch which release phase of Myriad Cloud you are using, login to your Broadcast.Radio account and go to Settings>Myriad Cloud (shown in red below).
You can jump straight to this page by visiting https://my.broadcast.radio/station/877/options/cloud
From this page, click the "Myriad 6 (...) Manage Version link to open the settings window where you choose which release phase of Myriad 6 you want to use - shown in green below:
You will then see a dialog with the following options - for example, this station is currently selected to use the Beta release versions of Myriad Cloud:
- "Always use the latest fully supported version" - this means that you will always be running the latest fully tested and supported release of Myriad Cloud.
- "Always use the latest partially supported beta version" - these "Beta" releases are suitable for use in many stations and have been shown to be reliable in testing, but if you experience any difficulties then you should switch back to the fully supported release option above.
- "Use bleeding edge latest builds" - this gives access to the "Alpha" releases of Myriad Cloud and are usually not supported by Broadcast Radio Technical Support.
"Use a specific version ______" - This allows you to "pin" your Myriad Cloud to a specific software version so it will always use the specific version that you have selected.
If you select any of the first 3 options, whenever a new software build is released to that "phase" then you will see a prompt on your Myriad Cloud settings page that shows that a new version is available, and you click to be automatically upgraded to that new version. This process will briefly shutdown the station, but usually takes less than 30 seconds.
If you select option 4 to "pin" your station to a specific version, then you will always use that precise version, and will not be updated to a newer version. You will need to manually change the selected version when you do want to update. This can be useful if you need to control the precise time when you switch to a new software release, for example if you need to issue updated internal training materials to your users.