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Beta Test

Beta Testing Basics

To support ongoing development of Pikker with good product testing, we're looking for a few dedicated individuals to do some rigorous testing.  Beta testing participation is available only to registered users, and those who actively participate in the testing process.  The Beta version download is available to everyone.  However, the program has the same 30-day trial period that the release version has.  

Beta Means Incomplete

The Beta version that is available on this page may be in various stages of development, so there are going to be some un-implemented features that are still scheduled to be included in the final release version.  There may also be some unresolved bugs, or new bugs introduced in Beta versions.  At various stages during the development phase, a new install file will be posted on this page.

Two Week Trial Period

Once the minor version is "complete", then a two-week trial period begins.  During the trial period, a series of sample systems and test cases are run to either verify results with previous versions, or to verify that results a are changed as expected.  Anyone on the Beta Test team can run any of the sample systems or test cases and report results, or any other anomalous behavior.  If there are any Priority 1 (must fix immediately) or Priority 2 (should fix as soon as possible) bug reports during the trial period, then the trial period is cancelled and the software goes back into development to fix the bugs.

Getting Placed on the Beta Team

There are three ways to get on the Beta Testers Team.

  1. Any registered user (i.e. users who have paid for registration) can send a request to  beta@emporium-sw.com.

  2. Un-registered users (i.e. users in their initial 30-day free trial period) can submit the Beta Questionnaire.  After some testing results are received, then a no-cost registration code will be sent to the user.  This is how you get free registration!

  3. Forum members can go to the Forums, on the Usergroups panel from the top of the forums page, and request membership in the Beta group.  You must have a forum membership, and be logged in to do this.  After your  information is verified, then membership in the Beta Team will be granted.

Beta Team Participation

While there are no hard requirements for participation in the Beta Test Team, there is some structure and guidelines.  The core of the testing process is to run the available sample systems and test cases, and compare results with the previous release version.  The Samples are the sample systems that are packaged with the program.  The Test Case systems refer to test systems that have been reported to demonstrate a particular bug in the program, which has subsequently been fixed.  Each test case will have a unique number associated with the original support incident number.  A separate download file will be available with further information about the test cases.  The results of those tests will be posted in a table on the website.  To make the testing process easier, it is recommended that a separate installation (to a separate location) be maintained for the Beta Version, and for the previous Release version.

Individual Initiative

Because of the nature of beta testing, we cannot always devise a ready-made test plan.  A good beta tester will actually try to break the software by trying different combinations that might not have been considered before.  Beta Team members can use any number of personal systems that they may be tracking, trading, or experimenting with to compare results. 

Keeping Informed

If there is a bug to report, then you can submit the details either to support@emporium-sw.com or to beta@emporium-sw.com, and an incident ID will be assigned.  If the bug is verified, a new test case will be assigned for the incident ID, and a separate bug ID will be entered.  There is a Beta Testers forum that is available for Beta Testers only.  Participation in the Beta Forum is not required, but strongly encouraged.  Announcements will be posted whenever a new beta version is ready for download.  When a beta version is ready for the two-week trial period, an email will be sent to all Beta Forum group members.  After the two-week trial is successfully passed, then the current version will be posted to the Release version downloads, and a new development cycle will begin.

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