Software developments go through several development stages in which they are tested in detail until they are released and used by the customer. After the development release, which is referred to as pre-alpha, the test phase for the alpha version follows with the alpha test.
The alpha version is the preliminary version of an application program. It can be tested in terms of application technology, but it is still incomplete and does not yet contain the full range of functions. The alpha version is given to selected testers who test the functionality, find bugs, and contribute their application experience to the program development. Alpha versions cannot be used application-wise yet. After the bugs in the alpha versions have been fixed and the functionality has been enhanced to meet the requirements, alpha versions become beta versions.