Software developments go through several development stages before they are released and used by customers, during which they are tested in detail. The development release, which is referred to as pre-alpha, is followed by the alpha test phase for the alpha version.
The alpha version is the preliminary version of an application program. It can be tested in terms of application technology, but 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, detect bugs and contribute their application engineering experience to the program development. Alpha versions cannot be used application-wise yet. After the program bugs in the alpha versions have been fixed and the functionality has been added according to the requirements, alpha versions become beta versions.