As you probably know, one of the benefits of an active Data Abstract Subscription is access to pre-release (or "beta") builds that we make available regularly.
These are builds that give you a sneak peek at what is coming in future versions of the product, they will often have exciting new features, but they haven't gone through our full QA cycle yet, so they are likely to have bugs or regressions, and might (occasionally) even be completely unusable.
Gamma builds are done from the branch that is in
lockdownas we approach a release. They are usually pretty stable and reliable, and represent a codebase we intent to ship (with maybe a few minor additional fixes) within a few weeks.
Beta builds are from our
stablebranch, which contains the codebase for the "next plus one" release. They will usually contain new features not shipping for a month or two.
Alpha builds are from our core
developbranch, where day-to-day work is done. They usually represent a fairly close snapshot of our very latest internal code base, and as such are the most likely to have unexpected regressions or half-implemented features.
Experimental builds might be made available very occasionally, and may contain early looks at forward-looking features that are far from shipping, or still very rough and in their early design stage.
Collectively, we often use the term "beta builds" to refer to pre-release builds, regardless of what branch they actually come from.
Who Can Access Beta Builds?
Beta builds are available to any customer with an active subscription. If your subscription expires, so does both your access to the beta downloads and forums, and your ability to run existing beta builds (even if they were created/obtained while your subscription was still active).
Note: This is different from regular release builds, where once you have received a release as part of your subscription, you can use it indefinitely, even if your subscription lapses and is not (yet) renewed. You have to keep your subscription active in order to keep using any beta builds.
Where Do I Get Beta Builds?
You can download beta builds from our secure customer portal website. A convenient shortcut is the following URL:
- beta.remobjects.com (login required)
We have private discussion forums on our Connect website to discuss beta builds. Please do not discuss beta content in public without prior permission from us.
- talk.remobjects.com/c/rofx-beta — General Data Abstract and Remoting SDK beta discussion
There are two ways to stay up to date with Beta releases and get notified when new alphas, betas or gammas are available for you.
If you have a beta build installed, the Everwood version check in Visual Studio will inform you about new beta builds as part of its regular update checks. If a new beta is available, you will see the "Updates for your RemObjects Software Products are available" bubble in the system tray. Product Manager can take you right to the beta download page.
More excitingly, we also ship an iOS and Android app called "Beta" that is designed around one thing: Notifying you when new beta (and release) builds are available. So if you really want to hear about new beta builds the minute they become available, grab RemObjects Beta for free on the App Store or on Google Play (for free) now to get Push Notifications about new beta builds.
Right now "Beta" is available for iOS and Android, but we are working on other targets, such as Windows Phone, as well. Beta is written in 100% Oxygene, client and server-side (and the full source is on GitHub).
Please note that with these above notifications in place, availability of new beta builds will usually not be announced on the respective forums anymore.
I Installed a Beta and Now My System is Hosed. What Do I Do?
For one, this would never happen, because beta builds are not meant for production use and you would only ever install them in a VM or on a secondary computer that you do not rely on for day-to-day work. Right?
That said, if it does happen, Data Abstract can usually be seamlessly upgraded and downgraded between different releases, including betas. You can downgrade from a bad beta simply by installing a previous beta build, or even the last regular.