When developing ArangoDB, we want to share with you new features as early as possible. For example, the pregel implementation that will become part of ArangoDB 3.2 was ready for testing weeks before the release date of the first beta release and the final release of 3.2.
Therefore we decided to create intermediate releases, called alpha releases, which contain new feature as early as they became stable. The benefits for the community and also for our developers team are:
- early feedback from the community about new features
- enough time to integrate improvements based on the feedback
- longer testing cycles, improved quality
- more time for external contributes to integrate new features
- better control about the timetable
That worked well, however the name choice created a lot of confusion. Majority of people associate a feature complete, but untested product with an alpha release. As our intention is to bring features out for testing as soon as they become available, such naming structure does not fully work. Listening to the community feedback and our own experience, we decided to introduce milestone releases. From ArangoDB 3.3 onward we will use the following name convention.
The release model
Milestone releases contain major new features of the next release that can be tested. Not all planned features are available, but milestone releases give you a chance to tests the upcoming features and enhancements. It is not suitable for production usage.
Alpha releases contain the first feature complete version of the next release. We still need to do extensive testing ourselves, but if you like to participate in this testing phase you are more than welcome to join and try-out this versions. It is not suitable for production usage.
Beta releases are tested and we are confident that they do not contain major bugs. These version are still only for testing purposes.
Release candidates (RCs) are the final builds where we are testing the packaging. These are stable and can potentially be used in production, but we recommend to test the installation process itself beforehand.
The final version will be then generally available on the download page.
Structure for ArangoDB 3.2 release
As mentioned above, we have already partially used this model with the current 3.2 builds, but in order to avoid confusion we will proceed with the current naming model for ArangoDB 3.2 expecting a few more alpha releases this time (milestone releases according to the future structure).