As you probably know, one of the benefits of an active Hydrogene and/or Oxygene Subscription is access to prerelease alpha, beta and gamma builds that we make available on an almost weekly basis, usually on Fridays.
These are builds that give you a sneak peak at what is coming in future versions of the product, they will often have exciting new features, but they do not go thru our full QA cycle, 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 "lockdown" as 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 "stable" branch, 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 "develop" branch where day-to-day work is done on. 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-releases 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 must keep your subscription active in order to keep using 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 authorization.
- talk.remobjects.com/category/oxygene-beta — general Oxygene beta
- talk.remobjects.com/category/hydrogene-beta — special beta forum for Hydrogene
- talk.remobjects.com/category/sugar-beta — special beta forum for the Sugar library
There's two ways to stay up to date with Beta releases and get notified when new alphas, betas or gammas are available for you.
Starting with shortly before the May 2013 release, the Everwood version check in Visual Studio has been updated to 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 just shipped a new iOS and Android app called "Beta" that is designed around one thing: notifying you when new beta builds are available. So if you really want to hear about new beta builds the minute they become available, grab RemObjects Beta 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'll be working on other targets, such as Windows Phone, as well. Of course Beta is written in 100% Oxygene, client and server-side (and 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.
FAQ: 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.
For another, Oxygene and Hydrogene 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 release.