What is Beta testing and why all the secrets, Explained

Beta testing is the second phase of software/hardware testing. Alpha testing is the first phase.

It’s not the final phase and many things may still change in both hardware and software, depending on the outcome of the Beta testing and other factors.

Many companies do Beta testing of their products both on site and off site. This helps them see things from an outside
view and gives them a broader target perspective. Sometimes, the engineers get so focused on a big bug, that they might overlook a smaller bug. Or they become so used to the process that it becomes “second nature” to them. This is where the” Beta tester” fits the role. They see the product from a new perspective, have no idea how to use it, Have to figure things out, find bugs, keep track of said bugs, repeat bug process and report back to QA in a timely manner. They are working with software/hardware that is a Work In Progress and does fail all the time. (Think half way through a 30min job and the printer just stalls).

The testers sometimes see features that might not make it into the final version and this puts them in a very stressful place. They want that feature to work, keep testing it, but the bug is just not going away or cannot be resolved. This becomes very frustrating but a good tester knows, that is the whole point of the job. Now let’s say you have 50 testers… That’s a lot of eyes.

This brings us to the Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
You can read a full description here:

But in short, the main point is not to keep secrets from the people that bought a Glowforge, but to keep any rumors from spreading.

An example would be:

If a tester said “Cutting ¼ acrylic on my GF, settings at 50% power 100% speed is producing .1” kerf”, It could be taken out of context and somehow made into a “as a matter of fact”, When it could have been the tester simply picked the wrong settings. :slight_smile:

I hope this helps some of the members understand the process more.



Why the face?


Oh, I see now what’s going on here…

So everyone thinks I am in the GF beta program?
Well, let me clear that up right now.
No, I am not! (as of this post)

I have however been in and out of beta programs over the past 30 years, so I understand the process very well.
I think one of the first software I beta tested was Popdos by Logitech back in the day.

So yes, I tend to talk about stuff I know about :slight_smile:


This is an excellent description of the process. I’ve run beta programs in the past as well, and they’re essential for creating a good tech product. The NDA is also essential, and it’s not just for the benefit of the company–it really does help customers and prospective customers have a much easier time navigating the reality of the buying/early ownership process. More realistic expectations=happier customers.


I’ve been part of a few closed betas and 2 alphas with various video games. Sometimes in those alphas we were told to do some mundane thing over and over. Being alpha and beta isn’t all fun and games. And you can’t even tell anyone how horrible it is that you have to spend your day running into walls all day and look for clipping.

Www.Trenchescomic.com has a “tales of the trenches” section for people of the testing industry. Might be worth a read.

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Every day of my working life is testing H/W and S/W. Would almost rather test a buggy prototype than operate a fully functional machine. The fun for me is the daily discovery and feedback during development.


But you would have to say that if you were in the Beta program, wouldn’t you!

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hmm… an NDA requires non-disclosure… but not lies. That would require a False-Disclosure Agreement. :smile:



It’s kind of funny really, when I shelled out the money for this device, I, like many others were under the impression all of this stuff had already been done, and we were getting a product in December of 2015.

Beta’s can run for years, I’ve been in the Star Citizen “Beta” now for well over two years. Thankfully, I only have $60 tied up into it.

This is a different matter entirely.

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I agree with @willcfc. I read all the info and decided to make my purchase thinking that the product would start SHIPPING in late December 2015 as mentioned. I realize Beta testing would have to occur, but I assumed that was already in progress. “When you assume, you make an ass out of U and Me” Yeah, yeah, I know! But, still… I am happy to be a part of the experience. After shelling out the financy, I’m just gettin’ antsy in the pantsies!

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@willcfc and @kelly,

This thread is about Beta testing, not shipping dates.

But to reply, when I purchased my unit, I knew it was not finished and I would not be getting it until mid to end of this year.
Funny how I knew that going into it and you did not.
I wonder what I read that perhaps you did not read that gave me that info?


I had the same experience. I think people saw the video and purchased it based off that. I read through all the glow forge website and FAQs and made my decision based off that. If I had only watched the video then I would have assumed it was already in production


I posted this on Oct 15th.


You and Spike must be “special people” then pal. Take care.


He’s not your PAL, friend…

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I guess so. If your bummed just get a refund. Hard to complain when there is no risk


My apologies for getting (a little) off topic. But, I did mention Beta testing.

I do not see the need for rude responses. I did not mock your post. I actually liked reading your post @spike. I am not sure why you felt the need to attack me.

I did read, and perhaps, unfortunately, I misunderstood items of importance, but that is no call for being mean. I am human. Really? If THIS is what I can expect as part of the Glowforge community… sad.

Keep blogging and (apparently) entertaining the masses. I just come to this blog to gain understanding. That is the only reason I am here.

Have a nice day.

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