Beta Testing

A valuable contribution an individual can make to WordPress development is to test WordPress, even if you are not a developer. Before every stable release of WordPress, pre-release versions are made available for testing. You can download the pre-releases and test them, so that the WordPress developers can fix problems before the new version is made available to the public.

If you want to be on the bleeding edgebleeding edge The latest revision of the software, generally in development and often unstable. Also known as trunk. of development, even before pre-release versions are put together, you can also check out the latest software from the WordPress Subversion (SVN) repository. Or, you can get the “nightly build” (which is created from the Subversion repository) — almost as up-to-date as the instantaneous Subversion repository.

To get started, install the WordPress Beta Tester pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party. Visit Plugins > Add New, type “wordpress betaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. tester” in the search field, and then click/tap “Install Now”.

  1. Backing up first is sensible.
  2. Go to Plugins > Add New and search for “WordPress Beta Tester”
  3. Click or tap the “Install Now” button for the WordPress Beta Tester plugin
  4. Go to Tools > Beta Testing (or Networknetwork (versus site, blog) Adminadmin (and super admin) > Settings > Beta Testing on multisitemultisite Used to describe a WordPress installation with a network of multiple blogs, grouped by sites. This installation type has shared users tables, and creates separate database tables for each blog (wp_posts becomes wp_0_posts). See also network, blog, site)
  5. Select the  “Bleeding edge nightlies” option to follow development for the next major releasemajor release A release, identified by the first two numbers (3.6), which is the focus of a full release cycle and feature development. WordPress uses decimaling count for major release versions, so 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, and 3.1 are sequential and comparable in scope. of WordPress, or “Point releaseMinor Release A set of releases or versions having the same minor version number may be collectively referred to as .x , for example version 5.2.x to refer to versions 5.2, 5.2.1, 5.2.3, and all other versions in the 5.2 (five dot two) branch of that software. Minor Releases often make improvements to existing features and functionality. nightlies” to follow development of the next point release.
  6. Click or tap the “Save Changes” button
  7. Go to Dashboard > Updates
  8. Click or tap the “Update Now” button
  9. Return to Tools > Beta Testing to see options for Beta/RCrelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). to update to the next released beta or RC of the “Point release” or “Bleeding edge”.

Once the plugin is installed, navigate to Tools > Beta Testing and review the settings:

  • Point release nightlies. The current release is 5.2.3. Selecting this will put you on the track for 5.2.x development.
  • Bleeding edge nightlies. Selecting this will put you on the track for 5.3 development.
  • Beta/RC. Selecting this will update to the next released beta or RC on whichever branchbranch A directory in Subversion. WordPress uses branches to store the latest development code for each major release (3.9, 4.0, etc.). Branches are then updated with code for any minor releases of that branch. Sometimes, a major version of WordPress and its minor versions are collectively referred to as a "branch", such as "the 4.0 branch". you are currently running.

You can also use WP CLICLI Command Line Interface. Terminal (Bash) in Mac, Command Prompt in Windows, or WP-CLI for WordPress. to directly update your WordPress to trunktrunk A directory in Subversion containing the latest development code in preparation for the next major release cycle. If you are running "trunk", then you are on the latest revision. version by doing:

wp core update --version=trunk

If you find bugs while testing pre-release or already-released versions of WordPress, see Reporting Bugs or post in the Alpha/Beta support forum.

New features are often developed as plugins. Feature plugins can be installed from the beta testing tab on the plugin install screen of your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to Plugins > Add New > Beta Testing.

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The plugins listed here are proposed for future versions of WordPress. They are glimpses of the future that are under active development. New versions are released regularly, sometimes daily. Some feature plugins require that you follow bleeding edge nightlies.

Tracking bleeding edge nightlies with the beta tester plugin and installing feature plugins will make all of the latest software available for beta testing. If you go this route, here are some useful testing resources (and thank you very much):

  • make/core is the main WordPress development blogblog (versus network, site).  It is active and will keep you up-to-date on what’s happening right now in WordPress development.
  • make/flow contains visual records and visual bugbug A bug is an error or unexpected result. Performance improvements, code optimization, and are considered enhancements, not defects. After feature freeze, only bugs are dealt with, with regressions (adverse changes from the previous version) being the highest priority. reports from the Flow Patrol team.
  • The Flow Patrol handbook includes information on triage if you want to get into triaging posts on make/flow.

When done testing, rolling your site back to the latest stable production release can be done with a tap/click of “Re-install Now ” on the Dashboard > Updates screen.

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Tap Re-Install Now to roll back to a stable release

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