What Are Release Channels

As we are very active in developing new features for our Adaptive Streaming Player and try to provide it to our users as fast as possible, new builds must also be in constant testing. To help lighten the load on the team, and allow users to be more engaged in the testing process, we introduced a common mechanisms in SaaS, called Release Channels. This allows our users to opt-into potential unstable versions to help test new features, spot bugs, and provided general feedback.

There are three public channels available, as described later on. In order of latest stable to most stable, we offer the Beta Channel, the Staging Channel, and finally the Stable Channel (default for every account).

Beta Channel

Builds in this channel have passed a subset of our automated tests, but have not been fully verified by our QA team. If you are interested in seeing what’s next, with minimal risk, Beta Channel is the place to be. This channel is commonly used by people who want to hunt for bugs and report them to help make sure the bugs don’t make it into a Stable Channel release.

Staging Channel

Builds in this channel have passed our full testing and are approved by our QA team, so they can be used for integration testing and production. After two weeks, the build is promoted to production (Stable Channel).

Stable Channel

The Stable Channel is the default setting for every account at sign-up. Builds in the Stable Channel have been through the release cycle, to ensure that the release rollout did not discover any problems. While running the Stable Channel, you will see an update about every month, and can expect each release to be generally bug free and approved by our QA for use in production. The Stable Channel is recommended for the majority of users, you should only change to another channel if you are technology savvy and comfortable running potentially unstable software.

How To Switch Channels

Switching player channels can easily be done within our backend application in the Player/Embed tab. As indicated in the below screenshot, one can select the desired release channel from the left dropdown menu (1). Once the channel is set, a player version can be selected, using the dropdown menu on the right (2). Based on the selection, the link to the CDN hosted player (3)/(4), as well as ability to download the selected player version are updated.
bitmovin_player_channels

How do Channels Relate to our Development

The different channels reflect our internal development stages. The first stage is the Beta Channel. Once a feature or set of features tends to be finalized from a development perspective, we create a beta version out of it – accessible with the Beta Channel. After passing our tests and the approval of our QA team the player build is introduced in the Staging Channel for integration testing. Once it can be considered as bug free, it is promoted to our Stable Channel, which is default for every account and should be used for production.

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