HEC Beta Software User’s Agreement
The United States Government, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hydrologic Engineering Center ("HEC") software is distributed publicly through the Hydrologic Engineering Center website
(www.hec.usace.army.mil) when it is determined to be ready for use. Each new release is assigned a version number.
The production of a new software version begins with the specification of new features and proceeds through the development cycle stages of design, implementation, testing (automated, internal, and field),
and documentation. A software version that has not completed all of these stages is considered interim software and is indicated as such by appending a suffix like "beta" to the version number.
Documentation that has not completed the review process is marked as "draft." The beta label is removed and a final version is released after adequate testing and documentation has been completed.
The Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) works with software users during the software development cycle by fielding beta versions in an effort to receive feedback and improve the software.
Though every effort is made to release software with no errors, users may from time to time discover issues in the software that were not detected during the development cycle.
HEC will engage with users to reproduce reported errors. Solutions will be designed, implemented, and tested. Interim software may be provided to the user as part of the testing process so that the user may verify
that the solution is effective in resolving the error. Appropriate test cases based on the user's data set may be added to the standard validation test cases used to validate a new software version.
HEC will provide interim software and draft documentation for a user with the following restrictions kept in place until the final software release occurs:
- HEC and the software user will work collaboratively to achieve the shared goal of improving the next software version by eliminating errors from the software.
- The user will return comments to HEC on validation and verification testing of the interim software so that the software may be improved.
- The user will return comments to HEC on the review of the draft documentation so that the documentation may be improved.
Interim software has not been subjected to the same level of testing as the final software release. Therefore, the following activities are not recommended with interim
software without checking with the software team to determine if application of the interim software is appropriate. We recommend that users upgrade interim software to the
latest beta version or to the final version once it is released. Any work product developed with the interim software should be updated using the final released software.
- Results produced with the interim software should not be used in final engineering design studies or project reports.
- Results produced with the interim software should not be submitted to an academic or professional journal.
- Results produced with the interim software should not be presented at a conference or workshop.
- Results produced with the interim software should not be submitted as part of a final thesis or dissertation.
For some HEC software, it is recommended that interim software be used instead of older released versions of the software.
This is often the case when software improvements have been completed and bugs have been repaired, but the development team has
not been able to release a final version of the software. Users are expected to reach out to the software development team to identify
whether using an interim release is appropriate for their purpose.