In his book, On Writing, Stephen King tells a brief story about receiving a scribbled note from an editor. The note described his work being “Not bad, but PUFFY”. The editor then jotted down this formula:
2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%
I think the same holds true for software. Your first release, your beta, is the “PUFFY” version. Most likely it is filled with a lot of cruft. Clean and cut 10% of your code each revision to get to your final release.
From now on, I think I’m going to use the term draft as a replacement for beta release.