Are the _alpha1 and _beta1 upgrade steps serving their original purpose?
My thinking is the steps, in particular the beta one, were intended to allow someone to take an existing dev install and upgrade it incrementally to get the latest dev changes instead of having to install a whole new dev install. In practice though that doesn't really work without manual intervention, and people generally install a whole new dev install, or hack civicrm_domain to fake an earlier release so it reruns the alpha/beta with the latest changes.
For the apparently intended strategy to work, each thing added to an upgrade file during dev stages would have to increment the version step number/letter, so that the install can know whether it's seen it before. I'm not crazy about the way drupal does it but that would be an example.
So I think I'm suggesting either:
- Get rid of alpha/beta and people continue whatever strategy they're using for dev/testing sites but without the extra complication of alpha/beta.
- Have more granular increments where each task added increments the version.
But this is not a high priority. I don't know how many people try to keep a dev install updated.