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Version Numbering

Version numbering is a system of assigning numbers (or even general text strings) to different versions of computer programs or similar projects. The basic purpose of this is to distinguish different versions from each other while also knowing which one is newer (more "up to date"), however version identifiers often go further and provide more information such as the exact release date, whether the version is stable or testing, with which other versions it is compatible and so on.

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Traditional Version Numbering

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LRS Version Numbering

At LRS we suggest the following version numbering (invented/employed by drummyfish): { OFC I don't know if anyone else is already doing this, I'm not claiming any history firsts, just that this is what I independently started doing in my projects. ~drummyfish }

This is a simple system that tries to not be dependent on having a version control system such as git, i.e. this system works without being able to make different development branches and can be comfortably used even if you're just developing a project in a local directory without any fancy tools. Of course you can use a VCS, this system will just make you depend less on it so that you can make easier transitions to a different VCS or for example drop a VCS altogether and just develop your projects in a directory with FTP downloads.

Version string is of format major.minor with optional suffix letter d, e.g. 0.35, 1.0 or 2.1d.

Major and minor numbers have the usual meaning. Major number signifies the great epochs of development and overall project state -- 0 means the project is in a state before the first stable, highly usable, optimized, tested and refactored release that would have all initially set goals and features implemented. 1 means the project has already reached such state. Any further increment signifies a similarly significant change in the project (API overhaul, complete rewrite, extreme number of new features etc.) that has already been incorporated with all the testing, optimization, refactoring etc. At the start of each major version number the minor version number is set to 0 and within the same major version number a higher minor number signifies smaller performed changes (bug fixes, smaller optimizations, added/removed individual features etc.). Minor number doesn't have to be incremented by 1, the value may try to intuitively reflect the significance of the implemented changes (e.g. versions 0.2 and 0.201 differ only very slightly whereas versions 0.2 and 0.5 differ significantly).

From the user's perspective a greater major.minor number signifies a newer version of the project and the user can be sure that versions with the same major.minor number are the same.

The main difference against traditional version numberings is the optional d suffix. This suffix added to version number X signifies an in-development (non-release) branch based on version X. If a version has the d suffix, it doesn't have to change major and minor numbers with implemented changes, i.e. there may be several different versions of the project whose version number is for example 0.63d. I.e. with the d suffix it no longer holds that versions with the same number are necessarily the same. This allows developer to not bother about incrementing version number with every single change (commit). The developer simply takes the latest release version (the one without d suffix), adds the d suffix, then keeps modifying this version without caring about changing the version number with each change, and when the changes are ready for release, he removes the d suffix and increases the version number. The user may choose to only use the release (stable, tested, ...) version without the suffix or he can take the risk of using the latest development version (the one with the d suffix).

With this a project can be comfortably developed in s single git branch without managing separate stable and development branches. The head of the branch usually has the latest in-development version (with the d suffix) but you may just link to previous commits of release versions (without the d suffix) so that users can download the release versions. You can even not use any VCS and just develop your project in a directory and make hard backups of each release version.

Here is an example of version numbering a project with the LRS system:

version description release?
0.0 just started YES
0.0d added license, Makefile, ... no
0.0d added some code no
0.0d added more code no
0.01 it already does something! YES
0.01d added more features no
0.01d fixed some bugs no
0.01d refactored no
0.2 it is already a bit usable! YES
0.2d added more features no
... ... ...
0.9d fixed bugs no
0.9d refactored no
1.0 nice, stable, tested, usable! YES
1.0d added a small optimization no
... ... ...
2.0 complete rewrite for perform. YES
2.0d added a few features no
2.0d fixed a bug no
2.01 a few nice improvements YES
... ... ...

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