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Version Numbers

WebGUI's version numbers have a small amount of logic in them so that just by looking at the version number you know how big of a change has taken place. WebGUI's version numbers look like this:

API.Feature.Fix (status) or 2.3.1 (stable)

The API release level represents the level of API foreward compatibility from release to release. So if the current release is 7, then you can expect that anything you write against the API will still work in 7.1, 7.3, or 7.99999999 if there ever were such a release. This also means that if you write something against 7.3 it will still work in 7.10 and so on. However, it does not mean that if you write something in 7.10, that it will work in 7.3.  API compatibility means that it will work forward from the release you started on, not backward. Going forward this number will generally only be incremented every two to four years.

The Feature release level within an API level that represents new features being added. So if we're on 2.3.x, then we've made three feature releases after 2.0.0 was released. This number is reset to 0 when API level is incremented.

The Fix release level that represents bugs being fixed, but no new features were added. So if we're on 2.3.1, that means we've found and fixed some bugs, but we haven't added any new features for this release. Each time a new feature level has been released, this number is reset to 0.

The Status is the final part of the version number. It indicates how much testing has gone into a release. Plain Black currently uses five status levels: stable, gamma, beta, alpha, and nightly.

  • Stable means that the code has gone through rigorous testing and is recommended for production use. Generally we only give a stable release status to a feature release that has been out for more than two weeks, and the bug list has been completely cleared.
  • Gamma means that the code is generally as stable as a stable release, but there will be API changes in the next feature release and therefore you should watch out for compatibility problems. Generally speaking it's safe to use gamma releases in production environments. Also, gamma releases are very rare.
  • Beta means that we're still in light development and heavy testing, but the features that have been implemented have had some testing. Betas should never be used in production environments.
  • Alpha means that we're still in heavy development. These releases should never be used except by developers. Plain Black will never release these versions to the public. They are used internally for developers only.
  • Nightly means that the distribution was built by an automated script off of our Subversion repository. As the name implies this is done once per night. These builds are always made available to the public, but should never be used in a production environment. They are provided strictly for testing.

Keywords: release stability

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