Versioning Numbers, make them meaningful

The version number itself, and more generally the way you manage it, is most of the time underestimated because it’s considered something trivial.
It is used to give a chronological order to the software releases and it conveys the useful information about the state and the impact of the release.

I can think only of two major way to assign a version number:


Obviously there are several ways of customising those to your own needs, and you can find everywhere different, non-standard, version numbers every day being used.

But, personally, I prefer the following structure and I’d recommend it to everyone:


The rules are quite straight-forward:

  • increase MAJOR when releasing something that is NOT backward compatible
  • increase MINOR when releasing something that is backward compatible
  • increase PATCH when releasing a bug fix (obvs backwards compatible)
  • the stability follows this order:
    1. alpha
    2. beta
    3. dev
    4. rc

Usually, I never bother to use alpha and betabecause they are so unstable and so frequently updated that it’s not worth the time to create a tag and release it, I’d rather release a dev one.

I also found out that there is even a manifesto for the versioning scheme I’m using and promoting.

However, this is not preventing you anyhow to assign to your release a codename.

This could be a solution to avoid problems when deciding which version to use, recognising at first glance if the release is stable or not, and especially be aware whether it’s backwards-compatible.
Still, do not ever trust blindly an external dependency.