OpenACS version numbers help identify at a high-level what is in a particular release and what has changed since the last release. A "version number" is really just a string of the form:
major.minor.dot[ milestone ]
A major number change indicates a fundamental change in the architecture of the system, e.g. OpenACS 3 to ACS 4. A major change is required if core backwards compatibility is broken, if upgrade is non-trivial, or if the platform changes substantially.
A minor change represents the addition of new functionality or changed UI.
A dot holds only bug fixes and security patches. Dot releases are always recommended and safe.
A milestone marker indicates the state of the release:
d, for development, means the release is in active development and is not in its intended released form.
a, for alpha, means new development is complete and code checkins are frozen. Alpha builds should work well enough to be testable.
b, for beta, means most severe bugs are fixed and end users can start trying the release.
Release Candidate builds (rc) are believed to meet all of the criteria for release and can be installed on test instances of production systems.
Final releases have no milestone marker. (Exception: In CVS, they are tagged with -final to differentiate them from branch tags.)
Milestone markers are numbered: d1, d2, ..., a1, b1, rc1, etc.
A complete sequence of milestones between two releases:
5.0.0 5.0.0rc2 5.0.0rc1 5.0.0b4 5.0.0b1 5.0.0a4 5.0.0a3 5.0.0a1 5.0.0d1 4.6.3
Version numbers are also recorded in the CVS repository so that the code tree can be restored to the exact state it was in for a particular release. To translate between a distribution tar file (acs-3.2.2.tar.gz) and a CVS tag, just swap '.' for '-'.The entire release history of the toolkit is recorded in the tags for the top-level readme.txt file:
> cvs log readme.txt RCS file: /usr/local/cvsroot/acs/readme.txt,v Working file: readme.txt head: 3.1 branch: locks: strict access list: symbolic names: acs-4-0: 220.127.116.11 acs-3-2-2-R20000412: 3.1 acs-3-2-1-R20000327: 3.1 acs-3-2-0-R20000317: 3.1 acs-3-2-beta: 3.1 acs-3-2: 18.104.22.168 acs-3-1-5-R20000304: 22.214.171.124 acs-3-1-4-R20000228: 126.96.36.199 acs-3-1-3-R20000220: 188.8.131.52 acs-3-1-2-R20000213: 184.108.40.206 acs-3-1-1-R20000205: 220.127.116.11 acs-3-1-0-R20000204: 1.7 acs-3-1-beta: 1.7 acs-3-1-alpha: 1.7 acs-3-1: 18.104.22.168 v24: 1.5 v23: 1.4 start: 22.214.171.124 arsdigita: 1.1.1 keyword substitution: kv total revisions: 13; selected revisions: 13 description: ...
In the future, OpenACS packages should follow this same convention on version numbers.
So what distinguishes an alpha release from a beta release? Or from a production release? We follow a specific set of rules for how OpenACS makes the transition from one state of maturity to the next. These rules are fine-tuned with each release; an example is 5.0.0 Milestones and Milestone Criteria
Database upgrade scripts must be named very precisely in order for the Package Manager to run the correct script at the correct time.
Upgrade scripts should be named /packages/myfirstpackage/sql/postgresql/upgrade/upgrade-OLDVERSION-NEWVERSION.sql
If the version you are working on is a later version than the current released version, OLDVERSION should be the current version. The current version is package version in the APM and in /packages/myfirstpackage/myfirstpackage.info. So if forums is at 2.0.1, OLDVERSION should be 2.0.1d1. Note that this means that new version development that includes an upgrade must start at d2, not d1.
If you are working on a pre-release version of a package, use the current package version as OLDVERSION. Increment the package version as appropriate (see above) and use the new version as NEWVERSION. For example, if you are working on 2.0.1d3, make it 2.0.1d4 and use upgrade-2.0.1d3-2.0.1d4.sql.
Database upgrades should be confined to development releases, not alpha or beta releases.
Never use a final release number as a NEWVERSION. If you do, then it is impossible to add any more database upgrades without incrementing the overall package version.
Use only the d, a, and b letters in OLDVERSION and NEWVERSION. rc is not supported by OpenACS APM.
The distance from OLDVERSION to NEWVERSION should never span a release. For example if we had a bug fix in acs-kernel on 5.1.0 you wouldn't want a file upgrade-5.0.4-5.1.0d1.sql since if you subsequently need to provide a 5.0.4-5.0.5 upgrade you will have to rename the 5.0.4-5.1.0 upgrade since you can't have upgrades which overlap like that. Instead, use upgrade-5.1.0d1-5.1.0d2.sql