Version Numbering

I’ve always found version numbering interesting, and wondered how they are thought up by companies.  With Mozilla jumping Firefox from 3 to 30+ in a very short space of time (about 3 years, Google getting Chrome from 1 to 41 faster than you can say “Is this the latest version”, and Microsoft going from IE4 to IE11 in around 20 years, it doesn’t lead to a simple answer.  I did a bit of research, and found that there isn’t a hard and fast rule on how to do it.  Jeff Atwood over at Coding Horror covers this better than I ever could in his post “What’s in a Version Number, Anyway?

In a nutshell, people don’t care about version numbers.

It’s simple enough, but why should people care about version numbers?  The answer to that is that they shouldn’t.  If the version of some software they are using works, then it’s fine for them, within reason.  So long as that version is still supported by the developers, there’s not a problem (so get off IE6, 7 and 8!).

With that said and done, I mentioned how this is Version 5 of my site, and I’ve even added the version number to the bottom of the page.  It links to “release notes” to give a history of the site for when I add new things to it.  I think it might be interesting for people to see over time where it came from and how it progresses.  The repository isn’t a public one, so people can’t see the commit notes to see what’s happened; therefore a simple page to track the changes and evolution of the site might be handy.  It does, of course, mean I need to keep track of the “version”.

The version number is going to be in the format YEAR.MONTH.CHANGE-NUMBER

As it started on v5 in April 2015, the year will increase every April, so April 2016 will be v6, April 2020 will be v10.

The MONTH number is the month number from April, so April will be 0, May will be 1 and so on, with March being 11.

The CHANGE-NUMBER is the feature I add in for that month, and the count of changes I make to it.

As I won’t be adding something every month, there’s a good possibility the version numbers might chage dramatically.  It might yet go from version 5.1.1 up to 6.2.3 for all I know (not likely, I have some things I need to do fairly soon) but I will update it when a new feature is released.

The upshot of all this is that if you;re struggling to come up with a version number sequence that makes sense, don’t worry.  It doesn;t have to.  Just make it up as you want.  Remember, Microsoft went from Windows 3.1 to 95, got to 98, decided on 2000, then changed completely to XP and Vista before coming back down to 7 and 8, and they will jump to Windows 10 soon.