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Version production cycle and numbering

Perhaps you wonder (someone recently did) why the release version number of a TatukGIS product is so high, e.g., Does the high number mean the program has so many bugs requiring so many update releases? The answer is NO!

Perhaps it is a good time to review how the TatukGIS product production cycle works.

Historically - in ancient times - the software production cycle depended on the distribution channel. A software product had to be copied to a floppy disk (a bit later, to a CD), documentation had to be printed, etc. Therefore, releasing a new version was a lengthy process and that could occur quite rarely. These days, few companies still rely on the old production cycle, particularly if products are released using online distribution only.

TatukGIS, in contrast, has always employed online distribution (from the company's inception). This meant our software production cycle could be faster. Historically, we typically released a new version several times per year. But some of our customers wanted more - asking us to provide new features and improvements (as well as bug fixes) even more frequently. Therefore, several years ago we decided to change our production cycle to the following:

    Versions built almost every night containing any committed change. This version is not tested, should not be used for production, and is generally provided only to customers wanting to verify the most recent bug fixes.
    Versions built on Friday/Saturday night. This version contains changes we are willing to share with a wider audience (i.e., all customers with active maintenance). Unstable versions are generally tested and could be used in production, though we do not recommend this because the API for new features is still subject to change. Even new features are subject to change or postponement in the next STABLE release version.
    Versions generally built on the last Friday/Saturday of the month. Changes in this version are committed. A STABLE version is posted as a Trial for evaluation by non-customers and is recommended for general use. Occasionally (such as during vacation periods), however, a STABLE version can be released on another date or even skipped until the following month.

So, what does our version number mean? Let's examine version "".

  • 11
    This part of the number means it is the 11th major version since the product's inception. Major versions, released only from time to time, signify a major redesign. TatukGIS is presently on DK version 11 and we have no intermediate plans for any major new version. This is because our redesign goals were achieved in the DK10 to DK11 upgrade. For the foreseeable future, all new features will be implemented as DK11 updates.
  • 31
    This means it is the 31st STABLE version. So, plus or minus, this also means it is 31st month of the DK11 cycle.
  • 1
    The "1" signifies it is a hot fix release, which suggests we screwed something up with the previous version that had to be quickly fixed. Normally this digit in the version number will be "0".
  • 18932
    This part of the number is mostly for our internal purposes. It is a version-control system change number that allows us to easily go back to a version to verify our source code, such as to find potential differences.
Posted: October 29, 2019