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FHIR Versioning Demo

Created for a WebEx with INTEROPen on 26th May 2017.

Basic process flow

The below diagram shows the basic flow for creating new profiles, then creating new versions for publication on the FHIR server.


Step 1

  • Create a new profile in a Github repository.
  • In practice this could be a StructureDefinition, ValueSet, OperationDefinition or ImplementationGuide.
  • For our demo we will create a StructureDefinition - this one
  • Note - this profile has:
    • An ID, which is in the url element:**adam-patient**
    • A Name, which is in the name element: Adams Patient Profile - this is largely for human display
    • A Status, which is either draft, active or retired
    • A Version, which can be anything, but we are assuming it will follow the semantic versioning standard major.minor.patch - e.g. 1.0
  • Also note that the filename of this file is not significant - it can be anything!

Step 2

  • When the profile is in a suitable state, it can be promoted through the usual gitflow process into the develop branch, then into a release branch, and ultimately the master branch.

Step 3

  • When the resources are ready to be published, the Jenkins build server can then trigger a set of automated tasks to generate a rendered view of the profiles (snapshots, differentials, bindings, etc.)
  • The code for this is here

Step 4

  • The profiles and associated rendered views are put into a directory on the FHIR server, which processes them
  • The FHIR server looks at the IDs and versions of the various resources, and publishes them
  • Older versions that were previously published in this way are kept, so they are still available for systems that reference
  • The code for the FHIR server is here
  • The published profile is now available on the FHIR server:
    • Users accessing them through a web browser will see the rendered version
    • FHIR clients and tools accessing them will get the raw FHIR profile resources back - as per the FHIR specification
  • The example for our demo is here

Step 5

  • Now, when we want to change the profile, we can edit it in a new feature branch
  • We can simply make any changes we need to the profile and increase the version number inside the file
  • When we are ready, we can merge and publish it again as per steps 2, 3 and 4 above.
  • Now, the profile on the FHIR server has two versions - both of which can be seen in the browser and accessed from FHIR clients using the standard FHIR versioned URLs
  • So, in the case of our demo profile we can see:
    • The original version here
    • And the new version here
  • Users will see the latest by default, but can select any other versions easily - the versioned URLs for old versions will never change and can be relied upon by clients.