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Versioning Strategy

Version Format

SemVer (Semantic Version) will be used as the version format for all components, including platforms, plugman, CLI, core plugins. Doing so is important when describing dependencies in a sane way (e.g. within plugin.xml files). Although the CLI previously used a CadVer-SemVer format, it now uses a simple SemVer format. The CadVer format is no longer used in any Cordova components. The plugins no longer have an r prefix.

The semantics of SemVer should be followed, bumping the appropriate digit based on the impact of the new content.

Branching and Tagging

All components also follow the same branching and tagging strategy, including plugins and tools. A major.minor.X release branch (i.e., "3.7.x") should be created, and any fixes should be appended to that release branch. New content should be on the master branch, and a new release branch created at release time. When a release is performed, a release tag is added to the appropriate branch (i.e., "3.8.0" tag is put on the "3.8.x" branch).

Version Behavior

Plugin versions will all be separate and independent. So there may be a "1.2.0" of the Device plugin, and a "3.4.5" of the Camera plugin at the same time. The bumping of the version numbers of each plugin should be appropriate to the new content added to that plugin. The cordova plugin add command will add the most recent compatible version of that plugin by default. Alternately the user may manually specify an explicit version of that plugin to be installed (i.e., cordova plugin add org.apache.cordova.device@1.2.0). Plugin docs should be stored in each plugin repo, so that the docs are versioned with their source code.

Platform versions will all be separate and independent. So there may be a "3.7.0" of the iOS platform and a "4.0.0" of the Android platform at the same time. The bumping of version numbers of each platform should be appropriate to the new content being added to that platform. The cordova platform add command will add a platform version specific to the CLI by default. Alternatively the user may manually specify an explicit version of that platform to be installed (i.e., cordova platform add android@4.0.1). The CLI will hold the list of default versions for each platform (i.e., platform version pinning). Platform docs should be stored in each platform repo, so that the docs are versioned with their source code.

Platforms will have an <engine> tag or equivalent, to specify when a platform requires a newer version of the CLI.

cordova-js versions should continue to be single-sourced, meaning that when cordova-js is used by multiple components such as cordova-lib or cordova-android, the cordova-js version number should not be manually modified upon insertion to the consuming component, but instead should retain its build-time value. This means that there may be different versions of cordova-js in use across Cordova components.

cordova-lib, plugman, and CLI versions will all be separate. So there may be a "0.25.3" version of plugman and a "1.3.2" version of cordova-lib and a "3.8.0" version of the CLI at the same time. The bumping of version numbers of each of the tool components should be appropriate to the new content being added to that individual component. One exception to this is that when a new platform is released, and if the only update in the CLI is the platform pin, then the CLI receives a bump to its third digit, no matter the size of the version bump to those platform(s). If the CLI requires a change beyond updating the pin to handle the new platform, or if the CLI has other changes, then the SemVer semantics still apply for the CLI - the second or even first digit of the CLI version may get bumped. Further, if cordova-lib or plugman have a version bump due to new content (beyond updating the pin), then at least the same digit of the CLI version should get bumped, since the CLI is primarily composed of cordova-lib and plugman. Tools docs should be stored in each tool repo, so that the docs are versioned with their source code.

The CLI version number will be the "name" of the Cordova version. Thus tools and platform updates will cause a bump of the "Cordova version", but plugins will not.

Where Cordova components have dependencies upon other Cordova components (i.e., CLI depends on cordova-lib) or upon third-party components (i.e., CLI depends on nopt), the package.json should fully pin the version of the dependent component (i.e., "nopt": "2.3.4") (dependency pinning). This is in lieu of npm-shrinkwrap since npm-shrinkwrap is not reasonably mature.

For users that want to install a "fixed recipie" of specific versions of all the Cordova components, there are two ways to do that:

  • using specific version numbers:

    npm install cordova@3.8.0
    cordova platform add android@4.0.1
    cordova plugin add org.apache.cordova.device@1.2.3
    
  • cordova --experimental save and cordova --experimental restore.

Do note that third-party dependencies which themselves have dependencies on other third-party content (i.e., nopt depends on abbrev), those relationships may not be fully pinned since we don't have control of those third-party contents. For example, nopt 2.2.1 may specify a non-pinned dependency on version 1.x.x of abbrev. So a user may get different versions of abbrev at different times even though they consistently executed npm install cordova@3.8.0. As npm-shrinkwrap matures, we hope that it will take care of dependency pinning across the whole tree. Until then, only part of the tree is properly pinned.

Upgrade Behavior

When a user updates the version of the CLI they have installed, this CLI update has no effect on the platform and plugin versions that are already installed in their project, but they may receive a warning or notice if the installed platform versions are older than the versions pinned by the CLI. However, if they subsequently do a cordova platform update they will get the pinned version specified in their newer CLI.

Release notes should be easy for users to find and understand. This is important because of the non-trivial number of components.

At some future time, there may be added a cordova upgrade command, which would install the new pinned versions of all platforms (possibly replacing, or possibly alongside existing platforms), and not attempt to update a specific platform in-place. There are cases where users have modified platform native code.

Release Strategies

  1. On-Demand Releases
    • Any repository can do an on-demand release at any time.
    • These releases contain critical bug fixes that can't wait for the next scheduled release.
  2. Weekly Releases
    • These occur at most once a week (if there are no commits worth releasing, then skip the release).
      • Rationale: Reduces the number of releases to at most one per week so that users are not annoyed by having to update too frequently.
      • Rationale: Reduces the number of blog posts and release notes to write.
    • These releases apply to: CLI, Plugman, and Core Plugins.
    • These releases contain non-critical bug fixes as well as new features.
    • Releases generally happen on Thursdays, but can be done on any day so long as it's been a week since the previous release.
  3. Platform Releases
    • Release whenever platform maintainers decide they want to release
    • Tools also get updated with a platform release

When a component is released, it is tested against the most recent released version of its peer components. Note that this is the only combination that is tested by the community. For example, when a new Android platform is released, it was tested against the latest released tools and plugins. Another example, when a plugin is released, it is tested against the latest released platforms and tools.

Users are encouraged to use versions that are "date clustered". The reason for this is the testing described in the previous paragraph. Attemping to use a component that is an outlier in age compared to the other components may yield unpredictable behavior, since that combination may not have been tested by the community.

In general, there are no support streams for Cordova components. If there is a defect to be fixed or a new feature to be added, it will be done in the master (trunk) stream only, and made available in the next release. Fixes are not backported to already-released branches. There may be exceptions to this, such as an important security vulnerability, but these exceptions are rare.

For the reason in the previous paragraph, users are encouraged to use recent versions of Cordova components, and to stay reasonably current with new versions of Cordova components. This becomes important not just for bug fixes, but also for any enablement of new versions of device operating systems (i.e., iOS 8, Android L, etc). This enablement is not backported to older versions.

Related docs:

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