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API compatibility policy

This document proposes a policy regarding making API updates to the CRDs in this repo. Users should be able to build on the APIs in these projects with a clear idea of what they can rely on and what should be considered in progress and therefore likely to change.

For these purposes the CRDs are divided into three groups:

  • [Build and BuildTemplate] - from https://github.com/knative/build
  • [TaskRun, Task, and ClusterTask] - "more stable"
  • [PipelineRun, Pipeline and PipelineResource] - "less stable"

The use of alpha, beta and GA in this document is meant to correspond roughly to the kubernetes API deprecation policies.

What does compatibility mean here?

This policy is about changes to the APIs of the CRDs, aka the spec of the CRD objects themselves.

A backwards incompatible change would be a change that requires a user to update existing instances of these CRDs in clusters where they are deployed (after automatic conversion is available this process may become less painful).

The current process would look something like:

  1. Backup the instances
  2. Delete the instances
  3. Deploy the new type definitions
  4. Update the backups with the new spec
  5. Deploy the updated backups

This policy does not yet cover other functionality which could be considered part of the API, but isn’t part of the CRD definition (e.g. a contract re. files expected to be written in certain locations by a resulting pod).

Build and BuildTemplate

The CRD types Build and BuildTemplate should be considered frozen at beta and only additive changes should be allowed.

Support will continue for the Build type for the foreseeable future, particularly to support embedding of Build resources within knative/serving objects.

TaskRun, Task, and ClusterTask

The CRD types Task, ClusterTask, and TaskRun should be considered alpha, however these types are more stable than Pipeline, PipelineRun, and PipelineResource.

Possibly beta in 0.3

The status of these types will be revisited ~2 releases (i.e. 0.3) and see if they can be promoted to beta.

Once these types are promoted to beta, any backwards incompatible changes must be introduced in a backwards compatible manner first, with a deprecation warning in the release notes, for at least one full release before the backward incompatible change is made.

There are two reasons for this:

  • Task and TaskRun are considered upgraded versions of Build, meaning that the APIs benefit from a significant amount of user feedback and iteration
  • Going forward users should use TaskRun and Task instead of Build and BuildTemplate, those users should not expect the API to be changed on them without warning

The exception to this is that PipelineResource definitions can be embedded in TaskRuns, and since the PipelineResource definitions are considered less stable, changes to the spec of the embedded PipelineResource can be introduced between releases.

PipelineRun, Pipeline and PipelineResource

The CRD types Pipeline, PipelineRun and PipelineResource should be considered alpha, i.e. the API should be considered unstable. Backwards incompatible changes can be introduced between releases, however they must include a backwards incompatibility warning in the release notes.

The reason for this is not yet having enough user feedback to commit to the APIs as they currently exist. Once significant user input has been given into the API design, we can upgrade these CRDs to beta.