Developer Area/Version Numbering Policy

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Revision as of 15:33, 29 May 2012 by Richard (talk | contribs)

This page documents the Mahara version numbering scheme, and how the version numbers of new releases are decided.

Stable/Unstable Versions

Mahara has a stable and unstable release. The stable release is what you should use for production Mahara installations. Stable releases do not change much, mainly receiving bug fixes.

Unstable releases are previews for what will be in the next major iteration of Mahara. You should not use unstable releases on production websites, but you are welcome to try them out to see what new features will be in the next release.

Like Debian, Ubuntu and some other software, Mahara releases have code names, as documented in the release policy.


Stable versions are numbered X.Y.Z. As of the writing of this section, Mahara is at 1.0.6, this version number will be used for the examples that follow.


Unstable is defined as "The HEAD of the master git branch". It is generally signaled by either an increased X or Y in the version number. For example, when the latest stable version was 1.0.6, unstable was heading towards Mahara 1.1. Releases of unstable have version numbers like 1.1.0alpha3 or 1.1.0beta1.

How the Release Version Changes

Imagine the current stable version is 1.0.6. In git, lib/version.php will contain '1.0.7testing'. Bug fixes will be made from time to time here.

At the point when a release is ready, the version in lib/version.php will be changed to 1.0.7, the release made and the version changed again to 1.0.8testing.

Currently, master has 1.1.0beta3dev. When we branch for 1.1, lib/version.php on that branch will be changed to 1.1.0rc1dev, while trunk will be bumped to 1.2.0dev.

The 1.1 branch will be testing until its first release (1.1.0), then we repeat as for the 1.0 branch.

Version bumps and database upgrades

In lib/version.php (and plugin version.php files), the $config->version line is used to trigger database upgrades. On a stable branch, this number should only ever be incremented by one. On the master branch, the current date should be used. This will ensure that someone who has upgraded on a stable branch (e.g. from 1.4.0 to 1.4.2) will still have a $config->version less than the first upgrade on the 1.5 or master branches.

If you are pushing the same database upgrade to both master and to one or more stable branches, you should increment the $config->version by one on your patches for the stable branches, and use the current date on master. In this case you must also ensure that your upgrade will not fail, (and will have no effect) when it is run a second time, because it will be run when users do their stable upgrade, and again when the next major upgrade comes out.

Plugin versions are messier, and also complicated by the fact that Mahara's upgrade system upgrades core all the way before it begins upgrading plugins. This has potential to cause nasty problems. For example, a plugin upgrade could refer to a db column in a core table which gets removed from core before the plugin upgrade has a chance to run. This can sometimes be avoided by forcing plugin upgrades at points during a core upgrade. However, that will upgrade the plugin all the way before it continues the core upgrade, with the same potential issues! As a last resort, $config->minupgradefrom can be used to force all upgrades to stop at a certain fixed point before continuing, but this is a hassle for users.