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Release and Development Snapshot Version Semantic Versioning with Maven


Semantic Versioning allows us to understand the nature of a release by comparing the newly released version with the previous version.

Each version number would comprise of 3 numbers. major.minor.patch

For example, 3.1.2 means

  1. Major version is 3
  2. Minor Version is 1
  3. Patch Version is 2

Major indicated a Breaking Change, meaning this version is not backward compatible. For example, Major version 3 is not backward compatible with major version 2.

The minor version is for backward-compatible features. For example, version 3.1.2 means there has been 1 feature added over Major version 3.

The patch version is for bug fixes, non-breaking refactoring, performance improvements, etc. 3.1.2 means there have been 2 patch releases over minor release 1.

Upgrading using Semantic Versioning

This way, when we say if we have version 2.1.0 and the newest version is 3.0.0 we’ll be more careful upgrading because this is a major release. And therefore contains breaking changes.

If the new version is 2.2.0 we’ll be okay updating as the version number change indicates it’s a minor release.

If it’s a patch release like 2.1.1 we’ll update it right away.

Note: This version number depends on the programmer. While upgrading from one version to another, make sure to run all your automated tests to verify that nothing breaks.

Using Semantic Versioning in Maven

In maven projects, we have two versions

  1. Release version: Released to the public.
  2. Development version: Indicating this is the next development. The development version has -SNAPSHOT assigned to it.

So, if the release is 2.0.0, the development snapshot will be 2.0.1-SNAPSHOT.

The problem here is what you do on the next release.

You can’t have 3.0.1 as the major release. Nor you can have 3.0.2 as the next patch release.

The major should be 3.0.0 and patch should be 3.0.1 with 3.0.2-SNAPSHOT as dev version.

So here’s what I did,

  1. Remove -SNAPSHOT from the development snapshot.
  2. if the release is major, increment major and set minor and patch to 0. if the release is minor, set patchto0`
  3. If the release is patch, do nothing.

Now, the patch version would just be the same as the snapshot with -SNAPSHOT` removed.

The next development version will always be {major}.{minor}.{patch+1}-SNAPSHOT.

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