Andrew Breese

Musings of a professional geek

NO: Dates as version numbers

Here is a Nutty Observation (or NO! as I’m calling them): the suggestion that a date is a good version number. I dislike this idea a lot, but hate is too strong a word.

Pros:

  • You can tell when that release was built. eg. v2011.7.13 or even 20110714.

Cons:

  • No tracking of the style of the build in terms of major or minor release. eg the difference between v23.1, 23.2, or v24.
  • No match to a typical SDLC process, or common source management methods.
  • Which means no real idea of the baseline feature sets which can be the cause for a patch vs major vs minor change in an application.

I recently saw this in some bid material, and it stuck me as a very short term way of thinking for software.

Far better to plan for many releases, and many versions. I’ll concede that sometimes it might be a passable idea when the application is only going to be updated infrequently, and the changes will be minor it might be ok – otherwise it’s horrid. Wikipedia has more, but you get the idea.

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