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Meaning Behind Software Versions

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Deval Ganatra
May 28, 2020

Ever wondered, what are those number behind any software release? Do they have meaning? Well, of course, they do. They are software version numbers. Version numbers help to categorize the unique state of any software which is either in development or in the release.

Usually, versioning starts from 1.0 or 1.0.0 to be precise. There is no standard for software versioning. Maybe, that's why some companies have their own unique standards. Put differences apart, there are some similarities also. All these numbers describe changes in the software. There are usually three kinds of changes that can happen to the software.

Bug Fixing

Suppose, software version changes from 1.0.0 to 1.0.1, it means there is a very small change in software. As a software user, we don't have to worry about anything, the software is going to work better than its previous version. Usually, bug fixing or patch changes happen when rightmost digits are incremented.

Minor Change

If the software version increased from 1.0.0 to 1.1.0 means there are some minor changes. The increased middle digit is showing that minor changes happened. These minor changes could be a change in certain functionality, insertion or deletion of a functionality. This new version of the software should be backward compatible, and it is safe using the latest version rather than the older one.

Major Change

Version number increases from 1.0.0 to 2.0.0, there could be some groundbreaking changes. In this new version, many things might have changed, renamed, removed. The new version might not be compatible with earlier versions sometimes. Often we are ensured that there is decent backward compatibility, but still, we cannot say for sure that it will be going to work the same as before.