Version Numbers


The STLplus library is an ongoing project and always will be. Therefore, there is a potential problem with different users using different versions of the library on different parts of a project - the parts may end up being incompatible with each other. There is also a problem whereby software will fail to build if the wrong version of STLplus is used.

For these reasons, version control is used to keep track of the various versions of the library. In fact, there are two layers of version control used - one is a fine-grain control used in development of the library and then there is a second level which is relevant to users of the library.

Fine-Grain Version Management for Development

The library is maintained in a Subversion (SVN) repository for development purposes. The SVN repository is stored on the SourceForge servers and can be browsed via the SourceForge Website. The use of version control allows every modification to every file in the library to be tracked and logged. It means that any version of the software at any date since the SVN repository was created can be reproduced by anyone, since the repository is publically accessible (for read-only access anyway). For example, if I wished to use the version that was current on 1 April 2012, I can do that.

When this project was set up in 2003 a CVS repository was used as the version control software of choice, but SourceForge announced the discontinuation of this service in autumn 2017. Thanks to the awesome tool cvs2svn I was able to convert the CVS repository into an SVN one, keeping all the historic versions, all the tags and all of the log information.

I converted the stlpls3 and makefiles packages. However, I decided at this point to scrap support for STLplus v2 (stlplus package) and so did not convert that repository. So all that exists of v2 are some historic downloadable zip files.

The SVN repository is tagged every time I make an official user release. For example, the current version of the library at the time of writing has the tag "stlplus3-03-14". The tags are found in the "tags" directory of the SVN repository. This means that checking out a tag will give you the user's version (in this case 3.14) of the library - see below for more on user versions.

Coarse-Grain Version Control for Users

The library contains a header in the portability library called version.hpp which defines a macro that contains a version number. This is the coarse-grain user version. For example, at the time of writing the macro looked like this:

#define STLPLUS_VERSION "3.14"

This means that the current version is version 3.14. The STLPLUS_VERSION macro was introduced for version 1.0. However, I strongly recommend using the latest version and certainly at least version 3. I do not and will not support anything earlier than that.

See Current Version Macro

However, the source code for a particular version number is not necessarily fixed. Remember that the library is an ongoing project. There are two reasons why the code might change and the version not:

  1. bug-fixes - a bug fix to a version does not change its version number. However, generally bug-fixes are only made on the latest (development) version.
  2. ongoing development - when the version is not an officially released version.

The process that I use for making releases is as follows:

I develop new features on a copy of the SVN trunk of the library. This is known as the "development" copy. When I am satisfied that this version has reached a level of stability that makes it a candidate for an official release, I freeze the source code and make an official release of it. I do this by zipping up a downloadable copy of the code as well as tagging it in the SVN repository. This is the end of development for that version number excepting minor bug-fixes. If you want a copy of an official release you can get a copy by either downloading the zip file or checking out the tag from the SVN repository.

Once an official release is made, the version number of the development copy of the library is incremented. This results in a new version which has not been released officially yet. This becomes the new development version which I will then use to develop more features or packages. If you want the very latest copy of STLplus, you can get a copy of this version by obtaining the "trunk" version from the SVN repository. Bear in mind that this version can change a lot because it is the development version. It can also get broken because of ongoing work on my part. Therefore, if you don't want to be affected by these changes, stick to an official release. For example, at the time of writing, version 3.14 was the last official release and so the development copy is version 3.15.