What version is it anyway?

We are currently building multiple systems which are all component based. PubSweet, for example, contains three softwares (which you can find here):

  • pubsweet-server
  • pubsweet-client
  • pubsweet-cli

In addition, Editoria, is built on top of PubSweet and it consists of at least the following standalone components (which you can find here):

  • editoria
  • editoria-dashboard
  • editoria-bookbuilder
  • wax-editor

To the end user these platforms appear ‘as one thing’ but in effect, they are made of multiple standalone moving parts which are mostly all legitimately within the same namespace (editoria-*)

Which brings about a few interesting questions – the first is regarding versions, the second about what exactly it is that we are building.

First – how do you version something like Editoria when the ‘bona fide’ Editoria repository is ‘just glue’ code that brings the other Editoria components together? Each of those components has different version numbers that advance in a rather traditional semver way, but the actual Editoria glue code won’t move much at all. Hence we need to find a good way to think about versioning that communicates forward movement to the outside world.

So, for this situation, we have decided to simply advance the minor number of the version for each significant feature (or group of features) added to the system at large. So, for example, Editoria is now at 1.0. When we add the multiple MS Word import and the diacritics interface we will advance it to 1.1 – this is kind of arbitrary but as long as we correctly version the other components I think its the best way to do it.

xpub offers a different challenge. xpub started as the working title of journal platform (Manuscript Submission System) built on top of PubSweet. However, we quickly realised that xpub is actually more of a ‘ecology’ of components that can be used to build a journal workflow than it is a journal platform. Our thinking is moving this way because we aren’t really building platforms so much as components that can be assembled into platforms. So we don’t wish to have a single ‘xpub journal platform’, rather we will build many components (just like Editoria) and name them with the xpub-* prefix eg. xpub-dash, xpub-submission etc. These components can then be ‘glued together’ to make the journal platform of your dreams…

Just to make it more complex….we are also breaking down what we now call components into UI libraries…so we will also have an xpub-UI-library which contains ‘sub components’ that are then assembled into a component. For example, what we would call xpub-dash is a component, but it is assembled from several xpub-UI-library sub-components like ‘upload button’, ‘article list’ etc…

When we assemble xpub parts into a journal we will then name it something like xpub-collabra (the first assemblage we will be working on)…

So…you can see the difficulty! How to think about what it is you are building, and, how to version something like xpub-collabra when it is really nothing but the glue code which connects a lot of separate xpub-components which in themselves are assembled from xpub-UI-library sub-components!!!!

Tricky!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *