Backwards Compatibility in Open Source Projects
Garrett Rooney, Software Engineer, CollabNet
Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005
Time: 10:45am - 11:30am
When projects grow beyond a certain size, the looming specter of
backwards compatibility begins to rear its ugly head. Users that once
only wanted new features begin to require a certain level of
stability, which naturally conflicts with the needs of the developers
working on the project.
Learn how to meet your users' needs while
still making forward progress, drawing from the experience gained
during the development of the Subversion version control system.
Specifically, we will discuss the various levels of compatibility
users require and the places projects might want to provide
compatibility for their users, ranging from API and ABI compatibility
to network protocol compatibility and finally on-disk format
compatibility. Once the different types of compatibility have
been covered we will delve into some tips and tricks on how to
maintain compatibility while still adding new features and fixing
bugs. Finally, we'll tackle the question of how to determine what
kind of compatibility promises are right for your specific project.
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