[R-pkg-devel] Semantic versioning and maintenance releases
murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Thu Oct 26 16:53:24 CEST 2017
On 26/10/2017 10:36 AM, Bruce Hoff wrote:
>> I think this would make life harder for CRAN and for other developers,
>> so it's unlikely to happen.
>> For example, suppose both yourpackage 1.6.3 and 1.7.0 are active on
>> CRAN, and mypackage declares that it depends on yourpackage. Then if I
>> upload an update to mypackage, which version of yourpackage does CRAN
>> install when testing my update? It would have to test both.
> Respectfully, I don't see why this would be a problem for the author of
> 'mypackage'. The author of 'mypackage' is simply one of Shivaram's users
> (a consumer of 'yourpackage'). He/she decides whether to depend on v 1.6.3
> *or* v 1.7.0 then builds, tests and publishes the appropriate revision of
You could do that, but it would be very unusual (and fragile) to have
your package depend on a particular version of another package. The
more common thing is to say "Depends: yourpackage" (or "Imports:",
etc.), with no version dependency. Users installing mypackage would
need to have some version of yourpackage installed, but R would be happy
with either one.
When there's only one active version of yourpackage, CRAN enforces
quality by requiring that any update to yourpackage doesn't break
mypackage (and the other reverse dependencies), and that any update to
mypackage works with the latest yourpackage. That's already a lot of
work. When I was testing for CRAN, a few packages required 10 or 20
hours of testing when they submitted an update.
The problem arises if both versions of yourpackage are on CRAN with
equal status. Then CRAN shouldn't accept mypackage unless it works fine
with both, but that's twice as much testing. And in the extended
version with n packages having m active versions, it's m^n times as much
The author of 'mypackage' is free to move up to 1.7.0 when
> he/she sees fit, e.g., based on what additional functionality is included
> in 1.7.0.
> Also, it doesn't seem too bad for CRAN to only allow monotonic increases in
> version numbers. I would hope that Shivaram's series of revisions are
> backwards compatible and that the 'patch' included in 1.6.3 is also
> included in 1.7.0. So he should be able to publish 1.7.0 to CRAN and ask
> his users to update to that version to get the patch. There should be no
> downside of having the other changes to 'yourpackage'. If, on the other
> hand, 'yourpackage' has changed from 1.6 to 1.7 so much that it computes
> different results, then perhaps it should be published under a different
> package name ('yourpackage-2'). In that case CRAN should allow both
> packages to exist side-by-side in the repository.
> Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 16:45:22 -0400
> From: Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan at gmail.com>
> To: Shivaram Venkataraman <shivaram.venkataraman at gmail.com>, Ben
> Bolker <bbolker at gmail.com>
> Cc: r-package-devel at r-project.org
> Subject: Re: [R-pkg-devel] Semantic versioning and maintenance
> Message-ID: <d090ebf0-8c42-99b5-58ca-355ebb25b832 at gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> On 25/10/2017 4:28 PM, Shivaram Venkataraman wrote:
>> Thanks for all the replies. I can see that the monotonic ordering is
>> in-built to support the latest / best version model that CRAN has. That
>> said it would be great if the policy could be relaxed to allow uploading
>> older versions which don't necessarily become the "best" version.
>> Then we could ask users to use versions and run something like do
>> `install.versions('mypackage', '1.6.3')` if they really want to be in the
>> 1.6.x series.
> I think this would make life harder for CRAN and for other developers,
> so it's unlikely to happen.
> For example, suppose both yourpackage 1.6.3 and 1.7.0 are active on
> CRAN, and mypackage declares that it depends on yourpackage. Then if I
> upload an update to mypackage, which version of yourpackage does CRAN
> install when testing my update? It would have to test both.
> And if mypackage depended on herpackage and hispackage that also had
> multiple active versions on CRAN, things would become unwieldy very quickly.
> Duncan Murdoch
>>  https://github.com/goldingn/versions
>> On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 1:05 PM, Ben Bolker <bbolker at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On 17-10-25 03:47 PM, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>>>> On 25/10/2017 2:23 PM, Shivaram Venkataraman wrote:
>>>>> We have an R package that uses semantic versioning -- i.e. version
>>>>> are of the form major_version.minor_version.patch_version
>>>>> One of the ways we use the patch_versions is to make maintenance
>>>>> or security fixes that users can apply without worrying about any
>>>>> functionality changes. For example if our users were on 1.6.2 it is
>>>>> easier for them to upgrade to 1.6.3 which has a security fix rather
>>>>> On the other hand our development continues towards the next minor
>>>>> and we sometimes have cases where say 1.6.3 is released after 1.7.0.
>>>>> While running `R CMD check --as-cran` for version 1.6.3 we find that
>>>>> leads to a warning which looks like 'Insufficient package version
>>>>> 1.6.3, existing: 1.7.0)'.
>>>>> Our question is whether it is okay to upload these maintenance
>>>>> releases to
>>>>> CRAN and if there is some way we can mark that the version numbers
>>>>> semantic versioning.
>>>> CRAN won't accept 1.6.3 after 1.7.0 has been published there. It
>>>> requires version numbers to be increasing. There's no provision for the
>>>> scheme you're following.
>>>> Even if there were, it's not easy for a user to ask to install any
>>>> version but the latest one. They'd need to work out the URL and
>>>> download the tarball and build it from source. install.packages() has
>>>> no provision for handling this automatically.
>>> If an older version *were* on CRAN (I understand why this isn't
>>> feasible), devtools::install_version() would take care of some of the
>>> fussy bits (although it still requires having the build tools installed).
>>> You can use the 'ref' argument in devtools::install_github to point
>>> your users to a tag/release number ...
>>>> I'd suggest that you put the patch releases for older versions on Github
>>>> or some other repository, and explain how users can install directly
>>>> from there.
>>>> Duncan Murdoch
>>>> R-package-devel at r-project.org mailing list
>>> R-package-devel at r-project.org mailing list
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