Software Versioning: Why Numbers Matter When Developing Banking Solutions
In the world of banking software development, every detail is important. The process is like solving a complex puzzle. Each piece has a unique role, contributing to the overall picture. Software versioning is one such piece – integral yet often overlooked. Today, we’ll define what software versioning is, explain how it works, and discuss the best practices that are important from my point of view. This knowledge will enable you to see the bigger picture of the process.
What is software versioning
Software versioning is the process of assigning unique numbers to each version of software a company releases. These numbers are often assigned in ascending order within a certain version number category and correlate to new improvements in the software. It makes it easier for us as developers to keep track of different editions of the software, its fixes, and updates.
But understanding version releases is critical also for your business and end users. C-level executives need to maintain the bigger picture of the corporate roadmap while project managers need a tool to verify that projects are progressing as planned. End users, on the other hand, check the software versions to ensure they are using an up-to-date version of the system that reduces the risk they will have a poor user experience.
How does software versioning work
The most common format used by developers when versioning software is called semantic versioning. As I mentioned, each software version is represented by a number. Let’s say, we have a 5.3.12 software version. Each number in the sequence denotes a specific release type:
In our case, 5 is a major release, 3 is a minor release, and 12 is a patch release. Let’s break them down.
The MAJOR release is related to incompatible API changes. It means the addition of significant features or functional changes that are incompatible with previous versions. In our case, the software version is a fifth major release that is incompatible with the fourth release.
The MINOR release means minor changes to the software or adding a new backwards-compatible function. Our current version of the software has since received three updates.
The PATCH release includes bug fixes or improvements in performance which are also backwards compatible. It means that software has been fixed or improved in a way that shouldn’t have a negative impact on existing integrations. The number in our software versioning example indicates it’s on the 12th patch to major version 5.
Software versioning best practices
Following best practices is crucial to ensuring smooth banking software development, deployment, and maintenance. Here are the top five software versioning best practices that we at Axelgate consider crucial:
The versioning system should follow a logical, consistent pattern that is easy to understand and follow. It means maintaining the same format, increment style, and update criteria throughout the development lifecycle.
That makes it easier to track changes, apply updates, and handle any potential issues. Consistency in software versioning helps developers stay organized while bringing clarity to customers.
Customers can quickly understand the evolution of the software, whether the changes are minor updates, significant feature introductions, or just bug fixes. It also allows them to plan their own software updates and adapt their systems to changes, ensuring smoother integration.
And as we both know, there is no time to waste in the banking industry.
Having a predictable release schedule is beneficial not only for developers but also for customers. This practice aids development teams in resource allocation and workload management. As a customer, knowing when to expect updates allows you to schedule necessary downtime, user training, or system adjustments.
Especially in the financial sector, an update schedule allows to minimize disruptions in banking operations.
A predictable schedule also brings stability and allows for better strategic planning on both sides. Although sticking to a schedule is important, the quality should never be compromised for the sake of meeting a deadline.
Comprehensive documentation that includes details about changes made, bugs fixed, and new features added in each version is an invaluable resource. It helps developers to keep track of the modifications made over time and contributes to the clarity of the development process, just like a consistent versioning system does.
Customers can understand the implications of each update, enabling them to train their teams adequately and make informed decisions about integrating updates into their systems.
At Axelgate, we’re committed to simplifying the intricate process of software development, and we’re always ready to lend our expertise to your cause. If you have more questions about software versioning, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.