version number automation, version 1.091200

I’ve pushed some changes to the Dist::Zilla repository to implement a simple first-pass at autonumbering of versions. After careful consideration – one might say pathological consideration – I have set the default format to x.yyDDD0 where x is an arbitrary integer, yyDDD is the two digit year and the three digit day of year and 0 is literal.

The x lets me use the major number to announce API changes, even if they’re not respected by the CPAN toolchain. It also lets me abandon a version numbering scheme by bumping x and trying something new after the dot.

yyDDD is not as obviously a date as 20090429, but it’s much more compact. People are used to version strings up to six places long after the decimal in Perl. Eight places gets sort of obnoxious, and nine to twelve (for yyyymmdd0 through yyyymmddhhmm) are just horrible.

The zero won’t really be a constant. If I need to do two releases in a day (oops!) then I can use a number other than zero. I have never needed to cut more than two or thee releases in a day. I am willing to bet I won’t need to cut eleven. If I do, there’s always yyDD99. I don’t know how I’ll populate that final constant, but I’ll figure it out later.

The implementation is fun. The configuration for the AutoVersion plugin takes a “format” string, which is really a Text::Template string that has access to the major number (x) and a cldr function for doing CLDR pattern formatting on a DateTime object representing “now.” That means the default configuration is equivalent to:

major  = 1
format = .0

I look forward to integrating this with the someday-future VCS integration framework.

Written on April 30, 2009
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