Dubbo versioning contract

New feature development and stability improvement are equally important to product. But adding new features will affect stability, dubbo uses the following version development pattern to achieve a good balance.

Two versions evolving at the same time

  • BugFix Version:low version,e.g. 2.4.x. This is called the GA version, which can be applied in production. We are supposed only to fix bugs in this version, and increase the third version number when release.
  • Feature Version:high version, e.g. 2.5.x. We add new features to this version, so applications have opportunities try new features.

When features in 2.5.x are proved stable enough, we will announce 2.5.x as a beta release.

When 2.5.x proved stable after enough test on enough applications:

  • 2.5.x, the GA Version, only do BugFix, the main version to be used. We can try to promote applications to upgrade to GA at the desired time.
  • 2.4.x, no longer maintained. When bugs appear, applications have no choice but upgrade to the latest stable version- Sunset Clause
  • We create a new branch 2.6.0 based on 2.5.x for new features.


  • GA Version are promised stable:
    • only BugFix
    • GA Version got enough tests before promotion
  • New features can respond quickly in Feature Version and allow applications to try that
  • Significantly reduces development and maintenance costs

The responsibilities of users

Users should always keep in track with the GA Version, make sure all bugs were fixed.

There is a fake proposition: regular upgrades bring more risks. Here’s the reasons:

  • GA remains stable after a trial period.
  • Bugs find on GA will be fixed immediately.
  • Comparing with the on-need-upgrade (only upgrade when find a serious problem, and may span multiple versions), upgrade periodically can flat risk. Experienced a long cycle of large projects, students will have such an experience, the tripartite library version does not upgrade for a long time, the result of the problem had to upgrade to the new version (across multiple versions) a huge risk.

Last modified December 22, 2020: clean up website (6e41905afab)