Whenever I played video games in the past, I would always be aware of a weird looking number, often resembling something along the lines of “1.2.3”. Even back then, I was aware that this number meant that I was using a certain version of a software; however, the idea of a value having multiple decimal points was perplexing to me. Upon doing some research, and performing a closer, more careful analysis behind the meaning of the number, I now understand why: this value is part of a system known as “SemVer” (Semantic Version).

SemVer is a special kind of number used to provide programmers and clients an awareness of a certain version of software. Basically, it is broken down into three different parts: MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH. A “MAJOR” number is incremented when code is added to a project that is not backwards compatible with previous versions. This kind of update will force users of the software to adapt in some way to the new changes.

On the other hand, a “MINOR” number is incremented upon creating (as the name implies) rather minor changes that do not result in breaking the program. All changes that result in a MINOR increment can work with previous versions of the software. Finally, the “PATCH” number receives an increment when very minor changes are made to a program. These changes often involve fixing bugs or other errors found within the MAJOR and MINOR releases.

Linked below is a YouTube video describing SemVer in detail, and it was made by a user known as “Inedo”; I chose this video simply because of the fact that it allows me to indulge in my favorite social media (YouTube) while also learning about SemVer. I guess I also chose this video in particular due to the fact that it is mainly audio; this is an easier video to play in the background as a “radio” during work than a normal video (which requires sitting down and paying attention).

Going forward, I plan on using my knowledge of SemVer for two purposes. First, when enjoying video games, I can now have a greater understanding of just how complete the product is (compared to when I was a kid). SemVer allows me to know just how much time and effort companies put into their software; while a higher SemVer number isn’t necessarily a hint of a better product, it does show that more time was dedicated to perfecting the craft. Second, I can use SemVer in my own coding adventures. Instead of making one program and being done with it, I can now create different versions of the product (for example, version 1.0.0). This knowledge will be especially useful when combined with collaborative software tools such as git and Scrum.

Note: The numbers in the title are NOT random. See if you can figure out what it means!

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si3eWq1yHXs

Published by Mike Morley (mpekim)

Current student at WSU. Knowledgeable of C/C++, Java and Python. Always interested in learning the basics of as many languages as possible.

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