A small improvement to our version numbering (aka Why there won’t be a “Flash Player 10 Update 1”)

Some people have noticed that our Flash Player 10 release last week had a “funny” version number. Funny in that the fourth digit wasn’t “0” for the final release as it has been in the past.

No, it isn’t a mistake — we are using a new numbering system! Ok, not new as in totally-different, but new as in tweaked-and-better. In the Flash Player world, where backwards compatibility and legacy behavior are important, making a change like this is a big deal. Big enough that this particular change was proposed a few times until we finally felt comfortable enough to give it a shot. There are a few good reasons why we wanted this change. First, the old system, where the third digit was basically our build number, created some internal havoc. You can imagine the pain we caused to our documentation team and other internal products that had to wait until we were done to find out the final version number. The other pain was to marketing and our customers. We weren’t able to version dot releases in a meaningful way, which is how we ended up with a name like “Flash Player 9 Update 3” delivering something as juicy as H.264 in a product with a 9.0.115.0 version number.

Enter the improved system that allows us to predict the final build numbers through the first three digits but takes into account that the third digit always has to increase for legacy detection scripts in the wild. For Flash Player 10, our developer builds were 10.0.10.b, betas were 10.0.11.b and release candidates/GM builds were 10.0.12.b. (b is the build number, so take note that we want you to continue to ignore the fourth digit for detection purposes.) The important information about the version is the first release of Flash Player 10 = 10.0.12.*

This new numbering system allows us to move towards more meaningful release numbering where the first, second and third digits actually mean Major, Minor, Bugfix. For example, the next bugfix or security release should jump up and use the series 10.0.20/10.0.21/10.0.22, and we can use “10.1” (e.g. 10.1.30/10.1.31/10.1.32) when we do a feature-bearing dot release instead of “Flash Player 10 Update 1.” Old detection kits will continue to work, but moving forward you could detect for minor releases for a specific feature more easily. And it’s not a tongue twister.

So, there is the explanation for the Flash Player Trivia files. 🙂

* 10/22/08 tiny correction. The first release of 10 is actually 10.0.2.54, which ships in CS4 (because of lockdown schedules). That build is only in the tools and was never available from the player download center for users. You should update your players to the first web release of the player for development and testing.

8 Responses to A small improvement to our version numbering (aka Why there won’t be a “Flash Player 10 Update 1”)

  1. NateJC says:

    I was always confused by the old system. Very excited to hear about the new!

  2. emmy says:

    Thanks for the positive feedback, Nate!

  3. Adriano says:

    Hi Emmy,Whilst I agree that the new FP 10 numbering system is an improvement over the FP 9.*.*.* numbering debacles, it is still a long way off a simpler and much better system of:10.0 (for the main first v10 release. Oops too late!)10.1 (for major update 1)10.1.1 (for minor update of 10.1)10.2 (for update 2)etc.No third dot, no fourth dot, and only a second dot for minor updates and only if required!Whilst including the numerous dots makes sense to Adobe internally, the 10.*.*.* is confusing for everyone else and especially to end users, most of whom wouldn’t even know what Flash is.Also, the version number e.g. 10.1 should be displayed on a right-click as in “About Adobe Flash Player 10.1” (within the FP plugin/ActiveX web browsers) so the user could instantly tell what version of Flash Player they are running.If possible, could the Flash Player team start using 10.1 and then 10.2 for all future major releases of the Flash Player?If not, what about 11.0? Lucky Elevens maybe?! ;)Thanks for the post all the same 🙂

  4. I’d have to agree with what Adriano says regarding the right click menu. Would be great if we could see at a glance what version is actually installed without having to visit the Adobe Flash player page (also decreasing Adobe server traffic)I used to wonder what the first zero after the dot was used for, so am glad to hear that it’s now going to be incremented for dot release updates. Adriano does make a good point about the general public not really being concerned with all the internal build numbering information, so simplifying it even further would be great.

  5. Ryan says:

    makes sense to me… i don’t see what the confusion is about major/minor/bugfix it does not get any more simple?I disagree with Adriano completely. Please leave it exactly as you have it so that I can monitor minor releases and bug fix’s.thanks for the explanation Emmy this is an improvement…

  6. Hi, pretty sure I made a comment on this thread a while back but I can’t see it yet. Might be in the moderation queue I’m guessing 😉

  7. emmy says:

    Jason – sorry about that. Somehow missed approving your previous comment. It’s done now.

  8. wonderwhy-er says:

    Sounds like a great improvement. This way we developers will be able to more precisly target which version of player we need based on features we use.
    I don’t agree with Adriano on cutting out bugfix part or something. It is great that we will be able now to track if users have a version of player with specific bugs that play important role in our apps.

    But I really like Adriano idea with flash version in right click menu. Would save some time and make things more clear in some cases.