Hi Stephan,

There are a number of points to discuss here. In our case, I think long-term support really refers to two things: support for older versions of MediaWiki, and support for older versions of SMW. I don't know if everyone's aware of it, but the WMF people have actually declared MediaWiki 1.19 to be the official LTS version for the next two years - so people are supposed to be able to use 1.19 for the next two years without any worries. See here:


In the case of the Semantic Bundle, only compatibility with MediaWiki matters, since SMW is included in the bundle. But then again, maybe everyone is just talking about support for MediaWiki?

Anyway, the best approach for long-term support, in my opinion, is to have each extension individually maintain support for older versions of MediaWiki - especially version 1.19. (And for older versions of SMW, especially if some version of it is declared the LTS version.) That way there doesn't need to be special coordination done for the Semantic Bundle, and of course it means that the benefits still apply to people who download the extensions in other ways.

I try to maintain support for older versions of MediaWiki in all my extensions, going back two or more years if possible. Currently most of my extensions support MediaWiki 1.17, which came out in June 2011 - and the jump to 1.17 was only because of the major change in that version with the ResourceLoader. It's not that hard to maintain backward compatibility, and I think it's the right option, when possible - certainly easier than holding different branches and trying to maintain all of them.

I'm not unique in this - the Semantic Forms Inputs and Semantic Maps extensions, other SB extensions maintained by other people (both on this thread), also still support MediaWiki 1.17, for instance. And so does SMW itself, for that matter - though the SMW page says that MediaWiki 1.19 is "recommended", whatever that means.

So could it be that the solution to this is to simply highly recommend to all extension developers to keep support for older versions of MediaWiki, now and in the future?


On Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 8:30 AM, Stephan Gambke <s7eph4n@gmail.com> wrote:
Ok, digging this out again.

On 5 December 2012 22:39, James HK <jamesin.hongkong.1@gmail.com> wrote:
> # What would LTS mean in connection with SMW ?

Provide LTS versions of the Semantic Bundle.

This would mean:
* to branch off versions* of SMW
* to include updated versions of extensions in the Semantic Bundle as
long as they support the relevant SMW version
* to branch off versions of these extensions once they stop supporting
the relevant SMW version
* to clearly state extensions contained in the bundle including their versions
* to clearly state compatibility of the bundle to MW versions
* to apply patches to contained extensions if somebody provides them

* Considered versions of SMW would be the last minor versions before
the release of a new major version of SMW, i.e. 1.5.6, 1.6.1, 1.7.1,
Of these only take one per year and support it for two(?) years. This
would mean 1.6.1 (2011), 1.8 (2012), and 1.10 (2013).

> # Which implications would LTS have on future developments ?

Extension developers should anounce new versions of their extensions
stating compatibility of their extension to MW and SMW. They should
tag release versions of their extensions in git.
They should also think about if a bug or feature is important enough
to be backported.

> # Why would SMW need/want to support a LTS infrastructure ? What would
> be the benefit ?

Availability of stable Semantic Bundles on older MWs, giving people
more time to plan their updates and allow them to do updates less

> # Who will do LTS for SMW and what infrastructure is needed to support
> LTS (own branch etc.)

I would do the administration work incl. applying patches. I would in
general not do backporting.

I would propose to keep download versions on Google Code along with
the regular packages and document the contents on
semantic-mediawiki.org and/or mediawiki.org, e.g. as subpages of the
extension page.

> # Would LTS mean a freeze release or do features from a development
> branch are back ported to a LTS?

See above. Basically freeze for SMW and extensions that don't support
the frozen SMW anymore. Patches applied if provided.

What do you think?

> # SMW 1.8 supports MW 1.17/1.18+
> # SMW 1.9 is planned to support MW 1.19/1.20/1.21 / PHP 5.3 or greater
> # SMW 1.10 is planned to support MW 1.20 (or 1.21 pending on the release date)

Maybe think about that again. SMW 1.6 to 1.8 all supported up to two
year old MW versions. With the roadmap as it is this would drop to one
year for 1.9.

SMW -> MW: Delay
1.6 (30/07/2011) -> 1.15 (25/03/2009): 2.3 years
1.6.1 (20/08/2011) -> 1.15 (25/03/2009): 2.4 years
1.7 (01/01/2012) -> 1.16 (22/02/2010): 1.9 years
1.7.1 (05/03/2012) -> 1.16 (22/02/2010) 2.0 years
1.8 (02/12/2012) -> 1.17 (07/12/2010): 2.0 years
1.9 (15/03/2013) -> 1.19 (09/02/2012): 1.1 years
1.10 (15/08/2013) -> 1.19 (09/02/2012): 1.5 years


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