The ultimate source for schema versioning strategies

May 18th, 2009 by Johan Eltes

We are often asked to define WSDL- and schema design guidelines (contract-first) for clients. We have found a core set of guidelines that seem to work well for clients using XML_binding. The core challenge is to find a portable and reasonably useful approach to controlled evolution, supporting backwards- and forwards compatibility across service consumers and producers bound (via JAX-B or .Net binding technologies). We’ve seen the chosen approach being used fairly broadly, among others in several oasis specifications (as an example: WS-Topic in WS-Notification), but never really found a good, authoritative point of reference. Until i found this excellent document by w3c. It outlines the problem, defines a number of versioning strategies – each with an identification, and finally lists examples of standards bodies that apply the different strategies. The strategy we are endorsing is number 2.5.

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