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Version numbers in filenames?

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 16:08

My documentation group likes to give me PDFs with the product version number as part of the filename, e.g. Product_X_User_Guide_2_2.pdf. Although this might make sense for them, it means I must change the filenames and shortcuts in the Install for every release. To maintain history in our version control system, I also have to rename the _2_1 to _2_2, etc. there.
Do other people number files for each release, or just simplify them e.g. Product_X_User_Guide.pdf ?


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Posted 12 July 2008 - 15:30

This is a complex issue, with many considerations. In general I am against version numbers as part of file names altogether. Instead I like to version the installation folder for major version only: Program Files\App\Version\ - where the version isn't a full version as in 5.0.4424, but just 5 (or maybe 5.0 if version 5.1 may need to be installed side by side).

The main problem with file version as part of the file name, is that the file name obviously won't stay the same across releases. This means that if you use MSI you should in theory change the component GUID for every new file name / version. This is because changing the file name will generally change the key path of the hosting component. This means that for patching purposes MSI will see the file as a completely different file, and will not be able to do bit level patching (which can be very useful if the updates are minor). As you also mention it means re-directing shortcuts etc...

I am not sure how easy it is to tag a PDF with its own version, but surely there must be a way to do so? In short I would enforce a standard file name across versions on the basis of release management - as the setup creator that should be your call. Moreover I would ensure that the file name would be different for different languages, or even better keep pdf files for different languages in language sub folders (to ensure correct MSI component referencing).

Edited by Glytzhkof, 12 July 2008 - 15:33.

-Stein Åsmul