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Subject: Semantics of version numbers and encoding them in the schema.

After our discussion at the F2F I believe we generally agreed on the
following semantics and syntax for versioning:

The version of a component of SAML (assertions, protocols) is composed of a
major indicator and a minor indicator. These indicators shall be positive
integers, and shall only be altered by monotonic increment.

An incrementing of the minor indicator indicates that some details of the
specification have changed, but that the underlying semantics of the have
not changed. In other words, if you understand documents created with the
old version, you will still understand documents created with the new
version except for any NEW syntax added due to the version change.
Furthermore, you can be assured that those elements you do understand have
the same MEANING as they had in the old version.

An incrementing of the major indicator indicates that the specification has
changed in such a way that no guarantee of syntactic or semantic continuity
from the previous version can be made.

Within the schema those elements that carry a version will carry the version
as two separate, required attributes named MajorVersion and MinorVersion.
These attributes will be typed as positive integers.

For the purposes of discussions the version of an element can be referenced
as MajorVersion.MinorVersion, i.e. when we're talking about this we can say
version 1.2 and know that means that the element in question has attributes
MajorVersion=1 and MinorVersion=2.

Chris McLaren, Principal Engineer
B2B Research Group  Netegrity, Inc.
cmclaren@netegrity.com   chris.mclaren@ieee.org

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