class Gem::Version

The Version class processes string versions into comparable values. A version string should normally be a series of numbers separated by periods. Each part (digits separated by periods) is considered its own number, and these are used for sorting. So for instance, 3.10 sorts higher than 3.2 because ten is greater than two.

If any part contains letters (currently only a-z are supported) then that version is considered prerelease. Versions with a prerelease part in the Nth part sort less than versions with N-1 parts. Prerelease parts are sorted alphabetically using the normal Ruby string sorting rules. If a prerelease part contains both letters and numbers, it will be broken into multiple parts to provide expected sort behavior (1.0.a10 becomes 1.0.a.10, and is greater than 1.0.a9).

Prereleases sort between real releases (newest to oldest):

  1. 1.0

  2. 1.0.b1

  3. 1.0.a.2

  4. 0.9

If you want to specify a version restriction that includes both prereleases and regular releases of the 1.x series this is the best way:

s.add_dependency 'example', '>= 1.0.0.a', '< 2.0.0'

How Software Changes

Users expect to be able to specify a version constraint that gives them some reasonable expectation that new versions of a library will work with their software if the version constraint is true, and not work with their software if the version constraint is false. In other words, the perfect system will accept all compatible versions of the library and reject all incompatible versions.

Libraries change in 3 ways (well, more than 3, but stay focused here!).

  1. The change may be an implementation detail only and have no effect on the client software.

  2. The change may add new features, but do so in a way that client software written to an earlier version is still compatible.

  3. The change may change the public interface of the library in such a way that old software is no longer compatible.

Some examples are appropriate at this point. Suppose I have a Stack class that supports a push and a pop method.

Examples of Category 1 changes:

Examples of Category 2 changes might be:

Examples of Category 3 changes might be:

RubyGems Rational Versioning


Let's work through a project lifecycle using our Stack example from above.

Version 0.0.1

The initial Stack class is release.

Version 0.0.2

Switched to a linked=list implementation because it is cooler.

Version 0.1.0

Added a depth method.

Version 1.0.0

Added top and made pop return nil (pop used to return the old top item).

Version 1.1.0

push now returns the value pushed (it used it return nil).

Version 1.1.1

Fixed a bug in the linked list implementation.

Version 1.1.2

Fixed a bug introduced in the last fix.

Client A needs a stack with basic push/pop capability. They write to the original interface (no top), so their version constraint looks like:

gem 'stack', '~> 0.0'

Essentially, any version is OK with Client A. An incompatible change to the library will cause them grief, but they are willing to take the chance (we call Client A optimistic).

Client B is just like Client A except for two things: (1) They use the depth method and (2) they are worried about future incompatibilities, so they write their version constraint like this:

gem 'stack', '~> 0.1'

The depth method was introduced in version 0.1.0, so that version or anything later is fine, as long as the version stays below version 1.0 where incompatibilities are introduced. We call Client B pessimistic because they are worried about incompatible future changes (it is OK to be pessimistic!).

Preventing Version Catastrophe:


Let's say you're depending on the fnord gem version 2.y.z. If you specify your dependency as “>= 2.0.0” then, you're good, right? What happens if fnord 3.0 comes out and it isn't backwards compatible with 2.y.z? Your stuff will break as a result of using “>=”. The better route is to specify your dependency with an “approximate” version specifier (“~>”). They're a tad confusing, so here is how the dependency specifiers work:

Specification From  ... To (exclusive)
">= 3.0"      3.0   ... &infin;
"~> 3.0"      3.0   ... 4.0
"~> 3.0.0"    3.0.0 ... 3.1
"~> 3.5"      3.5   ... 4.0
"~> 3.5.0"    3.5.0 ... 3.6
"~> 3"        3.0   ... 4.0

For the last example, single-digit versions are automatically extended with a zero to give a sensible result.

Public Class Methods

correct?(version) click to toggle source

True if the version string matches RubyGems' requirements.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 171
def self.correct? version
create(input) click to toggle source

Factory method to create a Version object. Input may be a Version or a String. Intended to simplify client code.

ver1 = Version.create('1.3.17')   # -> (Version object)
ver2 = Version.create(ver1)       # -> (ver1)
ver3 = Version.create(nil)        # -> nil
# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 183
def self.create input
  if self === input then # check yourself before you wreck yourself
  elsif input.nil? then
    new input
new(version) click to toggle source

Constructs a Version from the version string. A version string is a series of digits or ASCII letters separated by dots.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 205
def initialize version
  raise ArgumentError, "Malformed version number string #{version}" unless

  @version = version.to_s.strip.gsub("-",".pre.")
  @segments = nil

Public Instance Methods

<=>(other) click to toggle source

Compares this version with other returning -1, 0, or 1 if the other version is larger, the same, or smaller than this one. Attempts to compare to something that's not a Gem::Version return nil.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 330
def <=> other
  return unless Gem::Version === other
  return 0 if @version == other.version

  lhsegments = segments
  rhsegments = other.segments

  lhsize = lhsegments.size
  rhsize = rhsegments.size
  limit  = (lhsize > rhsize ? lhsize : rhsize) - 1

  i = 0

  while i <= limit
    lhs, rhs = lhsegments[i] || 0, rhsegments[i] || 0
    i += 1

    next      if lhs == rhs
    return -1 if String  === lhs && Numeric === rhs
    return  1 if Numeric === lhs && String  === rhs

    return lhs <=> rhs

  return 0
approximate_recommendation() click to toggle source

A recommended version for use with a ~> Requirement.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 314
def approximate_recommendation
  segments = self.segments.dup

  segments.pop    while segments.any? { |s| String === s }
  segments.pop    while segments.size > 2
  segments.push 0 while segments.size < 2

  "~> #{segments.join(".")}"
bump() click to toggle source

Return a new version object where the next to the last revision number is one greater (e.g., 5.3.1 => 5.4).

Pre-release (alpha) parts, e.g, 5.3.1.b.2 => 5.4, are ignored.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 219
def bump
  segments = self.segments.dup
  segments.pop while segments.any? { |s| String === s }
  segments.pop if segments.size > 1

  segments[-1] = segments[-1].succ segments.join(".")
eql?(other) click to toggle source

A Version is only eql? to another version if it's specified to the same precision. Version “1.0” is not the same as version “1”.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 232
def eql? other
  self.class === other and @version == other.version
marshal_dump() click to toggle source

Dump only the raw version string, not the complete object. It's a string for backwards (RubyGems 1.3.5 and earlier) compatibility.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 252
def marshal_dump
marshal_load(array) click to toggle source

Load custom marshal format. It's a string for backwards (RubyGems 1.3.5 and earlier) compatibility.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 260
def marshal_load array
  initialize array[0]
prerelease?() click to toggle source

A version is considered a prerelease if it contains a letter.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 281
def prerelease?
  @prerelease ||= !!(@version =~ /[a-zA-Z]/)
release() click to toggle source

The release for this version (e.g. 1.2.0.a -> 1.2.0). Non-prerelease versions return themselves.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 293
def release
  return self unless prerelease?

  segments = self.segments.dup
  segments.pop while segments.any? { |s| String === s } segments.join('.')
Alias for: version
version() click to toggle source

A string representation of this Version.

# File lib/rubygems/version.rb, line 162
def version
Also aliased as: to_s