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API versioning

Why do we need to version the API?

The API is a product, just like fleetctl and the web UI. It has its users, mostly fleetctl and the web UI, but third-party developers also work with it.

An evolving product inherently needs versioning. Most products create a new version with any addition to the product, but the API will work differently in that regard, as new additions to the API won't increase the version.

Fleet will use new versions for breaking changes and deprecating APIs. We release a new version of the API only when a breaking change is introduced.

What kind of versioning will we use for the API?

The format for the API version we've chosen is that of a date with the following format:

<year>-<month>

The date is chosen based on the month the breaking change was introduced.

Why is v1 still available at the time of this writing?

v1 is the first version of the API. It existed before this text, so it doesn't follow the versioning schema explained here. We still need to support it for a few months (see below on deprecation). So it'll be treated as an exception in the logic in the Go code while it exists.

Why not semantic versioning?

Semantic versioning is great and we are using it in Fleet itself. However, it doesn't necessarily work for APIs since we will not be releasing a new version with every addition, just with breaking changes. So it doesn't align with our needs at the API level.

How are API releases aligned with regular Fleet releases?

New versions are deployed when Fleet is released, given the nature of the product. However, not all new versions of Fleet will have a new release for the API.

How long do I have until you remove a deprecated API?

6 months after the new release has been available.

How are breaking changes introduced? (Mostly for developers)

Let's use an example. In handler.go we have the following endpoint:

e := NewUserAuthenticatedEndpointer(svc, opts, r, "v1", "2021-11")

// other endpoints here

e.GET("/api/latest/fleet/carves/{id:[0-9]+}/block/{block_id}", getCarveBlockEndpoint, getCarveBlockRequest{})

The versions available are v1 and 2021-11. This means that the following are valid API paths:

/api/latest/fleet/carves/1/block/1234
/api/2021-11/fleet/carves/1/block/1234

Now let's say we want to introduce a breaking change to this API, so we have to specify the version this particular API is being supported and then add the new one that will only be available starting in the new version:

e := NewUserAuthenticatedEndpointer(svc, opts, r, "v1", "2021-11", "2021-12")

// other endpoints here

e.EndingAtVersion("2021-11").GET("/api/latest/fleet/carves/{id:[0-9]+}/block/{block_id}", getCarveBlockEndpointDeprecated, getCarveBlockRequestDeprecated{})
e.StartingAtVersion("2021-12").GET("/api/latest/fleet/carves/{id:[0-9]+}/block/{block_id}", getCarveBlockEndpoint, getCarveBlockRequest{})

This will mean that the following are all valid paths:

/api/latest/fleet/carves/1/block/1234
/api/2021-11/fleet/carves/1/block/1234
/api/2021-12/fleet/carves/1/block/1234

However, /api/2021-11/fleet/carves/1/block/1234 will be the old API format, and /api/2021-12/fleet/carves/1/block/1234 will be the new API format.

After the date 2022-03, version 2021-11 (and v1 in this case) will be removed:

e := NewUserAuthenticatedEndpointer(svc, opts, r, "2021-12")

// other endpoints here

e.GET("/api/latest/fleet/carves/{id:[0-9]+}/block/{block_id}", getCarveBlockEndpoint, getCarveBlockRequest{})

This will mean that the following are the only valid paths after this point:

/api/2021-12/fleet/carves/1/block/1234

And the code doesn't have to specify .StartingAtVersion("2021-12") anymore.

Is there something missing?

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