Whdbey Beta2 Build Number and the Build Numbering Scheme we use in DevDev

A few people have sent me email wondering about the final build number of Beta2.  I posted in my blog yesterday that the Beta2 build was build #50215.45 -- and yet when people hit the About menu on the Beta2 bits on MSDN it comes back #50215.44. 

The reason for the difference is that the only change between .44 and .45 was the inclusion of an updated drop of SQL Express binaries.  As such, we did not re-build the Visual Studio or .NET Framework binaries (since test had already signed off on those) - and instead just updated setup to pick up the new SQL binaries.  Consequently, when you hit the about box in VS you’ll see the .44 version string displayed -- even though technically it is from the .45 setup package. 

As an aside, the version numbering system we use within the developer division is somewhat clever yet simple.  Some teams just increment the build number by one on each build (1, 2, 3, 4, n).  A few years ago we went to a model where we use the build date to drive the build number instead.  Specifically, the first digit of the build indicates the year, the next two digits the month, and the final two digits the day.  The benefit of an approach like this is that it makes it pretty easy to figure out which build was produced when -- and to be able to quickly figure out how old a bug is when we get a bug report.  So build 50215 would indicate the build from Feb 15th, 2005.  Build 50115 is the build from Jan 15th, 2005.  Build 40215 is the build from Feb 15th, 2004.

As we get closer to releasing a product we will lock down the version number and instead go to point builds.  These increment one for each new release/build we make.   So the .45 build is the 45th build since we entered lock-down on Feb 15th.


  • What will happen with build number in yeat 2007 and onward when it overflows 65535 limit

  • Thankfully the major version string is represented as an integer and not a 16-bit field. So we have several hundred years to go....

  • When you enter "lock-down", do you stop producing daily builds ? i.e. are they only produced on-demand when it appears the latest one can't ship ?

  • Hi Jonathan,

    In the early days of lockdown we usually do a build a day (usually 6 days a week). As we get towards the very end, we'll start to only do builds "on-demand" -- in otherwords when we find a ship-stopping bug that requires a re-build. I think in the last 2 weeks of Whidbey Beta2 we did ~5-7 of these (so not every day).

    Hope this helps,


  • Scott, thank you very much for sharing the information.

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