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SAPUI5 versions, OpenUI5 versions and the mix of these versions that come with other pieces of SAP software can...
- Patches can fix bugs.
- Minor versions can introduce new APIs in addition to bug fixes.
- Major version changes can break compatibility by removing APIs or changing the way APIs work in addition to the types of changes allowed in minor versions.
- Betas, alphas and other prerelease versions are maintained outside of this system, sometimes by adding a modifier to the end of a version (e.g., 1.0.0-beta1).
These types of versions are roughly analogous to SAP notes (patches), support packs (minor versions that shouldn't break anything) and full versions of SAP software, like NetWeaver ABAP 7.4 vs. NetWeaver ABAP 7.5. SAP software major versions also come with a guaranteed support period, usually around five years.
The SAPUI5 version scheme doesn't work this way exactly. SAPUI5 versions, listed on the version overview page, come in a mix of innovation and maintenance versions. These versions are signified by the second of the three version numbers.
Innovation versions, like 1.48, should be thought of as beta software. Use them if you want to try out new features, but don't put them into production, as SAP does not commit to fix bugs in these versions.
Maintenance versions, like the latest SAPUI5 version, 1.52, will continue to receive patches for around three years to fix bugs and are the versions that should be used in production software. Further, versions that are included with ABAP software delivery stacks may receive longer maintenance windows. SAPUI5 version 1.38 is an example of this, as it goes out of maintenance for most customers in the fourth quarter of 2018, but ABAP customers on the NetWeaver SAP_UI component version 7.50 will receive support for two more years, until Q4 2020.
Notably, SAP can and does deprecate (stop supporting) or change APIs between minor versions. Switching from SAPUI5 version 1.44 to 1.52 could break your application, and this might not be considered a bug. So, test thoroughly when switching between minor versions.
That said, you'll receive more features, bug fixes and likely significantly better support by staying on a more recent SAPUI5 version. So, it's usually worth the effort to update to a recent maintenance version and always stay on a recent patch level of your current minor SAPUI5 version. Patch level updates should be more stable and not require as much testing. Most SAPUI5 users should revisit the version they are using at least every six months to see if it is time to update patch or minor versions.
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