Java EE Platform Specification

Project for the Java EE Expert Group


This document describes the versioning rules used by the Java EE group at Oracle.

We apply version numbers to all three of the JCP-defined artifacts - specification document, reference implementation (RI), and technology compatibility kit (TCK). At the completion of a JCP update to a technology, all three artifacts will have the same version number, in the single dot major.minor format.

Between JCP updates, each of these artifacts may also be updated, following these rules:

Specification document

Updates to a specification document that do not change the meaning of the specification are called “errata”. (See JCP Processes for details.) An errata update to a specification document is indicated by including a “Rev level” after the specification version number. For example, if an initial specification numbered “1.0” is updated by an errata, the updated document would be given a number of “1.0 Rev a”. A subsequent errata update would be “1.0 Rev b”. Note that since an errata typically does not require a change to the RI or TCK, a Rev level is never applied to those artifacts.

Reference Implementation

A change to the RI that is not associated with a change to the API (for example, a bug fix, performance improvement, new feature, etc.) is indicated by using a dot-dot number of the form major.minor.micro or a patch number of the form major.minor.micro_patch. The major and minor numbers usually correspond to the version of the API that is implemented.

Technology Compatibility Kit

Previously, the TCKs followed a scheme where minor updates, such as low risk patches, bug fixes, or alternate tests, were indicated by appending a single letter to the version number. More significant updates, such as the addition of new tests, followed the scheme described above for reference implementation updates. TCKs now use a date-based version number. We believe this makes the bundles less confusing to our licensees, given the number of standalone TCKs that we post to the partner web site. There has been confusion in the past when the standalone TCKs were on different letter based versions than the platform TCK. This situation occurs since it is not always necessary to patch all standalone TCKs when a platform TCK patch is posted. The date based version numbers also work better when licensees are in the midst of certifying and are working with interim weekly patches to validate a test fix. The format is as follows:

technology major.minor.micro-date (date in the format mmddyy)

For example:

  • Java EE CTS 6-093008
  • Servlet TCK 3.1-093007
  • JSP TCK 3.0-093007
  • JBI TCK 2.0-093007

To summarize…

For a spec of version X.Y, the spec document will be version “X.Y” for the initial release or “X.Y Rev L”, where “L” is a letter nominally starting with “a” and incrementing as more errata are approved via the JCP Maintenance Review process.

For a spec of version X.Y, the RI will be “X.Y” or “X.Y.Z”, where “Z” is a number starting with 1 and incrementing as more RI bug fixes are made. (“X.Y.0” should be considered equivalent to “X.Y”.) These changes are outside the JCP process.

Schema and DTD versioning

Schema and DTD files (both standard-defined and product-specific) are named using a base name appropriate for the descriptor and an extension appropriate for the type (.dtd or .xsd). The base name should be all lower case with words separated by dashes (e.g., “web-app”).

The file name also must include a version number after the base name, separated from the base name by an underscore. If the version of the spec is “X.Y”, the file name version number would be “X_Y”. For the Java EE platform version “X”, the file name version would be simply “X”.

Updates to the product-specific descriptor schema or DTD files that happen between spec updates must include a revision number after the version number, separated by a dash.


  • javaee_6.xsd - the main schema file for Java EE 6
  • web-app_3_0.xsd - the web application descriptor defined by Servlet 3.0
  • glassfish-web-app_3_0-1.dtd - an updated version of the GlassFish-specific web application descriptor corresponding to Servlet 3.0.

We haven’t been consistent in whether the first version of a product-specific descriptor should include a revision of “-0” or just omit the revision number.