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Algorithm versioning scheme

Algorithm versioning enables you to update and improve your algorithms while maintaining dependable, immutable* versions for execution. The Algorithmia platform uses a standard semantic versioning scheme: <major>.<minor>.<revision> (e.g., 0.2.1). On our platform we also enforce certain restrictions based on versioning, which are described in the subsections below. (*Algorithmia guarantees immutability for the source code of published algorithms, but we do not have this immutability guarantee for data that algorithms access.)

Major versions

Major versions are to be used when publishing breaking changes to an algorithm. For new major versions, algorithm permissions can be modified.

Minor versions

Minor versions are to be used when publishing new functionality in a backward-compatible manner. New minor versions will always have the same permissions as previous minor versions (within the same major version).


Revisions are to be used for publishing backward-compatible bug fixes. New revisions always carry the same visibility as previous revisions, ensuring that existing users of an algorithm version continue to have access to that algorithm and its associated bug fixes if calling it without specifying a specific revision.

Requesting specific algorithm versions through the API

Algorithmia’s language clients support requesting a particular algorithm version by specifying the algorithm endpoint with the format ALGO_OWNER/ALGO_NAME[/ALGO_VERSION], e.g., util/echo/0.2.1. Below are several ways that the version can be specified.

Fully specified semantic version

If you specify the version as <major>.<minor>.<revision> (e.g., util/echo/0.2.1), you’ll ensure that exactly that algorithm is used.

It’s recommended that you supply a fully specified semantic version when calling an algorithm from a production service. This ensures that your application is not affected by changes in algorithm permissions or functionality.

Partially specified semantic version

If you specify the version as <major>.<minor> without a revision number (e.g., util/echo/0.2), the latest publicly published 0.2 version will be used, ensuring that the permissions of the algorithm remain constant. This is useful when you want to automatically benefit from bug fixes and you have confidence that the author will maintain backward compatibility with those bug fixes.

Note that we don’t support calling privately published algorithms using partially specified semantic versions, because it could introduce confusion as to which algorithm a caller is referring to, depending on their permissions. To understand this better, see the explanation in the FAQ section below.

Latest public version

By specifying the version as latest (e.g. util/echo/latest) or by not specifying a version at all (e.g. util/echo), the latest publicly published version of the algorithm will be called. This is useful when testing or experimenting with an algorithm, and may be valuable in scenarios where you maintain both the algorithm and the application that calls it.

Latest private version

For algorithms that you or your organizations own and only publish privately, specifying latestPrivate as the version allows you to call the latest private version at a static endpoint. This is primarily useful when you maintain a private algorithm and the application that calls it.

SHA (algorithm version hash) version

For algorithms that you or your organizations own, you may specify the version using the full SHA (e.g., 4be0e18fba270e4aaa7cff20558905263f69a11b) of a successful build. This is useful for testing your algorithms during development without needing to publish them. Note that on our platform we also refer to the SHA as the algorithm version hash.


Q: Can you elaborate on why you don’t allow partially specified semantic versions for private algorithms?

A: Absolutely! As an example, let’s suppose that:

  • Org1 owns OrgAlgo.
  • User1 is a member of Org1.
  • User2 isn’t a member of Org1.

Let’s also suppose that there are these two versions of OrgAlgo:

  • Org1/OrgAlgo/1.0.1 is published publicly; it’s accessible from any authenticated account on the cluster.
  • Org1/OrgAlgo/1.0.2 is published privately; it’s accessible only to members of Org1.

If we allowed partially specified semantic versions, the following behavior would be possible:

  • User1 calls Org1/OrgAlgo/1.0; because they have access to the private version, their request goes to Org1/OrgAlgo/1.0.1.
  • User2 calls Org1/OrgAlgo/1.0; because they only have access to the public version, their request goes to Org1/OrgAlgo/1.0.2.

In this scenario, the users call the same endpoint but their requests go to different algorithm versions. We avoid this unpredictable behavior altogether by not supporting partially specified semantic versions for private algorithms.