scalacenter / sbt-version-policy   2.1.3

Apache License 2.0 GitHub

Compatibility checks for your dependencies

Scala versions: 2.12
sbt plugins: 1.0


sbt-version-policy helps library maintainers to follow the recommended versioning scheme. This plugin:

  • configures MiMa to check for binary or source incompatibilities,
  • ensures that none of your dependencies are bumped or removed in an incompatible way.


Make sure your project uses a version of sbt higher than 1.5.0.

Add to your project/plugins.sbt:

addSbtPlugin("ch.epfl.scala" % "sbt-version-policy" % "<version>")

The latest version is Scaladex.

sbt-version-policy depends on MiMa, so that you don't need to explicitly depend on it.


The plugin introduces a new key, versionPolicyIntention, that you need to set to the level of compatibility that your next release is intended to provide. It can take the following three values:

  • // Your next release will provide no compatibility guarantees with the
    // previous one.
    ThisBuild / versionPolicyIntention := Compatibility.None
  • // Your next release will be binary compatible with the previous one,
    // but it may not be source compatible.
    ThisBuild / versionPolicyIntention := Compatibility.BinaryCompatible
  • // Your next release will be both binary compatible and source compatible
    // with the previous one.
    ThisBuild / versionPolicyIntention := Compatibility.BinaryAndSourceCompatible

The plugin uses MiMa to check for incompatibilities with the previous release. The previous release version is automatically computed from the current value of the version key in your build. This means that you have to set this key to the next version you want to release:

// Next version will be 1.1.0
ThisBuild / version := "1.1.0"

In case you use a plugin like sbt-dynver, which automatically sets the version based on the Git status, read below.


Check that pull requests don’t break the intended compatibility level

In your CI server, run the task versionPolicyCheck on pull requests.

$ sbt versionPolicyCheck

This task checks that the PR does not break the compatibility guarantees claimed by your versionPolicyIntention. For instance, if your intention is to have BinaryAndSourceCompatible changes, the task versionPolicyCheck will fail if the PR breaks binary compatibility or source compatibility.

Check that release version numbers are valid with respect to the compatibility guarantees they provide

Before you cut a release, run the task versionCheck.

$ sbt versionCheck

Note: make sure that the version is set to the new release version number before you run versionCheck.

This task checks that the release version number is consistent with the intended compatibility level as per versionPolicyIntention. For instance, if your intention is to publish a release that breaks binary compatibility, the task versionCheck will fail if you didn’t bump the major version number.

How to integrate with sbt-ci-release?

sbt-version-policy itself uses sbt-version-policy and sbt-ci-release. You can have a look at our Github workflow as an example of integration.

The key step is to run the task versionCheck before running the command ci-release (assuming the task versionPolicyCheck has run already, in another step of the CI pipeline):

  - name: Release
    run: sbt versionCheck ci-release

You can also have a look at the test example-sbt-ci-release for a minimalistic sbt project using both sbt-version-policy and sbt-ci-release.

Last, since sbt-ci-release uses sbt-dynver under the hood, please read over the next section.

How to integrate with sbt-dynver?

sbt-dynver generates version numbers looking like 1.2.3+4-abcd1234 when the Git history contains commits, or changes, after the last tag.

Supporting multi-projects builds

The version numbers generated by sbt-dynver are usually not a problem, except when checking for dependency issues between projects of the current build (e.g., if a project a depends on another project b in the current build). In such a case, sbt-version-policy might report a false incompatibility when checking the dependencies of a (because the project b now has a non-normalized version number, from which we are unable to draw any conclusions).

To solve this issue, you can tell sbt-version-policy to ignore the dependencies to internal projects when their version number matches some regular expression:

// Ignore dependencies to internal modules whose version is like `1.2.3+4...`
ThisBuild / versionPolicyIgnoredInternalDependencyVersions := Some("^\\d+\\.\\d+\\.\\d+\\+\\d+".r)

Unsupported custom dynverSeparator

When sbt-version-policy computes the previous version of the release, it only supports "+" as a dynverSeparator. This can be an issue in case you changed this setting to use a more portable version string.

In the specific case of Docker usage, a workaround is to keep the default dynverSeparator value ("+"), and to tweak the Docker / version:

Docker / version := version.value.replace('+', '-')


You can have a look at the test example-sbt-dynver for a minimalistic sbt project using both sbt-version-policy and sbt-dynver.

How to integrate with sbt-release?

sbt-release is able to run sophisticated release pipelines including running the tests, setting the release version, publishing the artifacts, and pushing a Git tag named after the release version.

You can have a look at the test example-sbt-release for an example of sbt project using both sbt-version-policy and sbt-release.

This example project customizes sbt-release to:

  1. Compute the release version based on its compatibility guarantees (as per versionPolicyIntention).

    We achieve this by setting releaseVersion like the following:

    releaseVersion := {
      val maybeBump = versionPolicyIntention.value match {
         case Compatibility.None                      => Some(Version.Bump.Major)
         case Compatibility.BinaryCompatible          => Some(Version.Bump.Minor)
         case Compatibility.BinaryAndSourceCompatible => None // No need to bump the patch version, because it has already been bumped when sbt-release set the next release version
       { (currentVersion: String) =>
         val versionWithoutQualifier =
         (maybeBump match {
           case Some(bump) => versionWithoutQualifier.bump(bump)
           case None       => versionWithoutQualifier
  2. Run versionCheck after setting the release version, by adding the following release step:

  3. Reset versionPolicyIntention to Compatibility.BinaryAndSourceCompatible after every release.

    We achieve this by managing the setting versionPolicyIntention in a separate file (like sbt-release manages the setting version in a separate file, by default), and by adding a step that overwrites the content of that file and commits it.

How does versionPolicyCheck work?

The versionPolicyCheck task:

  • checks that there are no binary or source incompatibilities between the current state of the project and the previous release (it uses mimaReportBinaryIssues under the hood),
  • and, that no dependencies of your project have been removed or bumped in an incompatible way (it uses a subtask versionPolicyReportDependencyIssues under the hood).

The task versionPolicyCheck fails if any of these checks fails.

Automatic previous version calculation

sbt-version-policy automatically sets mimaPreviousArtifacts, depending on the current value of version, kind of like sbt-mima-version-check does. The previously compatible version is computed from version the following way:

  • if it contains "metadata" (anything after a +, including the + itself), drop the metadata part
    • if the resulting version contains only zeros (like 0.0.0), leave mimaPreviousArtifacts empty,
    • else if the resulting version does not contain a qualifier (see below), it is used in mimaPreviousArtifacts. For instance, if version is 1.0.0+3-abcd1234, then mimaPreviousArtifacts will contain the artifacts of version 1.0.0.
  • else, drop the qualifier part, that is any suffix like -RC1 or -M2 or -alpha or -SNAPSHOT
    • if the resulting version ends with .0.0, which corresponds to a major version bump like 1.0.0, or 2.0.0, mimaPreviousArtifacts is left empty,
    • else, this is a minor or patch version bump, so the last numerical part of this version is decreased by one, and used in mimaPreviousArtifacts. For instance, if version is 1.2.0, then mimaPreviousArtifacts will contain the artifacts of version 1.1.0, and if version is 1.2.3, then mimaPreviousArtifacts will contain the artifacts of version 1.2.2.

You can see the value of the previous version computed by the plugin by inspecting the key versionPolicyPreviousVersions.

Source incompatibilities detection

MiMa can only detect binary incompatibilities. To detect source incompatibilities, this plugin uses MiMa in forward mode as an approximation. This is not always correct and may lead to false positives or false negatives. This is a known limitation of the current implementation.

Incompatibilities caused by removed or bumped dependencies

The subtask versionPolicyReportDependencyIssues checks that you did not remove or bump your dependencies in an incompatible way. For instance, if your intention for the next release is to keep binary compatibility, you can only bump your dependencies to binary compatible versions.

versionPolicyReportDependencyIssues compares the dependencies of versionPolicyPreviousArtifacts to the current ones.

By default, versionPolicyPreviousArtifacts relies on mimaPreviousArtifacts from sbt-mima, so that only setting / changing mimaPreviousArtifacts is enough for both sbt-mima and sbt-version-policy.

Dependency compatibility adjustments

Set libraryDependencySchemes to specify the versioning scheme used by your libraries. For instance:

libraryDependencySchemes += "org.scala-lang" % "scala-compiler" % "strict"

The following compatibility types are available:

  • early-semver: assumes the matched modules follow a variant of Semantic Versioning that enforces compatibility within 0.1.z,
  • semver-spec: assumes the matched modules follow semantic versioning,
  • pvp: assumes the matched modules follow package versioning policy (quite common in Scala),
  • always: assumes all versions of the matched modules are compatible with each other,
  • strict: requires exact matches between the wanted and the selected versions of the matched modules.

If no rules for a module are found in libraryDependencySchemes, versionPolicyDefaultScheme is used as a compatibility type. Its default value is VersionCompatibility.PackVer (package versioning policy).

Disable the tasks versionPolicyCheck or versionCheck on a specific project

You can disable the tasks versionPolicyCheck and versionCheck at the project level by using the skip key.

By default, both versionPolicyCheck / skip and versionCheck / skip are initialized to (publish / skip).value. So, to disable both tasks on a given project, set the following:

publish / skip := true

Or, if you need more fine-grained control:

versionPolicyCheck / skip := true
versionCheck / skip := true

Custom parsing of version numbers, versionPolicyModuleVersionExtractor

You can specify custom logic for parsing version numbers on a per-dependency basis. This is useful when artifact providers use their own version naming scheme.

For example, say you have this dependency

libraryDependencies += "" % "google-api-services-iam" % "v1-rev20211104-1.32.1"

Google's version scheme is to include the target REST API version, v1-rev20211104 with the Java API version, 1.32.1.

In order to tell sbt-version-policy how to parse this version number, you can bind versionPolicyModuleVersionExtractor:

versionPolicyModuleVersionExtractor := {
  case m if"google-api-services") => m.revision.split('-').last


sbt-version-policy is funded by the Scala Center.