Synergy/DE Release Strategy

Synergex’s release strategy for Synergy/DE products is based on the common principle of long-term support (LTS) releases. LTS releases provide a very stable platform that is supported for an extended period of time. (They only receive quality, security, and platform updates—no new features.) The latest technologies and enhancements are delivered via “feature releases,” which build up to the next LTS release. Feature releases are also fully tested and production ready but have more code changes than LTS releases. Read on for more information about

Long-Term Support (LTS) Releases

Long-term support releases provide the highest level of stability because the code base will not be altered for any new features or enhancements. Subsequent updates to the LTS release will be for quality improvements or security enhancements only. Also, you’ll know the support period of the current LTS version and when the next LTS version will be released in advance, so you can plan your updates accordingly. The primary characteristics of a Synergy LTS release are

  • Two-year release cadence
  • Four-year minimum support period (or one year after the next LTS release ships, whichever is longer)
  • Limited changes to code base

LTS releases are labeled with a version number, an odd major revision number, a minor revision number, and an incrementing build number (for example, Build numbers for LTS releases continue from the feature releases that preceded them.

Because Synergy has close ties with and many dependencies on Microsoft .NET, we’ve broadly aligned our release schedule with the .NET release schedule, which also uses an LTS strategy with a two-year cadence. 

Feature Releases

While LTS releases offer benefits for production environments, many developers want access to the “latest and greatest,” recently developed features. That demand is addressed by feature releases. The primary characteristics of a Synergy feature release are

  • Access to new features and enhancements as soon as they are completed
  • A more frequent cadence
  • A shorter period of support

Feature releases occur between LTS releases and provide access to new features and enhancements that will become part of the next LTS release. They may include partial (but usable) implementations of new features. They also address quality and security issues identified within the feature release branch, and multiple feature releases may occur each year. Feature releases will typically be made available on all supported platforms unless the changes do not apply to a particular platform.

Feature releases are fully tested, but quality may be lower in areas where new code has been added or significant changes have been made. Quality will solidify as developers exercise the new or updated features and as our automated test suites are extended. The support period for feature releases is much shorter than LTS releases, ending three months after the next feature or LTS release. Fixes to a feature release will only be made in the next feature release build.

Feature releases are labeled with a version number, an even major revision number, a minor revision number, and an incrementing build number (for example, Build numbers for feature releases reset to 1000 with each new feature release series. For approximately two years after the LTS release, you will see releases in both the LTS and feature release branches, but not necessarily at the same time. For example, a feature release may be followed by an update to the LTS release a month later.

Supported Versions

The information above refers to “support periods” for LTS and feature releases. When a version is supported, it means Synergex will still provide updates for it. Unsupported versions, aka retired versions, no longer receive updates. If you’re using a retired version and you need a fix, you’ll need to update to a current version.

When a version is unsupported, you can still contact our Developer Support team for assistance, although our ability to assist you may be limited. And you can still purchase licenses for and download that version. Unsupported only refers to the ability to get product updates for that version.

There are two types of supported versions: current and mature. Current versions receive all fixes and security updates. Mature versions receive critical fixes only (i.e., for “production down” issues). One or two Synergy/DE versions will be current at any given time. Immediately after each LTS release, before the next feature release, the LTS release will be the only current version. After the next feature release, that and the LTS release will both be current releases. There will also be one or two mature versions at any given time. When a new LTS version is released, the previous LTS version becomes mature, where it stays supported for at least four years before being retired. And when a new feature or LTS release comes out, the previous feature release (if one exists) becomes mature for three months before being retired.

Synergy/DE 11.1.1 was the last Synergy/DE version before Synergex’s first LTS release (12.1). Version 11.1.1 will be supported like an LTS release, i.e., as a mature version (receiving critical fixes) for at least four years. Versions prior to 11.1.1 (e.g., 10.3.x) are retired.

In contrast, Synergy DBL Integration with Visual Studio (SDI) always has only one current version and no mature versions. When any new SDI build is released, the previous SDI build is immediately retired. Also, Synergy/DE’s runtime version targeting enables developers to use the latest and greatest SDI and feature-release tools while deploying to an LTS (or feature release) production platform.

Why LTS?

Synergex moved to LTS releases for a number of reasons, including

  • Known release cadence. Synergex previously released new Synergy versions when significant new functionality or technology justified doing so. As a result, the time between releases could vary from as little as a few months for minor releases to several years between major releases. This could be challenging for customers, especially ISVs releasing their products on predetermined schedules. A known release cadence makes it easier for you to plan your releases—specifically, when to adopt new Synergy versions—because you'll know when to expect new Synergy releases in advance.
  • Known support window. With no regular release cadence, the support window for Synergy versions was also not pre-defined. Our commitment was to support the current and previous releases; earlier versions were unsupported.
  • Improved product stability. As our development practices became more agile, so did the way we released software. Every release we published typically included new or updated functionality in addition to quality enhancements. While this is great for developers who want access to the latest and greatest features, the strategy sometimes wasn’t great for product stability.