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In order to ensure compatibility between each software component in the extensible algorithms system, careful use of versioning must be enforced. The goals are twofold; first, to ensure that the version of each software module is visible, and second, to ensure that incompatible plugins are detected and prevented from running. The software modules particular to extensible algorithms - the Masking Plugin API and Masking Algorithm SDK, use a version number in the following format: Major.Minor.Micro, with an option -TEXT notation.

Version information for the plugin, including the plugin version and the version of the Masking Plugin API it was built against, are embedded in the plugin JAR file as metadata.

Table of Versioned Objects

The following table explains how each software module is versioned, and what enforcement takes place:

Software Module Example Values Details
Delphix Masking Engine None, however the Masking Algorithm API version is fixed for each particular Delphix Masking Engine release.
Masking Plugin API 1.0.0 The version of the Masking Plugin API used to build a plugin must be embedded in each Plugin. This is done automatically when plugins are built using the Masking Algorithm SDK. Currently, as only one version of the Masking Plugin API exists, the only enforcement in place ensures that a valid version has been been embedded in the plugin metadata. In the future, should it be necessary to make backward incompatible changes to the Masking Plugin API, a support matrix will be established and enforced.
Masking Algorithm SDK 1.0.0 Each version of the Masking Algorithm SDK will have a maximum version of the Masking Plugin API it can handle, and will refuse to work with future versions. This is not currently enforced.
Plugins Author defined No enforcement. The plugin version will be visible using the Masking API GET operation on the Plugin endpoint.

Ensuring Plugin Compatibility

As the implementation of a plugin evolves, it's natural for the software to change. Changes like bug fixes, performance improvements, etc. can typically be made transparently, without endangering backward compatibility. Challenges can arise when it is necessary to change the configuration schema for a framework within a plugin or remove certain algorithm frameworks or instances from a plugin. This section will detail some best practices for maximizing backward compatibility in each case.

In this case, backward compatibility means that it is possible to upgrade the plugin to a new version on the masking engine without removing the previous version of the plugin. While it is always possible to replace a plugin by removing the old plugin and installing a new one, this requires manual reconstruction of any inventory that references the algorithms based on the old plugin, which can be very labor-intensive.

Schema Changes

A schema change means altering the set of configuration parameters exposed by an algorithm framework. For example, this might be done to add a case-insensitive flag to an algorithm that processes Strings. In order to make this kind of change while preserving backward compatibility, the following rules must be followed:

  • Existing configurable variables cannot be removed or modified. These are the class fields with to which the @JsonProperty annotation has been applied.
  • New configurable variables may be added, but they must have a default value, so that applying a JSON document lacking a value for the new field results in a valid instance.

If changes must be made that do not meet these requirements, it may be preferable to expose the new or modified functionality as a new algorithm framework, rather than changing the existing one.

Component Removal

Component removal means removing an algorithm framework or a built-in instance provided by an existing framework. When this happens, updating to the new version of the plugin will be blocked if any of the removed objects are in use by the Delphix Masking Engine. This includes references in Inventory, Domains, and any File Formats. In addition, the presence of any user-created algorithms based on a framework which is removed in the new plugin version will block updating.

Plugin Naming

One last compatibility concern is the potential for a plugin name to clash with the name of plugins delivered by the Delphix Masking Engine product. Such a clash would make it impossible to upgrade the engine to a new version without first removing the conflicting user installed plugin. To avoid this concern, avoid embedding any default plugin name beginning with the string "dlpx".