Semantic Versioning

Starting with 2.0.0, Botan adopted semantic versioning. This means we endevour to make no change which will either break compilation of existing code, or cause different behavior in a way that will cause compatability issues. Such changes are reserved for new major versions.

If on upgrading to a new minor version, you encounter a problem where your existing code either fails to compile, or the code behaves differently in some way that causes trouble, it is probably a bug; please report it on Github.

There are important exceptions to the SemVer guarantees that you should be aware of, described in the following list.

Exception #1: Deriving from Library Classes

If you in your application derive a new class from a class in the library, we do not guarantee a future minor release will not break your code. For example, we may in a minor release introduce a new pure virtual function to a base class like BlockCipher, and implement it for all subclasses within the library. In this case your code would fail to compile until you implemented the new virtual function. Or we might rename or remove a protected function, or a protected member variable.

There is also an exception to this exception! The following classes are intended for derivation by applications, and are fully covered by SemVer:

  • Credentials_Manager

  • Entropy_Source

  • TLS::Callbacks

  • TLS::Policy (and subclasses thereof)

  • TLS::Stream<T>


Certain functionality is available to users, and marked in the header using the macro BOTAN_UNSTABLE_API. These interfaces are not covered by SemVer and may change or even vanish in a minor release.

Usually these interfaces are to enable applications that need to do something “interesting”, but we are not confident that the API is any good. Examples include interfaces allowing applications to write custom TLS extensions and custom public key operations.

Exception #3: Experimental modules

Certain modules can be marked as experimental in the build system. Such modules are not built by default. Any functionality exposed by such modules may change or vanish at any time without warning. See Building The Library for more information on enabling or disabling these modules.

Exception #4: Any function starting with _

For various technical reasons, some functions are available for public use but are really only intended for use by the library itself.

The developers denote such functions by starting them with an underscore (_). Any such function may change or disappear at any time.