Temporal Versioning Pattern

This document describes a compromise RFC2 and RFC3 supporting the notion of past, present and future.

Copyright and Language can be found in RFC1

Change Process

This document is governed by the Consensus-Oriented Specification System (COSS).


The Temporal Versioning Pattern is a compromise between RFC2 and RFC3 providing a time-aware state.

The benefit of Monolithic Versioning lies in the automatic-ness of its operation, whilst the benefit of Polylithic Versioning resides in the amount of control given to the user.

Temporal Versioning then proposes an alternative encapsulating the benefits of both.


This pattern fits scenarious where updates are most often kept up to date and state not often required, but still kept out of back-up or peace-of-mind concerns.


state may be classified as being either historical or current. Furthermore, state may be classified as being either latest or recommended.

Both historical and current includes a timestamp.

Like Monolithic Versioning, a DOCUMENT is continuously overwritten. Changes are tracked separately and with it a timestamp. The timestamp may then be used in retrieving a global state for each DOCUMENT residing within the range specified.

|-- document1
|-- document2
|-- document3
|-- .history
    |-- document1&2014-03-01 21:12
    |-- document1&2014-03-01 21:24
    |-- document1&2014-03-02 12:56
    |-- document2&2014-03-01 20:10
    |-- document2&2014-03-01 21:04
    |-- document2&2014-03-03 10:22
    |-- document3&2014-01-02 19:10
    |-- document3&2014-01-06 19:01
    |-- document3&2014-02-03 09:36

Here, three document exists, each with three instances of state stored in “.history”, each state stored with a timestamp.

A DOCUMENT referencing another DOCUMENT then stores a timestamp at the point of reference.

|             |
|  document1  |
|             |
|  document2  |  --> document1 referenced at 2014-03-02 at 10:05
|_____________|      i.e. document1&2014-03-01 21:24
|             |
|  document3  |  --> document2 referencet at 2014-03-02 at 10:05
|_____________|      i.e. document2&2014-03-01 21:04

document2 and document3 will be continuously updated as per Monolithic Versioning, but using the metadata stored about the time at which the initial reference took place may at any point in time resolve what the initial references were.