Portability, Compatibility, and Support Durations

The Daml Ecosystem offers a number of forward and backward compatibility guarantees aiming to give the Ecosystem as a whole the following properties. See Architecture for the terms used here and how they fit together.

Application Portability

A Daml application should not depend on the underlying Database or DLT used by a Daml network.

Network Upgradeability

Ledger Operators should be able to upgrade Daml network or Participant Nodes seamlessly to stay up to date with the latest features and fixes. A Daml application should be able to operate without significant change across such Network Upgrades.

Daml Upgradeability

Application Developers should be able to update their developer tools seamlessly to stay up to date with the latest features and fixes, and stay able to maintain and develop their existing applications.

Ledger API Compatibility: Application Portability

Application Portability and to some extent Network Upgradeability are achieved by intermediating through the Ledger API. As per Versioning, and Architecture, the Ledger API is independently semantically versioned, and the compatibility guarantees derived from that semantic versioning extend to the entire semantics of the API, including the behavior of Daml Packages on the Ledger. Since all interaction with a Daml Ledger happens through the Daml Ledger API, a Daml Application is guaranteed to work as long as the Participant Node exposes a compatible Ledger API version.

Specifically, if a Daml Application is built against Ledger API version X.Y.Z and a Participant Node exposes Ledger API version X.Y2.Z2, the application is guaranteed to work as long as Y2.Z2 >= Y.Z.

Participant Nodes advertise the Ledger API version they support via the version service.

As a concrete example, Daml for Postgres 1.4.0 has the Participant Node integrated, and exposes Ledger API version 1.4.0 and the Daml for VMware Blockchain 1.0 Participant Nodes expose Ledger API version 1.6.0. So any application that runs on Daml for Postgres 1.4.0 will also run on Daml for VMware Blockchain 1.0.

List of Ledger API Versions Supported by Daml

The below lists with which Daml version a new Ledger API version was introduced.

Ledger API Version Daml Version
2.4 2.7
2.3 2.6
2.2 2.5
2.1 2.4
2.0 2.0
1.12 1.15
1.11 1.14
1.10 1.11
1.9 1.10
1.8 1.9
<= 1.7 Introduced with the same Daml SDK version

Summary of Ledger API Changes

Ledger API Version Changes
The IdentityProviderConfig record that contains the Identity Provider Config has been extended with an audience field. When set, the callers using JWT tokens issued by this identity provider are allowed to get an access only if the aud claim includes the string matching this specification.
The identity_provider_id field on GRPC requests can be left empty if the JWT token submitted with the request already specifies an identity provider via an iss field.
Users and parties can now be re-assigned between identity providers.
The error codes and metadata of GRPC errors returned as part of failed command interpretation from the Ledger Api have been updated to include more information. Previously, most errors from the Daml engine would be given as either GenericInterpretationError or InvalidArgumentInterpretationError. They now all have their own codes and encode relevant information in the GRPC Status metadata.
Introduce the Identity Provider Config Service. It makes possible for participant node administrators to setup and manage additional identity providers at runtime. This allows using access tokens from identity providers unknown at deployment time. When an identity provider is configured, independent IDP administrators can manage their own set of parties and users.
Extend the Active Contract Service by adding active_at_offset field to the GetActiveContractsRequest. It defines an offset at which the snapshot of the active contracts will be computed.
Extend the Metering Report Service by adding a JSON schema that defines the format of the reports in GetMeteringReportResponse.
Extend the Transaction Service by adding a new GetLatestPrunedOffsets request. It allows querying for current pruning offsets.
Introduce the Event Query Service. It allows querying for events associated with a given ContractId and ContractKey.
Remove the inlined error documentation from gRPC calls in favor of rich error details documentation under Error Codes.
Extend the User Management Service by adding is_deactivated and metadata fields to the User record and by providing an UpdateUser method allowing modifications of the existing users.
Extend the Party Management Service by adding participant specific local_metadata field to the PartyDetails record and by providing an UpdatePartyDetails method that allows changing existing parties’ details.
Extend the Labs feature of contract disclosure by adding support for opaque contract argument blobs. The message types of DisclosedContract and ContractMetadata should continue being ignored.
Establish the order of child events in ExercisedEvent to agree with the order of events in transaction.
Indicate an exercise done on an interface through the interface_id field on the ExercisedEvent message.
Make interfaces available for subscriptions in the Transaction Service as an Alpha feature.
Implement contract disclosure as a Labs feature in the Transaction, Command Submission and Command Services. Related new message types of DisclosedContract and ContractMetadata should be ignored.
Convert Metering Service to using JSON format for its reports.
Introduce User Management Service
Introduce Metering Report Service
Remove Reset Service
Deprecate Ledger Identity Service
Make ledger_id and application_id fields optional
Change error codes returned by the gRPC services
1.12 Introduce Daml-LF 1.14
1.11 Introduce Daml-LF 1.13

Introduce Daml-LF 1.12

Stabilize participant pruning

1.9 Introduce Daml-LF 1.11
1.8 Introduce Multi-Party Submissions
<= 1.7 See Daml (SDK) release notes of same version number.

Driver and Participant Compatibility: Network Upgradeability

Given the Ledger API Compatibility above, network upgrades are seamless if they preserve data, and Participant Nodes keep exposing the same or a newer minor version of the same major Ledger API Version. The semantic versioning of Daml drivers and participant nodes gives this guarantee. Upgrades from one minor version to another are data preserving, and major Ledger API versions may only be removed with a new major version of integration components, Daml drivers and Participant Nodes.

As an example, from an application standpoint, the only effect of upgrading Daml for Postgres 1.4.0 to Daml for Postgres 1.6.0 is an uptick in the Ledger API version. There may be significant changes to components or database schemas, but these are not public APIs.

Participant database migration

Participant Nodes automatically manage their database schema. The database schema is tied to the Daml version, and schema migrations are always data preserving. The below lists which Daml version can be upgraded from which Daml version.

Daml SDK version Upgradeable from
2.1 1.7 or later
<= 2.0 1.0 or later

As an example, to upgrade a Participant Node built with Daml 1.4.0 to a version built with Daml 2.1, the operator should first upgrade to Daml 1.7 (or any other version between 1.7 and and 2.0), then upgrade to Daml 2.1.

SDK, Runtime Component, and Library Compatibility: Daml Upgradeability

As long as a major Ledger API version is supported (see Ledger API Support Duration), there will be supported version of Daml able to target all minor versions of that major version. This has the obvious caveat that new features may not be available with old Ledger API versions.

For example, an application built and compiled with Daml SDK 1.4.0 against Ledger API 1.4.0, it can still be compiled using SDK 1.6.0 and can be run against Ledger API 1.4.0 using 1.6.0 libraries and runtime components.

Ledger API Support Duration

Major Ledger API versions behave like stable features in Status Definitions. They are supported from the time they are first released as “stable” to the point where they are removed from Integration Components and Daml following a 12 month deprecation cycle. The earliest point a major Ledger API version can be deprecated is with the release of the next major version. The earliest it can be removed is 12 months later with a major version release of the Integration Components.

Other than for hotfix releases, new releases of the Integration Components will only support the latest minor/patch version of each major Ledger API version.

As a result we can make this overall statement:

An application built using Daml SDK U.V.W against Ledger API X.Y.Z can be maintained using any Daml SDK version U2.V2.W2 >= U.V.W as long as Ledger API major version X is still supported at the time of release of U2.V2.W2, and run against any Daml Network with Participant Nodes exposing Ledger API X.Y2.Z2 >= X.Y.Z.