Why are there several branches (e.g. 8.0.x, 8.1.x) at the official documentation?

Branches of Drupal 8 in the official documentation

Is it planned that sub versions of Drupal 8 will be developed independently?

If yes, then what's the point?
If no, then why are these branches mentioned in the documentation?


Drupal 8 made the switch to semantic versioning, and a shorter release cycle between minor versions.

Per release policy, there can be differences between minor versions. In general, new minor versions are backwards compatible (or provide a BC layer), but can also introduce new features. In addition, as minor versions get released, some functionality remains but becomes deprecated.

This is why there is different documentation for different minor versions; the document actually is slightly different.

To keep on top of changes in Drupal 8, monitor the list of Change Records or the Twitter account that announces each new one.

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This is a change in policy from previous Drupal releases. New code and API can be and have been released in minor releases. The API pages are necessary so that it is possible to lookup specific API in minor releases since a minor release may still be valid.


Drupal 8 introduces a six-month minor release cycle. Minor releases provide new improvements and functionality without breaking backward compatibility (BC) for public APIs. The following types of changes are allowed for minor releases in addition to those allowed for patch releases. For example, following the release of 8.1.0, these changes will not be committed to 8.1.x, but instead can be committed to 8.2.x for inclusion in 8.2.0.


Minor releases (8.x.0) may include non-API-breaking refactoring, new features, or enhancements of existing features. In such cases the core team will work to ensure that these enhancements do not alter the existing public-facing API of core systems.

Necessary security hardening takes priority over API stability.

We will make every effort to address security issues without affecting the public API. However, in some cases it will not be possible to address a security vulnerability without an API change. In such cases we will work to minimize the scope of the API change and document it thoroughly.

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It's because the API can introduce changes in each of those versions and introduce new core modules or core experimental modules (which are publicly tested and can later become part of core or move to contrib). Those are just a few reasons.

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  • 1
    This is a good point: New core modules means new functions, or new classes. If the module is introduced in Drupal 8.3.x, I would not find them in the documentation for Drupal 8.2,x. – kiamlaluno Dec 16 '16 at 17:16

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