BIRT 4.4 will be compatible with earlier versions of BIRT to the greatest extent possible. The nature and scope of some of the key plan items for BIRT 4.4 are such that the only feasible solutions might break compatibility. In other regards, BIRT 4.4 will be compatible with earlier 4.x, 3.x, 2.x and 1.x. We also aim to minimize the effort required to port an existing plug-in to the 4.4 APIs.
Compatibility of Release 4.4 with Prior Releases
BIRT 4.4 will be compatible with prior releases of BIRT unless noted otherwise. The detailed compatibility statement is listed below. In this statement, "BIRT" refers to all BIRT components: BIRT Report Framework, BIRT Runtime, and BIRT Chart SDK.
API Contract Compatibility: BIRT 4.4 will be upwards contract-compatible with BIRT prior releases to the greatest extent possible. All incompatibility exceptions will be documented. Downward contract compatibility is not supported. There is no guarantee that compliance with BIRT 4.4 APIs will ensure compliance with prior BIRT release APIs. Refer to general Eclipse document on Evolving APIs for a discussion of the kinds of API changes that maintain contract compatibility.
Chart UI API: The BIRT Chart UI API 4.4 is compatible with earlier 4.x, 3.x and 2.x.x API's but not compatible with the v1.x APIs due to a full redesign of the Chart UI in the BIRT 2.0 release.
Binary (plug-in) Compatibility: The BIRT 4.4 plug-in framework will be upwards binary-compatible with prior BIRT release plug-ins to the greatest extent possible. Downward plug-in compatibility is not supported. Plug-ins for BIRT 4.4 will not be usable in prior BIRT releases. Extension plug-ins for prior BIRT releases will be upwards binary-compatible with BIRT 4.4.
Source Compatibility: BIRT 4.4 will be upwards source-compatible with prior BIRT releases to the greatest extent possible. This means that source files written to use prior BIRT release APIs will successfully compile and run against BIRT 4.4 APIs. Downward source compatibility is not supported. If source files use new BIRT APIs, they will not be usable with an earlier version of BIRT.
Report Design Compatibility: BIRT 4.4 will be upwards report design compatible with prior BIRT releases unless noted otherwise. This means that reports created with prior BIRT releases can be successfully opened by BIRT 4.4 and upgraded to a 4.4 format.
Non-compliant usage of API's: All non-API methods and classes, and certainly everything in a package with "internal" in its name, are considered implementation details which may vary between operating environment and are subject to change without notice. Client plug-ins that directly depend on anything other than what is specified in the BIRT API are inherently unsupportable and receive no guarantees about compatibility within a single release much less with an earlier releases.