Nuxeo Server


Updated: September 22, 2017 Page Information Edit on GitHub

The Nuxeo Repository includes a versioning system. At any moment, you can ask the repository to create and archive a version from a document. Versioning can be done automatically according to some versioning policies or on demand through the UI.

Each version has:

  • A label
  • A major version number
  • A minor version number

The versioning service is configurable so you can define the numbering policy. In fact, even the version storage service is pluggable so you can define your own storage for versions.

Functional Overview

Document versions enable you and other users to easily revert to a specific version of the document if needed, without having to edit the document. The Nuxeo Platform offers both automatic and manual versioning of documents.

Every document holds a version number, which is a piece of information about the evolution of the document. A version number (V.v) is composed of a major version number (V) and a minor version number (v). When a document is created, its version number can be 0.0, 0.1 or 1.0 depending on automatic versioning rules. Minor version increment are typically used for secondary changes. Major version increment is usually reserved to significant modifications. When a document is edited without a new version being created, the version number is suffixed with a + (0.1+ for instance), to indicate that the version was modified since it was created.

Version number 0.0
Version number 0.0 is considered as a draft of the document, which will need to be saved into a first version, either minor or major. Draft version 0.0 is not archived.

Automatic Versioning

Two automatic versioning behaviors are applied by default: one for files (and associated document types) and one for notes.

  • Files and other document types with schema file:file, like pictures, are created in version 0.0. A new minor version is automatically created when you edit a document that was last modified by another user. This minor version holds the modifications of the previous contributor, so that no data is lost. Your changes are applied on top of this version, the version number becoming for instance 0.1+. When you edit a document that was last edited by yourself, no version is automatically saved. You can however decide to manually create a new version of the document.

  • For notes, a new version is created for every modification, whether you are the last contributor of the note or not. The created version holds the your changes. When they are created, notes have a version number of 0.1.

This automatic versioning applies in case of:

  • Modification of the main file or its attachments using drag and drop
  • Manual edit of the attachments
  • Modification of the document (main file, properties, attachments) via bulk edit

The following actions don’t trigger the automatic versioning of the document:

  • Tagging the document
  • Adding the document to a collection
  • Changing the relations of the document
  • Commenting the document

Version number 0.0
Automatic versioning is disabled on CMIS connector due to conflict between our specifications and CMIS specifications.

Manual Versioning

You can decide to manually create a new version of the document.

In case of a file document types the automatic version is done first and then the manual version. So if you edit the document and select the option “Increment major version”, a minor version is created and then a major version: the minor version is the automatic one holding the previous contributor’s work, and the major one is the manual version with your modifications. If you select “Increment minor version”, two minor versions are created following the same principle. And if you chose “Skip version increment”, only the automatic versioning behavior is applied and the document version number is 0.1+ for instance.

For notes, if you use the Edit form, only the manual versioning rules applied. Selecting “Increment major version” save your changes in a major version, “Increment minor version” saves them in a minor version and choosing “Skip version increment” doesn’t create a new version and the version number is +ed (0.1+ for instance).

To create new version in a Web UI application:

  1. Go on the View tab of the desired document.
  2. In the top right section of metadata, click on Create Version.
  3. Select the version that you want and click on Create Version to confirm.

To create a new version of your document in a JSF application:

  1. Click on the Edit tab of the document.
  2. At the bottom of the form, in the Update version, select your versioning option and click Save.
    Versions are accessible from the History tab of the document.

The automatic versioning after the modification of the document won't work in a JSF application.


  • Placeful. A placeful document is one which is stored in a folder, and therefore has a parent in which it is visible as a child.
  • Placeless. A placeless document isn't stored in a given folder, it's just available in the storage through its id. Having no parent folder it doesn't inherit any security, so it is usually only accessible by unrestricted code.
  • Working Copy. The document that you edit. It is usually stored in a Workspace's folder but this is just convention. It is also often called the Live Document. There is at most one Working Copy per version series. In other systems it is also called the Private Working Copy because only the user that created it can work on it; this is looser in the Nuxeo Platform.
  • Version. An immutable, archived version of a document. It is created from a working copy by a check in operation.
  • Version Number. The label which is uniquely attached to a version. It formed of two integers separated by a dot, like "2.1". The first integer is the major version number, the second one is the minor version number.
  • Major Version. A version whose minor version number is 0. It follows that a minor version is a version whose minor version number is not 0.
  • Version Series. The list of versions that have been successively created from an initial working copy. The version series id is a unique identifier that is shared by the working copy and all the versions of the version series.
  • Versionable Document. The document which can be versioned, in effect the working copy.
  • Check In. The operation by which a new version is created from a working copy.
  • Check Out. The operation by which a working copy is made available.

Check In and Check Out

"Check In" and "Check Out" in the Nuxeo Platform both refer to operations that can be carried out on documents, and to the state a working copy can be in.

Checked In and Checked Out States

A working copy in the Checked Out state can be modified freely by users having access rights to the document. A document ceases to be Checked Out when the Check In operation is invoked. After initial creation a document is in the Checked Out state.

A working copy in the Checked In state is identical to the version that was created when the Check In operation was invoked on the working copy. In the Checked In state, a working copy is (at low level) not modifiable. To be modified it must be switched to the Checked Out state first. This latter operation is automatically done in the Nuxeo Platform when a document is modified.

Check In and Check Out Operations

From a working copy in the Checked Out state, invoking the Check In operation does several things:

  • the final version number is determined,
  • a new version is created,
  • the working copy is placed in the Checked In state.

When invoking the Check In operation, a flag is passed to indicate whether a major version or a minor version should be created. Depending on whether the new version should be major or minor, the version number is incremented differently; for instance, starting from a working copy with the version number "2.1" (displayed as "2.1+"), a minor version would be created as "2.2" and a major version as "3.0".

Given a Checked In working copy, invoking the Check Out operation has little visible effect, it's just a state change for the working copy. A "+" is displayed after the version number to make this apparent, see below. If no modification was actually done on the document when the user clicks Save and invokes the Check Out operation, the version working copy remains in the Checked In state: the dc:contributors and dc:modified fields are not updated and no "+" is displayed next to the version number.

In other systems than the Nuxeo Platform, the Check In operation that creates a new version removes the Working Copy, whose role has been fulfilled. This is not the case in the Nuxeo Platform, where the Working Copy remains in a special Checked In state. In these other systems, the Check Out operation can also be invoked on a Version to create a new Working Copy (this assumes that there is no pre-existing Working Copy in the system). This kind of operation will be made available in future versions of the platform but is not present at the moment.

Version Number

The initial version number of a freshly created working copy is "0.0".

When displaying the version number for a Checked Out document, the version number is usually displayed with a "+" following it, to show that it's not the final version number but that the working copy is modified and derived from that version. The final version number will be determined at Check In time. The exception to this display rule is the version "0.0", because displaying "0.0+" would be redundant and misleading as there is actually no previously archived "0.0" version from which it is derived.

The version number is changed by a Check In operation; either the minor version number is incremented, or the major version number is incremented and the minor version number is set to 0.

Versioning Policies and Filters

The automatic versioning system is based on a combination of policies, where each of them is composed by one or multiple filters. Each versioning policy defines:

  • A unique id which allows to override default policies
  • The numbering policy (between NONE, MINOR or MAJOR)
  • If the versioning has to be applied before or after the actual modification
  • The order in which the policy should be taken into account.


<extension target="org.nuxeo.ecm.core.versioning.VersioningService" point="policies">
    <policy id="note-and-file-policy" order="1" beforeUpdate="true" increment="MAJOR">

Filters referenced by the policy are OR-ed. At least one filter has to match in order to apply the policy.

Setting NONE as numbering policy will stop if no policy with a lower order applies.

Nuxeo reserved order range [1,10] to contribute system policies. Notice that default contributions are also provided with a higher range; these are not system policies and as such have a lower impact, making them easier to be overriden.

A versioning filter defines the condition(s) the document has to fulfill so that the versioning can be applied. The standard filter can be composed of the following elements:

  • Type: On which document type the versioning applies
  • Schema: Apply the versioning if the document contains this schema
  • Facet: Apply the versioning if the document contains this facet
  • Condition: Defines a condition in EL to access properties of the document before/after modification


<extension target="org.nuxeo.ecm.core.versioning.VersioningService" point="filters">
    <filter id="my-standard-filter">
        <condition>#{ !=}</condition>

If the standard filter is not enough to cover all your requirements, the filter can be customized with a Java class implementing the VersioningPolicyFilter interface to define a particular condition:


<filter id="my-class-filter" class=""/>

Source-Based Versioning

For source-based versioning (like with Nuxeo Drive or the REST API for example), a property is provided in the context data of the document, so it can be accessed in the EL condition.


<policy id="rest-based-policy" order="1" increment="MINOR">


<filter id="rest-based-versioning-filter">
    <condition>#{currentDocument.contextData.source == "REST"}</condition>

The previous example defines the HTTP header source to be able to trigger the source versioning through the REST API.

For more details about source-based versioning with Nuxeo Drive, check out the page How to Customize Nuxeo Drive Versioning Policy.

To contribute new policies and filters, check out the extension points documentation:

Plugging In a New VersioningService Implementation

For advanced uses, it's possible to plug in a new VersioningService implementation to define what happens at creation, save, check in and check out time. See the VersioningService Javadoc and the versioningService extension point documentation for more about this.

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