The Release Process
The eCl@ss maintenance process is based on ISO requirements and similar to the maintenance process of other standards as e.g. the DIN property server. To facilitate the development of the standard for every interested user, the eCl@ss ContentDevelopmentPlatform (formerly knows as ServicePortal) was developed as an online platform to give every user the possibility to submit change requests for the standard. The eCl@ss association distinguishes three different types of releases that will be described in the following section.
An eCl@ss MajorRelease is a release type that includes all possible modifications of existing structural elements (including structural modifications) and the addition of new structural elements, as well as modifications of the relations between existing structural elements. More information on the MajorRelease can be found here.
An eCl@ss MinorRelease is a release type that includes the modification of certain attributes of existing structural elements (e.g. textual changes) and the addition of new structural elements, as well as new relations between new and/or existing structural elements. More information on the MinorRelease can be found here.
An eCl@ss ServicePack is a release type that corrects a previously released language version by exclusively allowing textual changes in a specific language variant of the eCl@ss standard. More information on the ServicePack can be found here.
 Release Numbers and Versioning
The eCl@ss data model defines the format of release numbers, the versioning of changes and additions as well as the consequences for the release number. The release number consists of a "MajorRelease Number" (x.0) and a "MinorRelease Number" (n.x). A ServicePack additionally comprises a "ServicePack Number" (n.n.x). More information on the Release Numbers and Versioning can be found here.
 Change Requests (CR)
A change request (CR) is a proposal by an eCl@ss user (=requestor) to change a part of the content of the eCl@ss classification system. It can be a correction or even a deletion of something that is identified by the requestor as wrong or an enhancement of something that is still missing. Generally, the eCl@ss classification system will never be finished as changes will always be necessary as long as markets are evolving. The number of change requests processed within a release varies according to the temporary requirements of the industry. The biggest release in regard to the number of submitted change requests was eCl@ss 7.0 where more than 260.000 CR were processed. Different kinds of CR are valid in different kinds of releases, see above or have a look at the list of valid change requests per release.
 Bulk requests
Major changes of the eCl@ss standard done by the eCl@ss expert groups can also be submitted as bulk requests with the help of MS EXCEL® import spreadsheets. As a huge amount of changes is usually prepared in a similar form by the expert groups themselves and a lot of experts have a look on it before even submitting the change requests (CR), eCl@ss provides a normalized import spreadsheet to make an import of change requests easier for expert groups. The import spreadsheet only replaces the manual change request creation in the ContentDevelopmentPlatform. Any included change will be imported as a CR.
The normalized MS EXCEL® import spreadsheet that is used for the import of bulk requests is available at the eCl@ss head office. It is mostly spread for internal use by the eCl@ss expert groups and larger projects like e.g. brand new segments.
 Release Process
The eCl@ss association is organised in various bodies. The most important ones for the maintenance process are described in the following section. The eCl@ss maintenance process is described in the following figure, followed by the description of the involved user roles:
Figure 1: The eCl@ss maintenance process
Every interested person or organisation can take part in the development of the eCl@ss classification system. The proposal of change requests (CR) is open to everybody with the help of the online development and maintenance platform eCl@ss ContentDevelopmentPlatform. In the case of a more complex and detailed contribution, a requestor is advised to contribute to the work of an eCl@ss expert group. Every requestor has to fulfil the requirements and preconditions to create a change request. Detailed descriptions are to be found in the relevant section of. Otherwise a change request cannot be accepted by the eCl@ss association. To be able to propose change requests, a requestor simply has to register in the eCl@ss ContentDevelopmentPlatform. The registration is free of charge.
 Center for Release Management
The Center for Release Management (CRM) is the organisation unit that coordinates the whole maintenance process. Among its key tasks is the release and change management of the eCl@ss classification system and a first formal check of submitted change requests (CR), e.g. if all mandatory information is included. The eCl@ss CRM forwards CR to the responsible eCl@ss expert groups and the eCl@ss Center for Quality Control (CQC). In the eCl@ss ContentDevelopmentPlatform, the office is the first of three bodies that have a role to edit the CR submitted by the requestors. It is in their responsibility to arrange related CR in workpackages and assign these to the expert groups and/or the eCl@ss Center for Quality Control. After the final decision by the CQC, CRM sets all CR for the upcoming release as released for beta version.
 Expert Group
eCl@ss distinguishes two types of expert groups (EG):
- content EG, taking care of the maintenance and further development of the content of the eCl@ss standard, i.e. the classification and description of product groups and services
- cross-section EG, taking care of specific aspects of the maintenance and administration issues of the standard, like e.g. the technical requirements of the data model, data base etc.
The first group are those EG that will verify and edit the submitted CR.
 Tasks and responsibilities of content expert groups
1. Each content EG creates CR for their dedicated area of interest (e.g. a segment) in final-decision-maturity.
2. External CR concerning their dedicated area of interest are forwarded by the eCl@ss office to the relevant content EG. The EG has to take into account these CR and consolidate them with their own work. The evaluation of external CR has to be documented in order to give feedback to the requestors.
3. CR in final-decision-maturity have to fulfill the following requirements:
3.1 All mandatory fields are filled in English (if possible, also in German and other languages)
3.2 They meet all formal requirements (ContentDevelopmentPlatform, Import Template)
3.3 They meet the guidelines on spelling, syntax, field formats, units, definitions etc.
3.4 The CR is in conformity to the data model
3.5 A CR by an eCl@ss EG has to be delivered with a decision memorandum by the EG
3.6 In case a CR was submitted for a MinorRelease its content has to be checked if it contains only compatible changes
4. The following aspects have to be considered when editing CR:
- The class hierachy must represent the market view (of e.g. a procurement market)
- The existing structure of the content must be considered and breaks largely be avoided
- Common norms, standards and guidelines (preferably international) must be considered if existing
- Each content EG is responsible for the conformity to the guidelines described in this document and for the professional quality of their area of interest in eCl@ss.
- Each content EG can create and submit CR that concern the area of interest of other content EG. These CR are in the responsibility of the responsible EG. The responsible EG has to decide on the changes first, before forwarding the CR for the final decision to the QC.
5. If the areas of interest of two content EG are related, the EG have to consolidate their results with each other and inform the eCl@ss office about their results
 Tasks and responsibilities of cross-section expert groups
Currently only one cross-section EG exists in the eCl@ss association, the Center for Research and Development (CRD). This is the central eCl@ss body for the development of the eCl@ss data structure and technical requirements to maintain the eCl@ss standard, i.e. the data model, data base, rules and regulations etc. The CRD is not responsible for the content of the standard itself, but for the structure of the content (not the class structure, which is better described as the class hierarchy).
 Center for Quality Control (CQC)
The Center for Quality Control (CQC) manages and realizes all necessary operational content work including quality control measures on the existing eCl@ss classification system. Among its tasks are:
- the aquisiton and (re)activation of expert group members
- the coordination of the eCl@ss expert groups' work
- the coordination of external experts
- 1st level support for new or advanced users of the ContentDevelopmentPlatform
- support of the on time-publication of new eCl@ss releases
- survey and control of the progress of CR (approval/rework/rejection of CR) within the given deadlines
All CR for updating parts of the eCl@ss classification system are presented to the CQC in a content-checked draft version with final-decision-maturity for quality control, verification and final decision.
The CQC verifies the CR regarding the following aspects:
1. Is final-decision-maturity given, i.e. is a final decision possible?
2. Does the CR influence other areas besides the changed area?
3. Do conflicts exist concerning the responsibility of other EG?
4. Is the CR conform to the guidelines? In case of changes of the hierarchical class structure: does the new hierarchy represent the current market situation?
5. Does the change result in a balanced and logically completed system?
6. Is it a simple correction that can be decided by CQC or a complex tasks for expert groups?
7. Is the right expert working on the CR? Are all relevant EG informed about the CR?
8. Which priority does the CR have?
The CQC decides on the presented CR. It can take the following decisions:
1. The proposal is accepted and will be integrated in a certain future release.
2. The proposal is sent back to the requestor with a distinct reason. The requestor has to rework his CR.
3. The proposal is rejected with a distinct reason.
 Release Roadmap
eCl@ss has defined a transparent release roadmap. MajorReleases shall be valid for a longer time period than MinorReleases as the included structural changes result in a higher upgrade effort for users. The possibility to publish all required additions, the removal of all erroneous keywords and values and the correction of clerical errors will be possible each year. Starting with eCl@ss 6.0 a ServicePack exclusively comprises textual changes, i.e. clerical errors and translations, it is therefore language-specific. As it is not integrated into the release roadmap any more, it can be published on demand if needed for a specific language version.
 Published Releases
|Release Number||Release Type||Release date||Language version||No. of contained classes||No. of contained properties||No. of contained values|
|3.0||Major||2000-04-30||not available any more||4.785||2.427||1.986|
|4.0||Major||2001-03-27||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||12.915||2.303||1.982|
|4.1||Minor||2002-02-28||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||15.315||5.504||3.143|
|5.0||Major||2003-09-02||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||24.870||3.667||1.287|
|5.1||Minor||2004-09-27||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||25.658||5.525||4.544|
|5.1.1||ServicePack||2005-09-07||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||27.216||6.941||4.546|
|5.1.2||ServicePack||2006-07-12||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||27.442||6.964||4.712|
|5.1.3||ServicePack||2006-10-26||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||30.280||6.967||4.712|
|5.1.4||ServicePack||2007-07-01||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||30.329||7.136||4.720|
|6.0 (replaced by 6.0.1)||Major||2008-04-30||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||32.592||8.653||6.811|
|6.1||Minor||2009-08-21||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||32.795||9.910||7.531|
|6.2||Minor||2009-12-01||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||32.832||9.919||7.533|
|7.0||Major||2011-02-15||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||37.868||15.397||19.123|
|7.1||Minor||2011-11-30||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||39.068||15.953||19.874|
|8.0||Major||2012-12-02||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||39.041||16.137||13.609|
|8.1||Minor||2013-12-02||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||39.085||16.203||13.819|
|9.0||Major||2014-12-08||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||40.870||16.845||14.365|
|9.1||Minor||2015-11-30||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||41.027||16.973||14.456|
|10.0 (replaced by 10.0.1)||Major||2017-02-03||Information available in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal||41.647||17.342||15.708|
NOTE 1: Starting with release 7.0 all releases are available in a BASIC and an ADVANCED version. The numbers of contained structural elements refer only to the BASIC version.
NOTE 2: The number of keywords is language-specific and not mentioned here. eCl@ss 3.0 started with around 8.000 German keywords. eCl@ss 8.0 contains more than 50.000 keywords in both German and English. More information is available in the relevant language version descriptions in the eCl@ss DownloadPortal.
NOTE 3: Starting with release 6.0.1 a ServicePack' definition differs from before 6.0.1, please see: ServicePack.
 Planned Releases
eCl@ss will publish
- one release per year
- with a fixed publication date on the 30th November each year (or the first working day in December)
- Every year one MinorRelease will be published, every second year the decision on demand will be taken whether the MinorRelease will be replaced by a MajorRelease depending on the number and type of submitted change requests (the more structural changes are submitted, the higher the demand for a MajorRelease)
- Currently, the decision on demand will be taken in even years, in odd years a MinorRelease will be published
Table 1: Example: The general eCl@ss roadmap
- 2013: MinorRelease 8.1
- 2014: MajorRelease 9.0
- 2015: MinorRelease 9.1
- 2017: MajorRelease 10.0.1
- 2018: MinorRelease 10.1
- 2019: Minor- or MajorRelease (decision depending on requested new content)
Figure 2: The current short-term roadmap
Figure 3: The short-term release milestones
 Known Bugs
eCl@ss is starting to document all known bugs in any available release. This way, users can have an up-to-date overview on technical errors, as well as mistakes in the content of the eCl@ss classification system.
Please have a look at the known bugs page.
 Related information
- Release Numbers and Versioning
- Workflow Service Pack (Help Page)
- Workflow Major Minor (Help Page)
- The eCl@ss association
- Center for Research and Development (CRD)
- Category:Using the Content Development Platform
- Category:Structure and structural elements
- eCl@ss-Update: User support for updating product data to a new release
- CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation, European Committee for Standardization), Workshop ePDC on Global Multilingual Product Description and Classification for eCommerce and eBusiness. See CWA 15295:2005, p. 35ff.