This article describes K2’s official release strategy. It also includes information on how product releases may affect version support. Additionally, third-party and Microsoft product support is included in this article. Please contact your local K2 representative with any questions.

This article is effective September 22, 2016 (which was the release date for K2 blackpearl 4.7). Changes to the K2 product support policy that took effect with K2 4.7 were announced previously in the Changes to K2 product support policy Technical Bulletin. With the release of K2 4.7, support for several third-party technologies has also changed, as described in the Third-party support with the K2 4.7 release Technical bulletin. You may refer to the K2 blackpearl and K2 smartforms: Product Compatibility, Integration and Support article for more details on support for specific versions of software.


Unless otherwise noted, the information contained in this document applies to the K2 blackpearl, K2 smartforms and K2 connect product lines.  The K2.net 2003 platform is not covered by this document.

Microsoft Product Support Plan

As a Microsoft partner, K2 works closely with Microsoft to ensure that our products and integrated functionality will work on the next versions of the Operating Systems (OS), Platform and Technology components, and Applications from Microsoft. As part of this relationship, we determine how our current product functionality can be supported on the next Microsoft platform, as well as how that functionality can be expanded to work with new Microsoft products and technologies.

Examples of OS, Platform/Technology components, and Applications from Microsoft include:

  • OS: Windows Server, Windows Client
  • Platform/Technology: SQL, IIS, .NET Framework, Silverlight
  • Applications: Visual Studio, SharePoint, Office

In general, K2 will support the next versions of Microsoft technologies with existing K2 functionality soon after the Microsoft technology is officially released (referred to as Release To Manufacture (RTM) or Release to Web (RTW), depending on the product). For core Microsoft technologies, such as those in the OS and Platform/Technology categories, K2 typically supports these technologies soon after they are released. Microsoft Applications, in turn, will be supported first with K2 software support for the new Application version, then potentially later with K2 feature extensions of the new Application release.

This approach requires sufficient backwards compatibility in the Microsoft updates, such as from WSS 3.0/MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010, and also that there are no architectural changes from Microsoft that would require K2 to make fundamental changes to the existing architecture of the K2 platform. The formats of these update releases, such as a special release or the inclusion in a regular update, depends on where we are in our current release cycle. 
If the Microsoft release does not maintain sufficient backwards compatibility, the release would be considered a new application or platform that would not have initial formal support from K2.Any support for new platforms from Microsoft not currently integrated with K2 software will be communicated as K2 develops plans, if any, for integration with those platforms.

K2 will plan to support Microsoft products, service packs and cumulative updates per the following guidelines:

  • New major versions of Microsoft products that are released during an existing K2 release cycle will not be targeted for support until the following release cycle.
  • The latest released K2 update will support the latest service packs, cumulative updates, and update rollups for supported Microsoft products at the time of the Microsoft release date.
  • The most recently released version of a Microsoft product and at least one older version will be supported. When possible, K2 will support more versions but may drop support for older Microsoft versions at the release of a K2 update.
  • K2 releases will continue to support the Microsoft products supported at the time of the K2 release. Core Microsoft product (such as OS or SharePoint) support deprecation will only occur with K2 minor or major releases.
  • K2 releases may require a dependency on the latest .NET Framework or Visual Studio release. In this case, regardless of Microsoft availability timeline, K2 will only support the latest .NET Framework or Visual Studio release.

If major technology products (such as Microsoft Windows Server, SQL Server, or SharePoint) reach their end-of-life for standard support during K2's two year support window, we will continue to support you unless it requires Microsoft involvement. If any issues are found that require Microsoft involvement, K2 may not be able to address the issue and may require you to move to the latest supported Microsoft product. This may also require you to move to the latest K2 release.

Microsoft requires customers to be on certain versions of client operating system, browser, or .NET framework based on their new lifecycle policies:

K2 will no longer provide code fix support for the browser and .NET Framework versions that are no longer supported by Microsoft.

Third-Party Integration Support Plan

In addition to Microsoft Applications, K2 integrates with various third-party applications. These integration points are through SmartObjects via a Service Broker, and/or workflows wizards. The integration points depend on the third-party application's API.

Examples of third-party applications include:

  • DocuSign
  • Oracle

Additionally, dynamic service brokers built by K2 are available to expose third-party APIs that follow common development standards or protocols. These brokers can be used to create SmartObjects and/or workflow wizards for systems that follow the standard.

Examples of dynamic service brokers include:

  • REST
  • Web Services
  • OData
  • WCF

Any support for new third-party applications or standards not currently integrated with K2 software will be communicated as K2 develops plans, if any, for integration with those applications.

K2 will plan to support third-party API integration per the following guidelines:

  • K2 tests our integration with the third-party API version available at the beginning of our testing cycle. These API versions are listed in the compatibility matrix.
  • As long as the third-party vendor maintains backwards compatibility with the APIs and integration points K2 uses, minor releases (such as service packs, cumulative updates, or patches) of third-party products are supported.
  • If the third-party vendor makes a breaking change to an integration point with K2, we will react to that change through our normal support channels and update cycles.
  • New major versions of third-party APIs that are released during an existing K2 release cycle will be evaluated during the following release cycle for future support.

Mobile OS Compatibility

In the context of this article, "mobile OS" is defined as an operating system version of Apple, Windows, and Android devices (phones, tablets).

In general, K2 will support the next versions of mobile OS technologies with existing K2 functionality soon after the mobile OS is officially released. Typically this is within 1-2 months, but we strive to support the new mobile OS versions the day they are released. This approach requires sufficient backwards compatibility in the mobile OS updates, and also that there are no architectural changes that would require K2 to make fundamental changes to the existing architecture of the K2 platform. If the mobile OS release does not maintain sufficient backwards compatibility, the release would be considered a new OS product that would not have initial formal support from K2.

Following an update from a mobile vendor, K2 may build within the following 12 months new features that take advantage of the updated OS technology. When K2 takes advantage of features in new OS versions, K2 will discontinue building new features for previous OS versions.

Mobile Support Policy

The K2 Mobile applications have frequent updates in order to fix issues or add new features. Only the latest released version is supported. If any issues are encountered on an older version of the app, SourceCode will require you to update to the latest version of the app and reproduce the issue before proceeding with the investigation.

Support for previous operating system versions are dropped when 80% of all devices run the latest OS version but not before 6 months after release. For example, K2 drops support for iOS 8, 6 months after the release of iOS 9, if 80% of all devices run iOS 9.

Non-App Store Delivery Mechanisms

SourceCode does not explicitly test or support K2 software delivered through other mechanisms, such as specific MDMs. K2 will only support issues that are able to be reproduced in an App Store signed version of the app. If an issue is found with an app that a customer has re-signed using an enterprise profile that cannot be reproduced with the app store version, K2 will not support it and will not provide a fix for the issue.

Targeted Release Frequency

Updates to K2's on-premises software are scheduled for release approximately every twelve months and are noted as a point release. Cloud based software will release more frequently.

Compatibility

It is highly recommended that all K2 software components that interact in an “environment” be updated to the same version at all times.  An “environment” is any combination of K2 components that utilize a single instance of K2 Databases.  For example, an installation with two load-balanced K2 Servers, two SharePoint web front-ends running K2 for SharePoint components, and 10 developers running K2 for Visual Studio components, all sharing an instance of K2 Databases, would be considered an “environment”.  In this example, the K2 Database, the K2 Servers and the K2 for SharePoint components are considered “Server Components” and the K2 for Visual Studio components are considered “Client Components.”

K2 requires that all Server Components and Client Components in an environment be at the same Major Release and Minor Release (see the Release Component Compatibility).  Additionally, K2 requires that all Server Components be at the same Update level.  For example, if K2 Server has 4.7 installed, the K2 for SharePoint components in the same environment must also have 4.7 installed.

K2 highly recommends that all Client Components be at the same Update level as the Server Components in the same environment.  K2 strives to ensure support for older Client Components Updates when newer Server Component Updates have been applied.  However, some Updates may contain core architectural and/or structural changes that physically prohibit compatibility. K2 will indicate via the associated KB article that the Update will not be compatible, and the customer will be expected to apply the specific Update across the entire environment, client and server. For example, K2 Client Components which have K2 4.7 installed require a K2 Server running K2 4.7 for compatibility.

Developer / API Support Policy

When at all possible, K2 will minimize the impact of API changes to ensure backwards compatibility with previous K2 releases. However, at Minor Releases K2 reserves the right to make breaking changes in the API. These changes are documented in the release notes as notice to the breaking changes. K2 will not introduce breaking changes in updates. If you use the methods that have changed in your custom code, you will need to change your code accordingly to work with the API changes on the latest Minor Release.

Product Support Policy

K2 supports every product release for a minimum of two years. This is known as the standard support lifecycle of a K2 release, or a “Supported Release.” During this standard lifecycle, customers under Technical Support and Maintenance contracts have access to support personnel and code fixes.

Prior to 31 December 2017, after a release’s standard support lifecycle ends, K2 will stop development of any new code fixes for that release. However, customers can still contact technical support and receive previously developed code fixes. In order to receive new code fixes, you must be on a Supported Release.

Starting 1 January 2018, K2 products will enter an “End-of-Life Release” status after the standard support lifecycle ends. When a K2 release reaches End-of-Life, all support for that release ends as well. This includes development of new code fixes, access to existing code fixes, and contact with technical support, even if you have an active Technical Support and Maintenance contract. In order to receive code fixes and have access to support personnel, you must be on a Supported Release. With the release of K2 Five, customers current on maintenance receive a Free Standard Extended Term Support contract to extend support for a year past the End-of-Life date. Premier Extended Term Support is available to extend code fix support for a maximum of 24 months.

Release lifecycles

Product Standard Support Lifecycle Begins Standard Support Lifecycle Ends End-of-Life Date End of Free Standard Extended Term Support End of Extended Term Support
K2.net 2003 11 October 2006 31 December 2017 31 December 2017 31 December 2018 31 December 2019
K2 4.5 with Update 1420 14 December 2011 22 September 2016 31 December 2017 31 December 2018 31 December 2018
K2 4.6.0 - K2 4.6.9 13 June 2012 - 26 February 2015 22 September 2016 31 December 2017 31 December 2018 31 December 2018
K2 4.6.10 24 June 2015 24 June 2017 31 December 2017 31 December 2018 31 December 2019
K2 4.6.11 15 September 2015 15 September 2017 31 December 2017 31 December 2018 31 December 2019
K2 4.7 22 September 2016 31 December 2019 31 December 2019 N/A 31 December 2021
K2 Five (5.0) 1 November 2017 31 December 2020 31 December 2020 N/A 31 December 2022
K2 Five (5.1) 30 April 2018 31 December 2020 31 December 2020 N/A 31 December 2022

 

This means that until 31 December 2017, if you are on one of the listed releases, you have the following access:

4.7 4.6.11 4.6.10 4.6 - 4.6.9 4.5 with 1420 K2.net 2003
Access K2 Knowledge Base, Product Documentation and Support Portal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Download latest versions of K2 software Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Log tickets and access the K2 call centers Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
New Code Fixes, i.e. software updates outside of normal release cycle Yes No No No No Yes

 

It also means that starting 1 January 2018, the following applies:

5.1 5.0 4.7 4.6.11 4.6.10 4.6 - 4.6.9 4.5 with 1420 K2.net 2003
Access K2 Knowledge Base, Product Documentation and Support Portal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Download latest versions of K2 software Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Log tickets and access the K2 call centers Yes Yes Yes With Standard Extended Term Support With Standard Extended Term Support With Standard Extended Term Support With Standard Extended Term Support With Standard Extended Term Support
New Code Fixes, i.e. software updates outside of normal release cycle Yes Yes Yes With Premier Extended Term Support With Premier Extended Term Support No No With Premier Extended Term Support

Customers that cannot upgrade to a Supported Release have an option to purchase an extended support plan for End-of-Life Releases. Please contact your account manager for further details. For the details on the Support and Services policies, please see https://www.k2.com/legal/support-and-services-policies