Start Date Release Date Release Versions PR link Tracking Link Stage Teams
11/20/2019 12/19/2019
  • ember-cli: v3.15.0
  • Framework
  • CLI
  • Data

Edition detection


Introduces a mechanism that an application can use to specify which Edition of Ember it intends to target. This RFC will define:

  • How to specify the edition that the application is using
  • How other packages (addons, codemods, etc) can detect the applications intended edition
  • What the edition should be used for


As Ember approaches its first edition (see emberjs/rfcs#364) various addons need to modify their behavior based on the edition that is being used. An initial implementation (done without RFC) used the setEdition method from @ember/edition-utils inside the application or addon's .ember-cli.js file to specify which edition to use. That implementation worked well enough throughout the intial preview period, but a number of major issues were (rightfully!) surfaced by the community:

  1. it seems unnecessary/redundant
  2. it's not clear what this flag actually does (likely due to having no RFC!)
  3. it's not statically analyzable (and therefore cannot be used by things like codemods)

This RFC will review these issues in light of the updated implementation, showing how each of the concerns have been met.

Detailed design

Specifying the edition

A new entry will be added to the project's package.json:

  "name": "project-name",
  // ...snip
  "ember": {
    "edition": "octane"

The value will be expected to be one of the valid edition names (currently classic and octane). Using the package.json for this allows us to ensure that the value is statically analyzable and easy to discover.

For applications specifying ember: { edition: 'octane' } in package.json is generally all that is needed. In an addon this new property would be specifying the edition that the addons own dummy app uses. However, many addons may want to test against multiple editions that they support. In order to support this, ember-try will be updated to allow specifying (and merging) the ember property in the package.json from their config/ember-try.js scenarios.

Valid use of the edition value

The edition flag should only be used by addons to determine what blueprint output to generate and to provide helpful warnings (or errors) at build time.

Note that the above definition does not allow for an addon to detect the edition configuration and change its fundamental implementation. This is quite intentional!

Instead, addons should rely on feature detection techniques like the following to alter implementations:

Detecting the edition

The existing @ember/edition-utils package will still be used by addons to detect which edition is in use, but it will be updated to check the new location (instead of relying on folks leveraging setEdition).

The API documentation for @ember/edition-utils would be:

module '@ember/edition-utils' {
    Determine if the application that is running is running under a given Ember
    Edition.  When the edition in use is _newer_ than the requested edition it
    will return `true`, and if the edition in use by the application is _older_
    than the requested edition it will return `false`.

    @param {string} requestedEditionName the Edition name that the application/addon is requesting
    @param {string} [projectRoot=process.cwd()] the base directory of the project
  has(requestedEditionName: string, projectRoot?: string): boolean;

    Sets the Edition that the application should be considered a part of.
    This method is deprecated, and will be phased out in the next major release.

  setEdition(editionName: string): void;

For a period of time the @ember/edition-utils package will continue to support existing users of setEdition when an edition is not detected via the new mechanism. This allows users that have been testing out Ember Octane (either via the @ember/octane-app-blueprint or manually using setEdition in their .ember-cli.js) a period of time in order to migrate.

How we teach this

The official guides at will be updated to include documentation of the new package.json configuration and clearly explain what the edition flag is used for (warnings and blueprints).

This will not be a difficult concept to teach to folks (most users won't care, and will get upgraded as part of a future ember-cli blueprint update).


Changing existing app and addon usage of the prior flag will cause churn.

This is significantly mitigated by ensuring that @ember/edition-utils continues to support users of setEdition API as a fallback (with a deprecation), and that the existing has API continues to work (defaulting the project root to the current working directory).


Use emberEdition in package.json

Some folks may prefer to use a single new property in package.json (vs the "ember": { "edition": "octane" } setup proposed above). I personally think it makes more sense to start with an "ember": key, as there are additional possible usages (e.g. moving "ember-addon" configuration to be within "ember") and migrating from emberEdition to the nested syntax would be needless churn.

Use .ember-cli instead of package.json

Instead of adding the emberEdition value to the package.json we could add it to the existing .ember-cli file. However, doing this would not satisfy the static analysis constraint mentioned in the motivation section (because .ember-cli.js is transparently supported by ember-cli's build system). In addition, any values that are included in .ember-cli are automatically passed in to every command invocation which would be both unintended (we don't want commands to access the edition in this way) and possibly breaking (if the command already accepted an option with whatever value we chose).

Unresolved questions