Recipe file best practices

Hello all,
I am hoping for some feedback to assist me in a more stable backup/restore process for clients. I am constantly fighting backwards compatibility…and often lose! I know better than to delete or rename variables. Changing the length of a table variable creates havoc during upgrades…and generally forces a restore. However, we still hit scenarios where the restore seems to finish…but never makes it through the entire file. I sometimes use variables to track if certain corrections have been made at powerup…essentially “revisions” specific to each version. I am almost to the point where a standalone “versioning” program to update recipe files manually would be more effective.

What I really need are best practices…some guidelines to maintain compatibility between major Opto versions…as well as our own cdf modifications. All feedback would be greatly appreciated…