Release Checklist

These are the steps involved in performing a full Mantid release. To request or perform a patch release look at the patch release checklist.

Roles

The roles are defined in terms of the people responsible. Those in the role do not need to carry out all duties themselves, but they are responsible for ensuring that the work gets done.

  • Local Project Manager(s) - People in charge of communicating with local development teams, facility management, and other people at their sponsoring facility.

  • Quality Assurance Manager - People responsible for making sure that manual testing has been performed. They will ensure Mantid meets quality requirements before delivery in consultation with the Release Manager.

  • Release Editor - People responsible for ensuring the release notes are edited to give them a common language, layout, and illustrative images.

  • Release Manager - Person in charge of the go/no go decision of the release. The main task is to reiterate the timeline and be the collection point for information between all of the Local Project Managers.

  • Technical Release Manager - People responsible for technical tasks such as renaming branches, creating tags, configuring build servers, and ensuring problems on the Release Pipeline get fixed (by themselves or others).

Timeline

Key Event(s)
Task Priorities
Actions Required from
Time Until Release

2-3 weeks before Feature Freeze

Development, Testing & Documentation

4-6+ weeks

1 week before Feature
Freeze

Development, Testing & Documentation

4+ weeks

Feature Freeze Begins

Final Development, Testing & Documentation

3 weeks + 1 working day

Manual Testing

Blocker bug fixes, Testing & Release Notes

3 weeks

Beta Testing Begins

Blocker bug fixes, Testing, Release Notes, Maintenance Tasks & Next release development

2.5 weeks

Reminder Email for Beta

Blocker bug fixes, Testing, Release Notes, Maintenance Tasks & Next release development

1.5 weeks

Beta Testing Ends

Blocker bug fixes, Testing, Release Notes, Maintenance Tasks & Next release development

~ 4 working days

Smoke Testing

Blocker bug fixes, Testing & Packaging

1 working day

Release Day

Blocker bug fixes, Testing & Release Announcements

0

Local Project Managers Checklist

Role: People in charge of communicating with local development teams, facility management, and other people at their sponsoring facility.

1 week before Code Freeze

  • Before the code freeze is in place the PM and Technical Steering Committee (TSC) need to agree the maintenance tasks for the next release period.

Code Freeze

  • Attempt to drive the pull requests for this milestone down to 0, in collaboration with the Release Manager.

Beta Testing Begins

  • Ensure that developers arrange to meet with their beta testers.

  • Triage when necessary the issues discovered during beta testing.

Quality Assurance Managers Checklist

Role: People responsible for making sure that manual testing has been performed. They will ensure Mantid meets quality requirements before delivery in consultation with the Release Manager.

Manual Testing

  • Ensure that Manual testing begins by creating the testing tasks as GitHub issues, assigning them and posting on Slack. Most of our Manual testing instructions are here. Generate the Manual testing issues by following the instructions in the README file. Please raise the issues from the ISIS and Non-ISIS manual testing spreadsheets.

  • Over the next week, check the Manual testing GitHub issues. Testers should raise any serious problems as separate GitHub issues with a relevant milestone. When testing tasks are complete and all serious problems raised as issues, then the testing GitHub issue should be closed.

  • Manual testing at ISIS as of release 6.3, has taken the form of Ensemble Manual Testing. In short, testing teams of around 3-5 developers, spread across sub-teams are assigned tasks with the code expert in that testing team.

Beta Testing Ends - Prepare for Smoke Testing

  • Liaise with the technical release manager and project manager to decide on an appropriate time for Smoke Testing.

  • Send an invite to developers for 1.5 hours maximum Smoke Testing. Include an introduction message to assign all testers to a certain operating system. Link to the release pipeline builds where the release packages WILL be. Encourage testers to download in the 30 minutes before smoke testing. Inform that ticking on a testing issue means that someone has assigned themselves and will tackle that task.

Smoke Testing

  • Make sure to follow the preparation steps listed above.

  • It is likely that many changes have been made over the beta test period, therefore we must do some more manual testing to ensure everything still works. This stage is called Smoke testing. Generate the Smoke testing issues by following the instructions here.

  • Liaise with the Technical Release Manager and together announce the creation of the Smoke testing issues and Release Candidates in the #general slack channel.

  • During smoke testing it may be easier if at least one QA Manager acts as facilitator during the session. They will answer questions, co-ordinate testing (especially when an arising issue needs testing on other OS) and ensure all testing is covered.

Release Editors Checklist

Role: People responsible for editing the release notes and giving them a common language, layout, and collecting images.

Beta Testing Begins

  • Initial amalgamation of the release notes:

    • git pull on release-next.

    • Create a new branch using the Mantid Git Workflow guidance.

    • Navigate to your Mantid ‘build’ directory and open command-prompt.bat.

    • In the new command prompt, navigate to the release_editor.py script and run, parsing the correct version number. The script copies all of the separate release notes under the correct heading of their upper level file, e.g. framework.rst, and moves the original release notes into a ‘Used’ directory.

      python release_editor.py --release 6.5.0
      
    • Check the script has run correctly by checking all individual rst files have been moved into their respective ‘used’ directories. You could use the unused_release_note_finder.py script for this (explained further bellow).

    • Look over the files to make sure they look roughly correct then submit a PR to be merged into release-next.

  • Initial changes:

    • For each file which needs changes, create a new branch (example name 6.5_workbench_release_notes) and work on changes to then be merged back into release-next.

  • Incoming release notes:

    • As the release sprint goes on, new release note files will be created (existing outside of the ‘Used’ directories). The text from these will need to be copped into the main release note pages (diffraction.rst, mantidworkbench.rst etc.) and the file itself moved to it’s corresponding ‘Used’ directory.

    • It is best to wait until several of these have built up before making a new branch / pr.

    • To help with finding the new release notes, use the unused_release_note_finder.py script which will print the location of release notes not within a ‘Used’ directory.

      python unused_release_note_finder.py --release 6.5.0
      
  • Images:

    • Images or GIFs should be added to highlight important and/or visual changes.

    • An image for the ‘headline’ feature (or a collage if there is none) should be added to the main page (index.rst).

Beta Testing Ends

  • Review the complete set of release notes to make sure there are no glaring mistakes.

Just before release

  • As one of the final steps in preparing to tag the release:

    • Check for uncollected release notes using the unused_release_note_finder.py script.

    • Check main for any release notes that have been merged into the wrong branch.

    • Remove any unused headings which have not already been removed from the release notes.

    • Remove all the “Used” release note files and their sub-structure.

Release Manager Checklist

Role: Person in charge of the go/no go decision of the release. The main task is to reiterate the timeline and be the collection point for information between all of the Local Project Managers.

2-3 weeks before Feature Freeze

  • Schedule a release showcase meeting for all facilities to present work that is intended to be part of the upcoming release. This meeting should aim to be in the week leading up to the feature freeze and include a timeline for the release along with a description of those taking on each of the release roles. It can also include a preview of work aimed for the release after the upcoming one.

1 week before Feature Freeze

  • Check that all people with release roles are added to the #release-roles Slack channel and others are removed.

  • Post on the #annoucements slack channel reminding developers of the impending release and stating that they have only 5 days left before the feature freeze.

  • Hold the release showcase meeting described above.

Feature Freeze Begins

  • Ask the technical release managers to organize for the release branch to be created.

  • Create a project board to track the issues for the release

  • After the message that the release branch has been created, post on the #annoucements slack channel that only critical work should be merged to that branch. You can use an adapted version of the following announcement:

    • We are now in feature freeze. Only critical work should be added to the release-next branch. I have created a project board to track work for release <version> - please add any critical issues/PRs to this project, and ensure they have the <version> milestone. I will be clearing the <version> milestone from anything not in this project later today (you can always re-add it if necessary). Non critical work can be added to the <version+1> milestone and merged to the main branch as usual.

      <project link url>

  • Monitor the release project board and ensure items are assigned and moving through the board. Show the board at standups.

Manual Testing

  • Ensure that PR testing has been completed for PRs from before the feature freeze.

Clearing the Project Board

Go through the issues for the release milestone (not the sprint milestone), ensuring that:

  • All issues are intended for the release.

  • Any new issues are triaged on a daily basis, and allocated to staff.

  • Issues that are not important for the release should be moved to a more appropriate milestone. Don’t leave anything in the release milestone that is not definitely for that release.

Maintenance

  • Present to the whole development team the maintenance tasks for this release period.

  • Emphasize the order of work priorities as noted by the task priorities in this checklist. Maintenance tasks may need to be paused to work on tasks for the release.

Beta Testing Begins

  • On the date when the beta-testing is scheduled to start check with the technical release managers that a build has been successful that we are happy to put out.

  • Send an email to beta test users explaining where to download the installers and how to report issues (cc the Local Project Managers so they can organise a similar message at their facilities). The following emails are used for beta testing:

    ISISInstsci<AT>stfc.ac.uk

    twg<AT>mantidproject.org

    swg<AT>mantidproject.org

    using the template as a guide:

    • Dear all,

      We are busy making preparations for the release of version <version> of Mantid. We have completed our first round of developer testing and are now ready for beta-testing feedback. The beta testing period for this release is between today (<start date>) and the end of play on <end date>. We then hope to release the following week.

      Packages

      The nightly test installers for this version are available here to download: https://www.mantidproject.org/installation/index#nightly-build. The nightly builds install alongside a full release and so will not affect its operation but will overwrite any other nightly builds you have. For Windows users at ISIS, install Mantid as your standard user account (not an 03 account). It will install just for your user, rather than for the whole PC.

      We have an early draft of the release notes at https://docs.mantidproject.org/nightly/release/<version>/index.html. Please report any bugs to mantid-help@mantidproject.org and if the problem is a bug that would prevent your normal workflow from working then start the email subject with URGENT:. It would be most helpful for the team if bugs are communicated back to us as soon as possible.

      Thank you all for your help.

      Regards,

      Mantid Team

  • Ensure the other facilities forward the beta-testing email to their relevant internal lists.

Reminder Email for Beta

  • Mid-way through the beta testing period, send a reminder email to beta test users thanking them for their feedback so far and reminding them to feedback as soon as possible and not to send in a list of issues at the end of testing (cc the Local Project Managers so they can organise a similar message at their facilities).

Beta Testing Ends

  • At the end of the day, email the beta test users thanking them.

  • Review the complete set of release notes to make sure there are no glaring mistakes.

Smoke Testing

  • This is the final day for code changes to the build for blocker issues.

Release Day

After the Technical Release Manager has finished their release day tasks:

  • Send an email, including the text of the release notes, to the following lists, replacing <at> with the appropriate sign:

    nobugs<at>nobugsconference.org

    news<at>neutronsources.org

    neutron<at>neutronsources.org

    announcements<at>mantidproject.org

    ISIS Instrument Scientists + Other

    supportanalysis<at>stfc.ac.uk

  • Also post the contents of the message to the #announcements channel on Slack.

  • Create a new item on the forum news.

  • Add a news item linking to the forum post on the mantidproject website by manually editing sidebar-news.html. Restrict the number of news items to five.

  • Close the release milestone on GitHub.

Technical Release Managers Checklist

Role: People responsible for technical tasks such as renaming branches, creating tags, configuring build servers, and ensuring problems on the Release Pipeline get fixed (by themselves or others).

Code Freeze

Create the Release Branch (once most PRs are merged)

  • Ensure the latest main nightly deployment pipeline has passed for all build environments. If it fails, decide if a fix is needed before moving on to the next steps.

  • Click Build Now on open-release-testing, which will perform the following actions:

    • Create or update the release-next branch.

    • Enable the job to periodically merge release-next into main.

    • Set the value of the Jenkins global property BRANCH_TO_PUBLISH to release-next. This will turn off publishing for the main branch pipeline and switch it on for the release-next pipeline.

  • Check the state of all open pull requests for this milestone and decide which should be kept for the release, liaise with the Release Manager on this. Move any pull requests not targeted for this release out of the milestone, and then change the base branch of the remaining pull requests to release-next. You can either manually change the base branch in GitHub or use the update-pr-base-branch.py script to update the base branches of these pull requests. A quick example to show how the arguments should be provided to this script is seen below:

python update-pr-base-branch.py [milestone] [newbase] --token [generated_token]
python update-pr-base-branch.py "Release 6.1" "release-next" --token fake123gener8ed456token
  • Inform other developers that release-next has been created by posting to the #announcements slack channel. You can use an adapted version of the following announcement:

Create Release Notes Skeleton

  • Create a skeleton set of release notes and subfolders on main for the next version using the python helper tool and open a pull request to put them on main. Make sure the docs/source/release/index.rst file has a link to the new release docs.

python release.py --release [X.Y.Z] --milestone [milestone]
python release.py --release 6.1.0 --milestone "Release 6.1"

Smoke Testing

Check with the Quality Assurance Manager that the initial Manual testing has been completed, and any issues have been fixed. Then:

  • Liaise with the release editor to ensure that they have completed all of their tasks.

  • Check the release notes and verify that the “Under Construction” paragraph on the main index page has been removed. Remove the paragraph if it still exists.

  • Ensure that all changes, including release notes, have been merged into the release-next branch.

  • On the release-next branch, check whether the git SHA for MSlice is up to date. If not, create a PR to update it and ask a gatekeeper to merge it.

  • Make sure the release-next branch is fully merged into main. If required, manually run the GitHub workflow using the release-next branch to merge the changes.

  • Run the close-release-testing Jenkins job. This will set the value of the Jenkins global property BRANCH_TO_PUBLISH to main, which will re-enable package publishing for the main nightly pipeline.

Create the Release Candidates For Smoke Testing

We are now ready to create the release candidates for Smoke testing.

  • Build the release-next_nightly_deployment Jenkins pipeline with the following parameters (most are already defaulted to the correct values):

    • set BUILD_DEVEL to all

    • set BUILD_PACKAGE to all

    • set PACKAGE_SUFFIX to an empty string

    • tick the PUBLISH_TO_ANACONDA checkbox

    • tick the PUBLISH_TO_GITHUB checkbox

    • set the ANACONDA_CHANNEL to mantid

    • set the ANACONDA_CHANNEL_LABEL to vX.Y.ZrcN where X.Y.Z is the release number, and N is an incremental build number for release candidates, starting at 1 (e.g. v6.7.0rc1)

    • set GITHUB_RELEASES_REPO to mantidproject/mantid

    • set GITHUB_RELEASES_TAG to vX.Y.ZrcN, where X.Y.Z is the release number, and N is an incremental build number for release candidates, starting at 1.

  • Once the packages have been published to GitHub and Anaconda, ask someone in the ISIS core or DevOps team to manually sign the Windows binary and re-upload it to the GitHub draft release.

  • Liaise with the Quality Assurance Manager and together announce the creation of the smoke testing issues and Release Candidates in the #general slack channel.

Create the Release Candidates For Release

Check with the Quality Assurance Manager that the Smoke testing has been completed, and any issues have been fixed. The release candidates must now be recreated with their final version numbers. To do this, build the release-next_nightly_deployment Jenkins pipeline with the following parameters (most are already defaulted to the correct values):

  • set BUILD_DEVEL to all

  • set BUILD_PACKAGE to all

  • set PACKAGE_SUFFIX to an empty string

  • tick the PUBLISH_TO_ANACONDA checkbox

  • tick the PUBLISH_TO_GITHUB checkbox

  • set the ANACONDA_CHANNEL to mantid

  • set the ANACONDA_CHANNEL_LABEL to draft-vX.Y.Z where X.Y.Z is the release number

  • set GITHUB_RELEASES_REPO to mantidproject/mantid

  • set GITHUB_RELEASES_TAG to vX.Y.Z, where X.Y.Z is the release number.

Release Day

Once the final release candidate pipeline has succeeded, the draft release will be available on GitHub and our Anaconda channel.

  • Edit the draft release on GitHub. The description of the new release can be copied from the release notes index.rst file, and edited appropriately. See previous release descriptions for inspiration.

  • Ask someone in the ISIS core or DevOps team to manually sign the Windows binary and re-upload it to the draft release.

  • Publish the GitHub release. This will publish the tag required to generate the DOI.

  • Remove the smoke testing release from the GitHub releases page (the one tagged with vX.Y.ZrcN).

  • Change the labels for the release candidates on our Anaconda site from draft-vX.Y.Z to main. You may need to ask a member of the ISIS core or DevOps team to do this.

  • Remove the smoke testing release candidates from our Anaconda channel (those with the vX.Y.ZrcN label).

  • Update the download page by running the Update latest release links workflow in the mantidproject/www repository.

  • Ask someone with access to the daaas-ansible-workspace repository (a member of the ISIS core team or IDAaaS support) to add the new release to IDAaaS. They can do this by creating a PR targeting the preprod branch, adding the new release version to the list of versions installed on IDAaaS here. Make sure that there are only three mantid_versions in the list (delete the oldest one if applicable). The changes need to be verified on an IDAaaS test instance before the PR can be accepted.

Generate DOI

This requires that a tag has been created for this release. This tag is created when you draft and publish a new release on GitHub.

  • Make sure that you have updated your local copy of git to grab the new tag. git fetch -p

  • If the script below fails you may need to update the authors list and push the updates to main. Look for authors.py in the tools/DOI directory. It does not matter that these are not on the release branch.

python tools/DOI/doi.py --username=[username] [X.Y.Z]
  • The script will prompt you for the password. Ask a senior developer to share the username and password with you if you do not already have access to it.

Update Citation File

Open a PR updating the software doi, date-released and version in the CITATION.cff file at the root of the repository.

Notify the Release Manager when you complete all your tasks.

Deploy Versioned Documentation

Versioned documentation is accessible at https://docs.mantidproject.org/vX.Y.Z/. This documentation is hosted at https://mantidproject.github.io/docs-versioned/vX.Y.Z/. Documentation is deployed to GitHub via an action on the docs-versioned repository. This action runs on a push to the main branch of the repository.

To do this:

  • On a clone of the mantid repository, check out the commit tagged as the relevant release number: git checkout tags/<vX.Y.Z> -b <new branch name>.

  • On this branch, build the docs-html target (this target is produced by CMake).

  • Clone the repository: https://github.com/mantidproject/docs-versioned.

  • Remaining on the main branch, create a directory for the relevant release in the form vX.Y.Z.

  • Copy the built documentation into this new directory. The built documentation will be in your mantid build directory at <build directory>/docs/html.

  • Stage the newly created directory and commit it to your branch.

  • After double-checking that these instructions have been followed correctly, push your branch to the main repository to deploy.