Deis uses a continuous delivery approach for creating releases. Every merged commit that passes testing results in a deliverable that can be given a semantic version tag and shipped.

The master git branch of a project should always work. Only changes considered ready to be released publicly are merged.

Components Release as Needed

Deis components release new versions as often as needed. Fixing a high priority bug requires the project maintainer to create a new patch release. Merging a backward-compatible feature implies a minor release.

By releasing often, each component release becomes a safe and routine event. This makes it faster and easier for users to obtain specific fixes. Continuous delivery also reduces the work necessary to release a product such as Deis Workflow, which integrates several components.

"Components" applies not just to Deis Workflow projects, but also to development and release tools, to Docker base images, and to other Deis projects that do semantic version releases.

See "How to Release a Component" for more detail.

Workflow Releases Every Two Weeks

Deis Workflow has a regular, public release cadence. From v2.0.0 onward, the Deis team releases every 2 weeks, with patch versions as needed. GitHub milestones are used to communicate the content and timing of major and minor releases.

Workflow release timing is not linked to specific features. If a feature is merged before the release date, it is included in the next release.

See "How to Release Workflow" for more detail.

Semantic Versioning

Deis releases comply with semantic versioning, with the "public API" broadly defined as:

  • REST, gRPC, or other API that is network-accessible
  • Library or framework API intended for public use
  • "Pluggable" socket-level protocols users can redirect
  • CLI commands and output formats

In general, changes to anything a user might reasonably link to, customize, or integrate with should be backward-compatible, or else require a major release. Deis users can be confident that upgrading to a patch or to a minor release will not break anything.

How to Release a Component

Most Deis projects are "components" which produce a Docker image or binary executable as a deliverable. This section leads a maintainer through creating a component release.

Step 1: Update Code and Set Environment variables

In the component repository, update from the GitHub remote and ensure HEAD is the commit intended for release. Major or minor releases should happen on the master branch. Patch releases should check out the previous release tag and cherry-pick specific commits from master.

Make sure you have the deisrel release tool in your $PATH.

Double-check that git log looks correct, then set some environment variables:

export COMPONENT=${PWD##*/}
export OLD_RELEASE=$(git describe --abbrev=0 --tags)
export NEW_SHA=$(git rev-parse --short HEAD)
deisrel changelog individual $COMPONENT unknown
export NEW_RELEASE=v2.2.1  # changelog agrees it's a patch release

Step 2: Push the Release Tag

Generate the CHANGELOG with the deisrel tool and paste it into an annotation on the new release tag. Edit out any unnecessary blank lines. Then push the new release tag to the GitHub repository:

deisrel changelog individual $COMPONENT $NEW_RELEASE | pbcopy
git tag -a $NEW_RELEASE  # paste the CHANGELOG into your editor and save
git push upstream $NEW_RELEASE

Step 3: Put CHANGELOG in GitHub Release Notes

Paste the same CHANGELOG from the previous step into the body of release notes for the component in GitHub. In the "Release Title" field, use the project & component with its release, such as "Deis Controller v2.2.1":

deisrel changelog individual $COMPONENT $NEW_RELEASE | pbcopy

Step 4: Verify the Component is Available

Tagging the component (see Step 2) starts a CI job that eventually results in an artifact being made available for public download. Please see the CI flow diagrams for details.

Double-check that the artifact is available, either by a docker pull command or by running the appropriate installer script.

If the artifact can't be downloaded, ensure that its CI release jobs are still in progress, or fix whatever issue arose in the pipeline. For example, the master merge pipeline may have failed to promote the :git-abc1d23 candidate image and needs to be restarted with that component and commit.

How to Release Workflow

Deis Workflow integrates multiple component releases together with a Helm Classic chart deliverable. This section leads a maintainer through creating a Workflow release.

Step 1: Update Code and Set Environment Variables

In the deis/charts repository, update from the GitHub remote. Major or minor releases start from the master branch. Patch releases should check out the previous release tag and cherry-pick specific commits from master.

Export two environment variables that will be used in later steps:

export WORKFLOW_RELEASE=v2.8.0 WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE=v2.7.0  # for example

Step 2: Update Jenkins Jobs

Update the Workflow chart release value in the common.groovy file so the workflow-test-release job will kick off automatically when the release-${WORKFLOW_RELEASE} branch is pushed:

git clone
perl -i -0pe "s/${WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE}/${WORKFLOW_RELEASE}/" common.groovy
git commit -a -m "chore(workflow-$WORKFLOW_RELEASE): update workflow chart release value"
git push upstream HEAD:master

Step 3: Tag Supporting Repositories

Some Workflow components not in the Helm chart must also be tagged in sync with the release. Follow the component release process above and ensure that these components are tagged:

Step 4: Create Helm Charts

For a patch release, check out the previous tag and cherry-pick commits onto it:

git cherry-pick 143ac41  # and so on...

For a major or minor release, copy and modify the current development charts:

git checkout -b release-$WORKFLOW_RELEASE master

Use the deisrel tool to determine the latest component releases:

export GH_TOKEN=<my_github_api_token>  # set token to avoid rate-limiting errors
# Create a JSON file with the components for the new release
cat > components.json <<EOF
  "builder": ["builder"],
  "controller": ["controller"],
  "dockerbuilder": ["dockerbuilder"],
  "fluentd": ["fluentd"],
  "monitor": ["influxdb", "grafana", "telegraf"],
  "logger": ["logger"],
  "minio": ["minio"],
  "nsq": ["nsqd"],
  "postgres": ["database"],
  "redis": ["loggerRedis"],
  "registry": ["registry"],
  "registry-proxy": ["registry_proxy"],
  "registry-token-refresher": ["registry_token_refresher"],
  "router": ["router"],
  "slugbuilder": ["slugbuilder"],
  "slugrunner": ["slugrunner"],
  "workflow-manager": ["workflowManager"]
deisrel $HOME/.helmc/workspace/charts/workflow-$WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE/tpl/generate_params.toml \

Change the generate_params.toml file in each new chart as follows:

  1. Set all dockerTag values to latest releases for each component, as determined above

Commit and push your changes:

git commit -a -m "chore(workflow-$WORKFLOW_RELEASE): releasing workflow-$WORKFLOW_RELEASE(-e2e)"
git push upstream HEAD:release-$WORKFLOW_RELEASE

Open a pull request at deis/charts to merge this branch into master.

Step 5: Manual Testing

Now it's time to go above and beyond current CI tests. Create a testing matrix spreadsheet (copying from the previous document is a good start) and sign up testers to cover all permutations.

Testers should pay special attention to the overall user experience, make sure upgrading from earlier versions is smooth, and cover various storage configurations and Kubernetes versions and infrastructure providers.

When showstopper-level bugs are found, the process is as follows:

  1. Create a component PR that fixes the bug.
  2. Once the PR passes and is reviewed, merge it and do a new component release
  3. Update that component's dockerTag value in the release chart(s) to the new semver tag
  4. Commit and push the chart changes to the release branch and restart testing

Step 6: Release the Chart as a Component

When testing has completed without uncovering any new showstopper bugs and the charts PR has been reviewed successfully, merge it to master. Then update your local master branch and do a component release of the chart repository. Note that the semantic version of the chart release is predetermined as the value of $WORKFLOW_RELEASE.

Step 7: Assemble Master Changelog

Each component already updated its release notes on GitHub with CHANGELOG content. The bodies of each component's release notes should be concatenated into a single gist. Note that there may be more than one release per component--and more than one set of release notes--included in the Workflow release.

Step 8: Update Documentation

Create a new pull request at deis/workflow that updates version references to the new release. Use git grep $WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE to find any references, but be careful not to change This PR should also change upgrading-workflow-md by updating references to older releases to $WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE, so the documentation always describes upgrading between recent versions.

Create a new documentation page under the Changelogs section. The page should be named after the release version, e.g. changelogs/v2.5.1. The contents of this page should be the consolidated changelog generated in Step 7. Makes sure to edit or add a header to the page to make it clear that this is for a Workflow release, e.g.:

## Workflow v2.4.x -> v2.5.1

Step 9: Close GitHub Milestones

Create a pull request at seed-repo to close the release milestone and create the next one. When changes are merged to seed-repo, milestones on all relevant projects will be updated. If there are open issues attached to the milestone, move them to the next upcoming milestone before merging the pull request.

Milestones map to Deis Workflow releases in deis/charts. These milestones do not correspond to individual component release tags.

Step 10: Release Workflow CLI Stable

Now that the $WORKFLOW_RELEASE version of Workflow CLI has been vetted, we can push stable artifacts based on this version.

Kick off with the TAG build parameter of $WORKFLOW_RELEASE and then verify stable artifacts are available and appropriately updated after the job completes:

$ curl -sSL | bash
$ ./deis version
# (Should show $WORKFLOW_RELEASE)

Step 11: Let Everyone Know

Let the rest of the team know they can start blogging and tweeting about the new Workflow release. Post a message to the #company channel on Slack. Include a link to the released chart and to the master CHANGELOG:

@here Deis Workflow v2.8.0 is now live!
Release notes:

You're done with the release. Nice job!