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Release Procedure

We have release procedures for the following scenarios:

  1. cBioPortal community release of code already in production
  2. New Feature Release

cBioPortal community release of code already in production

We often run code in production that is not ready yet for use by the wider cBioPortal community. We deploy to production what's in the master branch of the backend repo and the frontend repo. Often times this is not a tagged release. At some point this code should be released for the wider community. These are the steps we follow:

  1. Create a new frontend tag. The releases can be found here: We usually already have a MAJOR.MINOR number for this release. Increment the PATCH number, i.e. MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH. Look at what new commits are in this release compared to the old release by using e.g.: Adjust the tag and branch name in between the ... of the link accordingly to see the new commits. Add significant PRs and issues to the release log: Follow the same style as the other releases shown in: You can save your work as a draft if necessary.
  2. Once the frontend code is tagged, create a pull request to the backend repo where the frontend version is incremented in portal/pom.xml:
  3. Once that PR is merged, one can create a tag for the backend repo with the same tag as the frontend repo. Copy over the release log from the frontend repo. You can look at backend specific commits in the same manner: Note that the release log of frontend and backend should be identical. Both list the significant frontend and backend changes. You can update existing release logs using the github interface.

New Feature Release

For new feature releases, we increase the MINOR number in MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH. For those releases we have a separate branch (see, which needs to be merged to master on both backend and frontend:

  1. Make sure no auto deployment is running for frontend from netlify
  2. Merge frontend release-x.y.z branch to frontend master
  3. Follow same procedure as for a PATCH release, but instead of having a separate PR to update the frontend (step 2) one can add it to the already existing backend branch release-x.y.z and open the PR from there to backend's master. This is merely for convenience to avoid having to create another branch just to update the frontend version.

A note on versioning

We follow the following logic when deciding how/when to increment the version of cBioPortal. It's a complete modification of semantic versioning (MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH) more suitable for our purposes:

MAJOR : A big change in how cBioPortal works. We changed the major version from 1 to 2 when we completely moved from using JSPs to a Single Page App written in React calling a REST service.

MINOR : Backwards incompatible features that requires both backend and frontend changes. If the frontend change is very significant we can increase the MINOR version as well.

PATCH : Backwards compatible fixes. Can be e.g. frontend only changes or fixes to backend.

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