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Releasing Rails

In this document, we'll cover the steps necessary to release Rails. Each section contains steps to take during that time before the release. The times suggested in each header are just that: suggestions. However, they should really be considered as minimums.

10 Days before release

Today is mostly coordination tasks. Here are the things you must do today:

Is the CI green? If not, make it green. (See "Fixing the CI")

Do not release with a Red CI. You can find the CI status here:

https://buildkite.com/rails/rails

Do we have any Git dependencies? If so, contact those authors.

Having Git dependencies indicates that we depend on unreleased code. Obviously Rails cannot be released when it depends on unreleased code. Contact the authors of those particular gems and work out a release date that suits them.

Announce your plans to the rest of the team on Campfire

Let them know of your plans to release.

Update each CHANGELOG.

Many times commits are made without the CHANGELOG being updated. You should review the commits since the last release, and fill in any missing information for each CHANGELOG.

You can review the commits for the 3.0.10 release like this:

[aaron@higgins rails (3-0-10)]$ git log v3.0.9..

If you're doing a stable branch release, you should also ensure that all of the CHANGELOG entries in the stable branch are also synced to the main branch.

Day of release

If making multiple releases. Publish them in order from oldest to newest, to ensure that the "greatest" version also shows up in NPM and GitHub Releases as "latest".

Put the new version in the RAILS_VERSION file.

Include an RC number if appropriate, e.g. 6.0.0.rc1.

Build and test the gem.

Run rake verify to generate the gems and install them locally. verify also generates a Rails app with a migration and boots it to smoke test with in your browser.

This will stop you from looking silly when you push an RC to rubygems.org and then realize it is broken.

Check credentials for RubyGems, npm, and GitHub

For npm run npm whoami to check that you are logged in (npm login if not).

For RubyGems run gem login. If there's no output you are logged in.

For GitHub run gh auth status to check that you are logged in (run gh login if not).

npm and RubyGems require MFA. The release task will attempt to use a yubikey if available, which as we have release several packages at once is strongly recommended. Check that ykman oath accounts list has an entry for both npmjs.com and rubygems.org, if not refer to https://tenderlovemaking.com/2021/10/26/publishing-gems-with-your-yubikey.html for setup instructions.

Release to RubyGems and npm.

IMPORTANT: Several gems have JavaScript components that are released as npm packages, so you must have Node.js installed, have an npm account (npmjs.com), and be a package owner for @rails/actioncable, @rails/actiontext, @rails/activestorage, and @rails/ujs. You can check this by making sure your npm user (npm whoami) is listed as an owner (npm owner ls <pkg>) of each package. Do not release until you're set up with npm!

The release task will sign the release tag. If you haven't got commit signing set up, use https://git-scm.com/book/en/v2/Git-Tools-Signing-Your-Work as a guide. You can generate keys with the GPG suite from here: https://gpgtools.org.

Run rake changelog:header to put a header with the new version in every CHANGELOG. Don't commit this, the release task handles it.

Run rake release. This will populate the gemspecs and npm package.json with the current RAILS_VERSION, commit the changes, tag it, and push the gems to rubygems.org.

Make GitHub Releases from pushed tags

We use GitHub Releases to publish the combined release summary for all gems. We can use a rake task and GitHub cli to do this (releases can also be created or edited on the web).

bundle exec rake changelog:release_summary > ../6-1-7-release-summary.md
gh release create v6.1.7 -R rails/rails -F ../6-1-7-release-summary.md

Send Rails release announcements

Write a release announcement that includes the version, changes, and links to GitHub where people can find the specific commit list. Here are the mailing lists where you should announce:

Use Markdown format for your announcement. Remember to ask people to report issues with the release candidate to the rails-core mailing list.

NOTE: For patch releases, there's a rake announce task to generate the release post. It supports multiple patch releases too:

VERSIONS="5.0.5.rc1,5.1.3.rc1" rake announce

IMPORTANT: If any users experience regressions when using the release candidate, you must postpone the release. Bugfix releases should not break existing applications.

Post the announcement to the Rails blog.

The blog at https://rubyonrails.org/blog is built from https://github.com/rails/website.

Create a file named like _posts/$(date +'%F')-Rails-<versions>-have-been-released.markdown

Add YAML frontmatter

---
layout: post
title: 'Rails <VERSIONS> have been released!'
categories: releases
author: <your handle>
published: true
date: <YYYY-MM-DD or `date +%F`>
---

Use the markdown generated by rake announce earlier as a base for the post. Add some context for users as to the purpose of this release (bugfix/security).

If this is a part of the latest release series, update _data/version.yml so that the homepage points to the latest version.

Post the announcement to the Rails Twitter account.

Security releases

Emailing the Rails security announce list

Email the security announce list once for each vulnerability fixed.

You can do this, or ask the security team to do it.

Email the security reports to:

Be sure to note the security fixes in your announcement along with CVE numbers and links to each patch. Some people may not be able to upgrade right away, so we need to give them the security fixes in patch form.

  • Blog announcements
  • Twitter announcements
  • Merge the release branch to the stable branch
  • Drink beer (or other cocktail)

Misc

Fixing the CI

There are two simple steps for fixing the CI:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Fix it

Repeat these steps until the CI is green.