CICD Philosophy

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💡 You are looking at older or release candidate documentation. The current Weaviate version is v1.15.1


Weaviate is not a continuously deployed application, as it published as releases and users install Weaviate themselves. Nevertheless, we aim to treat it with the same level of CI/CD-maturity as one would a continuously deployed application.

Trunk-based development

As Weaviate is open-source, we welcome everyone’s contributions. It is therefore not feasible to allow for true trunk-based development. Outside contributors don’t have write access to our master/main branches. And the “GitHub flow” (small PRs for every contribution) is well established in the OSS community.

Nevertheless, we believe in the benefits of trunk-based development and want to get as close to trunk-based development as possible.

In practice this means:

  • Keep every single commit production ready. Do not use the comfort of a branch to temporarily ignore quality standards, knowing that you can still fix them before creating a Pull Request. As a rule of thumb, every commit should have a passing test suite and should contain anything that you wouldn’t want to be used at scale.

    There might be situations, especially when developing complex features, where you explicitly make commits which are “not production-ready”. For example to get a get an integration test to pass you might require several commits. Please, clearly mark such commits as “WIP”.

  • The best time to merge a PR is yesterday. There is no harm in having a non-breaking, not-yet finished feature already on the trunk. (Especially as every commit is production-ready). However, there is harm in three branches deviating for a week and leading to massive merge conflicts. Thus, be prepared to merge your contribution even if it’s not fully complete yet. We can always hide unfinished features from users using feature toggles, etc.

Semantic Versioning

We generally aim to avoid breaking changes. Having to update a major version frequently is annoying - but it is even more annoying for the user to have to

Weaviate uses semantic versioning to indicate to users that an upgrade path is safe. However, as long as Weaviate has not reached version v1.0.0 yet (aimed for early 2021), there are some special situations:

Versions 0.x.y

Since we have no good way of indicating breaking changes without raising the major version, we have come up with the following scheme while we are below version v1.0.0:

  • Both patches and new features are indicated in the patch version. E.g. 0.22.18 might contain new (non-breaking) features as well as fixes over 0.22.17.
  • Breaking changes (which should happen very rarely) increase the minor version. E.g. 0.23.0 will contain breaking changes over 0.22.x. This workaround will no longer be required once version v1.0.0 is published and proper semantic versioning can be done.

Versions 1.x.y and larger

Once v1.0.0 is reached, we aim to use Semantic Versioning as it was intended.

Deprecations

We aim not to introduce a breaking change without having a deprecation period first. The rule of thumb is:

  • If we want to rename something, allow both in parallel, but clearly mark the old way as deprecated.
  • If we want to remove something, clearly show a deprecation notice when the user uses a deprecated feature. This message should present a user with an alternative to the deprecated behavior.

To introduce a new deprecation, add it to deprecations/deprecations.yml. This will auto-generate an entry for this deprecation. You can then use the provided methods to show this deprecation when the user uses a deprecated feature.

Releases

There is no fixed release schedule. We aim to publish new features and fixes as early as possible.

However, keep in mind, that an upgrade of an installation can be effort to a user. If we thus know that several features will be ready within a few days, we can group those releases.

Do not confuse release frequency with merging to master. While there might be value to the user in holding back a release a few days, there are no benefits to holding back a high-quality pull request. In fact, there are only disadvantages: Mainly deviating code-bases and painful merge conflicts.

Making a release

This section only applies to SeMI employees. Outside contributors cannot make releases. If you have made a contribution and think it should be released, please let us know on the the public Weaviate Slack

There is a convenience script located at tools/prepare_release.sh, to use it adhere to the following steps:

  1. Merge everything that should be included, make sure CI is happy.
  2. Udpate the desired target version in openapi-specs/schema.json.
  3. Run all auto-code generation using tools/gen-code-from-swagger.sh.
  4. Run the convenience sript at tools/prepare_release.sh. It will create a commit and tag and print a release note template to the terminal.
  5. Push the commit and tag using git push && git push --tags
  6. Create a new GitHub Release using the template. Clearly indicate all changes, and link to the respective issues. Check prior releases for inspiration.

More Resources

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please look at the:

  1. Knowledge base of old issues. Or,
  2. For questions: Stackoverflow. Or,
  3. For issues: Github. Or,
  4. Ask your question in the Slack channel: Slack.

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