Weaviate is not a continuously deployed application, as it is 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.
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
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 it 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.
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 try to fix a bug themselves.
Weaviate uses semantic versioning to indicate to users that an upgrade path is
safe. Having said that, pre-
v1.0.0, there were some special situations:
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
- Both patches and new features are indicated in the patch version. E.g.
0.22.18might contain new (non-breaking) features as well as fixes over
- Breaking changes (which should happen very rarely) increase the minor
0.23.0will contain breaking changes over
0.22.x. This workaround will no longer be required once version
v1.0.0is published and proper semantic versioning can be done.
Versions 1.x.y and larger
Versions v1.0.0 and onwards use Semantic Versioning as it was intended.
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
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.
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 Weaviate employees. Outside contributors cannot make releases. If you have made a contribution and think it should be released, please let us know on the public Weaviate Slack.
There is a convenience script located at
tools/prepare_release.sh, to use it
adhere to the following steps:
- Merge everything that should be included, make sure CI is happy.
- Update the desired target version in
- Run all auto-code generation using
- Run the convenience script at
tools/prepare_release.sh. It will create a commit and tag and print a release note template to the terminal.
- Push the commit and tag using
git push && git push --tags
- Create a new GitHub Release using the template. Clearly indicate all changes, and link to the respective issues. Check prior releases for inspiration.
If you can't find the answer to your question here, please look at the:
- Knowledge base of old issues. Or,
- For questions: Stackoverflow. Or,
- For issues: GitHub. Or,
- For more involved discussion: Weaviate Community Forum. Or,
- We also have a Slack channel.