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How is Django Formed?

This document explains how to release Django.

Please, keep these instructions up-to-date if you make changes! The point here is to be descriptive, not prescriptive, so feel free to streamline or otherwise make changes, but update this document accordingly!

Overview

There are three types of releases that you might need to make:

  • Security releases: disclosing and fixing a vulnerability. This’ll generally involve two or three simultaneous releases – e.g. 3.2.x, 4.0.x, and, depending on timing, perhaps a 4.1.x.
  • Regular version releases: either a final release (e.g. 4.1) or a bugfix update (e.g. 4.1.1).
  • Pre-releases: e.g. 4.2 alpha, beta, or rc.

The short version of the steps involved is:

  1. If this is a security release, pre-notify the security distribution list one week before the actual release.
  2. Proofread the release notes, looking for organization and writing errors. Draft a blog post and email announcement.
  3. Update version numbers and create the release package(s).
  4. Upload the package(s) to the djangoproject.com server.
  5. Verify package(s) signatures, check if they can be installed, and ensure minimal functionality.
  6. Upload the new version(s) to PyPI.
  7. Declare the new version in the admin on djangoproject.com.
  8. Post the blog entry and send out the email announcements.
  9. Update version numbers post-release.

There are a lot of details, so please read on.

Prerequisites

You’ll need a few things before getting started. If this is your first release, you’ll need to coordinate with another releaser to get all these things lined up, and write to the Ops mailing list requesting the required access and permissions.

  • A Unix environment with these tools installed (in alphabetical order):

    • bash
    • git
    • GPG
    • make
    • man
    • hashing tools (typically md5sum, sha1sum, and sha256sum on Linux, or md5 and shasum on macOS)
    • python
    • ssh
  • A GPG key pair. Ensure that the private part of this key is securely stored. The public part needs to be uploaded to your GitHub account, and also to the Jenkins server running the “confirm release” job.

    More than one GPG key

    If the key you want to use is not your default signing key, you’ll need to add -u you@example.com to every GPG signing command shown below, where you@example.com is the email address associated with the key you want to use.

  • A clean Python virtual environment per Django version being released, with these required Python packages installed:

    $ python -m pip install wheel twine
    
  • Access to Django’s project on PyPI to upload binaries, ideally with extra permissions to yank a release if necessary. Create a project-scoped token following the official documentation and set up your $HOME/.pypirc file like this:

    ~/.pypirc
    [distutils]
      index-servers =
        pypi
        django
    
    [pypi]
      username = __token__
      password = # User-scoped or project-scoped token, to set as the default.
    
    [django]
      repository = https://upload.pypi.org/legacy/
      username = __token__
      password = # A project token.
    
  • Access to Django’s project on Transifex, with a Manager role. Generate an API Token in the user setting section and set up your $HOME/.transifexrc file like this:

    ~/.transifexrc
    [https://www.transifex.com]
      rest_hostname = https://rest.api.transifex.com
      token = # API token
    
  • Access to the djangoproject.com server to upload files (using scp).

  • Access to the Django admin on djangoproject.com as a “Site maintainer”.

  • Access to create a post in the Django Forum - Announcements category and to send emails to the following mailing lists:

  • Access to the django-security repo in GitHub. Among other things, this provides access to the pre-notification distribution list (needed for security release preparation tasks).

Pre-release tasks

A few items need to be taken care of before even beginning the release process. This stuff starts about a week before the release; most of it can be done any time leading up to the actual release.

10 (or more) days before a security release

  1. Request the CVE IDs for the security issue(s) being released. One CVE ID per issue, requested with Vendor: djangoproject and Product: django.
  2. Generate the relevant (private) patch(es) using git format-patch, one for the main branch and one for each stable branch being patched.

A week before a security release

  1. Send out pre-notification exactly one week before the security release. The template for that email and a list of the recipients are in the private django-security GitHub wiki. BCC the pre-notification recipients and be sure to include the relevant CVE IDs. Attach all the relevant patches (targeting main and the stable branches) and sign the email text with the key you’ll use for the release, with a command like:

    $ gpg --clearsign --digest-algo SHA256 prenotification-email.txt
    
  2. Notify django-announce of the upcoming security release with a general message such as:

    Notice of upcoming Django security releases (3.2.24, 4.2.10 and 5.0.2)
    
    Django versions 5.0.2, 4.2.10, and 3.2.24 will be released on Tuesday,
    February 6th, 2024 around 1500 UTC. They will fix one security defect
    with severity "moderate".
    
    For details of severity levels, see:
    https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/dev/internals/security/#how-django-discloses-security-issues
    

A few days before any release

  1. As the release approaches, watch Trac to make sure no release blockers are left for the upcoming release.

  2. Check with the other mergers to make sure they don’t have any uncommitted changes for the release.

  3. Proofread the release notes, including looking at the online version to catch any broken links or reST errors, and make sure the release notes contain the correct date.

  4. Double-check that the release notes mention deprecation timelines for any APIs noted as deprecated, and that they mention any changes in Python version support.

  5. Double-check that the release notes index has a link to the notes for the new release; this will be in docs/releases/index.txt.

  6. If this is a feature release, ensure translations from Transifex have been integrated. This is typically done by a separate translation’s manager rather than the releaser, but here are the steps. This process is a bit lengthy so be sure to set aside 4-10 hours to do this, and ideally plan for this task one or two days ahead of the release day.

    In addition to having a configured Transifex account, the tx CLI should be available in your PATH. Then, you can fetch all the translations by running:

    $ python scripts/manage_translations.py fetch
    

    This command takes some time to run. When done, carefully inspect the output for potential errors and/or warnings. If there are some, you will need to debug and resolve them on a case by case basis.

    The recently fetched translations need some manual adjusting. First of all, the PO-Revision-Date values must be manually bumped to be later than POT-Creation-Date. You can use a command similar to this to bulk update all the .po files (compare the diff against the relevant stable branch):

    $ git diff --name-only stable/5.0.x | grep "\.po"  | xargs sed -ri "s/PO-Revision-Date: [0-9\-]+ /PO-Revision-Date: $(date -I) /g"
    

    All the new .po files should be manually and carefully inspected to avoid committing a change in a file without any new translations. Also, there shouldn’t be any changes in the “plural forms”: if there are any (usually Spanish and French report changes for this) those will need reverting.

    Lastly, commit the changed/added files (both .po and .mo) and create a new PR targeting the stable branch of the corresponding release (example PR updating translations for 4.2).

  7. Update the django-admin manual page:

    $ cd docs
    $ make man
    $ man _build/man/django-admin.1  # do a quick sanity check
    $ cp _build/man/django-admin.1 man/django-admin.1
    

    and then commit the changed man page.

  8. If this is the alpha release of a new series, create a new stable branch from main. For example, when releasing Django 4.2:

    $ git checkout -b stable/4.2.x origin/main
    $ git push origin -u stable/4.2.x:stable/4.2.x
    

    At the same time, update the django_next_version variable in docs/conf.py on the stable release branch to point to the new development version. For example, when creating stable/4.2.x, set django_next_version to '5.0' on the new branch.

  9. If this is the “dot zero” release of a new series, create a new branch from the current stable branch in the django-docs-translations repository. For example, when releasing Django 4.2:

    $ git checkout -b stable/4.2.x origin/stable/4.1.x
    $ git push origin stable/4.2.x:stable/4.2.x
    
  10. Write the announcement blog post for the release. You can enter it into the admin at any time and mark it as inactive. Here are a few examples: example security release announcement, example regular release announcement, example pre-release announcement.

Actually rolling the release

OK, this is the fun part, where we actually push out a release! If you’re issuing multiple releases, repeat these steps for each release.

  1. Check Jenkins is green for the version(s) you’re putting out. You probably shouldn’t issue a release until it’s green, and you should make sure that the latest green run includes the changes that you are releasing.

  2. Cleanup the release notes for this release. Make these changes in main and backport to all branches where the release notes for a particular version are located.

    1. For a feature release, remove the UNDER DEVELOPMENT header at the top of the release notes, remove the Expected prefix and update the release date, if necessary (example commit).
    2. For a patch release, remove the Expected prefix and update the release date for all releases, if necessary (example commit).
  3. A release always begins from a release branch, so you should make sure you’re on an up-to-date stable branch. Also, you should have available a clean and dedicated virtual environment per version being released. For example:

    $ git checkout stable/4.1.x
    $ git pull
    
  4. If this is a security release, merge the appropriate patches from django-security. Rebase these patches as necessary to make each one a plain commit on the release branch rather than a merge commit. To ensure this, merge them with the --ff-only flag; for example:

    $ git checkout stable/4.1.x
    $ git merge --ff-only security/4.1.x
    

    (This assumes security/4.1.x is a branch in the django-security repo containing the necessary security patches for the next release in the 4.1 series.)

    If git refuses to merge with --ff-only, switch to the security-patch branch and rebase it on the branch you are about to merge it into (git checkout security/4.1.x; git rebase stable/4.1.x) and then switch back and do the merge. Make sure the commit message for each security fix explains that the commit is a security fix and that an announcement will follow (example security commit).

  5. Update the version number in django/__init__.py for the release. Please see notes on setting the VERSION tuple below for details on VERSION (example commit).

    1. If this is a pre-release package also update the “Development Status” trove classifier in setup.cfg to reflect this. An rc pre-release should not change the trove classifier (example commit for alpha release, example commit for beta release).
    2. Otherwise, make sure the classifier is set to Development Status :: 5 - Production/Stable.
  6. Tag the release using git tag. For example:

    $ git tag --sign --message="Tag 4.1.1" 4.1.1
    

    You can check your work running git tag --verify <tag>.

  7. Push your work and the new tag:

    $ git push
    $ git push --tags
    
  8. Make sure you have an absolutely clean tree by running git clean -dfx.

  9. Run make -f extras/Makefile to generate the release packages. This will create the release packages in a dist/ directory.

  10. Generate the hashes of the release packages:

    $ cd dist
    $ md5sum *
    $ sha1sum *
    $ sha256sum *
    
  11. Create a “checksums” file, Django-<<VERSION>>.checksum.txt containing the hashes and release information. Start with this template and insert the correct version, date, GPG key ID (from gpg --list-keys --keyid-format LONG), release manager’s GitHub username, release URL, and checksums:

    This file contains MD5, SHA1, and SHA256 checksums for the source-code
    tarball and wheel files of Django <<VERSION>>, released <<DATE>>.
    
    To use this file, you will need a working install of PGP or other
    compatible public-key encryption software. You will also need to have
    the Django release manager's public key in your keyring. This key has
    the ID ``XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX`` and can be imported from the MIT
    keyserver, for example, if using the open-source GNU Privacy Guard
    implementation of PGP:
    
        gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-key XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    
    or via the GitHub API:
    
        curl https://github.com/<<RELEASE MANAGER GITHUB USERNAME>>.gpg | gpg --import -
    
    Once the key is imported, verify this file:
    
        gpg --verify <<THIS FILENAME>>
    
    Once you have verified this file, you can use normal MD5, SHA1, or SHA256
    checksumming applications to generate the checksums of the Django
    package and compare them to the checksums listed below.
    
    Release packages
    ================
    
    https://www.djangoproject.com/m/releases/<<MAJOR VERSION>>/<<RELEASE TAR.GZ FILENAME>>
    https://www.djangoproject.com/m/releases/<<MAJOR VERSION>>/<<RELEASE WHL FILENAME>>
    
    MD5 checksums
    =============
    
    <<MD5SUM>>  <<RELEASE TAR.GZ FILENAME>>
    <<MD5SUM>>  <<RELEASE WHL FILENAME>>
    
    SHA1 checksums
    ==============
    
    <<SHA1SUM>>  <<RELEASE TAR.GZ FILENAME>>
    <<SHA1SUM>>  <<RELEASE WHL FILENAME>>
    
    SHA256 checksums
    ================
    
    <<SHA256SUM>>  <<RELEASE TAR.GZ FILENAME>>
    <<SHA256SUM>>  <<RELEASE WHL FILENAME>>
    
  12. Sign the checksum file (gpg --clearsign --digest-algo SHA256 Django-<version>.checksum.txt). This generates a signed document, Django-<version>.checksum.txt.asc which you can then verify using gpg --verify Django-<version>.checksum.txt.asc.

Making the release(s) available to the public

Now you’re ready to actually put the release out there. To do this:

  1. Upload the checksum file(s):

    $ scp Django-A.B.C.checksum.txt.asc djangoproject.com:/home/www/www/media/pgp/Django-A.B.C.checksum.txt
    

    (If this is a security release, what follows should be done 15 minutes before the announced release time, no sooner.)

  2. Upload the release package(s) to the djangoproject server, replacing A.B. with the appropriate version number, e.g. 4.1 for a 4.1.x release:

    $ scp Django-* djangoproject.com:/home/www/www/media/releases/A.B
    

    If this is the alpha release of a new series, you will need to create first the directory A.B.

  3. Test that the release packages install correctly using pip. Here’s one simple method (this just tests that the binaries are available, that they install correctly, and that migrations and the development server start, but it’ll catch silly mistakes):

    $ RELEASE_VERSION='4.1.1'
    $ MAJOR_VERSION=`echo $RELEASE_VERSION| cut -c 1-3`
    
    $ python -m venv django-pip-tarball
    $ . django-pip-tarball/bin/activate
    $ python -m pip install https://www.djangoproject.com/m/releases/$MAJOR_VERSION/Django-$RELEASE_VERSION.tar.gz
    $ django-admin startproject test_tarball
    $ cd test_tarball
    $ ./manage.py --help  # Ensure executable bits
    $ python manage.py migrate
    $ python manage.py runserver
    <CTRL+C>
    $ deactivate
    $ cd .. && rm -rf test_tarball && rm -rf django-pip-tarball
    
    $ python -m venv django-pip-wheel
    $ . django-pip-wheel/bin/activate
    $ python -m pip install https://www.djangoproject.com/m/releases/$MAJOR_VERSION/Django-$RELEASE_VERSION-py3-none-any.whl
    $ django-admin startproject test_wheel
    $ cd test_wheel
    $ ./manage.py --help  # Ensure executable bits
    $ python manage.py migrate
    $ python manage.py runserver
    <CTRL+C>
    $ deactivate
    $ cd .. && rm -rf test_wheel && rm -rf django-pip-wheel
    
  4. Run the confirm-release build on Jenkins to verify the checksum file(s) (e.g. use 4.2rc1 for https://media.djangoproject.com/pgp/Django-4.2rc1.checksum.txt).

  5. Upload the release packages to PyPI (for pre-releases, only upload the wheel file):

    $ twine upload dist/*
    
  6. Go to the Add release page in the admin, enter the new release number exactly as it appears in the name of the tarball (Django-<version>.tar.gz). So for example enter “4.1.1” or “4.2rc1”, etc. If the release is part of an LTS branch, mark it so.

    If this is the alpha release of a new series, also create a Release object for the final release, ensuring that the Release date field is blank, thus marking it as unreleased. For example, when creating the Release object for 4.2a1, also create 4.2 with the Release date field blank.

  7. Make the blog post announcing the release live.

  8. For a new version release (e.g. 4.1, 4.2), update the default stable version of the docs by flipping the is_default flag to True on the appropriate DocumentRelease object in the docs.djangoproject.com database (this will automatically flip it to False for all others); you can do this using the site’s admin.

    Create new DocumentRelease objects for each language that has an entry for the previous release. Update djangoproject.com’s robots.docs.txt file by copying the result generated from running the command manage_translations.py robots_txt in the current stable branch from the django-docs-translations repository. For example, when releasing Django 4.2:

    $ git checkout stable/4.2.x
    $ git pull
    $ python manage_translations.py robots_txt
    
  9. Post the release announcement to the django-announce, django-developers, django-users mailing lists, and the Django Forum. This should include a link to the announcement blog post.

  10. If this is a security release, send a separate email to oss-security@lists.openwall.com. Provide a descriptive subject, for example, “Django” plus the issue title from the release notes (including CVE ID). The message body should include the vulnerability details, for example, the announcement blog post text. Include a link to the announcement blog post.

  11. Add a link to the blog post in the topic of the #django IRC channel: /msg chanserv TOPIC #django new topic goes here.

Post-release

You’re almost done! All that’s left to do now is:

  1. Update the VERSION tuple in django/__init__.py again, incrementing to whatever the next expected release will be. For example, after releasing 4.1.1, update VERSION to VERSION = (4, 1, 2, 'alpha', 0).
  2. Add the release in Trac’s versions list if necessary (and make it the default by changing the default_version setting in the code.djangoproject.com’s trac.ini, if it’s a final release). The new X.Y version should be added after the alpha release and the default version should be updated after “dot zero” release.
  3. If this was a final release:
    1. Update the current stable branch and remove the pre-release branch in the Django release process on Trac.
    2. Update djangoproject.com’s download page (example PR).
  4. If this was a security release, update Archive of security issues with details of the issues addressed.

New stable branch tasks

There are several items to do in the time following the creation of a new stable branch (often following an alpha release). Some of these tasks don’t need to be done by the releaser.

  1. Create a new DocumentRelease object in the docs.djangoproject.com database for the new version’s docs, and update the docs/fixtures/doc_releases.json JSON fixture, so people without access to the production DB can still run an up-to-date copy of the docs site (example PR).
  2. Create a stub release note for the new feature version. Use the stub from the previous feature release version or copy the contents from the previous feature version and delete most of the contents leaving only the headings.
  3. Increase the default PBKDF2 iterations in django.contrib.auth.hashers.PBKDF2PasswordHasher by about 20% (pick a round number). Run the tests, and update the 3 failing hasher tests with the new values. Make sure this gets noted in the release notes (see the 4.1 release notes for an example).
  4. Remove features that have reached the end of their deprecation cycle. Each removal should be done in a separate commit for clarity. In the commit message, add a “refs #XXXX” to the original ticket where the deprecation began if possible.
  5. Remove .. versionadded::, .. versionadded::, and .. deprecated:: annotations in the documentation from two releases ago. For example, in Django 4.2, notes for 4.0 will be removed.
  6. Add the new branch to Read the Docs. Since the automatically generated version names (“stable-A.B.x”) differ from the version names used in Read the Docs (“A.B.x”), create a ticket requesting the new version.
  7. Request the new classifier on PyPI. For example Framework :: Django :: 3.1.
  8. Update the current branch under active development and add pre-release branch in the Django release process on Trac.

Notes on setting the VERSION tuple

Django’s version reporting is controlled by the VERSION tuple in django/__init__.py. This is a five-element tuple, whose elements are:

  1. Major version.
  2. Minor version.
  3. Micro version.
  4. Status – can be one of “alpha”, “beta”, “rc” or “final”.
  5. Series number, for alpha/beta/RC packages which run in sequence (allowing, for example, “beta 1”, “beta 2”, etc.).

For a final release, the status is always “final” and the series number is always 0. A series number of 0 with an “alpha” status will be reported as “pre-alpha”.

Some examples:

  • (4, 1, 1, "final", 0) → “4.1.1”
  • (4, 2, 0, "alpha", 0) → “4.2 pre-alpha”
  • (4, 2, 0, "beta", 1) → “4.2 beta 1”
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