Table of Contents

Writing a Release Note

Good release notes are essential for users as they upgrade from one release to the next. Here's the procedure the Derby team uses to maintain useful release notes:

  • For JIRAs which need a release note, you should turn on the "Release Note Needed" flag and attach a file called releaseNote.html.
  • The template for releaseNote.html lives in tools/release/templates/releaseNote.html (svn repos).
  • Before attaching your release note, make sure that the release processes can digest it. Add classes and $ANT_HOME/lib/ant.jar to your classpath and run the lint tool, ReleaseNoteReader, on your note as follows:
    java org.apache.derbyBuild.ReleaseNoteReader RELEASE_NOTE_FILE
    where RELEASE_NOTE_FILE is the name of the file which holds your release note.
  • As you improve the wording of your release note, you simply attach a new version of releaseNote.html. The release documentation will include the last version of the release note.

Some additional discussion regarding this process can be found in DERBY-2570.

Generating the Release Documentation

As part of producing a Derby release, the Release Manager creates RELEASE-NOTES.html, a web page which lives in the top directory of the branch codeline, next to the STATUS and CHANGES (up to version 10.3) files. This file ships with the release distributions and is also incorporated into the release download page on the Apache website. RELEASE-NOTES.html describes Derby's key capabilities and it summarizes the delta between the new release and some previous release--usually the last release produced by the community. The Issues section of RELEASE-NOTES.html includes the releaseNotes.html files which were attached to significant JIRAs.

To generate RELEASE-NOTES.html, the Release Manager first prepares the environment:

  • Install Maven - Install a recent version of Maven and add the bin directory to your path
  • Build - Builds the branch codeline in order to compile the ReleaseNotesGenerator program.
  • Summarize - Fills in a summary of the release. This involves filling in the top level releaseSummary.xml file, based on the instructions in its template file tools/release/templates/releaseSummaryTemplate.xml.
  • Report - Generates a JIRA report:
    • To generate the release notes you need to save a filter for the appropriate search in Jira. You will typically need to create a new filter for each release. The criteria for will be something like fixversion=<branch or all release candidate versions>, resolution=fixed and type=bug. This filter will be identified in the ant arguments to generate RELEASE-NOTES.html

For versions older than 10.8, these instructions may be different. For instance, at one point, generating the release notes involves using the class java/build/org/apache/derbyBuild/ReportParser. You needed to tweak this report because the shape of JIRA reports changes significantly between Derby releases. Fortunately, it is easy to write one of these parsers. See ReportParser$April_2010 as an example. For more information on producing this report for older branches, see the header comment on ReportParser$April_2010 on a branch that has it.

From 10.8 through, the release notes generator used a SOAP api in order to extract the list of fixed bugs. This broke after JIRA was upgraded to a modern version which no longer supports the SOAP api. Now you need to manually construct a list of fixed bugs called fixedBugsList.txt. Instructions for making that file can be found at the FixedBugsList wiki page.

Then the Release Manager builds RELEASE-NOTES.html:

cd tools/release
ant -Drelnotes.src.reports=/path/to/report_directory 
    -Djira.user=<jira user name>
    -Djira.password=<password for that user>
    -Drelease.version=<version of the release in JIRA>

If you forget or have not set any of these settings, the release notes build will fail and you will be informed of which element you've missed.

You can also specify reportDisqualifications=true to see the issues that are disqualified. Currently, the only cause for a disqualification is that the fix for an issue has already been included in a previous version in the ancestry chain.

Depending on the size of the reports to handle, you may need to set ANT_OPTS, for instance to -Xms100m -Xmx200m. You may obviously also put relnotes.src.reports in if you prefer.

On Windows when you try to commit you may get the message <code> svn: Inconsistent line ending style </code>. To resolve this Kathey went into emacs and removed the ^M's. Myrna's solution was to install cygwin's dos2unix & unix2dos and use them in sequence. Lily's solution is run perl command "perl -p -e 's/\r$//' < RELEASE-NOTES.html > ~/RELEASE-NOTES.html

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