The Sling Starter GitHub module is mainly a bill of materials, listing all dependencies that should be included in the final build. Updating these dependencies manually is tedious and time-consuming. With the CI checks we have in place, we are already able to validate most dependency updates without the need to manually verify the behaviour of the Sling Starter.

Dependencies in the Sling Starter are specified using the Sling/OSGi feature model, which are not currently supported by automatic dependency update tools


This document will propose:

  1. A tool that will be used to generate automatic dependency updates for the Sling Starter
  2. A policy for automatic updates that can be reused for projects similar to the Sling Starter

Tool selection

Two major dependency updates tools have been considered:

Dependabot is currently enabled for the apache  org on GitHub and generating updates. See also Dependabot . At this time ( )  the Dependabot project does not accept contributions for new ecosystems - https://github.com/dependabot/dependabot-core#contributing-to-dependabot . Since it does not support the OSGi feature model natively, it is not usable in the scope of this proposal.

Renovate is not enabled for the whole apache  github org, but at least one project is using it: INFRA-20365 - Getting issue details... STATUS . In that setup, Renovate forks the repositories and only requires read permissions. There is an open pull request that adds OSGi feature model support to the renovate app: https://github.com/renovatebot/renovate/pull/19282 .

Proposal: use renovate.

Update policy

As discussed at large in Dependabot, not all automatic updates are welcome. Dependabot permits a more strict filtering of updates through the renovate.json  file. A sample policy for the Sling Starter is

  "$schema": "https://docs.renovatebot.com/renovate-schema.json",
  "extends": [
  "enabledManagers": ["osgifeature", "regex", "maven"],
  "regexManagers": [
      "fileMatch": ["pom.xml"],
      "matchStrings": ["<jackson.version>(?<currentValue>.*?)</jackson.version>\\n"],
      "depNameTemplate": "com.fasterxml.jackson.core:jackson-core",
      "datasourceTemplate": "maven"
  "packageRules": [
      "matchManagers": ["maven"],
      "matchDepTypes": ["provided"],
      "enabled": false
  1. At line 6, we explicitly configure the managers we want to use
  2. At lines 7-14 we configure updates for dependecies which have their versions declared in the pom file
  3. At lines 16-20 we prevent dependencies of scope  provided from being updated by Maven. This affects only dependencies declared in the pom.xml

Pending items

  • group certain items together ( e.g. jackrabbit and oak artifacts )
  • exclude 'unstable' releases from Oak
  • disable certain updates ( e.g. only patch/minor for codahale metrics, guava, etc)
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