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Making a SilverStripe core release


This guide is intended to be followed by core contributors, allowing them to take the latest development branch of each of the core modules, and building a release. The artifacts for this process are typically:

  • A downloadable tar / zip on
  • A published announcement
  • A new composer installable stable tag for silverstripe/installer

While this document is not normally applicable to normal silverstripe contributors, it is still useful to have it available in a public location so that these users are aware of these processes.

First time setup

As a core contributor it is necessary to have installed the following set of tools:

First time setup: Standard releases

  • PHP 5.5+
  • Python 2.7 / 3.5
  • cow release tool. This should typically be installed in a global location via the below command. Please see the installation docs on the cow repo for more setup details.

    • composer global require silverstripe/cow dev-master
  • transifex client. You will also need to ensure that your transifex account has been granted the necessary write permissions on the cms, framework, installer, simple theme, siteconfig and reports modules:

    • pip install transifex-client
  • AWS CLI tools:

    • pip install awscli
  • The tar and zip commands
  • A good _ss_environment.php setup in your localhost webroot.

Example _ss_environment.php:

    // Environent
    define('SS_TRUSTED_PROXY_IPS', '*');
    define('SS_ENVIRONMENT_TYPE', 'dev');
    // DB Credentials
    define('SS_DATABASE_CLASS', 'MySQLDatabase');
    define('SS_DATABASE_SERVER', '');
    define('SS_DATABASE_USERNAME', 'root');
    define('SS_DATABASE_PASSWORD', '');
    // Each release will have its own DB
    define('SS_DATABASE_CHOOSE_NAME', true);
    // So you can test releases
    define('SS_DEFAULT_ADMIN_USERNAME', 'admin');
    define('SS_DEFAULT_ADMIN_PASSWORD', 'password');
    // Basic CLI hostname
    global $_FILE_TO_URL_MAPPING;
    $_FILE_TO_URL_MAPPING[__DIR__] = "http://localhost";

You will also need to be assigned the following permissions. Contact one of the SS staff from the core committers, who will assist with setting up your credentials.

First time setup: Security releases

For doing security releases the following additional setup tasks are necessary:

Security release process

When doing a security release, typically one or more (or sometimes all) of the below steps will need to be performed manually. As such, this guide should not be followed exactly the same for these.

Standard practice is to produce a pre-release for any patched modules on the security forks for cms and framework (see silverstripe-security).

[warning] Security issues are never disclosed until a public stable release containing this fix is available, or within a reasonable period of time of such a release. [/warning]

Producing a security fix follows this general process:

  • When a security issue is disclosed on it should be given a CVE (common vulnerability exposure) code. E.g. ss-2015-020. Make sure you thank anyone who disclosed this issue, and confirm with them as soon as possible whether this issue is a verified security issue.
  • Log this CVE, along with description, release version, and name of reporter in JIRA at open source security jira.
  • Create a similar record of this issue on the security releases page in draft mode.
  • Post a pre-announcement to the security pre-announcement list. It's normally ideal to include a VCSS (common vulnerability scoring system) along with this pre-announcement. If the release date of the final stable is not known, then it's ok to give an estimated release schedule.
  • Push the current upstream target branches (e.g. 3.2) to the corresponding security fork to a new branch named for the target release (e.g. 3.2.4). Security fixes should be applied to this branch only. Once a fix (or fixes) have been applied to this branch, then a tag can be applied, and a private release can then be developed in order to test this release.
  • Once release testing is completed and the release is ready for stabilisation, then these fixes can then be pushed to the upstream module fork, and the release completed as per normal. Make sure to publish any draft security pages at the same time as the release is published (same day).
  • After the final release has been published, close related JIRA issues at open source security jira

[warning] Note: It's not considered acceptable to disclose any security vulnerability until a fix exists in a public stable, not an RC or dev-branch. Security warnings that do not require a stable release can be published as soon as a workaround or usable resolution exists. [/warning]

Standard release process

The release process, at a high level, involves creating a release, publishing it, and reviewing the need for either another pre-release or a final stable tag within a short period (normally within 3-5 business days).

During the pre-release cycle a temporary branch is created, and should only receive absolutely critical fixes during the cycle. Any changes to this branch should result in the requirement for a new release, thus a higher level of scrutiny is typically placed on any pull request to these branches.

When creating a new pre-release or stable, the following process is broken down into two main sets of commands:

Stage 1: Release preparation:

If you are managing a release, it's best to first make sure that SilverStripe marketing are aware of any impending release. This is so that they can ensure that a relevant blog post will appear on, and cross-posted to other relevant channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Sending an email to with an overview of the release and a rough release timeline.

Check all tickets (framework, cms, installer) assigned to that milestone are either closed or reassigned to another milestone.

Merge up from other older supported release branches (e.g. merge 3.1->3.2, 3.2->3.3, 3.3->3, 3->master).

This is the part of the release that prepares and tests everything locally, but doe not make any upstream changes (so it's safe to run without worrying about any mistakes migrating their way into the public sphere).

Invoked by running cow release in the format as below:

    cow release <version> --from=<prior-version> --branch-auto -vvv
  • <version> The version that is to be released. E.g. 3.2.4 or 3.2.4-rc1
  • <prior-version> The version from which to compare to generate a changelog. E.g. 3.2.3 (if releasing 3.2.4), or 3.2.5 (if releasing 3.3.0 and that's the newest 3.2.x version). You can normally leave this out for patch releases, and the code will normally be able to guess the right version, but you may as well declare it every time.
  • --branch-auto Will automatically create a new temporary release branch (e.g. 3.2.4) if one does not exist.

This can take between 5-15 minutes, and will invoke the following steps, each of which can also be run in isolation (in case the process stalls and needs to be manually advanced):

  • realease:create The release version will be created in the release-<version> folder directly underneath the folder this command was invoked in. Cow will look at the available versions and branch-aliases of silverstripe/installer to determine the best version to install from. E.g. installing 4.0.0 will know to install dev-master, and installing 3.3.0 will install from 3.x-dev. If installing pre-release versions for stabilisation, it will use the correct temporary release branch.
  • release:branch If release:create installed from a non-rc branch, it will create the new temporary release branch (via --branch-auto). You can also customise this branch with --branch=<branchname>, but it's best to use the standard.
  • release:translate All upstream transifex strings will be pulled into the local master strings, and then the i18nTextCollector task will be invoked and will merge these strings together, before pushing all new master strings back up to transifex to make them available for translation. Changes to these files will also be automatically committed to git.
  • release:test Will run all unit tests on this release. Make sure that you setup your _ss_environment.php correctly (as above) so that this will work.
  • release:changelog Will compare the current branch head with --from parameter version in order to generate a changelog file. This wil be placed into the ./framework/docs/en/04_Changelogs/ folder. If an existing file named after this version is already in that location, then the changes will be automatically regenerated beneath the automatically added line: <!--- Changes below this line will be automatically regenerated -->. It may be necessary to edit this file to add details of any upgrading notes or special considerations. If this is a security release, make sure that any links to the security registrar ( match the pages saved in draft.

Once the release task has completed, it may be ideal to manually test the site out by running it locally (e.g. http://localhost/release-3.3.4) to do some smoke-testing and make sure that there are no obvious issues missed.

Since cow will only run the unit test suite, you'll need to check the build status of Behat end-to-end tests manually on for the various modules (e.g. framework) and cms).

It's also ideal to eyeball the git changes generated by the release tool, making sure that no translation strings were unintentionally lost, no malicious changes were introduced in the (community contributed) translations, and that the changelog was generated correctly.

In particular, double check that all necessary information is included in the release notes, including:

  • Upgrading notes
  • Security fixes included
  • Major changes

Once this has been done, then the release is ready to be published live.

Stage 2: Release publication

Once a release has been generated, has its translations updated, changelog generated, and tested, the next step is to publish the release. This involves tagging, building an archive, and uploading to download page.

Invoked by running cow release:publish in the format as below:

    cow release:publish <version> -vvv

subtasks which are invoked in sequence:

  • release:tag Each module will have the appropriate tag applied (except the theme).
  • release:push The temporary release branches and all tags are pushed up to origin on github.
  • release:archive This will generate a new tar.gz and zip archive, each for cms and framework-only installations. These will be copied to the root folder of the release directory, although the actual build will be created in temporary directories (so any temp files generated during testing will not end up in the release). If the tags generated in the prior step are not yet available on packagist (which can take a few minutes at times) then this task will cycle through a retry-cycle, which will re-attempt the archive creation periodically until these tags are available.
  • release:upload This will invoke the AWS CLI command to upload these archives to the s3 bucket silverstripe-ssorg-releases. If you have setup your AWS profile for silverstripe releases under a non-default name, you can specify this profile on the command line with the --aws-profile=<profile> command.

Once all of these commands have completed there are a couple of final tasks left that aren't strictly able to be automated:

  • If this is a stable release, it will be necessary to perform a post-release merge on open source. This normally will require you to merge the temporary release branch into the source branch (e.g. merge 3.2.4 into 3.2), or sometimes create new branches if releasing a new minor version, and bumping up the branch-alias in composer.json. E.g. branching 3.3 from 3, and aliasing 3 as 3.4.x-dev. You can then delete the temporary release branches. This will need to be done before updating the release documentation in stage 3.
  • Merging up the changes in this release to newer branches, following the SemVer pattern (e.g. 3.2.4 > 3.2 > 3.3 > 3 > master). The more often this is done the easier it is, but this can sometimes be left for when you have more free time. Branches not receiving regular stable versions anymore (e.g. 3.0 or 3.1) should usually be omitted.
  • Set the github milestones to completed, and create placeholders for the next minor versions. It may be necessary to re-assign any issues assigned to the prior milestones to these new ones. See the below links for each module milestone list:

  • Make sure that the releases page on github shows the new tag.

Updating non-patch versions

If releasing a new major or minor version it may be necessary to update various SilverStripe portals. Normally a new minor version will require a new branch option to be made available on each site menu. These sites include:

    [github]( and deployed via
    [SilverStripe Platform](
    See below for more details.
  • Updated similarly to Code changes are made to
    [github]( and deployed via
    [SilverStripe Platform](
    See below for more details.

github and deployed via SilverStripe Platform.

It's also a good idea to check that Deprecation::notification_version('4.0.0'); in framework/_config.php points to the right major version. This should match the major version of the current release. E.g. all versions of 4.x should be set to 4.0.0.

Updating markdown files

When updating markdown on sites such as or, the process is similar:

  • Run RefreshMarkdownTask to pull down new markdown files.
  • Then RebuildLuceneDocsIndex to update search indexes.

Running either of these tasks may time out when requested, but will continue to run in the background. Normally only the search index rebuild takes a long period of time.

Note that markdown is automatically updated daily, and this should only be done if an immediate refresh is necessary.

Stage 3: Let the world know

Once a release has been published there are a few places where user documentation will need to be regularly updated.

  • Make sure that the download page on has the release available. If it's a stable, it will appear at the top of the page. If it's a pre-release, it will be available under the development builds section. If it's not available, you might need to check that the release was properly uploaded to aws s3, or that you aren't viewing a cached version of the download page. You can cache-bust this by adding ?release=<version> to the url. If things aren't working properly (and you have admin permissions) you can run the CoreReleaseUpdateTask to synchronise with packagist.
  • Ensure that has the updated documentation by running the build task in the root folder. If you do not have ssh access to this server, then contact a SilverStripe staff member to update this for you. Make sure that the download link below links to the correct changelog page. E.g.
  • Post a release announcement on the silverstripe release announcement google group.
  • Create a release announcement forum sticky on the releases and announcements forum category. Make this a global read-only sticky, and un-sticky any older release.
  • Update the #silverstripe IRC topic to include the new release version.

See also

If at any time a release runs into an unsolveable problem contact the core committers on the discussion group to ask for support.