Version 4 supported
This version of Silverstripe CMS is still supported though will not receive any additional features. Go to documentation for the most recent stable version.

Making a Silverstripe CMS 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.

Module releases

Occasionally a fix to an individual module warrants a patch release outside of the standard quarterly release cycle. Rather than generating a full new recipe release, the following process should be followed to perform a patch release for an individual module:

  1. Check out the module locally
  2. Determine the new module version to be released (e.g. current version is 4.6.1, therefore new version will be 4.6.2)
  3. Generate a changelog using our standard changelog format and the current release + branch name:

    > git log --oneline --pretty=format:"* %s (%an) - %h" --no-merges 4.6.1...4.6
  4. Draft a new Release in GitHub, targeting the correct branch, specifying the version to be released, and pasting the changelog in the description field.
  5. Publish the release, and ensure the new version becomes visible in Packagist.

Projects wanting to pick up this individual patch will need to alias it in their composer.json file if they're using a recipe:

    "requirements": {
        "silverstripe/recipe-cms": "4.6.1",
        "silverstripe/cms": "4.6.2 as 4.6.1"

First time setup

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

First time setup: Standard releases

  • PHP 5.6+
  • 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 ^2
  • satis repository tool. This should be installed globally for minimum maintenance. composer global require composer/satis ^1
  • transifex client. pip install transifex-client If you're on OSX 10.10+, the standard Python installer is locked down. Use brew install python; sudo easy_install pip instead
  • AWS CLI tools: pip install awscli
  • The tar and zip commands
  • A good .env setup in your localhost webroot.

Example .env:

# Environment

# DB Credentials

# Each release will have its own DB

# So you can test releases

# Basic CLI request url default

You will also need to be assigned the following permissions. Contact one of the SilverStripe 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:

Standard release process

See Release Process for details on the standard timeline for releases. In summary, we produce a beta release, stabilise, produce a release candidate, perform penetration testing, and then produce a stable release.

When creating a new release, 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 social media. Blog posts should be prepared for each major, minor and security releases. Patch releases, alphas, betas and release candidates usually don't need blog posts, unless they're introducing important changes (e.g. for a new major release). Sending an email to with an overview of the release and a rough release timeline.

Check all tickets assigned to that milestone are either closed or reassigned to another milestone. Use the list of all issues across modules as a starting point, and add a milestone:"your-milestone" filter.

Merge up from other older supported release branches (e.g. merge 4.0->4.1, 4.1->4.2, 4.2->4, 4->master). Some core modules use major version 1 for their CMS 4 release line - this can be considered interchangeable with 4.

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> [recipe] -vvv


cow release 4.0.1 -vvv

  • <version> The recipe version that is to be released. E.g. 4.1.4 or 4.3.0-rc1
  • <recipe> Optional: the recipe that is being released (default: "silverstripe/installer")

This command has these options (note that --repository option is critical for security releases):

  • -vvv to ensure all underlying commands are echoed
  • --directory <directory> to specify the folder to create or look for this project in. If you don't specify this, it will install to the path specified by ./release-<version> in the current directory.
  • --repository <repository> will allow a custom composer package url to be specified. E.g. See the above section "Setting up satis for hosting private security releases" on how to prepare a custom repository for a security release.
  • --branching <type> will specify a branching strategy. This allows these options:

    • auto - Default option, will branch to the minor version (e.g. 1.1) unless doing a non-stable tag (e.g. rc1)
    • major - Branch all repos to the major version (e.g. 1) unless already on a more-specific minor version.
    • minor - Branch all repos to the minor semver branch (e.g. 1.1)
    • none - Release from the current branch and do no branching.
  • --skip-tests to skip tests
  • --skip-i18n to skip updating localisations

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):

  • release: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:plan The release planning will take place, this reads the various dependencies of the recipe being released and determines what new versions of those dependencies need to be tagged to create the final release. Note that the patch version numbers of each module may differ. This step requires the latest versions to be released are determined and added to the plan. The conclusion of the planning step is output to the screen and requires user confirmation.
  • 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 .env 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 will 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.

Basing a new release on a previous one (tweak releases)

Commonly a stable release will need to mirror the contents of the release candidate that preceded it, sometimes with a small set of additional commits. However, running the standard cow release command will create a release that includes all the latest commits on the branches it targets, which can include unaudited code. A tweak release includes only the commits present in the previous tagged release by default, and can optionally include additional commits when necessary. To create one, use the release:detach-tagged-base command:

  1. cow release:create <new-version> to create the new release.
  2. cow release:plan <new-version> to generate a plan for the new release.
  3. cow release:detach-tagged-base <new-version> to shift all of the modules to the correct commit in the branch to match the contents of the last release.
  • How? This command finds the last common commit between the latest tag on the chosen branch and the tip of that branch, and then shifts the HEAD to that commit.
  1. cherry-pick any extra commits that need to be included in the release onto the affected module(s).
  2. Run usual release preparation commands (from release:test onwards).
  3. Publish the release.

Any extra commits included in a tweak release should be applied to the release branch as soon as possible (if they weren't cherry-picked from it). Avoid merging the tagged release into the branch to achieve this, as this will include the release commit, which may pin Composer dependencies to specific versions.

Updating Composer requirements in minor releases

We keep core modules in lockstep at the minor level - that is, we can release patches (e.g. 4.5.x) for individual modules, but when we perform a minor release (4.x.0), we ship that version of every core module. To this end, the Composer dependencies of each module need to be manually adjusted when we perform a minor release - for example, the cms module version 4.6.0 must include a minimum requirement of framework ^4.6. This ensures that language level requirements (e.g. minimum PHP versions) can be safely centralised in the framework module for surrounding core modules to inherit. In short, ensure you commit updates to the Composer requirements of every core module after each minor branch is created, and before you ship the release.

Testing the release

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 Check the badges on the various modules available on

It's also ideal to eyeball the Git changes generated by the release tool, making sure that no translation strings were unintentionally lost, 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

Before publication, ensure that the release plan has been peer reviewed by another member of the core team.

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 by tagging all modules in the release plan.

cow release:publish <version> [<recipe>] -vvv

Example on how to publish the installer:

cow release:publish 4.0.1 silverstripe/installer


  • -vvv to ensure all underlying commands are echoed
  • --directory <directory> to specify the folder to look for the project created in the prior step. As with above, it will be guessed if omitted. You can run this command in the ./release-<version> directory and omit this option.

Note: We are no longer creating or publishing archive downloads on

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

  • 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) can 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.
  • 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:

Further manual work on major or minor releases:

  • 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.
  • Update the version link in LeftAndMain.help_links

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. 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 and the changelog link in your announcement works.
  • Announce the release on the "Releases" forum. Needs to happen on every minor release for previous releases, see supported versions
  • Announce any new EOLs for minor versions on the "Releases" forum.
  • Update the roadmap with new dates for EOL versions (CMS edit link)
  • Update the Slack topic to include the new release version.
  • For major or minor releases: Work with SilverStripe marketing to get a blog post out. They might choose to announce the release on social media as well.
  • If the minor or major release includes security fixes, follow the publication instructions in the Security Release Process section.
  • If you released a minor, raise a PR to add a provisional changelog for the next minor release based on the template. This allows contributors to start adding release notes for changes in the next minor prior to its release.

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.