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 5.6+
  • 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:

# Environent {#environent}

# DB Credentials {#db-credentials}

# Each release will have its own DB {#each-release-will-have-its-own-db}

# So you can test releases {#so-you-can-test-releases}

# Basic CLI request url default {#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:

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, e.g. for cms and framework (see silverstripe-security).

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.

When receiving a report

  • Perform initial criticality assessment, and ensure that the reporter is given a justification for all issues we classify or demote as non-security vulnerabilities.
  • If encrypted information is provided, add pass phrases into the SilverStripe Ltd. LastPass account. Keep encrypted documents in Google Drive and only share directly with relevant participants
  • Add a new issue in the "Backlog" on the project board. Add a link to the Google Groups discussion thread so it's easy to review follow up messages.
  • Use the CVSS Calculator to determine the issue severity
  • Once the issue is confirmed, request a CVE identifier under the [email protected] contact email (see "Acknowledgement and disclosure").
  • Once a CVE has been assigned, respond to issue reporter and add it to the Github issue
  • Clarify who picks up and owns the issue (assign in Github). The owner can be separate from the developer resolving the issue, their primary responsibility is to ensure the issue keeps moving through the process correctly.

When developing a fix

  • Ensure you're working on the oldest supported minor release branch of every supported major release (see Supported Versions)
  • Move the issue into "In Progress" on the project board
  • Add fixes on the repo. Don't forget to update branches from the upstream repo.
  • Ensure that all security commit messages are prefixed with the CVE. E.g. "[CVE-2019-001] Fixed invalid XSS"
  • Get them peer reviewed by posting on [email protected] with a link to the Github issue

Before release (or release candidate)

Perform release

  • Public disclosure of security vulnerabilities need to happen in stable releases (not pre-releases)

  • Merge back from repos shortly at the release (minimise early disclosure through source code)

  • Merge up to newer minor release branches (see Supported Versions)

  • Setup a temporary satis repository which points to all relevant repositories containing security fixes. See below for setting up a temporary satis repository.

  • 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.

  • Follow the steps for making a core release

    After release

  • Publish security release page

  • Respond to issue reporter with reference to the release on the same discussion thread (cc [email protected])

  • File a CVE Publication Request, and add a link to the security release through the "Link to the advisory" field. Note on the security issue thread that you've requested publication (to avoid double ups)

  • Move the issue to "Done" in the project board

Setting up satis for hosting private security releases

When installing a project from protected repositories, it's necessary prior to creating your project to override the public repository URLs with the private repositories containing undisclosed fixes. For this we use satis.

To setup a Satis project for a release:

  • Ensure Satis is installed globally: composer global require composer/satis ^1
  • cd ~/Sites/ (or wherever your web-root is located)
  • mkdir satis-security && cd satis-security (or some directory specific to your release)
  • Create a config file (e.g. config.json) of the given format (add only those repositories necessary).


  • The homepage path should match the eventual location of the package content
  • You should add the root repository (silverstripe/installer) to ensure create-project works (even if not a private security fork).
  • You should add some package version constraints to prevent having to parse all legacy tags and all branches.
    "name": "SilverStripe Security Repository",
    "homepage": "http://localhost/satis-security/public",
    "repositories": {
        "installer": {
            "type": "vcs",
            "url": ""
        "framework": {
            "type": "vcs",
            "url": ""
    "require": {
        "silverstripe/installer": "^3.5 || ^4",
        "silverstripe/framework": "^3.5 || ^4"
    "require-all": true
  • Build the repository: satis build config.json ./public
  • Test you can view the satis home page at http://localhost/satis-security/public/
  • When performing the release ensure you use --repository=http://localhost/satis-security/public (below)

It's important that you re-run satis build step after EVERY change that is pushed upstream; E.g. between each release, if making multiple releases.

Detailed CVE and CVSS Guidance

  • In the CVE Request Form, we follow certain conventions on fields:
    • Request with the [email protected] group email
    • Vendor of the product(s): SilverStripe
    • Affected product(s)/code base - Product: Composer module name (e.g. silverstripe/framework). Indirectly affected dependencies of the module should not be listed here.
    • Affected product(s)/code base - Version: Use Composer constraint notation, with one entry per major release line. Example for an issue affecting all framework releases: First line ^3.0, second line ^4.0. We don't know the target release version at this point, so can't set an upper constraint yet. It should include all affected versions, including any unsupported release lines.
    • Affected component(s): E.g. ORM, Template layer
    • Suggested description of the vulnerability: Keep this short, usually the issue title only. We want to retain control over editing the description in our own systems without going through lengthy CVE change processes.
    • Reference(s): Leave this blank. We'll send through a "Link to the advisory" as part of the publication request

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).

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 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 [email protected] 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).

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 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. 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 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 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

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> [<recipe>] -vvv


cow release:publish 4.0.1 silverstripe/installer

This command has these options:

  • -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.
  • --aws-profile <profile> to specify the AWS profile name for uploading releases to s3. Check with [email protected] if you don't have an AWS key setup.
  • --skip-archive-upload to disable both "archive" and "upload". This is useful if doing a private release and you don't want to upload this file to AWS.
  • --skip-upload to disable the "upload" command (but not archive)

As with the cow release command, this step is broken down into the following subtasks which are invoked in sequence:

  • release:tag Each module will have the appropriate tag applied (except the theme). 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. See "Stage 3: Let the world know" to check if this worked correctly.

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. 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 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.

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.

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