Deis uses a continuous delivery approach for creating releases. Every merged commit that passes testing results in a deliverable that can be given a semantic version tag and shipped.

The master git branch of a project should always work. Only changes considered ready to be released publicly are merged.

Components Release as Needed

Deis components release new versions as often as needed. Fixing a high priority bug requires the project maintainer to create a new patch release. Merging a backward-compatible feature implies a minor release.

By releasing often, each component release becomes a safe and routine event. This makes it faster and easier for users to obtain specific fixes. Continuous delivery also reduces the work necessary to release a product such as Deis Workflow, which integrates several components.

"Components" applies not just to Deis Workflow projects, but also to development and release tools, to Docker base images, and to other Deis projects that do semantic version releases.

See "How to Release a Component" for more detail.

Workflow Releases Each Month

Deis Workflow has a regular, public release cadence. From v2.8.0 onward, new Workflow feature releases arrive on the first Thursday of each month. Patch releases are created at any time, as needed. GitHub milestones are used to communicate the content and timing of major and minor releases, and longer-term planning is visible at the Roadmap.

Workflow release timing is not linked to specific features. If a feature is merged before the release date, it is included in the next release.

See "How to Release Workflow" for more detail.

Semantic Versioning

Deis releases comply with semantic versioning, with the "public API" broadly defined as:

  • REST, gRPC, or other API that is network-accessible
  • Library or framework API intended for public use
  • "Pluggable" socket-level protocols users can redirect
  • CLI commands and output formats

In general, changes to anything a user might reasonably link to, customize, or integrate with should be backward-compatible, or else require a major release. Deis users can be confident that upgrading to a patch or to a minor release will not break anything.

How to Release a Component

Most Deis projects are "components" which produce a Docker image or binary executable as a deliverable. This section leads a maintainer through creating a component release.

Step 1: Update Code and Run the Release Tool

Major or minor releases should happen on the master branch. Patch releases should check out the previous release tag and cherry-pick specific commits from master.

Note: if a patch release, the release artifact will have to be manually promoted by triggering the component-promote job with the following values:

COMPONENT_NAME=<component name>
COMPONENT_SHA=<patch commit sha>

Make sure you have the deisrel release tool in your search $PATH.

Run deisrel release once with a fake semver tag to proofread the changelog content. (If HEAD of master is not what is intended for the release, add the --sha flag as described in deisrel release --help.)

$ deisrel release controller v0.0.0
Doing a dry run of the component release...
skipping commit 943a49267eeb28546819a266654806cfcbae0e38

Creating changelog for controller with tag v2.8.1 through commit 943a49267eeb28546819a266654806cfcbae0e38

### v2.8.1 -> v0.0.0

#### Fixes

- [`615b834`]( boot: Ensure DEIS_DEBUG==true for debug output

Based on the changelog content, determine whether the component deserves a minor or patch release. Run the command again with that semver tag and --dry-run=false. You will still be asked for confirmation before the release is created:

$ deisrel release controller v2.8.2 --dry-run=false
skipping commit 943a49267eeb28546819a266654806cfcbae0e38

Creating changelog for controller with tag v2.8.1 through commit 943a49267eeb28546819a266654806cfcbae0e38

### v2.8.1 -> v2.8.2

#### Fixes

- [`615b834`]( boot: Ensure DEIS_DEBUG==true for debug output

Please review the above changelog contents and ensure:
  1. All intended commits are mentioned
  2. The changes agree with the semver release tag (major, minor, or patch)

Create release for Deis Controller v2.8.2? [y/n]: y
New release is available at

Step 2: Verify the Component is Available

Tagging the component (see Step 1) starts a CI job that eventually results in an artifact being made available for public download. Please see the CI flow diagrams for details.

Double-check that the artifact is available, either by a docker pull command or by running the appropriate installer script.

If the artifact can't be downloaded, ensure that its CI release jobs are still in progress, or fix whatever issue arose in the pipeline. For example, the master merge pipeline may have failed to promote the :git-abc1d23 candidate image and needs to be restarted with that component and commit.

If the component has a correlating Kubernetes Helm chart, this chart will also be packaged, signed and uploaded to its production chart repo. Please verify it can be fetched (and verified):

$ helm repo add controller
"controller" has been added to your repositories
$ helm fetch --verify controller/controller --version v2.18.0
Verification: &{0xc4207686e0 sha256:6dc81e7ce50508ef82b171e5c27b74d8c2ea6fe19f201bf346092dae66bd70d1 controller-v2.18.0.tgz}

How to Release Workflow

Deis Workflow integrates multiple component releases together with a Kubernetes Helm chart deliverable. This section leads a maintainer through creating a Workflow release.

Step 1: Set Environment Variables

Export two environment variables that will be used in later steps:

export WORKFLOW_RELEASE=v2.18.0 WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE=v2.17.0  # for example

Step 2: Tag Supporting Repositories

Some Workflow components not in the Helm chart must also be tagged in sync with the release. Follow the component release process above and ensure that these components are tagged:

The version number for deis/workflow-cli should always match the overall Workflow version number.

Step 3: Create Helm Chart

To create and stage a release candidate chart for Workflow, we will build the workflow-chart-stage job with the following parameters:


This job will gather all of the latest component release tags and use these to specify the versions of all component charts. It will then package the Workflow chart, upload it to the staging chart repo and kick off an e2e run against said chart.

Step 4: Manual Testing

Now it's time to go above and beyond current CI tests. Create a testing matrix spreadsheet (copying from the previous document is a good start) and sign up testers to cover all permutations.

Testers should pay special attention to the overall user experience, make sure upgrading from earlier versions is smooth, and cover various storage configurations and Kubernetes versions and infrastructure providers.

When showstopper-level bugs are found, the process is as follows:

  1. Create a component PR that fixes the bug.
  2. Once the PR passes and is reviewed, merge it and do a new component release
  3. Trigger the same workflow-chart-stage job as mentioned in Step 3 to upload the newly-generated Workflow release candidate chart to staging.

Step 5: Release the Chart

When testing has completed without uncovering any new showstopper bugs, kick off the workflow-chart-release job with the following parameter:


This job will copy the release candidate chart (now approved by CI and manual testing) from the staging repo to the production repo, signing it if it has not done so already.

Step 6: Assemble Master Changelog

Each component already updated its release notes on GitHub with CHANGELOG content. We'll now generate the master changelog for the Workflow chart, consisting of all component and auxilliary repo changes.

We'll employ the requirements.lock file from the WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE chart, as well as a repo-to-chart-name mapping file, this time invoking deisrel changelog global to get all component changes between the chart versions existing in the WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE chart and the most recent releases existing in GitHub. (Therefore, if there are any unreleased commits in a component repo, they will not appear here):

helm repo add deis
helm fetch --untar deis/workflow --version $WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE
deisrel changelog global workflow/requirements.lock map.json > changelog-$

This master changelog should then be placed into a single gist. The file will also be added to the documentation update PR created in the next step.

Step 7: Update Documentation

Create a new pull request at deis/workflow that updates version references to the new release. Use git grep $WORKFLOW_PREV_RELEASE to find any references, but be careful not to change

Place the $WORKFLOW_RELEASE master changelog generated in Step 7 in the changelogs directory. Make sure to add a header to the page to make it clear that this is for a Workflow release, e.g.:

## Workflow v2.17.0 -> v2.18.0

Once the PR has been reviewed and merged, do a component release of deis/workflow itself. The version number for deis/workflow should always match the overall Workflow version number.

Step 8: Close GitHub Milestones

Create a pull request at seed-repo to close the release milestone and create the next one. When changes are merged to seed-repo, milestones on all relevant projects will be updated. If there are open issues attached to the milestone, move them to the next upcoming milestone before merging the pull request.

Milestones map to Deis Workflow releases in deis/workflow. These milestones do not correspond to individual component release tags.

Step 9: Release Workflow CLI Stable

Now that the $WORKFLOW_RELEASE version of Workflow CLI has been vetted, we can push stable artifacts based on this version.

Kick off with the TAG build parameter of $WORKFLOW_RELEASE and then verify stable artifacts are available and appropriately updated after the job completes:

$ curl -sSL | bash
$ ./deis version
# (Should show $WORKFLOW_RELEASE)

Step 10: Let Everyone Know

Let the rest of the team know they can start blogging and tweeting about the new Workflow release. Post a message to the #company channel on Slack. Include a link to the released chart and to the master CHANGELOG:

@here Deis Workflow v2.18.0 is now live!

You're done with the release. Nice job!