The Release Management process targets the creation of public releases of API versions, aligned with the Commonalities and ICM release in a given meta-release.

In the meta-release process, this API release process describes how to prepare the public release of an API version.

IMPORTANT

API release numbers are decoupled from API version numbers.

API releases are just numbered sequentially, while API versions follow the API versioning guidelines.

 The following sections describe how to create an API release and how to report progress on it during the meta-release process.

Definitions

TermDefinition

release

The release of an API version consists in the creation of a GitHub release of the API's repository, with a release tag and (optionally for alpha) a release package. A release can be created for any alpha, release-candidate or public API version. No releases can be created for wip API versions.

pre-release

The term pre-release is used to refer to the release of any of the alpha or release-candidate API versions.

NOTE: all pre-releases are publicly available in the CAMARA GitHub and can be used AT THE USER'S OWN RISK, as changes may happen to such API versions without notice.

alpha release

The term alpha release is used to refer to the release of an alpha API version.

release candidate

The term release candidate is used to refer to the release of a release-candidate API version.

public release

The term public release is used to refer to the release of a public API version. It can have the status initial or stable.

initial public release

An initial public release only exists for new APIs. It concerns the release of public APIs versions with x = 0 (0.y.z without version extension).

A public release is called "initial" to indicate that the API version has not yet reached full maturity, but is considered stable enough to  be proposed for use in commercial applications. However, the user shall be informed that subsequent API versions may require code changes to their applications.

Initial public releases can be

  • released at any time (outside the meta-release process) in order to allow for rapid evolution of APIs.
  • published as part of a meta-release, after which it is expected that in the next meta-release this API version becomes stable.

stable public release

A stable public release concerns an API version released after its stability has been demonstrated through 

Stable public releases concern the API versions recommended for use in commercial applications. The user can expect that subsequent public API versions will be backward-compatible with the one they are using, unless explicitly announced otherwise.

meta-release

A meta-release is a set of public of API versions released at a given point in time (Spring and Fall).

All API versions of a given meta-release shall be aligned to the public releases of the Commonalities and Identity and Consent Management (ICM) documentation included in that same meta-release.

maintenance release

The term maintenance release is used to refer to the release of a patch update of a released public API version.

release tag

A release tag is a GitHub tag placed on the main or a maintenance branch that identifies a release of the API version's repository.
release packageA release package is a zip file of the repository created using the GitHub release mechanism together with the release tag. It contains a snapshot of the full API Sub Project repository with the content indicated by the release tag.
API release trackerAn API release tracker is a page that provides the visibility on the progress of the release of a given API version. Each API version under release by an API Sub Project shall have its tracker under their API Sub Project's API Release Tracking page.

API releases - overview

To prepare the release of a public API version, at least two intermediate API versions must be (pre-)released as follows:

  • M3: the first release-candidate API version implementing the defined API scope for the release (achieved through one or more alpha releases), agreed stable for functional testing and aligned to the alpha releases of Commonalities and ICM (M1).
  • M4: the final release-candidate API version ready for meta-release approval, aligned to the final release candidates of Commonalities and ICM (M2), input to subsequent public release.

An API Sub Project can create as many wip, alpha and release-candidate API versions as needed for API development and testing.

The API Sub Project creates a release for an API version as follows:

  • a pre-release may be created for any alpha API version. 
  • a pre-release must be created for each release-candidate API versions.
  • a release must be created for each public API version.


IMPORTANT

API pre-releases (alpha release or release candidate) available in the CAMARA GitHub can be freely used, BUT AT THE USER'S OWN RISK.


The release of a public API version is created once the final release candidate is approved for a meta-release.

  • Before M4, the release PR with the public API version and all public release assets are created in line with the target maturity status of the API version: initial or stable.
  • Inclusion in the meta-release is done by updating the API release tracker with the date and tag of this public release.

A next public release of an API version is introduced if/when there are updates to the API (major/minor/patch).

Public releases can have an initial or a stable status: 

  • an initial public release indicates that the public API version is the result of rapid development and is still unstable, e.g. API versions with a v0.x.y version number.
  • a stable public release indicates that the public API version is stable and will be maintained.


Initial public releases can be

  • released and published at any time (outside the meta-release process) in order to allow for rapid evolution of APIs.
  • published as part of a meta-release
    •  in this case, it is expected that in the next meta-release this public API version becomes stable.


When planning to deliver a public release API version into a meta-release, the API Sub Project needs to participate in the meta-release process as described here: Meta-release Process.

To be part of a meta-release,

  • the expected alpha, release-candidate and public API versions need to be (pre-)released
  • minimally an initial public release needs to be provided
  • each (pre-)release must provide the required set of API release assets according to the API readiness checklist described below. 
  • API (pre-)releases are numbered (tagged) using the API release numbering guideline (see below).

Technically, an API release is created using GitHub features and requires:

  • A GitHub issue for the release.
  • A "release PR" associated to this issue.
  • If required (see table below), a GitHub release package (zip file of the whole API Sub Project repository).
  • A GitHub release tag with the release number "rx.y" (see below).

Example of the use of the API release process

To release a MINOR update of a publicly released API version 1.0.0, resulting in the public release of API version 1.1.0:

  • Develop the 1.1.0 update on the main branch. The first PR updates the version to wip, and the URL to contain vwip.
  • Once sufficiently stable, create an alpha release PR that sets the API version to 1.1.0-alpha.1 and will create release rx.1.
  • Several alpha API versions may be released, each setting the API version back to "wip" in the first API update PR (rx.2 - rx.m)
  • Then (at least) one (or more) release-candidate API versions may be created and released (rx.m+1 - rx.n) 
  • The last release-candidate API version will be proposed for public release. 
  • For meta-release approval, create the public release PR for the next public API version 1.1.0.
  • After meta-release approval, create the release for the new public API version 1.1.0, with its release tag rx.n+1 and release package ("latest")).

API release numbering

API release numbers are GitHub tags of the format "rx.y".

IMPORTANT: Release numbers are not related to the API version.

The release numbers shall follow the guidelines described below.

  • Release numbers start with x=1 and y=1: r1.1.
  • y is incremented by 1 at each subsequent alpha, release-candidate and public (pre-)release, and for a maintenance release, e.g. rx.y+1.
  • After a meta-release of an API release rx.y, the next release number for this API is rx+1.1 (y resets to 1).
  • In case of maintenance of a release rx.y, the new public release shall be rx.y+1. This new public release replaces the previous one in the meta-release.

The following table illustrates the continuous release numbering of an API version across the API release process.

release typeAPI version

release number (tag)

release package

release package tag
N/Awork-in-progressN/AN/AN/A
alpha releasealpha

rx.1 ... rx.m

optional

optional: "pre-release"
release candidaterelease-candidate

rx.m+1 ... rx.n

mandatory"pre-release"
public releasepublicrx.n+1mandatory"latest"
maintenance releasepublicrx.n+2 ... rx.n+pmandatory"latest"

API readiness checklist

To release an API version, an API Sub Project needs to provide the required release assets as specified in the API Readiness Checklist (see description below).

The template for the checklist is the API-Readiness-Checklist.md file located in the ReleaseManagement / documentation repository.

For the release of a given API version, API Sub Project needs to

  • copy the API-Readiness-Checklist.md file(s) to the API Sub Project repository in the home/code folder.
  • rename the file to include the prefix <API name> plus a dash ("-") e.g. quality-on-demand-API-Readiness-Checklist.md
  • provide each release asset as indicated in the column corresponding to the release type (alpha, release-candidate, initial public release or stable public release)
  • for an available asset
    • update the Status column with "Y" (yes) if the release asset is available or fulfilled in the current release, or "N" (no) otherwise. Example: an intermediate alpha release or release candidate may not yet provide all mandatory release assets for the release type.
    • update the Comments column with the link to the asset  (if applicable), and any other additional comments as needed
  • NOTE: the checklists of a (final) release candidate of an API version and the checklist of its subsequent public release are the same, while additional release assets are required for a subsequent stable public release of the API version.

Checklist explanation

The following table explains each of the release assets expected to be delivered in the API release.

Nr

API release assets

Explanation

1

API definition

This is the OAS API definition file (following the https://spec.openapis.org/oas/v3.0.3 format). It shall be present in the home/code/API_definition folders of the API Sub Project and validated using the linting rules in point 6. 

2

Design guidelines from Commonalities applied

This refers to the guidelines in the API-Design-Guidelines.md document.

A subset of these design guidelines have been mapped to corresponding linting rules provided by Commonalities, that can be executed against the OAS API definition file if linting is enabled for the Sub Project.

For the design guidelines that cannot (yet) be verified by linting rules, the API Sub Project team shall ensure coverage manually. Ideally, a checklist of such guidelines would be provided by the Commonalities team.  In particular, API Sub Project shall verify data type alignment to the Commonalities/artifacts/CAMARA_common.yaml

3

Guidelines from ICM applied

This refers to the guidelines described in the documents available in the IdentityAndConsentManagement / documents folder corresponds to a set of linting rules provided by ICM that are successfully executed against the OAS API definition file. 

Other guidelines that cannot be verified by linting rules shall be covered manually by the API Sub project team. Ideally, a checklist of such guidelines would be provided by the ICM team.

4

API versioning convention applied

This shall be checked through a linting rule added to the Commonalities rule set on the format of the version field in the OAS API definition file. API versioning is described in the API-Design-Guidelines.md document.

5

API documentation

The API specification shall include all the needed documentation. It shall include the section on security as described in the API Design Guidelines

API documentation beyond the one embedded in the API definition file, shall be located in the home/documentation/API_documentation folder of the API Sub Project. It shall follow the Commonalities/documentation/API-DocumentationTemplate.md 

6

User Stories

User Stories (it is recommended to have at least 2) need to be documented by the API Sub Project team. User Stories shall follow the template: Userstory-template.md and be located in the home/documentation/API_documentation folder of the API Sub Project. Please note that User Stories shall be provided when an API is first submitted to the CAMARA API backlog.

7

Basic API test cases & documentation

At least one Gherkin feature file is provided for the API in the Test_definitions folder of the API Sub Project covering sunny day scenarios and main error cases (of course you may provide more if available). Details can be found in the API Testing Guidelines (in Commonalities GitHub). Basic tests are sufficient for an initial public-release.

8

Enhanced API test cases & documentation

Gherkin feature files are provided for the API in the Test_definitions folder of the API Sub Project covering sunny and rainy day scenarios.  Details can be found in the API Testing Guidelines (in Commonalities GitHub). Enhanced tests are required for a stable public-release.

9

Test result statement

A statement in a discussion issue of the API Sub Project by at least one of the API Sub Project members that the Gherkin feature files have been successfully executed against their (lab) API implementation. 

10

API release numbering conventions applied

This is verified using the information on the release tracker page. The API release numbering is described here: 

11

Change log updated

Change log need to be provided following the template and are located here: link tbd .

12

Previous public release was certified

The previous public API version had at least 1 certified implementation. Reference to at least 1 certification of the API is provided on the GSMA API market launch and certification page.

Note 1: User Stories are being handled when submitting an API to the API backlog (see here). It is recommended to have at least 2 user stories, which need to be documented by the API Sub Project team. User Stories shall follow the template: Userstory-template.md and be located in the home/documentation/API_documentation folder of the API Sub Project.

Note 2: the addition of a Security review release asset beyond the Commonalities linting rules is for further study.

Release checklist

The following table indicates the assets of the API readiness checklist that need to be provided for the release of an API version depending on 

  • its version type: alpha, release-candidate or public
  • for public versions, in addition, depending on its target status: initial or stable

In the table, 

  • "M" indicates a mandatory release asset
  • "O" indicates an optional release asset which may be provided with the release, if available.  


Nr

API release assets

alpha release

release candidate

 initial public release

stable public release 

Status

Comments

1

API definition

M

M

M

M


link

2

Design guidelines from Commonalities applied

O

M

M

M



3

Guidelines from ICM applied

O

M

M

M



4

API versioning convention applied

M

M

M

M



5

API documentation

M

M

M

M


link

6

Basic API test cases & documentation

O

M

M

M


link

7

Enhanced API test cases & documentation

O

O

O

M


link

8

Test result statement

O

O

O

M


link

9

API release numbering convention applied

M

M

M

M



10

Change log updated

M

M

M

M


link

11

Previous public-release was certified

O

O

O

M



API releases - details 

The GitHub release feature

An API release is created using the GitHub PR and release feature (see Draft/publish a new release).

This results in:

  • a release tag (with the tag name following the release numbering guidelines below) on the main or on a maintenance release branch, identifying the release number of the API version.
  • a release package containing the API's repository with the corresponding API release assets for the released API version (zip file). This is optional for alpha releases.

API releases are numbered (tagged) following the API release numbering guideline (see above).

Releasing an API step by step 

This section gives the overview of the steps to release an API. 

  • Create a GitHub issue defining the scope of the targeted API release. Descriptive information in this issue can be reused in the changelog/release notes.
  • Create the API release tracker for the target API version as describer here: API release trackers.
  1. On the main branch, develop the API version scope in a "work-in-progress mode" (API version = wip and version in URL is vwip).
    • during development and test, make sure to create and record the required release assets according to the API-Readiness-Checklist.
  2. Once the required stability is reached, create the "release PR" (see details below in the section Create the release PR)
  3. Manage the "release PR" approval, merge the approved "release PR" and create the release.
    • An API release is created using the GitHub release feature.
    • The release tag name shall be the next release number and shall have the following format: rx.y
    • The x.y number shall follow the release numbering scheme as defined in the above section on API Release Numbering.
    • Outside the project, the release shall be referred to by the API name (for definition see the section on API versioning) followed by the release number e.g. quality-on-demand rx.y
  • Repeat above steps 1, 2 and 3 for
    • alpha releases before M3; the first release candidate is created for M3
    • release candidates between M3 and M4
    • the public release for M4

NOTES:

  • An alpha release cannot be proposed for meta-release. It first needs to go to a release candidate.

Create the release PR

To create an API release, first a "release PR" (linked to the associated PR issue) must be created to do a release of the API's repository:

  • The “release PR” does not change the content of what is in the repository except the following points.
  • The “release PR” provides (only) the following changes:
    • the update of the version information in the API OAS definition file(s) within the repository
      • no API in the repository shall contain “wip” within the version field in the API OAS definition file
      • at least the version of one API will be changed with respect to the previous release (otherwise there is no sense in doing a release)
    • the update of the <API name>-API-Readiness-Checklist.md which confirms the availability of all release assets required for the release type. For details, see the explanations on the API readiness checklist below.
    • the update of the Changelog.md in the repository with new content on all APIs at the top for the most recent release:
      • for an alpha API version, the delta with respect to the previous release
      • for the first release candidate, all changes since the last public release
      • for a subsequent release candidate, only the delta to the previous release candidate
      • for the public release, the consolidated changes since the last public release
    • the update of the README.md (as necessary)

Manage the release PR approval

A  “release PR” has to be approved before the code owner is allowed to merge as follows:

  • alpha releases: by one other code owner (as for any PR)
  • release candidates: by the majority of the API Sub Project Maintainers + one Release Manager
  • public releases:
    • by the majority of the API Sub Project Maintainers (normally given, if the preceding release candidate was approved), and
    • by the TSC (to be discussed how this will be done formally)
    • the formal approval is based on the review of final release-candidate version of the API used for the public release PR
  • Approvals shall be documented on the API release tracker page.

Merge the release PR and create the GitHub release

Once approval is obtained, merge the release PR and create the release (the release tag and, optionally, the release package) shall be created using the GitHub release functionality. 

  • The release description shall be copied from the CHANGELOG.md (as described above)
  • For releases with alpha and release-candidate API versions, tick the "Set as a pre-release" box; for public or maintenance releases, tick "Set as latest release".
  • Update the API release tracker with the date and tag of the release to show progress.

Maintain a public release

An update of a publicly released API needs to be carefully planned. This is especially true for updates that concern breaking changes, but also non-breaking changes, such as new optional functionality. Such updates shall be widely announced and discussed with API consumers.

To update a public API, a next public release of this API needs to be created including the (MAJOR/MINOR/PATCH) update(s).

MAJOR or MINOR updates

Breaking (MAJOR) or non-breaking (MINOR ) updates to a public API version, shall result in a new version of that API in the next meta-release.

For the release of a MAJOR or MINOR update of a publicly released API, the normal API release process (as described above) is applied.

For a MAJOR or MINOR update to a public release rx.y, the next public released is rx+1.n.

PATCH update

A PATCH to a public release is done using a dedicated maintenance branch.

For a PATCH update to a public release rx.y, the next released is rx.y+1. The new public API version will be vx.y.z+1

A shorter release process is applied as follows:

  • A dedicated maintenance branch shall be opened to develop the PATCH of the API
    • the branch name shall be maintenance-rx.y where rx.y is the release number of the public release rx.y being patched
    • Subsequent patches shall be done on the same maintenance branch, and will increase the y number
  • The changes are proposed as usual through Issues, PRs, and commits to this maintenance branch (using wip version)
  • After all changes are done, a maintenance release is created for the new public API version x.y.z+1 (per semver 2.0.0) and release number rx.y+1.
  • This maintenance release replaces the existing public release of the API in the meta-release.
  • The API tracker shall be updated with the new release tag link.
  • The PATCH delivered through a maintenance release shall also be merged into a next MAJOR or MINOR API release on the main branch.
  • The maintenance branch shall continue to exist for further PATCH updates of the public API version x.y.z+1 (incrementing z) as long as needed.

NOTE: a PATCH is the only case for which a separate branch is created and maintained in the API Sub Project (not counting working branches).

NOTE: a PATCH is the only case for which a separate branch is created and maintained in the API repository (as pull requests should be prepared within forks of the API repository, c.f. Governance/CONTRIBUTING.md)

Multiple APIs in one release

Although it is highly recommended to develop each API in its own API Sub Project, an API Sub Project may contain multiple, closely related APIs. Because a release concerns the whole API Sub Project repository, this will result in releasing multiple APIs in one release. In this case, a public release can only be created if all contained APIs provide the required set of public release assets. The API Sub Project must not contain any API with a wip version within the release.

In all cases, each API version shall have its own release tracker (under the Sub Project's API Release Tracking page), and, in this case of multiple APIs in the same release, the same release tag will appear in multiple API release trackers.


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2 Comments

  1. Some comments:

    1. API versions should not be correlated to repository release tags. IF we dont decouple this, we will bring complexities that are difficult to handle.
    2. Repo release tags could follow the convention vx.y 
    3. Every subproject that is "incubated" within the Camara metarelease will have x>0. Rest will use 0. Y is incremented for every release that is not a part of metarelease. Some table maintains a mapping between metarelease name and X. For eg. Fall24 →X=1, Spring25→X=2 and so on.
    4. Subprojects with multiple APIs must not have ANY API with wip versions in it for the release.
      1. the API release numbering has been made independent of the API version numbering. It now is a sequence of rx.y numbers.
      2. Repo release tags will be rx.y (using "r" instead of "v" in order to not confuse with API versions numbers)
      3. Sandbox vs Incubated status of an API Sub Project is discussed separately (as a start see API Sub Project Maturity Status - CAMARA Project - Confluence. However, there is no link between a meta-release and the release numbering of the individual APIs. The mapping of API versions to meta releases is on the meta-release page.
      4. Agreed and added explicitly