The API Release Process describes the creation of (pre-)releases of API versions throughout the API lifecycle, and for a given meta-release.

For a meta-release, the API Release Process targets the release of public API versions, aligned with the corresponding Commonalities and ICM public versions.

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

pre-release

A pre-release is a GitHub release of an alpha or release-candidate API version. Note: the term release is also often used here but it should be clear from the context.

NOTE: pre-releases are not meant to be included in a meta-release. 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.

release

A release is a GitHub release of a public API version. Releases may be proposed as part of a meta-release.

release of initial public API

Initial public API versions only exists for new APIs. It concerns public APIs versions with x = 0 (0.y.z without version extension).

A public API version 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 applications. However, the user shall be aware that subsequent versions of this API may require code changes to their applications.

Initial public API versions can be

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

release of stable public API

Stable public API versions are 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 API versions published together at a given point in time (Spring and Fall).

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

maintenance release

A maintenance release is the release of a patch update of a public API version.

release tag

A release tag is a GitHub tag placed on the main or a maintenance branch that identifies a release in the API's repository.
release packageA release package is a zip file of the GitHub repository created using the GitHub release mechanism. It contains a snapshot of the full API repository marked with the release tag.
GitHub releaseA GitHub release is the combination of a release tag and, optionally, a release package of the GitHub repository (zip file) created using the GitHub release feature. A GitHub release applies to the full API repository. A GitHub release may containing any alpha, release-candidate or public API version(s). A GitHub release shall not include any wip API versions.
release PRA release PR is created for an API version to prepare its GitHub release. A release PR shall minimally set the version fields in the API yaml file to the exact API version and establish the availability of the API release assets as per the API readiness checklist.
API release trackerAn API release tracker is a LF Confluence wiki page that provides the visibility on the progress of the (pre-)releases of a given API version. Each public API version planned for release by an API Sub Project shall have its release tracker under their API Sub Project's API Release Tracking page.

API releases - overview

To prepare the release of a public API version, API versions shall be (pre-)released as follows:

  • before M3, release one or more alpha API versions as needed
  • to reach M3, release the first release-candidate API version:
    • the release-candidate implements the scope of the target public API version.
    • this pre-release is agreed as ready for API implementation and functional testing.
    • it is aligned with the release-candidate versions of Commonalities and ICM (M1).
  • between M3 and M4, release one or more release-candidate API versions as needed
  • to reach M4, release the public API version:
    • this is the version ready for inclusion in the meta-release (if so planned).
    • the public API version is aligned with the public versions of Commonalities and ICM (M2).

An API Sub Project can release as many alpha and release-candidate API versions as useful for API development and testing. In between releases, the API version is set to "wip" (to indicate that this API version should not be used).

IMPORTANT

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

Public API versions 

Public API versions can have an initial or a stable status.

Please note that initial public API versions can be

  • released at any time outside the meta-release process in order to allow for rapid API evolution.
  • released as part of a meta-release
    • in this case, the milestones defined for the meta-release have to be followed.
    • it is expected that in the next meta-release this public API version becomes stable.

A public API version is released only if it provides all required API readiness checklist items (see: [API Readiness Checklist](https://wiki.camaraproject.org/display/CAM/API+Release+Process#APIReleaseProcess-APIreadinesschecklist).

Stable public API versions are 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

To be part of a meta-release, the API Sub Project needs to participate in the meta-release process. For the meta-release, the following needs to be provided:

  • the API release tracker (see [API release trackers](https://wiki.camaraproject.org/x/HQBFAQ))
  • the expected (pre-)releases at the respective M3 and M4 milestones
  • minimally an initial public API version
  • the required set of API release assets according to the API readiness checklist (see below).

Example of the use of the API release process

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

  • Develop the 1.1.0 updates on the main branch. The first PR shall update the OAS file setting the API version to wip, and the URL to vwip.
  • Once sufficiently stable, create a release PR for the API version 1.1.0-alpha.1.
  • After release PR approval, create the pre-release rx.1 and publish it on the API release tracker.
  • Several alpha API versions 1.1.0-alpha.p may be released, each setting the API version back to "wip" in the first API update PR and evolving the alpha number with each following pre-release (rx.2 - rx.m).
  • When the API version is ready, create a release PR for the API version 1.1.0-rc.1
  • Several release-candidate API versions 1.1.0-rc.q may be released, each setting the API version back to "wip" in the first API update PR and evolving the rc number with each following pre-release (rx.m+1 - rx.n).
  • When the API version is ready for public release, create the release PR that sets the public API version to 1.1.0. (this PR minimally removes the rc extensions from the version and URL fields in the API yaml file and assures all API release assets are available as per the API readiness checklist).
  • After release PR approval, create the release rx.n+1 and publish it on the API release tracker.
  • The approved public API version 1.1.0 will be included in the meta-release as planned.

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 (pre-)release (for alpha, release-candidate and public API versions), and for a maintenance release, e.g. rx.y+1.
  • After a meta-release of a public API version 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 next release shall be rx.y+1.
  • A maintenance release replaces the previous release 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 (release tag)

release package

release package label
N/Awork-in-progressN/AN/AN/A
pre-releasealpha

rx.1 ... rx.m

optional

optional: "pre-release"
pre-releaserelease-candidate

rx.m+1 ... rx.n

mandatory"pre-release"
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 CAMARA / ReleaseManagement / documentation repository.

For the readiness of a given API version, an 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
  • 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 pre-release 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 release-candidate and the checklist of a subsequent public API version may be the same.

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.

Readiness checklist per API version

The following table is the API readiness checklist that lists the assets that need to be provided with the API version for it to be ready for its (pre-)release. The required assets depend on 

  • the API version type: alpha, release-candidate or public
  • for public API 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.  

The API-Readiness_Checklist.md is available in GitHub for copying to the API Sub projects.


Nr

API release assets

alpha

release- candidate

 initial public (v0.y.z)

stable public (vx.y.z, x>=1)

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

User Stories

O

O

O

M


link

7

Basic API test cases & documentation

O

M

M

M


link

8

Enhanced API test cases & documentation

O

O

O

M


link

9

Test result statement

O

O

O

M


link

10

API release numbering convention applied

M

M

M

M



11

Change log updated

M

M

M

M


link

12

Previous public-release was certified

O

O

O

M



API releases - details 

The GitHub release feature

Technically, an API (pre-)release is created using the GitHub release feature (see Draft/publish a new release). It involves

  • A GitHub issue defining the scope of the target API version.
  • A release PR associated to this issue.

After release PR approval: 

  • a release tag (with the tag name following the API release numbering guidelines above) on the main or on a maintenance release branch.
  • a release package containing the API's repository with the corresponding API release assets for each contained API version (zip file). A release package is optional for pre-releases of alpha API versions.

A GitHub release is the combination of a release tag and, optionally, a release package created using the GitHub release feature for an API repository. A GitHub release may not contain any wip APIs versions.

Releasing an API step by step 

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

  • Create a GitHub issue defining the scope of the API version targeted to be released. Descriptive information in this issue can be reused in the changelog/release notes.
  • Create the API release tracker for the targeted public API version as describer here: API release trackers.
  • On the main branch, develop the API version scope in a "work-in-progress mode" (API version = wip and version in URL is vwip).
    • several pre-releases for one or more alpha API versions may be created between M1 and M3
  • To reach M3, a release PR needs to be created that updates the API to become the first release-candidate API version, including the relevant release assets (see details in section Create the (pre-)release PR below) 
  • Further pre-releases of one or more release-candidate API versions may be created between M3 and M4
  • To reach M4, a release PR needs to be created that updates the API to become the first public API version, including the relevant release assets (see details in section Create the (pre-)release PR below)
  • During above development (M1-M3) and test (M3-M4), make sure to create and record the required release assets according to the API-Readiness-Checklist.
  • To release the API, manage the release PR approval, merge the approved release PR and create the release (see below).

NOTE: To be included in the meta-release, the release of the public API version needs to be available.

Prepare the API release

To create a (pre-)release of the API, a release PR (linked to the associated release scope issue) must be created.

A release PR does not change the content the repository other than the following changes:

  • the update of the version information in the API OAS definition file(s) within the repository (Info/version field and URL version)
    • no API in the repository shall contain “wip” in the version field in the API OAS definition file
    • at least the version of one API must be changed with respect to the previous release (otherwise there is no sense in doing a release)
  • the update of the API-Readiness-Checklist.md for each API in the repository which confirms the availability of all release assets required for the (pre-)release. For details, see the explanations on the API readiness checklist above.
  • the update of the Changelog.md in the repository with new content on all APIs at the top for the most recent (pre-)release as follows:
    • for the first alpha or release-candidate API version, all changes since the release of the previous public API version
    • for subsequent alpha or release-candidate API versions, the delta with respect to the previous pre-release
    • for a public API version, the consolidated changes since the release of the previous public API version
  • 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 API versions: by one other code owner (as for any PR)
  • release-candidates: by the majority of the API Sub Project Maintainers + one Release Manager
  • public API versions:
    • 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 the release PR for the public API version 
  • Approvals shall be documented as reviews in the release PR in GitHub.

Merge the release PR and create the GitHub release

Once approval is obtained, merge the release PR and create the GitHub release: 

  • The GitHub release package is (optionally) created using the GitHub release feature.
  • The release tag shall be named with 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 Release Numbering.
    • Note: Outside the project, the release shall be referred to by the API repository name (for definition see the section on API versioning) followed by the release number e.g. quality-on-demand rx.y
  • 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".

Track the release

  • Update the API release tracker with the date and tag of the (pre-)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:

  • An API tracker shall be created for teh maintenance version of the API (x.y.z+1)
  • 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)
  • It is assumed that no intermediate pre-releases are created, however, if needed for the development of the patch; this can be done and should be tracked on the release tracker as usual.
  • After all changes are done, a release PR for the patched public API version shall be created and approved.
  • After approval, the 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 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 repository, this will result in releasing multiple APIs in one release. In this case, an API version can only be released if all contained APIs provide the required set of public release assets. The API release must not contain any API with a wip version.

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