Developer Area/Release Instructions/Old Major Release

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(🟡 See Pre-release investigation and tasks and Release day)

Here are the things to do before and after running through the usual release instructions when preparing a new major release.

BEFORE the release

Release candidate

Major releases should be preceded by at least one release candidate.

Creating the new stable branch

The new stable branch should be created off the _DEV branch as part of the ./release.php script - so make sure that happens in the local /tmp/ clone of mahara and that the release cleanup script pushes things to the right branch.

Update the Readme file

Review the file and update it to reflect any changes, in particular around versions of PHP, Postgres, and MySQL / MariaDB supported and the minimum browser requirements. These need to be stated clearly.

For PHP versions, the minimum and maximum supported version needs to be listed to avoid confusion as PHP does release versions more frequently.

Also update the copyright message to make sure it extends to the current year.

Also ensure changes here are reflected on the Software requirements page.

Write the Change log & Release notes

You'll need to write up the Change Log beforehand at least because it gets included in the release's ZIP file. It should include any information about backwards compatibility breaking.

Example for release notes

Mahara 21.04.0 Release Notes

Example for changelog

Bug 1900786: combined exports: timing issues causing leap2a to be put into the wrong directory
Bug 1902146: SmartEvidence framework Institution "All" option cannot be saved in non-English
Bug 1902679: Add confirmation step for deleting an external app
Bug 1903205: Only show Account migrate link if migration is possible
Bug 1903620: Access list needs to retain the sorted list of people
Bug 1904352: Adding a navigation block to a collection can cause loss of data

AFTER the release

Bump the stable_version on

This should now be done automatically via the htdocs/admin/cli/create_version.php script which is controlled by cron and will update once a day.

If during major upgrade you can't wait for the cron you can log into the server and run the CLI script manually, eg

sudo -u www-data php create_version.php

If that is failing you can always do it the old way - see below

OLD INFO - should not need to do this any more

This is what sets the right download link in the header. And also sets the 'Latest version' info on the Mahara Administration dashboard for "Site information"

To do this you need to do 2 things:

1) Edit the htdocs/local/upgrade.php file and add a upgrade block, eg:

 if ($oldversion < 2018102500) {
    set_config('mahara_stable_version', '18.10');

2) Edit the htdocs/local/version.php file and change the version and release variables, eg:

 $config->version = 2018102500;
 $config->release = '18.10.0';

Note: Deploying the change to testing site will not show change - only deploy to production will

Generate the git stats

The git contributor stats go in the release announcement on the Mahara News forum.

git clone [email protected]:scripts/mahara-scripts.git

Find out the name of the current release branch, eg 21.10_DEV and the previous branch's first release tag, eg 21.04.0_RELEASE Here is how to generate the stats at the end:

cd ~/path/to/mahara.git (your local mahara repo)
git log -p -M --no-merges 21.04.0_RELEASE..21.10_DEV > ~/mahara.log
cd ~/code/mahara-scripts/gitdm/
cat ~/mahara.log | ./gitdm -c mahara.config -u -s -z -o results -h results.html

To do:

  • Have a look at the results text file to ensure that developers are only listed once (otherwise add them to the mahara.aliases file).
  • Make sure that there is no "(unknown)" company by making sure that all of the necessary mappings are in mahara.domain-map.
  • If there are "(unknown)" company results, look through the generated text file "database.dump" to locate the unmapped individuals/emails.

Launchpad series

When having done a .0 release, we need to update the status of our series in Launchpad:

  • Change the status of the future / trunk series to "Active development" and the description to "Release of Mahara X.Y, scheduled for April/October YYYY"
  • Changed the status of the series just released to "Current stable release"
  • Changed the status of the series of all the supported series to "Supported"
  • Changed the status of the series that has just fallen out of support to "Obsolete"

Make sure to update both the Mahara and Mahara-Lang projects.

Mahara manual

When releasing a major version, the Mahara manual also needs some attention.

  • Remove the version that is now out of support from the quick links to older manuals.
  • Mention on the now unsupported manual that it is unsupported.
  • Change the sentence on the index page of the new release to include the release date and add a link to the release announcement.
  • Change the redirect in the index.html of the manual-builder package (Catalyst only).


There are a few places where the release should be announced:

  • Release notes posted in the News forum (copy the format from the release notes for the previous release).
  • post which will also immediately post to Twitter.
  • Any other places where you want to announce the release.