# Release Cycle

This document describes how Vue Storefront code versions are released. You'll learn what the release process looks like, the acceptance criteria, what our git flow looks like, and which branch to use as a stable one.

# How Vue Storefront versions are released

From version 1.9, we release each of the VSF versions in two phases:

  • Release Candidate phase (RC), also called "feature version." This version contains all the new features, improvements, and additions to the API, along with minor bug fixes. New features and additions are merged and released only during this phase. The API of features introduced during this phase may slightly change.
  • Stabilization phase is the one that ends up with a production-ready version. During this phase, we only do stabilization and bug fixing for previously introduced features. No new features and API additions are merged. PRs from the RC version are tested and their API is simplified and/or adjusted according to feedback.

Assuming the next version is 1.x, the two-month cycle will look like the following:

  • v1.x-RC.y—unstable version with cutting-edge features ready to test and feedback.
  • v1.x.y—stable version of the software ready for production use.

# How new features are merged

During the RC phase, features Pull Request with new features after feedback and acceptance are normally merged to the develop branch. After entering the stabilization phase, we are tagging the current develop branch, creating a release/x (where x is the number of the current version) branch from it and working on stabilization there. During the stabilization phase, new features are merged to develop branch and will be merged in the next RC phase.

# Release cycle flow

# 1. Development phase

In the first phase of the cycle, we're mostly focusing on features and improvements. Branches in this phase should be created from the actual develop, also PRs should be pointed to this branch. Changes merged to develop are available to test on https://test.storefrontcloud.io

Development phase

# 2. Release Candidate phase

At some point, when milestone for next minor versions is completed, we're creating new branch from develop called release/vx.y (example: release/v1.9). After that new branch is tagged as first RC for version (example v1.10.0-rc.1). Then it's ready for testing by community. During tests, feedback and stabilization there could be multiple Release Candidate versions on this branch. When improvement is made on this phase, then branch should be created from actual release/vx.y and should not contain features at this point - only improvements for current release. After merging a set of bugfixes and improvements into release/* branch, it needs to be tagged as the next RC version and merged into the develop branch, to update it.

Release Candidate phase

# 3. Release phase

When RC version is stable, then release branch is merged into master and tagged as next stable version (example v1.9.0). After that, the currently merged release branch is deleted and starts a new development phase. If some critical bug is discovered on the current stable version, then a new hotfix (for example hotfix/v1.9.1, following Semantic Versioning rules (opens new window)) branch should be created from actual master. After merging and testing hotfixes, this branch (like release branch before) is merged into master and tagged following Semantic Versioning rules (opens new window).

Release phase

# Summary

An important thing to note is that this releasing cycle ensures stable and reliable Storefront releases. Phases are also not blocking new features—you can develop new features on any phase, but it should be merged only to the develop branch and go through whole cycle.