We try to follow Semantic Versioning in this project.
Patch releases (e.g.
3.3.X) contain only bug fixes. Minor releases (e.g.
3.X.0) can have backwards-compatible features. And major releases (
X.0.0) can introduce incompatible changes.
This document replaces the "Release Guidelines" on the wiki that we used between 3.2.0 and 3.4.3. Starting with 3.5.0, we will follow the workflow described here to publish releases.
Polybar uses the OneFlow branching model for publishing new releases and introducing hotfixes.
The way we accept code from contributors does not change: Contributors fork polybar, commit their changes to a new branch and open a PR to get that branch merged. After reviewing and approving the changes, a maintainer "merges" the PR. "Merging" is done in the GitHub UI by either rebasing or squashing the changes. Regular merging is disabled because we do not want merge a merge commit for every PR.
This document is mainly concerned with how to properly release a new version of polybar. For that reason this might not be of interest to you, if you are not a maintainer, but feel free to read on anyway.
Drafting a new Release¶
There a two processes for how to draft a new release. The process for major and minor versions is the same as they both are "regular" releases. Patch releases are triggered by bugfixes that cannot wait until the next regular release and have a slightly different workflow.
Regular Releases (Major, Minor)¶
Regular releases are created once we find that
master is in a stable state
and that there are enough new features to justify a new release.
A release branch
release/X.Y.0 is branched off of a commit on
that contains all the features we want in the release, this branch is pushed to
the official repository.
For example for version
3.5.0 the branch
release/3.5.0 would be created:
git checkout -b release/3.5.0 <commit>
The release branch should typically only exist for at most a few days.
Hotfix Releases (Patch)¶
A hotfix release is created whenever we receive a fix for a bug that we believe should be released immediately instead of it only being part of the next regular release. Generally any bugfix qualifies, but it is up to the maintainers to decide whether a hotfix release should be created.
The hotfix release branch
hotfix/X.Y.Z is created by branching off at the
previous release tag (
For example, if the latest version is
3.5.2, the next hotfix will be on
git checkout -b hotfix/3.5.3 3.5.2
Since the PRs for such bugfixes are often not created by maintainers, they will
often not be based on the latest release tag, but just be branched off
master because contributors don't necessarily know about this branching
model and also may well not know whether a hotfix will be created for a certain
In case a PR containing a bugfix that is destined for a patch release is not branched off the previous release, a maintainer creates the proper release branch and cherry-picks the bugfix commits.
Alternatively, the contributor can also
git rebase --onto to base the
branch off the previous release tag. However, in most cases it makes sense for
a maintainer to create the release branch since they will also need to add a
Release Commit to it.
Once the release branch is created and contains the right commits, the maintainer should follow Publishing a new Release to finish this patch release.
If multiple bugfixes are submitted in close succession, they can all be cherry-picked onto the same patch release branch to not create many individual release with only a single fix. The maintainer can also decide to leave the release branch for this patch release open for a week in order to possibly combine multiple bugfixes into a single release.
Publishing a new Release¶
The process for publishing a release is the same for all release types. It goes as follows:
- A Release commit is added to the tip of the release branch.
- A draft PR is opened for the release branch. This PR MUST NOT be merged in GitHub's interface, it is only here for review, merging happens at the commandline.
- After approval, a signed git tag is created locally at the tip of the release branch and pushed:
git tag -s X.Y.Z <release-branch> git push --tags
- A draft release targetting the new tag is created in GitHub's release publishing tools and published.
- After the tag is created, the release branch is manually merged into
master. Here it is vitally important that the history of the release branch does not change and so we use
git merge. We do it manually because using
git mergeis disabled on PRs.
git checkout master git merge <release-branch> git push origin
- After the tag is created, the release branch can be deleted with
git push origin :<release-branch>.
- Work through the After-Release Checklist.
<release-branch> is either a
release/X.Y.0 branch or a
When merging, a release commit must be at the tip of the release branch.
The release commit needs to update the version number in:
The release commit must also finalize the Changelog for this release.
CHANGELOG.md file at the root of the repo should already contain all the
changes for the upcoming release in a format based on
keep a changelog.
For each release those changes should be checked to make sure we did not miss
For all releases, a new section of the following form should be created below
## [X.Y.Z] - YYYY-MM-DD
In addition, the reference link for the release should be added and the reference link for the unreleased section should be updated at the bottom of the document:
[Unreleased]: https://github.com/polybar/polybar/compare/X.Y.Z...HEAD [X.Y.Z]: https://github.com/polybar/polybar/releases/tag/X.Y.Z
Since the release tag doesn't exist yet, both of these links will be invalid until the release is published.
All changes from the
Unreleased section that apply to this release should be
moved into the new release section.
For regular releases this is generally the entire
Unreleased section, while
for patch releases it will only be a few entries.
The contents of the release section can be copied into the draft release in
GitHub's release tool with a heading named
Since major releases generally break backwards compatibility in some way, their changelog should also prominently feature precisely what breaking changes were introduced. If suitable, maybe even separate documentation dedicated to the migration should be written.
On GitHub a new release should be drafted. The release targets the git tag that was just pushed, the name of the release and the tag is simply the release number.
The content of the release message should contain the changelog copied from
CHANGELOG.md under the heading
In addition using GitHub's "Auto-generate release notes" feature, the list of
new contributors should be generated and put at the end of the release notes.
The generated list of PRs can be removed.
- Verify the release archive (see Verify Release)
- Make sure all the new functionality is documented on the wiki
- Mark deprecated features appropriately (see Deprecations)
- Remove all unreleased notes from the wiki (not for patch releases)
- Inform packagers of new release in #1971. Mention any dependency changes and any changes to the build workflow. Also mention any new files are created by the installation.
- Create a PR that updates the AUR
PKGBUILDfile for the
polybar-gitpackage (push after the release archive is uploaded).
- Close the GitHub Milestone for the new release and move open issues (if any) to a later release.
- Activate the version on Read the Docs and deactivate all previous versions for the same minor release (e.g. for 3.5.4, deactivate all other 3.5.X versions).
Confirm that the release archive was added to the release. We have a GitHub action workflow called 'Release Workflow' that on every release automatically creates a release archive, uploads it to the release, and adds a 'Download' section to the release body. If this fails for some reason, it should be triggered manually.
Afterwards, download the archive, verify its hash, and sign it:
gpg --armor --detach-sign polybar-X.Y.Z.tar.gz
Finally, upload the generated
polybar-X.Y.Z.tar.gz.asc to the GitHub
If any publicly facing part of polybar is being deprecated, it should be marked as such in the code, through warnings/errors in the log, and by comments in the wiki. Every deprecated functionality is kept until the next major release and removed there, unless it has not been deprecated in a minor release before.