Zulip server release checklist

This document has reminders of things one might forget to do when preparing a new release.

A week before the release

  • Upgrade all Python dependencies in requirements to latest upstream versions so they can burn in (use pip list --outdated).
  • Update all the strings on Transifex and notify translators that they should translate the new strings to get them in for the next release.
  • Update changelog.md with major changes going into the release.
  • Create a burndown list of bugs that need to be fixed before we can release, and make sure all of them are being worked on.
  • Draft the release blog post (aka the release notes.)

Final release preparation

  • Update changelog.md with any changes since the last update, and with revisions from the draft blog post.
  • Download updated translation strings from Transifex and commit them.
  • Use build-release-tarball to generate a release tarball.
  • Test the new tarball extensively, both new install and upgrade from last release, on both Xenial and Bionic.
  • Repeat until release is ready.
  • When near finished: move the blog post draft to Ghost. (For a draft in Dropbox Paper, use “··· > Download > Markdown” to get a pretty good markup conversion.) Proofread the post, especially for formatting.

Executing the release

  • Do final updates to changelog.md, for any final changes and with any revisions from the draft blog post. (And the date!)
  • Update ZULIP_VERSION, LATEST_RELEASE_VERSION, etc. in version.py.
  • Update version and/or release in docs/conf.py (ReadTheDocs meta tags). Leave “+git” off.
  • Use build-release-tarball to generate a final release tarball.
  • Post the release tarball on https://www.zulip.org/dist/releases/ : add the file, update the zulip-server-latest.tar.gz symlink, and add to SHA256SUMS.txt.
  • Create a Git tag and push the tag.
  • Post the release on GitHub, using the text from changelog.md.
  • Update the Docker image and do a release of that.
  • Update the image of DigitalOcean one click app using Fabric and publish it to DO marketplace.
  • Publish the blog post.
  • Email zulip-announce, and send a tweet.
  • For a major release: submit blog post to aggregators.


  • Push the release commit to master, if applicable (typically for a major release); otherwise, make sure any last changes make it back to master.
  • Update ZULIP_VERSION in version.py, and release and version in docs/conf.py, to e.g. 1.6.0+git.
  • Consider removing a few old releases from ReadTheDocs.