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  • Upgrade all Python dependencies in requirements to latest upstream versions so they can burn in (use pip list --outdated).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 Bionic and Focal.

  • 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 and LATEST_RELEASE_VERSION in version.py.

  • For major releases, update API_FEATURE_LEVEL to a feature level for the final release, and document a reserved range.

  • 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, using ship-release.sh.

  • 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, post to #announce, and send a tweet.


  • 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 to e.g. 2.2.0+git following a 2.1.0 release, and make a Git tag named e.g. 2.2-dev pointing to this update.

  • Consider removing a few old releases from ReadTheDocs.