. include:: ../../references.txt

PIG 23 - Gammapy release cycle and version numbering#

  • Author: Régis Terrier, Axel Donath

  • Created: May 12th, 2022

  • Accepted: September 2nd, 2022

  • Status: accepted

  • Discussion: GH 3950


This PIG proposes the general plan for timing of releases and their version numbers to start with the release v1.0. Following the approach of astropy (described in APE 2), versions numbered vX.0 are designated “long-term support” (LTS) and are released on typical timescales of two years. New features releases have a shorter cycle of about 6 months and are numbered X.Y (with Y>0). Bugfix releases are applied on both the current feature release and the LTS releases when needed. The development procedure to implement this scheme is detailed.

Current status#

Until v0.20, Gammapy releases have mostly been new feature releases in order to build a complete set of functionalities with a stable API for the v1.0 release. This approach and release cycles were described in the roadmap for v1.0 PIG PIG 5 - Gammapy 1.0 roadmap. Releases cycles have varied between every two months and once a year. The six-month timescale has been found to be most practical both for users and developers.

Version 1.0 is the first one that requires “long-term-support” (LTS) to allow for users and facilities relying on Gammapy not to always upgrade to the latest version while still having the guarantee that major bugs will be corrected. Implementing this requires to precisely define the numbering scheme and to specify the associated development plan in terms of calendar, workflow (development branches), deprecation and backward compatibility. A first discussion on this took place during January 2022 co-working [week](https://github.com/gammapy/gammapy-meetings/tree/master/coding-sprints/2022-01-Co-Working-Week).

Release scheduling and LTS#

Following on the current scheme, a typical timescale between new feature releases is 6 months. More rapid releases can occur when important new features are to be distributed to users. Feature releases can introduce backwards incompatible changes w.r.t. previous versions. Those changes have to be mentioned in the release notes.

In addition, feature versions can be corrected by bug fix releases. A bugfix must neither introduce new major functionality nor break backwards compatibility in the public API, unless the API has an actual mistake that needs to be fixed. Documentation improvements can be part of a bugfix release. Bugfixes are applied to the current feature release.

Finally, long-term support (LTS) releases will have a timescale of about 2 years (or about 3-4 feature releases) and will continue to receive bugfixes until the next LTS release to guarantee long term stability. Bugs affecting both the LTS and latest feature releases will be corrected on both branches. This will require a careful cherry picking of commits.

Version numbering#

Gammapy will follow the astropy version scheme i.e. a scheme following the [semantic versioning](https://semver.org) of the form x.y.z, with typically:

* 1.0.0 (LTS release)
* 1.0.1 (bug fix release)
* 1.0.2
* 1.1.0 (six months after 1.0.0)
* 1.1.1 (bug fix release on the feature branch)
* 1.0.3 (bug fix release on the LTS)
* 1.1.2
* 1.2.0 (six months after 1.1.0)
* 1.2.1
* 1.3.0 (six months after 1.2.0)
* 1.0.4 (bug fix release on the LTS)
* 1.3.1 (bug fix release on the feature branch)
* 2.0.0 (LTS release, six months after 1.3.0)

Release preparation, feature freeze#

To prepare for a new feature release. A feature freeze has to occur typically one month before the planned release date. From that point no new major feature is accepted for the coming release. Open pull requests planned for the release should be merged within two weeks of the feature freeze. If they are carried out in the same timescale, minor improvements, bug fixes, or documentation additions are still acceptable.

No alpha or beta release ar expected for Gammapy. For testing purposes, a release candidate is released on the Python Package Index two weeks before the expected release. Conda distribution of the release candidate is not foreseen at the moment. Release candidates will be produced for all LTS and feature releases. Bug fix releases won’t go through the release candidate step.

If issues are found, they should be corrected before the actual release is made. This can lead to a delay in the release.

Once the version is tagged, specific branches must be created for the feature and backport developments. This process will require a detailed description in the developer documentation.


API breaking changes can be introduced in feature and LTS releases. This changes must be clearly identified in the release notes. To avoid abruptly changing the API between consecutive version, forecoming API changes and deprecation should be announced in the previous release. In particular, a deprecation warning system should be applied to warn users of future changes affecting their code.

Support of python Cython, numpy and astropy versions#

see [APE 18](https://github.com/astropy/astropy-APEs/blob/main/APE18.rst) see [NEP 29](https://numpy.org/neps/nep-0029-deprecation_policy.html)


The PIG was discussed in GH 3950 and during a coordination committee meeting. It received few but positive comments. Some training was organized for core developers and maintainers during the July 2022 [co-working week](https://github.com/gammapy/gammapy-meetings/tree/master/coding-sprints/2022-06-Barcelona). The PIG was accepted on September 2nd 2022.