Release Process

We do two types of releases:

  • Scheduled Releases - for the planned release of the entire set of product repositories.
  • Fix Releases - for ad-hoc release of individual repositories.

Scheduled Releases

We publish a new release of FlowFuse in line with our release plan. Each release has a Release Manager who oversees the process. This role rotates around the team to ensure everyone is able to do it and that we don't have any single points of failure in the process.


The Release Manager should take the following steps at the start of the release iteration:

  • Create a Release checklist issue using the Release Checklist template.
  • Assign the issue to the Release Manager
  • Ensure the following tools are installed and working:
    • git command-line tools
      • Ensure ssh key access is setup so git interactions do not require continual password typing - ssh -T
      • Ensure you have git configured with an appropriate and
    • GitHub client
      • Ensure the client is logged in using gh auth login
    • jq
    • yq

On release day, the Release Manager takes the lead in running the release process, following the steps in the checklist.

The release is split into four phases:

  1. Phase One: Check parts not covered by the automation are up to date.
  2. Phase Two: Run the release automation and verify each stage completes properly.
  3. Phase Three: Steps to deploy the release to Staging/Production environments.
  4. Phase Four: Publicise the release.

The Release Manager chooses when to start the release process. We usually aim to start the release process at 10am/11am (UK/CET) as that gets to the end of Phase Two before the team Launch Lunch.

A huddle should be started in the #dev channel at the start of the process to enable others to contribute where needed.

It is also useful for the wider team if the Release Manager posts status updates to #dev throughout the process.

If at any point a team member identifies a problem that needs checking before the release can continue, they should post a message to #dev and join the huddle to ensure the Release Manage is aware.

Phase One

Check Development Board

Check the Development Board for any items still in the 'Verify' column. Check what actions need to be completed to resolve them.

Note: Items should have already been verified by the engineering team before release day. Leaving verification to release day leaves no time to resolve any newly discovered issues.

Check Usage Ping Collector is up to date

Ensure has been updated. The CTO tracks this and will flag if an update is needed.

Unmanaged Repositories

Not all repositories are covered by the release automation and must be published separately. This is typically done by the development team in the build up to the full release and should be coordinated by the CTO or Senior Engineer prior to release day.

The Release Manager should verify the following repositories are up to date and have been published as needed.

Verify flowforge/flowforge-nr-launcher package.json has been updated to pull in the latest versions of file-nodes/persistent-context/project-nodes.

If any need to be updated, refer to the section Unmanaged Releases for releasing these.

Phase Two

This phase is largely automated using the create-release script in the admin repository.

Follow these steps to run the script:

  1. Clone the FlowFuse/admin repository if you do not already have it. Ensure you have the latest with a git pull.

  2. In the parent directory to where you have the admin checked out, run the following command, replace 1.x.y with the proper release version.

    ./admin/create-release 1.x.y

    This will create a directory called release-1.x.y.

    Then, for each managed repository in turn it will:

    • Checks if a matching GitHub release already exists, if so it moves on to the next repo.
    • Checks for any outstanding PRs and waits for confirmation to continue if it finds any.
    • Checks to see if the repo has already been cloned into the release directory.
      • if it has been, ensures it is on main and pulls from origin
      • otherwise, clones it
    • Checks that all @flowforge/* dependencies are on npm at the matching version
      • If any dependency is missing, it waits for you to ask it to check again.
    • Creates a clean release-x.y.z branch
    • Updates CHANGELOG, package.json and package-lock.json files and commits changes
    • Pushes changes back to GitHub
    • Opens a PR
      • At this point, the PR should be reviewed to ensure all updates look correct and all tests are passing. Once merged, the process can continue.
    • Checks the outstanding PRs again - waits for confirmation to continue
    • Creates a draft GitHub release and provides its url.
      • The Release Manager should review the draft - check the release notes look appropriate and take note of any first-time contributors from outside the FF team.
      • The script waits for you to confirm you have reviewed the draft
    • Publishes the release and moves onto the next repo
  3. Digital Ocean Droplet requires a manual step once the GitHub Action has finished, follow these steps to have the new image reviewed and published

Phase Three

Once everything has been published, the Release Manager should:

  1. Run the staging CI pipeline Build for Staging against the main branch, to ensure staging is running the latest release.
  • Once that completes, verify it has deployed cleanly on Staging
  1. Raise a "FlowFuse Cloud Change Requests" Issue in CloudProject Project to request Production to be updated to the new version.
  2. Notify the CTO/Senior Engineer that the release is ready to publish to production.

Once Production has been updated and verified, the Release Manager should announce the availability of the release in #dev. At this point, the marketing team will take over for Phase Four

Phase Four

The final phase is where we tell the world about our work. This activity is led by the PM and Marketing team.

Fix Releases

Patch releases are done as needed and have a much lighter process to allow fixes to be released quickly.

The core flowforge repository has some automation in place to help with this process. Until that is rolled out across the other repositories, some of the backporting work must be done manually.

  • Changes must first be PR'd to the main branch and reviewed in the normal manner.
  • Before merging, the PR should have the label backport added.
  • If in flowforge/flowforge, when the PR is merged, an automation will run to create a new PR that backports the change to the maintenance branch. Otherwise, the backport PR must be manually created.
  • The backport PR must be reviewed and merged in the normal manner.
  • Once all of the required backport PRs are merged, raise a PR on the maintenance branch to update the version and file with suitable details.
  • Create the GitHub release with the appropriate vX.Y.Z tag.

Finally, create two change request issues in the CloudProject repo, one for staging and one for production to upgrade to the latest version.

Unmanaged Releases

The Unmanaged Repositories have a simpler release process. They are released as needed in coordination with the CTO/Senior Enginneer.

All release activity should be highlighted in #dev so the team is aware.

  1. Check that all changes have been merged to main
  2. Update the package.json version number
  3. Run the generate-changelog script from flowforge/admin repository. This generates a list of the PRs merged since the last tagged release. Note: this script require the gh cli to be installed and logged in. Update with the output of the script.
  4. Open a new PR with the package.json and changes. Get the PR reviewed by someone else and then merged.
  5. Create a new GitHub Release with the appropriate version number eg v0.1.1.
  6. Once the release is created, the GitHub Action will take care of publishing to NPM. Check the action to ensure it completes.

Launch Lunch

To celebrate the launch of a new version of FlowFuse, we organize a lunch on the release day. See also the peopleops section.


The day after each release, a one hour meeting is conducted which anyone from the company can join. The purpose of this meeting is to reflect on the past four weeks of development effort, the release process and any other thoughts or comments that can help us refine processes moving forward.

In the retrospective, the CTO or Engineering Manager will also cover any new items that have been added to the Development Board and any relevant plans for engineering resource to be assigned to that work.