By Philip Walton on 2020-07-14 18:12 in CMS Release Team

Usually, we don't post reposts of our work and it goes under the radar until something goes wrong then we are spotlighted. 

But it occurred to me that it would be helpful to those wishing to join and help to outline what we do when a release hits and what can happen.

The release lead sets the ball in motion but there is a whole chain of events preceding that and as we are all volunteers that can clash with work.

3.9.20 was no exception and because of work commitments further down the chain, Harald explained that it would be later than usual. We first saw the release on Friday (usually its Tuesday) and once delivered the team got to work testing. We have people from all over the world so one time zone can report in their findings and another takes up the slack and test according to what the previous found.

The role of the CMS release team is to test the RC but not as a vanilla package but in complex environments looking for bugs that the update causes in both core and third party. We try to spot the problems before the release, so developers don't get overwhelmed with issues (and core) at the point of release.

We don't spot them all and such a small team would be hard-pressed to get them all. But we try to cover all the main bases with a 148-row sheet of the issue to test (and growing). Should, like a few releases ago, a bug get through then we add it to the list. Learning from the mistakes of the past. 

On Monday the security patches are added and the team are the only parties to have access prior to release (apart from the strike team). We test against the patches and pay particular attention to the areas they address. Then on a Tuesday afternoon if all is good the release lead releases the stable packages to the world and the details that have been translated by the various teams as are sent out and you the user get the package to install on your website. I then study the forums to see if any big bugs got away.

So did we spot a bug... Yes, we caught some and patches were applied by those who had worked on the issues in double-quick time. New packages were produced and the team hunkered down and tested those to see they fixed the issue and didn't have any nasty side effects.

Then Harald hit the go-live button (if only it were that simple) and 3.9.20 hit the update servers.

Within an hour I am in a bi-weekly production meeting reporting for the team and working through the issues production deals with to keep Joomla on the road.

A huge thanks to the CMS release team whose members work so hard every 6 weeks testing and testing and very rarely getting a mention. Check them out on the team portal. It's an active team and saves the huge user base of Joomla much pain every release. If you would like to become one of their numbers then just drop me a line and I would be delighted to show you around.

And thanks to the CMS Release Lead who takes any bugs we find with grace and just gets on with fixing and providing the next patch.

Phil Walton