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Branching and releasing with git flow

We recommend to use git-flow as branching model in BloomReach Forge projects because it is easier for most people to understand and follow and also widely accepted. This page explains how to set up git flow and how to release and deploy artifacts.

The instructions are based on these available references:

Git flow set-up

In order to use git flow in your local workspace folder, do the following first, once:

  • Have two branches, master and develop, in prior.
  • Initialize your working space once for the first time by running git flow init and accepting the default settings.
  • It is recommended to set the default branch to develop. Change the settings of the project to change the default branch to develop.

After an initial release, the ‘master’ branch is always the same as the latest tag, whilst the ‘develop’ branch, and possibly ‘support/x.y’ branches, are used as base for features and bug fixes.

Maintenance support branches

If you want to have maintenance branches supporting older versions, you can use git flow support subcommand. You create it from a tag or a commit hash.

git flow support start x.y tag-x.y.z

The above creates a branch support/x.y from a tag called ‘tag-x.y.z’. So for instance, if develop is on 2.0.0-SNAPSHOT, and you want to create a support branch for the 1.x range, you can create a support/1.x branch from latest tag 1.5.0.

Git flow is only about branching so you must set the correct SNAPSHOT versions manually and commit, push it.

How to release with git flow, 1 minute version

From develop (or from support/x.y) branch, create release x.y.z:

  1. Start: git flow release start x.y.z develop (or from support/x.y)
  2. Set release version: mvn versions:set -DnewVersion="x.y.z", also for demo.
  3. Commit: git commit -a -m "<ISSUE_ID> releasing x.y.z: set version"
  4. Finish: git flow release finish x.y.x
  5. Set next version: mvn versions:set -DnewVersion="x.y.z+1-SNAPSHOT", also for demo.
  6. Commit: git commit -a -m "<ISSUE_ID> releasing x.y.z: set next development version"
  7. Push: git push origin develop (or support/x.y)

When started from develop, master is now same as the release. Then from master:

  1. Regenerate docs: usually mvn clean site -Pgithub.pages
  2. Commit: git commit -a -m "<ISSUE_ID> releasing x.y.z: regenerate docs"
  3. Push: git push origin master

Push the tag & deploy artifacts:

  1. Push: git push origin x.y.z
  2. Check out: git checkout tags/x.y.z
  3. Deploy artifacts: mvn deploy

How to release with git flow, detailed version

Start a new release

With git flow release start a release branch is created. You can do that from develop branch (as in the this example) but also from support/x.y branch.

    git flow release start x.y.z develop

Now, you’re automatically moved to a new branch already, release/x.y.z.

Set release versions

It’s time to set a proper release version in the pom.xml files. For example,

    mvn versions:set -DgenerateBackupPoms=false -DnewVersion="x.y.z"

Also, if you have demo folder underneath, set the release version in the demo folder as well:

    cd demo
    mvn versions:set -DgenerateBackupPoms=false -DnewVersion="x.y.z"
    cd ..

NOTE: demo is a child folder managed in the same git repository, but not a maven submodule. That’s why you set the maven versions separately.

Let’s commit the version changes. For example,

    git commit -a -m "<ISSUE_ID> releasing x.y.z: set version"
(Optionally) publish the release branch

You can skip this step if you are releasing it alone, but if you want your team to do final hardening in the shared release branch, you should do this step.

    git flow release publish x.y.z

Now, your release branch was published. You can inform the team of this new release branch for final hardening work.

Finish the release

Finally, let’s finish the release. This step includes making a tag, merging changes to master and develop branches and removing the release branch.

    git flow release finish x.y.z

This finishing step removes the release/x.y.z branch locally, and moves to develop branch.

Bump version in develop branch and push it.

In the finishing step above, every change was already merged to master and develop branch from the release branch. So, don’t forget to push local commits to the remote.

Before pushing the commits in develop branch, let’s bump the version for next development cycle with -SNAPSHOT in develop branch.

    mvn versions:set -DgenerateBackupPoms=false -DnewVersion="x.y.z+1-SNAPSHOT"

Again, don’t forget bumping up versions in the demo folder if it exists.

    cd demo
    mvn versions:set -DgenerateBackupPoms=false -DnewVersion="x.y.z+1-SNAPSHOT"

    cd ..
    git commit -a -m "<ISSUE_ID> releasing x.y.z: set next development version"

    git push origin develop
Push master branch.

If the release was done from develop branch, not from support branch, master should be the same as the release branch. Next is to generate docs (if applicable) and commit, push.

    git checkout master
    mvn clean site -Pgithub.pages
    git commit -a -m "<ISSUE_ID> releasing x.y.z: regenerate docs"```
    git push origin master
Push the newly created tag.

In the finishing step, a tag was made for the release version. e.g, x.y.z

You can check all the tags by the following command:

    git tag -l

Tip: You can also run the following command to fetch all the tags pushed by someone else in the remote:

    git fetch --all --tags --prune

Now, let’s push the newly created tag generated in the finishing step:

    git push origin x.y.z

If you’ve published the release branch in the previous optional step, you may now remove the remote (temporary) release branch:

    git push origin --delete release/x.y.z

Now, your normal release process is done. Your new release was made as a tag and published.

Deploy the release tag to BloomReach Forge Maven Repository

Check out the release tag like the following example. You may name the local branch to anything else.

    git checkout tags/x.y.z -b tag-x.y.z

Now, deploy it to BloomReach Forge Maven repository from the tag branch:

    mvn deploy

You may remove the local tag branch.

    git checkout develop
    git branch -D tag-x.y.z

Congratulations! Great work!