Release procedure notes


Fixing bugs in old software can involve as much time remembering how to build and release as actually fixing bugs. A documented release process, even in brief, can make a great difference.

A while ago, I noticed that number of open source projects included documented release procedures. At first I was puzzled; only the person doing the release needs to know that, so why include it in the public project?

In fact, writing just a few simple notes for XML::Writer has been one of the best-value development practices I’ve ever followed. Yes, it’s just a reminder. I could have scripted those steps, too. But just writing down what to do, step by step, takes no more effort than running through those steps in the first place. Like all good documentation it makes you think as well. Is there a step that’s uncomfortably hard to communicate? Maybe that needs changing.

It helps others and, in a good way, facilitates forks. It’s always reassuring to come back to a project like that after a year or more and find all the steps written out. The busy developer you help may well be yourself.

(Music: Fatima Mansions, “The Loyaliser”)
(More from this year, or the front page? [K])