How is Django Formed?

This document explains how to release Django. If you’re unlucky enough to be driving a release, you should follow these instructions to get the package out.

Please, keep these instructions up-to-date if you make changes! The point here is to be descriptive, not prescriptive, so feel free to streamline or otherwise make changes, but update this document accordingly!


There are three types of releases that you might need to make

  • Security releases, disclosing and fixing a vulnerability. This’ll generally involve two or three simultaneous releases – e.g. 1.5.x, 1.6.x, and, depending on timing, perhaps a 1.7 alpha/beta/rc.
  • Regular version releases, either a final release (e.g. 1.5) or a bugfix update (e.g. 1.5.1).
  • Pre-releases, e.g. 1.6 beta or something.

In general the steps are about the same regardless, but there are a few differences noted. The short version is:

  1. If this is a security release, pre-notify the security distribution list at least one week before the actual release.
  2. Proofread (and create if needed) the release notes, looking for organization, writing errors, deprecation timelines, etc. Draft a blog post and email announcement.
  3. Update version numbers and create the release package(s)!
  4. Upload the package(s) to the server.
  5. Unless this is a pre-release, add the new version(s) to PyPI.
  6. Declare the new version in the admin on
  7. Post the blog entry and send out the email announcements.
  8. Update version numbers post-release.

There are a lot of details, so please read on.


You’ll need a few things hooked up to make this work:

  • A GPG key recorded as an acceptable releaser in the Django releasers document. (If this key is not your default signing key, you’ll need to add -u to every GPG signing command below, where is the email address associated with the key you want to use.)
  • Access to Django’s record on PyPI.
  • Access to the server to upload files and trigger a deploy.
  • Access to the admin on as a “Site maintainer”.
  • Access to post to django-announce.
  • If this is a security release, access to the pre-notification distribution list.

If this is your first release, you’ll need to coordinate with James and/or Jacob to get all these things lined up.

Pre-release tasks

A few items need to be taken care of before even beginning the release process. This stuff starts about a week before the release; most of it can be done any time leading up to the actual release:

  1. If this is a security release, send out pre-notification one week before the release. We maintain a list of who gets these pre-notification emails in the private django-core repository. This email should be signed by the key you’ll use for the release, and should include patches for each issue being fixed. Also make sure to update the security issues archive; this will be in docs/releases/security.txt.
  2. If this is a major release, make sure the tests pass, then increase the default PBKDF2 iterations in django.contrib.auth.hashers.PBKDF2PasswordHasher by about 10% (pick a round number). Run the tests, and update the 3 failing hasher tests with the new values. Make sure this gets noted in the release notes (see release notes on 1.6 for an example).
  3. As the release approaches, watch Trac to make sure no release blockers are left for the upcoming release.
  4. Check with the other committers to make sure they don’t have any uncommitted changes for the release.
  5. Proofread the release notes, including looking at the online version to catch any broken links or reST errors, and make sure the release notes contain the correct date.
  6. Double-check that the release notes mention deprecation timelines for any APIs noted as deprecated, and that they mention any changes in Python version support.
  7. Double-check that the release notes index has a link to the notes for the new release; this will be in docs/releases/index.txt.

Preparing for release

Write the announcement blog post for the release. You can enter it into the admin at any time and mark it as inactive. Here are a few examples: example security release announcement, example regular release announcement, example pre-release announcement.

Actually rolling the release

OK, this is the fun part, where we actually push out a release!

  1. Check Jenkins is green for the version(s) you’re putting out. You probably shouldn’t issue a release until it’s green.

  2. A release always begins from a release branch, so you should make sure you’re on a stable branch and up-to-date. For example:

    git checkout stable/1.5.x
    git pull
  3. If this is a security release, merge the appropriate patches from django-private. Rebase these patches as necessary to make each one a simple commit on the release branch rather than a merge commit. To ensure this, merge them with the --ff-only flag; for example:

    git checkout stable/1.5.x
    git merge --ff-only security/1.5.x

    (This assumes security/1.5.x is a branch in the django-private repo containing the necessary security patches for the next release in the 1.5 series.)

    If git refuses to merge with --ff-only, switch to the security-patch branch and rebase it on the branch you are about to merge it into (git checkout security/1.5.x; git rebase stable/1.5.x) and then switch back and do the merge. Make sure the commit message for each security fix explains that the commit is a security fix and that an announcement will follow (example security commit)

  4. Update version numbers for the release. This has to happen in three places: django/, docs/, and Please see notes on setting the VERSION tuple below for details on VERSION. Here’s an example commit updating version numbers

  5. For a version release, remove the UNDER DEVELOPMENT header at the top of the release notes.

  6. If this is a pre-release package, update the “Development Status” trove classifier in to reflect this. Otherwise, make sure the classifier is set to Development Status :: 5 - Production/Stable.

  7. Tag the release using git tag. For example:

    git tag --sign --message="Django 1.5.1" 1.5.1

    You can check your work by running git tag --verify <tag>.

  8. Push your work, including the tag: git push --tags.

  9. Make sure you have an absolutely clean tree by running git clean -dfx.

  10. Run make -f extras/Makefile to generate the release packages. This will create the release packages in a dist/ directory.

  11. Generate the hashes of the release packages:

    $ md5sum dist/Django-*
    $ sha1sum dist/Django-*
  12. Create a “checksums” file containing the hashes and release information. Start with this template and insert the correct version, date, release URL and checksums:

    This file contains MD5 and SHA1 checksums for the source-code tarball
    of Django <<VERSION>>, released <<DATE>>.
    To use this file, you will need a working install of PGP or other
    compatible public-key encryption software. You will also need to have
    the Django release manager's public key in your keyring; this key has
    the ID ``0x3684C0C08C8B2AE1`` and can be imported from the MIT
    keyserver. For example, if using the open-source GNU Privacy Guard
    implementation of PGP::
        gpg --keyserver --recv-key 0x3684C0C08C8B2AE1
    Once the key is imported, verify this file::
        gpg --verify <<THIS FILENAME>>
    Once you have verified this file, you can use normal MD5 and SHA1
    checksumming applications to generate the checksums of the Django
    package and compare them to the checksums listed below.
    Release package:
    Django <<VERSION>>:<<URL>>
    MD5 checksum:
    SHA1 checksum:
  13. Sign the checksum file (gpg --clearsign Django-<version>.checksum.txt). This generates a signed document, Django-<version>.checksum.txt.asc which you can then verify using gpg --verify Django-<version>.checksum.txt.asc.

If you’re issuing multiple releases, repeat these steps for each release.

Making the release(s) available to the public

Now you’re ready to actually put the release out there. To do this:

  1. Upload the release package(s) to the djangoproject server; releases go in /home/www/, under a directory for the appropriate version number (e.g. /home/www/ for a 1.5.x release.).

  2. Upload the checksum file(s); these go in /home/www/

  3. Test that the release packages install correctly using easy_install and pip. Here’s one method (which requires virtualenvwrapper):

    $ mktmpenv
    $ easy_install
    $ deactivate
    $ mktmpenv
    $ pip install
    $ deactivate
    $ mktmpenv
    $ pip install
    $ deactivate

    This just tests that the tarballs are available (i.e. redirects are up) and that they install correctly, but it’ll catch silly mistakes.

  4. Ask a few people on IRC to verify the checksums by visiting the checksums file (e.g. and following the instructions in it. For bonus points, they can also unpack the downloaded release tarball and verify that its contents appear to be correct (proper version numbers, no stray .pyc or other undesirable files).

  5. If this is a release that should land on PyPI (i.e. anything except for a pre-release), register the new package with PyPI by running python register.

  6. Upload the sdist you generated a few steps back through the PyPI web interface. You’ll log into PyPI, click “Django” in the right sidebar, find the release you just registered, and click “files” to upload the sdist.


    Why can’t we just use sdist upload? Well, if we do it above that pushes the sdist to PyPI before we’ve had a chance to sign, review and test it. And we can’t just upload without sdist because prevents that. Nor can we sdist upload because that would generate a new sdist that might not match the file we just signed. Finally, uploading through the web interface is somewhat more secure: it sends the file over HTTPS.

  7. Go to the Add release page in the admin, enter the new release number exactly as it appears in the name of the tarball (Django-<version>.tar.gz). So for example enter “1.5.1” or “1.4-rc-2”, etc. If the release is part of an LTS branch, mark it so.

  8. Make the blog post announcing the release live.

  9. For a new version release (e.g. 1.5, 1.6), update the default stable version of the docs by flipping the is_default flag to True on the appropriate DocumentRelease object in the database (this will automatically flip it to False for all others); you can do this using the site’s admin.

  10. Post the release announcement to the django-announce, django-developers and django-users mailing lists. This should include links to the announcement blog post and the release notes.


You’re almost done! All that’s left to do now is:

  1. Update the VERSION tuple in django/ again, incrementing to whatever the next expected release will be. For example, after releasing 1.5.1, update VERSION to VERSION = (1, 5, 2, 'alpha', 0).
  2. For the first beta release of a new version (when we create the stable/1.?.x git branch), you’ll want to create a new DocumentRelease object in the database for the new version’s docs, and update the docs/fixtures/doc_releases.json JSON fixture, so people without access to the production DB can still run an up-to-date copy of the docs site.
  3. Add the release in Trac’s versions list if necessary (and make it the default if it’s a final release). Not all versions are declared; take example on previous releases.
  4. On the master branch, remove the UNDER DEVELOPMENT header in the notes of the release that’s just been pushed out.

Notes on setting the VERSION tuple

Django’s version reporting is controlled by the VERSION tuple in django/ This is a five-element tuple, whose elements are:

  1. Major version.
  2. Minor version.
  3. Micro version.
  4. Status – can be one of “alpha”, “beta”, “rc” or “final”.
  5. Series number, for alpha/beta/RC packages which run in sequence (allowing, for example, “beta 1”, “beta 2”, etc.).

For a final release, the status is always “final” and the series number is always 0. A series number of 0 with an “alpha” status will be reported as “pre-alpha”.

Some examples:

  • (1, 2, 1, 'final', 0) –> “1.2.1”
  • (1, 3, 0, 'alpha', 0) –> “1.3 pre-alpha”
  • (1, 3, 0, 'beta', 2) –> “1.3 beta 2”