Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The road to Jackrabbit 0.9

I recently volunteered to work as the release manager for the 0.9 and 1.0 releases of the incubating Apache Jackrabbit project. The 0.9 part of this task was finished yesterday when I officially announced the release of Apache Jackrabbit version 0.9. The process leading up to the release announcement has been an interesting and educating one.

I first got involved with the Jackrabbit project in November 2004 when I announced an initial version of the JCR-RMI layer I had been working on. Based on positive feedback I started getting more and more active on the mailing list and continued working on JCR-RMI. My work was rewarded with committer status almost exactly a year ago in February 2005. Since then I've been working on various parts of Jackrabbit although I have still to touch the deep internals of Jackrabbit core. I got another reward for my work when I was invited to join the expert group of JSR 283: Content Repository for JavaTM Technology API Version 2.0.

Talk of making a Jackrabbit 1.0 release started sometime in summer 2005 after the JSR 170 had stabilized the JCR API. There was however not too much activity towards a release so I decided to start pushing things in late September. This sparked some discussion and concerns about some of the open issues. The Jira roadmap for 1.0 started to grow bigger and bigger as more issues were filed. I finally solved this problem in November by setting up a separate 1.1 goal for the more complex issues.

Despite these efforts and a lot of ongoing development work there still wasn't too much happening toward an initial release. This situation changed in January when Roy suggested that a 1.0 release plan might be a good thing to have. I volunteered to act as the release manager and based on the resulting discussions I published the Jackrabbit 0.9 release plan in late January. The idea (as suggested by Roy) was to first make a 0.9 release to streamline the release process for a 1.0 release soon after 0.9.

After working a while with making the build environment better fit the release needs I announced a 0.9 release candidate. Making the release candidate had me reading through a number of release guidelines on the various Apache websites and refreshing my GnuPG skills. All Apache releases are digitally signed so I needed to set up my own key. I also got my key signed by Roy, so I expect my key to show up in the Apache web of trust in a few days.

There was only one issue that got fixed between the first release candidate and the version I posted for the official release vote. The release vote passed with no objections, but then Roy suggested a few packaging changes before endorsing the release as required by the Incubator policy. I made the changes, and since no source files were modified there was no need to restart the release vote. Roy then proceeded to request and receive approval for the release from the Incubator PMC.

After the approval we placed the release under where incubating projects are allowed to publish their releases. I then updated the Jackrabbit web site and sent the release announcement. The next step the more challenging 1.0 release on which I'll start focusing tomorrow.

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