Birch Release Deprecated

With the Open edX Cypress Release, the Birch release is no longer supported. This page remains as a record of when new features were included in Open edX at the time of the Birch release.


The current target date for Birch's official release is Tues, Feb 24. If a significant number of changes are added to the release candidate branch, a new release candidate will be created and the release date will be pushed back, to give people time to test the new release candidate.

The Birch release candidate is the named-release/birch/rc branch in our git repositories, and it is based off the hotfix-2015-01-29 tag in edx-platform. Since that commit, the following pull requests have also been added (or will be added) to the release candidate.

#6441upgrading Pillow for security reasonspresent in RC1
#6805updating footer copyright notice for legal reasonspresent in RC1
#6869UI bugfix for footer copyright noticepresent in RC2
#6841compatibility fix so that we can run the Birch RC tests on Jenkinspresent in RC2
#6936bugfix related to importing courses and split modulestorepresent in RC2
#6951Fix grades download in courses with cohorted contentpresent in RC2
#6930improve performancepresent in RC2
#6873bugfix related to textbookspresent in RC2
#6747bugfix in Javascript for some check/show answer buttons on problemspresent in RC2
#6773bugfixes for Recommender XBlockpresent in RC2
#6833bugfix related to split modulestorepresent in RC2
#6878bugfix for documenting upgrade requirements of payment flowpresent in RC2
#6818bugfix for ecommerce redemption codespresent in RC2
#6958bugfix for Studio unicode errorpresent in RC2
#6740better warnings around incompatibilities around content librariespresent in RC2
#6984unicode fixpresent in RC3
#6892memory/performance fixpresent in RC3
#7002documentation updatespresent in final release
#7021bugfix for handling auto-reconnect mongo exceptionspresent in final release

Time Spent

This is just an approximation, based on looking back after the fact.

  • Writing preliminary documents (audience doc, improvements doc, etc): about a day
  • Preliminary meetings, cross-team communication, determining when was the right time to cut the first release candidate: about a day
  • Releasing RC1: about three days
    • Discussing tagging scheme and tagging repos
    • Emailing the edx-code mailing list to let people know what was happening
    • Debugging issues with the configuration repo (installation progress hanging at syncdb)
    • Understanding what Ansible was doing – mostly without support from devops
    • Building Vagrant images for both devstack and fullstack, transferring them to Google Drive and Amazon S3
    • Testing, making pull requests to configuration, etc
  • Migration script: about three days
    • Understanding what Ansible was doing – with some support from devops
    • Unexpected surprises: automatic database upgrades
    • Writing the script, with multiple iterations and feedback on each one
    • Testing the script, which required building a new Aspen VM each time
  • Releasing RC2: about a day and a half
    • Half a day to identify all the bugfixes that needed to go in, and merging them
    • A day to build new Vagrant images, get them uploaded, email edx-code, etc
  • Releasing RC3: about a day
    • Build new Vagrant images, get them uploaded, email edx-code, etc
  • Releasing Birch final: about two days
    • Built two sets of Vagrant images, one set that had the "named-release/birch/rc1" tag, one set that didn't – one day for each set of images
    • Debugging the "named-release/birch/rc1" tag issue with Steven Burch from Stanford
    • Further testing
    • Write blog post, email edx-code
  • Documentation review (throughout): about half a day
    • Clarifying technical points for the documentation team
    • Making pull requests to the edx-documentation repo, checking them on

Total: roughly 14 business days of work, which translates to about 3 weeks of effort.