Working with Release Notes

The Adjutant team uses reno to generate release notes. These are important user-facing documents that must be included when a user or operator facing change is performed, like a bug-fix or a new feature. A release note should be included in the same patch the work is being performed. Release notes should be short, easy to read, and easy to maintain. They also must link back to any appropriate documentation if it exists. The following conventions help ensure all release notes achieve those goals.

Most release notes either describe bug fixes or announce support for new features, both of which are tracked using Launchpad. The conventions below rely on links in Launchpad to provide readers with more context.


We highly recommend taking careful thought when writing and reviewing release notes. Once a release note has been published with a formal release, updating it across releases will cause it to be published in a subsequent release. Reviews that update, or modify, a release note from a previous release outside of the branch it was added in should be rejected unless it’s required for a very specific case.

Please refer to reno’s documentation for more information.

Release Notes for Bugs

When creating a release note that communicates a bug fix, use the story number in the name of the release note:

$ tox -e venv reno new story-1652012
Created new notes file in releasenotes/notes/story-1652012-7c53b9702b10084d.yaml

The body of the release note should clearly explain how the impact will affect users and operators. It should also include why the change was necessary but not be overspecific about implementation details, as that can be found in the commit and the bug report. It should contain a properly formatted link in reStructuredText that points back to the original bug report used to track the fix. This ensures the release note is kept short and to-the-point while providing readers with additional resources:

  - |
    [`bug 1652012 <!/story/111111>`_]
    This bug was fixed because X and we needed to maintain a certain level
    of backwards compatibility with the fix despite so it still defaults to
    an unsafe value.
  - >
    X is now deprecated and should no longer be used. Instead use Y.

Release Notes for Features

Release notes detailing feature work follow the same basic format, since features are also tracked as stories.

$ tox -e venv reno new story-1652012
Created new notes file in releasenotes/notes/story-1652012-7c53b9702b10084d.yaml

Just like release notes communicating bug fixes, release notes detailing feature work must contain a link back to the story. Readers should be able to easily discover all patches that implement the feature, as well as find links to the full specification and documentation. The release notes can be added to the last patch of the feature. All of this is typically found in the story on storyboard:

  - >
    [`story 1652012 <!/story/222222>`_]
    We now support Q
  - >
    We highly recommend people using W to switch to using Q

In the rare case there is a release note that does not pertain to a bug or feature work, use a sensible slug and include any documentation relating to the note. We can iterate on the content and application of the release note during the review process.

For more information on how and when to create release notes, see the project-team-guide.