8. Preparing for a Release

8.1. Overview

VisIt supports three types of releases, major, minor and patch, where the version number consists of “major.minor.patch”. Patch releases are the most common type of release and typically occur three to four times a year. Minor releases are the next most common type of release and may occur once or twice a year. Major releases happen very infrequently, with as much as 10 years passing between major releases.

8.2. Preparing for a Patch Release

Preparing for a minor release is pretty straightforward and consists of updating a few files. These consist of


8.3. Preparing for a Minor Release

Preparing for a minor release consists of performing all the steps involved in preparing for a patch release, along with some additional ones, such as creating the release candidate branch and updating the splash screen.

8.3.1. Creating the Release Candidate Branch

Creating a release candidate branch is just like creating a normal branch. Here are the steps used to create the 3.1RC.

git checkout develop
git pull
git checkout -b 3.1RC
git push --set-upstream origin 3.1RC

8.3.2. Updating the Splashscreen

The splashscreen is the first thing the user sees when running VisIt so the version number included in the splashscreen image should be up to date. Updating the splashscreen usually means just updating the version number in the current splashscreen images but in the event of a major or minor release (when the first or second digit in the version changes), the splashscreen images should be redesigned to showcase new features.

There are two image files associated with the splashscreen, both of which are XCF. XCF files are the native image format of the GIMP image-editing program. One is for the splashscreen and the second is for the icon on MacOS X. They are both used as the first step in the process to create the splashscreen and icon.

The rest of this section will be focused on updating the version number. Changing the images would be the same in terms of the mechanics involved except that it would involve more editing of the image files. Changing the version on the splashscreen

Follow these steps to update the version on the splashscreen.

  1. Go to the src/common/icons directory.
  2. The splashscreen image’s XCF files are named VisIt3.0.xcf, VisIt3.1.xcf, etc.
  3. Copy the file from the last version to the new name for the current version.
  4. Open the file in GIMP.

Fig. 8.56 The splashscreen in GIMP.

You’ll see that the file has several layers to it. There are four layers for each of the four splash screen images that get randomly choosen from when starting VisIt or are cycled through when you select About in the Help menu.

  1. Select the text layer containing the version number and change it.
  2. Save the file.

Now you are ready to create the png images that are actually read in by Qt. When you open the XCF file all the layers corresponding to the four different splashscreen images will be enabled. When you save the first image you will have them all shown. To save the second image you will hide the layer corresponding to the first splashscreen image. You will successively hide one additional layer until you have saved all four of the png images.

  1. Go to File->Export As and change Name to VisIt1.png.
  2. Click on Export.
  3. Click on Export on the window that pops up to allow you to set the save options.
  4. Hide Background1.

Fig. 8.57 Hiding the Background1 layer in GIMP.

  1. Repeat steps 6 - 9, saving images VisIt2.png, VisIt3.png and VisIt4.png.

The images saved by GIMP result in warning messages when read by Qt. To modify the images so that the warning message disappears do the following.

convert VisIt1.png VisIt1a.png
convert VisIt2.png VisIt2a.png
convert VisIt3.png VisIt3a.png
convert VisIt4.png VisIt4a.png
mv VisIt1a.png VisIt1.png
mv VisIt2a.png VisIt2.png
mv VisIt3a.png VisIt3.png
mv VisIt4a.png VisIt4.png
  1. Copy the files to src/resources/images. Changing the version on the MacOS X icon

When VisIt starts on MacOS X systems, it adds an icon into the Mac application dock. The icon that we use is based on the splashscreen but is stored in MacOS X icon format.

Follow these steps to update the version on the MacOS X icon.

  1. Go to the src/common/icons directory.
  2. Create the directory VisItIcon.iconset.
  3. Open the file VisIt3.x-square.xcf in GIMP.
  4. Select the text layer containing the version number and change it.
  5. Go to Image->Scale Image.
  6. Change the Image Size Width and Height to 1024.
  7. Click on Scale.
  8. Go to File->Export As and change Name to VisItIcon.iconset/icon_512x512@2x.png.
  9. Click on Export.
  10. Click on Export on the window that pops up to allow you to set the save options.

Now you need to create several sizes of the file. You will use ImageMagick for this.

cd VisItIcon.iconset
convert -geometry 512x512 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_512x512.png
convert -geometry 512x512 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_256x256@2x.png
convert -geometry 256x256 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_256x256.png
convert -geometry 256x256 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_128x128@2x.png
convert -geometry 128x128 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_128x128.png
convert -geometry 64x64 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_32x32@2x.png
convert -geometry 32x32 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_32x32.png
convert -geometry 32x32 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_16x16@2x.png
convert -geometry 16x16 icon_512x512@2x.png icon_16x16.png

Now you will use iconutil to create the icns file. Note that iconutil is only available on the Mac.

cd ..
iconutil --convert icns VisItIcon.iconset Creating a new release notes file

A final step in making a release is to create the release notes file for the next release. To do this, you must be reasonably certain what the next release’s version number will be. Typically, we do 3-4 patch releases for each minor release. So, if the release you are just now making is version 3.1.2, then the next release is likely to be 3.1.3. However, if the current release is 3.1.3, the next release might be 3.1.4 or it might be 3.2.

In any event, to make the release notes file for the next release, you need to create an new, empty release notes file by going to src/resources/help/en_US and copying either the minor release notes template, relnotes_minor_templ.html, or the major release notes template, relnotes_major_templ.html to a file name of the form relnotesA.B.C.html where A.B.C is the version number for the next release. The .C part of the file name is missing for minor releases.

Patch release notes should go on the RC branch (e.g. 3.1RC) and minor release notes should go on develop. Always assume there will be another patch release and just create the next patch release file. If there isn’t another patch release, the notes from the patch release can be incorporated into the minor release notes file. When finishing a minor release, create the files for the next minor release and the next patch release.

8.4. Preparing for a Major Release

Preparing for a major release is the same as preparing for a minor release with the addition of putting VisIt through the Information Management software release process.