sire uses a main, devel and future development process, using feature branches for all code development.

  • main - this always contains the latest official release.

  • devel - this always contains the latest development release, which will become the next official release.

  • future - this contains pull requests that have been accepted, but which are targetted for a future release (i.e. not the next official release)

Code should be developed on a fork or in a feature branch. When your feature is ready, please submit a pull request against devel. This will trigger our CI process, which will build sire on all of the platforms that we support. Assuming this completes successfully, then one of the release team will conduct a code review. The outcome of the review will be one of the following;

  1. This feature is ready, and should be part of the next official release. The pull request will be accepted into devel. This will trigger our CI/CD process, building the new dev package and uploading it to for everyone to use.

  2. This feature is good, but it is not yet ready to be part of the next offical release. This could be because the feature is part of a series, and all of the series need to be finished before release. Or because we are in a feature freeze period. Or because you want more time for people to explore and play with the feature before it is officially released (and would then need to be supported, and backwards compatibility maintained). If this is the case (or it is your request) then the pull request will be redirected into the future branch. Once it (and features that depend on it) are ready, you can then issue a pull request for all of the features at once into devel. It will be noted that each of the individual parts have already been code reviewed, so the process to accept the combination into devel should be more straightforward.

  3. This feature is good, but more work is needed before it can be accepted. This could be because some of the unit tests haven’t passed, or the latest version of devel hasn’t been merged. Or there may be changes that are requested that would make the code easier to maintain or to preserve backwards compatibility. If this is the case, then we will engage in conversation with you and will work together to rectify any issues.

Release Timetable#

We use a calendar-based version numbering system, based on regular release cadence of several releases per year.

Our aim is to make a major release every quarter (so four releases per year). Each release will be numbered sequentially, e.g. 2023.1.0 is the first release of 2023, 2023.2.0 is the second release. Our aim is that new functionality only appears in these “major” releases.

Bugs and issues are a constant of software engineering. We will aim to fix these as quickly as possible. Bugfixes will be made in fix_issue branches, numbered according to the GitHub issue in which they were raised (hence why we ask that each bug / issue is separately raised in its own GitHub issue).

These bugfixes will be accepted into devel as soon as they are ready, meaning that they will automatically be included in the next new major release. They will also be back-ported into main so that they can be included in the next bugfix release. When a sufficient number of bugfixes have been made (or when an individual bugfix is urgent), we will issue a “point” release based on the code in main. These will be numbered sequentially using the “patch” version number, e.g. 2023.1.0 is the first major release in 2023, while 2023.1.1 is the first patch release containing bugfixes for 2023.1.0. Our aim is to ensure that patch releases DO NOT include new functionality. They only include bug, documentation or issue fixes.

The planned major releases in 2023 will be;

  • 2023.1.0 - January

  • 2023.2.0 - March

  • 2023.3.0 - June

  • 2023.4.0 - September

  • 2023.5.0 - December


There are five releases as 2023.1.0 as we are moving to make the major release by the end of each quarter.

We will aim to make each release by the end of the indicated month. Each release will be preceeded by a one-week feature freeze and testing period. This is short as devel should always contain a valid and tested version of sire. This will be further tested via integration tests in sire_bigtests before being merged into main for the next official release.

How to track development#

You can keep up with what we are working on in several ways;

  • Keep an eye on the devel branch to see what is being merged in. Perhaps use the latest dev package from anaconda.

  • Keep an eye on the various feature_X branches as they appear in the repository. Feel free to initiate a conversation on GitHub with the developer who is working on that branch if you want to learn more, or want to make suggestions or offer a helping hand.

  • Clone and build your own copy of the future branch. This is the bleeding edge, and things may change and break. But it is the earliest way to use the future version of sire.

Wishlists / suggestions#

If you would like to suggest features that should be added to the roadmap then please raise a feature request here.

More details about individual feature branches, which contain the new features being actively worked on, is available on the GitHub issues page.