Maintenance guide#

This guide includes various sections that are applicable to maintainers of the project.


We follow Semantic Versioning for naming releases. In short, this means that each release is tagged with a version number in the format MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH.

Release branches#

We create release branches for each increment in the major or minor version, formatted as MAJOR.MINOR.x, e.g., 1.0.x. This means that all patch releases (e.g. 1.0.1, 1.0.2, etc.) will be made from the 1.0.x branch.

This allows us to merge new features and/or breaking changes into the main branch without affecting the release branches. We can then backport bug fixes and other changes to the release branches as needed.


The development branch is the main branch, and we create release branches off it. Since pull requests only come into the main branch, backporting is used to bring new changes into release branches.

See the diagram below for an example of how this works:

feature foo <- head of branch main, main development branch
bug fix
feature bar <- head of branch 0.14.x, release branch for the 0.14.x release series
  my hotfix <- backported from main
  my other hotfix <- backported from main, tagged as v0.14.1 (release)
feature baz
my hotfix
another bug fix
my other hotfix

Automatic backporting with MeeseeksDev#

MeeseeksDev is a GitHub bot that handles automatic backporting. It is configured to backport a pull request if one of the following conditions is met:

  1. The pull request contains a label with the title and body set to on-merge: backport to MAJOR.MINOR.x, where MAJOR.MINOR.x is an existing release branch. The PR must be labeled before it is merged in order to trigger the backport.

  2. The pull request contains a comment with the following text:

    @meeseeksdev backport to MAJOR.MINOR.x

    where MAJOR.MINOR.x is an existing release branch. This comment must be added after the PR is merged.

Once the bot is triggered, it will create a new pull request into the specified release branch with the changes from the original pull request. This will be done from a fork of the repository, so it must be approved and merged by a maintainer.

Note that this process can be repeated for multiple release branches, if, for example, a patch change is needed for multiple versions.

Manual backporting#

It is possible that an automatic backport fails due to merge conflicts or other issues. In this case, the bot will attach a Still Needs Manual Backport label and will include a comment in the original pull request with instructions on how to manually backport the changes. You can see an example of this in #2584.

Follow the instructions and remove the Still Needs Manual Backport label once the backport is complete!

Making a release#

For convenience, we have a release checklist that outlines the steps to take when making a new release. It is recommended to create an issue from this template to track the progress of the release (see #2327 for an example). This section provides an overview of the steps involved.

(Optional) creating a release branch#

As mentioned above, if the release increments the major or minor version, a new release branch should be created from main. This branch should be named according to the new version, e.g., 1.0.x. Our GitHub rulesets will automatically protect this branch from direct pushes and will require pull requests for changes.

Bumping the version#

The next step is to bump the version in the pyproject.toml file. This should be done via a PR into main and then an appropriate backport into the release branch.

(Optional) Re-run the tutorials#

It is recommended to re-run all the tutorials for major and minor releases, and affected tutorials for patch releases. This ensures that the tutorials are up-to-date with the latest changes.

First, trigger a Docker image build targeting the release branch. This will build and upload an image to the registry with the new changes.

Then, run the tutorials using the new image. This will create individual PRs for each tutorial that has changed, which must be reviewed and merged. For convenience, there is a tutorial checklist for tracking the progress of the tutorials (see #210 for an example).

It is possible that there are new bugs or issues in the tutorials revealed when running these automated updates. Any new bugs should be addressed, and the tutorials re-run until they pass successfully.

Publish a release off the tutorials repository#

Once all relevant tutorials have been updated and merged, create a new release on the tutorials repository targeting main. This release should be named according to the new version, e.g., 1.0.0.

Updating the main repository#

Create a new branch off main in the main repository and run git submodule update --remote. This is necessary as the tutorials repository is included as a git submodule, so this step ensures that the latest changes are included in the documentation. This PR should also be backported.

Creating a GitHub release#

Create a new GitHub release targeting the release branch with the same body as the previous release. Once the release is published, this will trigger the release workflow that will build the package and upload it to PyPI. Note that this workflow will only run if the version tag matches the *.*.* pattern (this pattern is protected by our GitHub rulesets).

At this point, check that the version updates correctly on PyPI. If necessary, follow the instructions in the next section. Additionally, check that Read the Docs builds correctly and tags with the stable version.


Once a particular version tag is published to PyPI, it cannot be republished, even if the release is yanked or deleted. This is a constraint of PyPI, so it is important to ensure that the version is correct before publishing.

If a mistake is made, the version should be incremented and a new release created and published. Yanking should only be used in exceptional circumstances, but note that this will not remove the version from the PyPI index.

(Optional) Manual release#

If the release workflow fails for any reason, it is possible to manually build and upload the package to PyPI. This can be done by running the following commands:

hatch build
hatch publish

Updating the conda-forge feedstock#

Our package is also available on the conda-forge channel. The feedstock repository contains the recipe for building the package.

Typically a PR into the [feedstock] will be automatically created a couple of days after the PyPI release (see #32 for an example) and will be automatically merged.

If there are any issues with the recipe (e.g. due to dependency changes), it may need to be updated manually. This can be done by following the instructions in the PR (see #38 for an example).

Update Docker images#

Finally, build new Docker images with the stable and semantic versioning tags using the release image workflow.

Continuous integration#

Work in progress!


Documentation is built and hosted on Read the Docs, and the configuration can be found in .readthedocs.yaml.

Conventional commits#

Starting with version 1.2, we use conventional commits for commits into the main branch. We support the following types (loosely based on the Angular convention):

  • build: Changes that primarily affect depdenencies

  • ci: Changes to our CI configuration files and scripts, typically in the .github/ directory

  • docs: Documentation changes, typically in the docs/ directory

  • feat: A new feature

  • fix: A bug fix

  • misc: Changes that don’t fit into any other category

  • perf: A code change that improves performance

  • refactor: A code change that neither fixes a bug nor adds a feature

  • release: Changes necessary for a release

  • style: Changes that do not affect the meaning of the code (e.g. whitespace, formatting changes in pre-commit configurations)

  • test: Changes that primarily add or modify tests

We support the following scopes, based on our top-level package structure:

  • autotune: Changes primarly affecting scvi.autotune

  • criticism: Changes primarily affecting scvi.criticism

  • data: Changes primarily affecting

  • dataloaders: Changes primarily affecting scvi.dataloaders

  • distributions: Changes primarily affecting scvi.distributions

  • external: Changes primarily affecting scvi.external

  • hub: Changes primarily affecting scvi.hub

  • model: Changes primarily affecting scvi.model

  • module: Changes primarily affecting scvi.module

  • nn: Changes primarily affecting scvi.nn

  • train: Changes primarily affecting scvi.train

  • utils: Changes primarily affecting scvi.utils

We use the BREAKING CHANGE footer to indicate that a commit introduces a breaking change.