Protocol Release Checklist

This page documents the steps needed for preparing and injecting a protocol proposal for Tezos. These include:

  • technical steps such as releasing code and launching a test network;

  • meta-technical steps such as extending the developer documentation;

  • non-technical steps such as managing public relations (PR) via appropriate communication.


Documentation & Public Relations Steps

Before protocol proposal time, there must be both a complete technical description of the changes in the protocol (including all necessary documentation), and a complete set of blog posts; one blog post must introduce the proposal to a non-technical audience and describe who created it, while a second blog post points to the technical documentation and gives a high level overview of the technical changes.

Technical Steps

The release manager, in coordination with both protocol and shell teams, must ask for the protocol to be released, a test network must be created, and whatever tests are currently demanded for the protocol must pass as green.

The new shell should be released before injection occurs (see Release System), to make it simpler for third parties to run tests before voting. This is especially necessary if a new environment is required for the new protocol.

Timeline and Checklist

Protocol Development:

Protocol development occurs during the months before an injection slot is available.

Protocol Name:

The protocol name is chosen by active members of the development team at least one week before the planned release. Selecting the name is the privilege of the whole set of developers who were involved in the release.

  • Traditionally, the name must be that of an ancient city, and its first letter must be the successor of the first letter of the previous protocol.

Communication Preparation:

During this phase, blog and social network posts are drafted and reviewed.

Protocol CI Checklist:

The release of a new protocol requires some manual configuration in the CI:

  • The new n+1 protocol must be added to those being built and tested

  • The old n-1 protocol must be removed from those being built and tested

This is done by adding and removing the respective protocols to active_protocol_versions, scripts/ will rm the appropriate older protocol.

Additionally, the unit:NNN_PROTONAME unit test jobs in .gitlab/ci/jobs/test/unit.yml must be updated to test the new protocols and stop testing the old ones, in the same manner as above.

Final Tests and sign-off:

In the below, “Protocol Shepherd” is abbreviated “Shepherd”.

  • Shepherd Initiates Final QA Check:

    • declares feature freeze;

    • checks final gas rescaling;

    • checks final migration code.

  • Tests Are Conducted

    • Unit Tests: All unit tests must pass.

    • Integration Tests: All integration tests must pass.

    • Protocol Migration Test: the Mainnet migration test must be run and must pass.

  • Developer Meeting Agrees to Freeze the Code (up to bug fixes)

  • Shepherd compiles the doc page with the changelog (e.g. Protocol Carthage), and resets the Alpha changelog, as the diff between protocol Alpha and the proposed protocol restarts at zero (e.g. !3123)

  • Shepherd Declares We Are Ready For Proposal Creation

At this point there should be at least one week left before injection to give time for the test network and the release to be ready and tested before the injection. If some features need to be dropped to meet this deadline (including because they were not reviewed thoroughly enough), they should be dropped.

  • Protocol Hash: a vanity hash for the new protocol is computed and chosen by its developers

    • Several developers may create hashes which are meant to capture as much of the protocol name as possible; the specific hash that is chosen is picked by consensus of the developers involved in the release.

  • Release Artifacts are Created: an MR on master is made with the result of the protocol snapshot (mostly automated by script scripts/ linked into the node and client. The few additional manual steps to be done on the documentation part are listed in meta-issue #2170 (Section “Protocol snapshot”). The delegates must also be built in this branch. CI must be run on this branch and pass.

    NB: Make sure NOT to merge this MR about the same day when a previous protocol gets activated. It is recommended to avoid merging a snapshot for a new protocol within 1-2 days of another protocol’s activation, due to significant interactions and interferences between the snapshotting process and that for upgrading the documentation site to reflect a protocol activation. Note that the activation date cannot be modified, but is known at least two weeks in advance.

  • Test Network Preparation: everything before the Spawn Test Network section of:

  • New Shell Release Preparation: see the Preparation section of:

  • Release Manager Declares Release Artifacts Final: If previous steps all work, the artifacts are ready for public release.

At the time of release: Past here, preparation work is done: we are at the point of no return.

  • Agora Posts, Tweets: Blog posts are published on Tezos Agora announcing the release; tweets linking to the Agora posts may go out at this time. (The Agora posts go out first to encourage people to view Agora as the place to go first and earliest for Tezos announcements.)

  • Company Blog Posts, Tweets: Blog posts are made on company web sites 15 minutes to an hour later than the Agora posts (so that the Agora post is the first announcement) and tweets pointing to company blogs may go out at this time.

  • Shell Release(s): new version with the protocol and the delegates (and possibly adding a new protocol environment), see the Release section of:

  • Test Network: the test network for the new protocol is started, see

  • Injection: a baker injects the protocol using a Proposal operation.

One Month Before Potential Activation

  • Test Network End of Line: announce the end of the previous test network. More precisely, announce that the test network for protocol n-1 will be stopped when (if) protocol n+1 activates. This gives one month for users to migrate to the test network for protocol n or n+1.

A Couple of Days Before Activation

  • Reminder For Bakers: post in the baking slack and in the baker newsletter a reminder for them to upgrade.

  • PR Team Work: The Tezos Foundation’s (TF) PR team prepares news releases for the press to go out after protocol activation is known to have been fully successful.

  • Short Blog Post Drafted: A short blog post is drafted to announce successful activation; it will be posted around the same time that news releases go out.

  • Doc Update Approved: A documentation update reflecting the new active protocol and droping the documentation of the previous protocol has to be ready. Technically, an MR instantiating meta-issue #2170 (Section “Protocol activation”) for the new protocol has to be ready and must have sufficient approvals to be triggered right after activation.

After Activation

A few hours after activation, when it is certain that everything has happened successfully, a blog post goes out to Agora and then company blogs (the same order as “At The Time Of Release”, above”) and then a news release is sent out by the TF’s PR people.

On the main tezos/tezos repository, on the master branch, the proto_alpha directory is reset to the newly activated protocol and its associated daemons, with the exception of vanity nonce and migration that should be reverted.

Soon after the activation (preferably on the same or next day), the MR updating the documentation to reflect the new active protocol (see above) has to be merged. Also, part of the code related to the old protocol can now be dropped, see How to Freeze Protocols.

One month after the activation of protocol N, we deactivate the N-1 test network. (For example, the Babylon net was deactivated one month after Carthage went live on the main network.) This deactivation has been already announced one month before activation (see above).