This page describes the current status of the release process.

Since versions 5.4.5 / 5.5.4 there is an automated release process using travis-ci in place. Since 6.30.0, the automated release process is using Github Actions.

However, there are still a few steps, that need manual examination.


This page gives an overview which tasks are automated to do a full release of PMD. This knowledge is required in order to verify that the release was successful or in case the automated process fails for some reason. Then individual steps need to be executed manually. Because the build is reproducible, these steps can be repeated again if the same tag is used.

The three main steps are:

  • Preparations (which creates the tag) - use for that
  • The actual release (which is automated)
  • Prepare the next release (make sure the current main branch is ready for further development)


This is the first step. It is always manual and is executed locally. It creates in the end the tag from which the release is created.

Make sure code is up to date and everything is committed and pushed with git:

$ ./mvnw clean
$ git pull
$ git status

As a help for the preparation task, the script guides you through the preparation tasks and the whole release process. The script requires a specific source code folder and additional checkouts locally, e.g. it requires that the repo is checked out aside the main pmd repo:

The script is called in the directory /home/joe/source/pmd and searches for ../

Also make sure, that the repo “” is locally up-to-date and has no local changes.

The Release Notes and docs

Before the release, you need to verify the release notes: Does it contain all the relevant changes for the release? Is it formatted properly? Are there any typos? Does it render properly?

As the release notes are part of the source code, it is not simple to change it afterwards. While the source code for a tag cannot be changed anymore, the published release notes on the github releases pages or the new posts can be changed afterwards (although that’s an entirely manual process).

You can find the release notes here: docs/pages/

The date (date +%d-%B-%Y) and the version (remove the SNAPSHOT) must be updated in docs/_config.yml, e.g. in order to release version “6.34.0”, the configuration should look like this:

    version: 6.34.0
    previous_version: 6.33.0
    date: 24-April-2021
    release_type: minor

The release type could be one of “bugfix” (e.g. 6.34.x), “minor” (6.x.0), or “major” (x.0.0).

The release notes usual mention any new rules that have been added since the last release. Please double check the file pmd-core/src/main/resources/rulesets/releases/<version>.xml, so that all new rules are listed.

Add the new rules as comments to the quickstart rulesets:

  • pmd-apex/src/main/resources/rulesets/apex/quickstart.xml
  • pmd-java/src/main/resources/rulesets/java/quickstart.xml

The designer lives at pmd/pmd-designer. Update property pmd-designer.version in pom.xml to reference the latest pmd-designer release. See for the available releases.

Starting with PMD 6.23.0 we’ll provide small statistics for every release. This needs to be added to the release notes as the last section. To count the closed issues and pull requests, the milestone on github with the title of the new release is searched. Make sure, there is a milestone on The following snippet will create the numbers, that can be attached to the release notes as a last section:


echo "### Stats"
echo "* $(git log pmd_releases/${LAST_VERSION}..${NEW_VERSION_COMMITISH} --oneline --no-merges |wc -l) commits"
echo "* $(curl -s ""|jq ".[] | select(.title == \"$NEW_VERSION\") | .closed_issues") closed tickets & PRs"
echo "* Days since last release: $(( ( $(date +%s) - $(git log --max-count=1 --format="%at" pmd_releases/${LAST_VERSION}) ) / 86400))"

Note: this part is also integrated into

Check in all (version) changes to branch master or any other branch, from which the release takes place:

$ git commit -a -m "Prepare pmd release <version>"
$ git push

The Homepage

The github repo hosts the homepage for All the following tasks are to be done in this repo.

The new version needs to be entered into _config.yml, e.g.:

  latestVersion: 6.34.0
  latestVersionDate: 24-April-2021

Also move the previous version down into the “downloads” section. We usually keep only the last 3 versions in this list, so remove the oldest version.

Then create a new page for the new release, e.g. _posts/ and copy the release notes into this page. This will appear under the news section.

Check in all (version) changes to branch master:

$ git commit -a -m "Prepare pmd release <version>"
$ git push

The actual release

The actual release starts with one last local command: calling maven-release-plugin.

This plugin changes the version by basically removing the “-SNAPSHOT” suffix, builds the changed project locally, commits the version change, creates a new tag from this commit, changes the version of the project to the next snapshot, commits this change and pushes everything.

RELEASE_VERSION is the version of the release. It is reused for the tag. DEVELOPMENT_VERSION is the next snapshot version after the release.

./mvnw -B release:clean release:prepare \
    -Dtag=pmd_releases/${RELEASE_VERSION} \
    -DreleaseVersion=${RELEASE_VERSION} \

Once the maven plugin has pushed the tag, github actions will start and build a new version from this tag. Since it is a tag build and a released version build, the build script will do a couple of additional stuff. This is all automated in .ci/

Here is, what happens:

The release on github actions currently takes about 30-45 minutes. Once this is done, you can spread additional news:

  • Write an email to the mailing list

    To: PMD Developers List Subject: [ANNOUNCE] PMD released

    • Downloads:
    • Documentation:

    And Copy-Paste the release notes

  • Tweet about the new release

Tweet on, eg.:

PMD 6.34.0 released: #PMD


Task Description URL ☐ / ✔
maven central The new version of all artifacts are available in maven central
github releases A new release with 3 assets (bin, src, doc) is created
sourceforge files The 3 assets (bin, src, doc) are uploaded, the new version is pre-selected as latest
homepage Main landing page points to new version, doc for new version is available
homepage2 New blogpost for the new release is posted
docs New docs are uploaded
docs2 New version in the docs is listed under “Version specific documentation”
docs-archive New docs are also on archive site
javadoc New javadocs are uploaded
news New blogpost on sourceforge is posted
regression-tester New release baseline is uploaded
mailing list announcement on mailing list is sent
twitter tweet about the new release

Prepare the next release

There are a couple of manual steps needed to prepare the current main branch for further development.

  • Move any open issues to the next milestone, close the current milestone on and create a new one for the next version (if one doesn’t exist already).
  • Update version in docs/_config.yml. Note - the next version needs to have a SNAPSHOT in it otherwise the javadoc links won’t work during development.

        version: 6.35.0-SNAPSHOT
        previous_version: 6.34.0
        date: ??-??-2021
        release_type: minor
  • Prepare a new empty release notes. Note, this is done by already.
    • Move version/release info from docs/pages/ to docs/pages/
    • Update version/release info in docs/pages/ Use the following template:
title: PMD Release Notes
permalink: pmd_release_notes.html
keywords: changelog, release notes

## {{ }} - {{ site.pmd.version }}

The PMD team is pleased to announce PMD {{ site.pmd.version }}.

This is a {{ site.pmd.release_type }} release.

{% tocmaker %}

### New and noteworthy

### Fixed Issues

### API Changes

### External Contributions

{% endtocmaker %}

Finally commit and push the changes:

$ git commit -m "Prepare next development version"
$ git push origin master



If the release was done on a maintenance branch, such as pmd/5.4.x, then this branch should be merged into the next “higher” branches, such as pmd/5.5.x and master.

This ensures, that all fixes done on the maintenance branch, finally end up in the other branches. In theory, the fixes should already be there, but you never now.

Multiple releases

If releases from multiple branches are being done, the order matters. You should start from the “oldest” branch, e.g. pmd/5.4.x, release from there. Then merge (see above) into the next branch, e.g. pmd/5.5.x and release from there. Then merge into the master branch and release from there. This way, the last release done, becomes automatically the latest release on and on sourceforge.

(Optional) Create a new release branch

At some point, it might be time for a new maintenance branch. Such a branch is usually created from the master branch. Here are the steps:

  • Create a new branch: git branch pmd/5.6.x master
  • Update the version in both the new branch and master, e.g. mvn versions:set -DnewVersion=5.6.1-SNAPSHOT and mvn versions:set -DnewVersion=5.7.0-SNAPSHOT.
  • Update the release notes on both the new branch and master

The maintenance or bugfix branch could also be created later when needed from the actual tag. Then only the version on the maintenance branch needs to be set.