This document provides some general tips and tricks that one can use when upgrading an existing, production installation of Patchwork. If you are interested in the specific changes between each release, refer to the UPGRADING document instead. If this is your first time installing Patchwork, refer to the Installation instead.

Before You Start

Before doing anything, always backup your data. This generally means backing up your database, but it might also be a good idea to backup your environment in case you encounter issues during the upgrade process.

While Patchwork won’t explicitly prevent it, it’s generally wise to avoid upgrades spanning multiple releases in one go. An iterative upgrade approach will provide an easier, if slower, upgrade process.

Identify Changed Scripts, Requirements, etc.

The CHANGELOG document provides a comprehensive listing of all backwards-incompatible changes that occur between releases of Patchwork. Examples of such changes include:

  • Moved/removed scripts and files
  • Changes to the requirements, e.g. supported Django versions
  • Changes to API that may affect, for example, third-party tools

It is important that you understand these changes and ensure any scripts you may have, such as systemd scripts, are modified accordingly.

Understand What Requirements Have Changed

New versions of Patchwork can often require additional or updated version of dependencies, e.g. newer versions of Django. It is important that you understand these requirements and can fulfil them. This is particularly true for users relying on distro-provided packages, who may have to deal with older versions of a package or may be missing a package altogether (though we try to avoid this). Such changes are usually listed in the UPGRADING document, but you can also diff the requirements.txt files in each release for comparison.

Collect Static Files

New versions of Patchwork generally contain changes to the additional files like images, CSS and JavaScript. To do this, run the collectstatic management commands:

$ ./manage.py collectstatic

Upgrade Your Database

Migrations of the database can be tricky. Prior to v1.0.0, database migrations were provided by way of manual, SQL migration scripts. After this release, Patchwork moved to support Django migrations. If you are upgrading from v1.0.0 or later, it is likely that you can rely entirely on the later to bring your database up-to-date. This can be done like so:

$ ./manage.py migrate

However, there are a number of scenarios in which you may need to fall back to the provided SQL migrations or provide your own:

  • You are using Django < 1.6

    Patchwork supports Django 1.6. However, Django Migrations was added in 1.7 and is not available for previous versions. As such, you must continue to use manual migrations or upgrade your version of Django. For many of the migrations, this can be done automatically:

    $ ./manage.py sqlmigrate patchwork 0003_add_check_model

    However, this only works for schema migrations. For data migrations, however, this will fail. In this cases, these migrations will need to be handwritten.

  • You are using Django > 1.6, but upgrading from Patchwork < 1.0.0

    Patchwork only started providing migrations in v1.0.0. SQL migrations are provided for versions prior to this and must be applied to get the database to the “initial” state that Django migrations expects.

  • You have diverged from upstream Patchwork

    If you have applied custom patches that change the database models, the database in an “inconsistent state” and the provided migrations will likely fail to apply.

Steps to handle the latter two of these are described below.

Upgrading a pre-v1.0.0 Patchwork instance

The process for this type of upgrade is quite simple: upgrade using manual SQL upgrades until better options become available. As such, you should apply all unapplied SQL migrations that are not duplicated by Django migrations. Once such duplication occurs, rely on the Django migrations only and continue to do so going forward.

Upgrading a “diverged” Patchwork instance

This type of upgrade is a little trickier. There are two options you can take:

  1. Bring your Patchwork instance back in sync with upstream
  2. Provide your own migrations

The former option is particularly suitable if you decide to upstream your change or decide it’s not valuable enough to retain. This will require either reworking any migrations that exist prior to your feature being upstreamed, or deleting any added database fields and tables, respectively. In both cases, manually, hand-written SQL migrations will be required to get the databse into a consistent state (remember: backup!). Once this is done, you can resume using the upstream-provided migrations, ensuring any Django migrations that you may have skipped are not applied again:

$ ./manage.py migrate 000x-abc --fake  # when 000x-abc is last "skippable"

It’s worth adding that with the databases now back in sync it should be possible to return to using upstream code rather than maintaining a fork.

The latter option is best chosen if you wish to retain the aforementioned fork. How you do this depends on the extensiveness of your changes, but getting the latest version of Patchwork, deleting the provided migrations, applying any patches you may have and regenerating the migrations seems like the best option.


To prevent the latter case above from occurring, we’d ask that you submit any patches you may have to the upstream Patchwork so that the wider community can benefit from this new functionality.