Creating New Release Notes

The reno command line tool is used to create a new release note file in the correct format and with a unique name. The new subcommand combines a random suffix with a “slug” value to create the file with a unique name that is easy to identify again later.

$ reno new slug-goes-here
Created new notes file in releasenotes/notes/slug-goes-here-95915aaedd3c48d8.yaml

Within OpenStack projects, reno is often run via tox instead of being installed globally. For example

$ tox -e venv -- reno new slug-goes-here
venv develop-inst-nodeps: /mnt/projects/release-notes-generation/reno
venv runtests: commands[0] | reno new slug-goes-here
Created new notes file in releasenotes/notes/slug-goes-here-95915aaedd3c48d8.yaml
  venv: commands succeeded
  congratulations :)
$ git status
Untracked files:
  (use "git add <file>..." to include in what will be committed)


The --edit option opens the new note in a text editor.

$ reno new slug-goes-here --edit
... Opens the editor set in the EDITOR environment variable, editing the new file ...
Created new notes file in releasenotes/notes/slug-goes-here-95915aaedd3c48d8.yaml

By default, the new note is created under ./releasenotes/notes. The --rel-notes-dir command-line flag changes the parent directory (the notes subdirectory is always appended). It’s also possible to set a custom template to create notes (see Configuring Reno ).

Editing a Release Note

The note file is a YAML file with several sections. All of the text is interpreted as having reStructuredText formatting. The permitted sections are configurable (see below) but default to the following list:


General comments about the release. The prelude from all notes in a section are combined, in note order, to produce a single prelude introducing that release. This section is always included, regardless of what sections are configured.


A list of new major features in the release.


A list of known issues in the release. For example, if a new driver is experimental or known to not work in some cases, it should be mentioned here.


A list of upgrade notes in the release. For example, if a database schema alteration is needed.


A list of features, APIs, configuration options to be deprecated in the release. Deprecations should not be used for something that is removed in the release, use upgrade section instead. Deprecation should allow time for users to make necessary changes for the removal to happen in a future release.


A list of fixed critical bugs.


A list of fixed security issues.


A list of other fixed bugs.


Other notes that are important but do not fall into any of the given categories.

Any sections that would be blank should be left out of the note file entirely.

prelude: >
    Replace this text with content to appear at the
    top of the section for this release.
  - List new features here, or remove this section.
  - List known issues here, or remove this section.
  - List upgrade notes here, or remove this section.
  - List deprecation notes here, or remove this section
  - Add critical notes here, or remove this section.
  - Add security notes here, or remove this section.
  - Add normal bug fixes here, or remove this section.
  - Add other notes here, or remove this section.

Note File Syntax

Release notes may include embedded reStructuredText, including simple inline markup like emphasis and pre-formatted text as well as complex body structures such as nested lists and tables. To use these formatting features, the note must be escaped from the YAML parser.

The default template sets up the prelude section to use > so that line breaks in the text are removed. This escaping mechanism is not needed for the bullet items in the other sections of the template.

To escape the text of any section and retain the newlines, prefix the value with |. For example:

prelude: |
  This paragraph will
  retain its newlines
  when the value is passed to the
  reStructuredText parser, which
  will then merge them into
  a single paragraph without

  | These
  | lines
  | are prefixed
  | with | so the reStructuredText
  | parser will retain
  | the line breaks.
  - |
    This bullet item includes a paragraph and a nested list.

    * list item 1
    * list item 2


      This example is also rendered
      correctly on multiple lines
      as a pre-formatted block.

See Examples for the rendered version of the note.

Generating a Report

Run reno report <path-to-git-repository> to generate a report containing the release notes. The --branch argument can be used to generate a report for a specific branch (the default is the branch that is checked out). To limit the report to a subset of the available versions on the branch, use the --version option (it can be repeated).

Notes are output in the order they are found when scanning the git history of the branch using topological ordering. This is deterministic, but not necessarily predictable or mutable.

Checking Notes

Run reno lint <path-to-git-repository> to test the existing release notes files against some rules for catching common mistakes. The command exits with an error code if there are any mistakes, so it can be used in a build pipeline to force some correctness.

Configuring Reno

Reno looks for an optional config.yaml file in the release notes directory. If the values in the configuration file do not apply to the command being run, they are ignored. For example, some reno commands take inputs controlling the branch, earliest revision, and other common parameters that control which notes are included in the output. Because they are commonly set options, a configuration file may be the most convenient way to manage the values consistently.

branch: master
earliest_version: 12.0.0
collapse_pre_releases: false
stop_at_branch_base: true
  # The prelude section is implicitly included.
  - [features, New Features]
  - [issues, Known Issues]
  - [upgrade, Upgrade Notes]
  - [api, API Changes]
  - [security, Security Issues]
  - [fixes, Bug Fixes]
template: |

Many of the settings in the configuration file can be overridden by using command-line switches. For example:

  • --branch
  • --earliest-version
  • --collapse-pre-releases/--no-collapse-pre-releases
  • --ignore-cache
  • --stop-at-branch-base/--no-stop-at-branch-base

The following options are configurable:


The notes subdirectory within the relnotesdir where the notes live.

Defaults to notes.


Should pre-release versions be merged into the final release of the same number ( notes appear under 1.0.0).

Defaults to True.


Should the scanner stop at the base of a branch (True) or go ahead and scan the entire history (False)?

Defaults to True.


The git branch to scan.

Defaults to the “current” branch checked out.


The earliest version to be included. This is usually the lowest version number, and is meant to be the oldest version. If unset, all versions will be scanned.

Defaults to None.


The template used by reno new to create a note.


The regex pattern used to match the repo tags representing a valid release version. The pattern is compiled with the verbose and unicode flags enabled.

Defaults to ((?:[\d.ab]|rc)+).


The regex pattern used to check if a valid release version tag is also a valid pre-release version. The pattern is compiled with the verbose and unicode flags enabled. The pattern must define a group called pre_release that matches the pre-release part of the tag and any separator, e.g for pre-release version the default RE pattern will identify .0rc1 as the value of the group ‘pre_release’.

Defaults to (?P<pre_release>\.\d+(?:[ab]|rc)+\d*)$.


The pattern for names for branches that are relevant when scanning history to determine where to stop, to find the “base” of a branch. Other branches are ignored.

Defaults to stable/.+.


The identifiers and names of permitted sections in the release notes, in the order in which the final report will be generated. A prelude section will always be automatically inserted before the first element of this list.


The true location of formatting errors in release notes may be masked because of the way release notes are included into sphinx documents. To generate the release notes manually, so that they can be put into a sphinx document directly for debugging, use the report command.

$ reno report .

Within OpenStack

The OpenStack project maintains separate instructions for configuring the CI jobs and other project-specific settings used for reno. Refer to the Managing Release Notes section of the Project Team Guide for details.