Get started with XL Release

XL Release is an end-to-end pipeline orchestrator for DevOps and continuous delivery. XL Release helps you automate and orchestrate your release processes and gives you visibility across your entire software release pipeline.

Download XL Release

Trial version: If you’re new to XL Release, you can try it for free. After signing up for a free trial, you will receive a license key by email.

Licensed version: If you’ve already purchased XL Release, you can download the software, XL Release plugins, and your license at the XebiaLabs Software Distribution site. For more information about licenses, refer to XL Release licensing.

Install XL Release

Prepare for installation by reviewing the XL Release system requirements.

Install the XL Release software:

Key concepts

Here are some of the key concepts for XL Release:

  • Releases: A release represents a number of activities in a certain time period. XL Release is used to plan, track, and execute releases automatically. For more information, see Release life cycle.

  • Phases: A release is divided into phases, which represent logical stages in the process that must happen in succession. For example, a release could include Development, QA, and Deployment phases. In XL Release, a phase is a grouping of tasks, that must be completed to perform the release. For more information, see Working with phases.

  • Tasks: A task is an activity in a release. In XL Release, there are two types of tasks: manual tasks, in which a human must do something; and automated tasks that the XL Release flow engine performs. For more information, see Working with tasks.

  • Release flow: When a release is started, the release flow engine determines what task is next in line and executes it - if it is an automated task, or sends a message to the person responsible for it - if it is a manual task. For more information, see Using the release flow editor.

  • Release owner: A release owner is the person who is responsible for a release. If something goes wrong, the release owner will be notified. Examples: if an automated task produces an error or someone working on a task indicates that there is an issue.

  • Template: A template is a blueprint for a release. You can use a template to save time when putting together releases that are similar. For more information, see Create a release template.

  • Teams: Each release or release template defines a set of teams. For example, you can define a Development team, a QA team, an OPS team, and a Release Management team for a release. For more information, see Configure release teams and permissions.

Explore XL Release

Get started by exploring the XL Release user interface:

  1. Log in to XL Release.
  2. In the navigation bar, click My tasks.
  3. To follow a guided tour of the main features of XL Release, click the Welcome! Click me to get started task.

Note: If you do not want new users receive this task, delete the Welcome to XL Release template from the Samples & Tutorials folder.

Model a release pipeline

Use the procedures described in this section to understand how to configure and run a basic release pipeline.

Create a template

In XL Release, a release pipeline is modeled as a template. To release your software, a release must be created based on the template. This ensures that each release follows a consistent procedure. To create a template:

  1. In the navigation bar, click Design.
  2. Click Templates.
  3. Click New template.
  4. In the Template name field, enter Test template.
  5. Click Create.

Add phases and tasks

A template consists of phases, which are represented as columns and tasks which are represented as boxes within each column. In a running release, phases are executed from left to right, and tasks are executed from top to bottom.

Release flow editor

Add a new phase and populate it with tasks:

  1. Click Add Phase.

  2. In the phase header, click New Phase, and enter a name for the phase.

  3. Hover-over the right side of the of phase header, click phase-color-button, and select a color from the dropdown.

  4. In the phases body, click Add task.

  5. In the Task title field, enter a name for the task.

    Note: This tutorial uses a manual task type. For more information on task types, see Types of tasks in XL Release. Note: Task types can be changed at any point before a release starts. For more information, see Change a task type.

  6. Repeat steps 6 and 7 to add more tasks until you have 4 tasks that span more than one phase.

Learn about the Release editor view states

Four views states are available in the Release editor. This section will help you to get familiar with them.

Flow view

The Flow view shows the phases and tasks in a release. Use this view to add, move, edit, and delete items.

Release flow editor

To open the Flow view, from top of the Release flow editor, click on Release flow button.

Table view

The XL Release table view provides an alternative view of a template or release that is optimized for working with tasks. For more information, see Using the table view.

To open the Table view, click Table view button.

Table view

Planner view

The XL Release planner view is an interactive Gantt chart that is used to view and edit the timing of the phases and tasks in a release or template. For more information, see Using the release planner.

To open the Planner view, click Planner view button

Planner view

Releasefile view

This view is available on templates only. The Releasefile view provides the current template in releasefile format, it can also be exported from here. For more information, see Using the Releasefile view.

To open the Releasefile view, click Releasefile button.

Releasefile view

Perform a dry run

This procedure continues on from Add phases and tasks. To perform a dry run of a release:

  1. Click New release.
  2. In the Release name field, enter a release name.
  3. Click Create to create the release. The release is now in the Planned state;
  4. Click Start Release.
  5. Confirm that you are ready to start by clicking Start.
  6. Click the first task in the first phase.
  7. From the pop-up window, click Complete.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click the Show dropdown menu, and select Release dashboard. This dashboard provides an overview and data on a release. For more information, see Using the release dashboard.
  10. Click the Show dropdown menu, and select Release flow.
  11. Click the next task.
  12. Skip the task by clicking Skip. When you skip a task, you must enter a comment to proceed with the release.
  13. Enter a comment and click OK.
  14. Click the next task.
  15. Click Fail. When you fail a task, you must enter a comment to proceed with the release.
  16. Click OK. A failed task puts the release into a Failed state. You can resume the release by either restarting or skipping the failed task.
  17. Skip the failed task, by clicking the task, and then clicking Skip.
  18. Continue to complete all tasks until the release is completed.

Set up security

In XL Release, there are two types of users:

  • Internal users: This type of user is managed by XL Release and can be added and removed by an XL Release administrator
  • External users: This type of user is maintained in an LDAP repository such as Active Directory

Create an internal user account

  1. Navigate to User management.
  2. Click Users.
  3. Click New user.
  4. In the Username field, enter a user name.
  5. In the Email field, enter an email address.
  6. In the Password field, enter a password. Note: Take note of these credentials, you will need them later in this tutorial.
  7. Click Save.

Create a role

XL Release uses a role-based security system. You assign each user a role, and then assign global permissions to the role.

  1. Navigate to User management
  2. Click Roles.
  3. Click New role.
  4. In the Role name field, enter Administrators.
  5. In the Principals field, enter the user account name that you created in Create an internal user account section.
  6. Click Save to save your changes.

For more information on how to configure roles, see Configure roles.

Assign permissions to the role

Assign global permissions:

  1. From the navigation bar, click User management.
  2. Click Permissions.
  3. Under the Roles column beside the Admin action, enter Administrators. Note: On this screen, actions represent permissions.
  4. Repeat the above step for the Edit security, Create template, Create release, and View reports actions.
  5. Add Administrators to the Role column.
  6. Click Save.

Global permissions

Check that the role has been assigned permissions:

  1. From the top right side of the navigation bar, click Settings icon.
  2. Click Log out.
  3. Log in using the username and password that you created in the previous section.
  4. From the navigation bar, click User management.
  5. Click Permissions.
  6. Check that the actions and permissions are assigned as described in the above image.

For more information on global privileges, see Configure permissions.

Configure a team on your template

In addition to global security, each template and release has its own permissions that you assign to teams. A team is made up of roles and/or individual users.

To add a team to a template:

  1. From the navigation bar, click Releases.

  2. Click Templates.

  3. Click View.

  4. Click Test template, which is the template you created in Model a release pipeline.

  5. From the Show dropdown, select Teams & Permissions. By default, there are two teams on a template: the Release Admin, and the Template Owner team.

  6. In the Teams section, in the Release Admin row, add Administrators under the Users column.

  7. In the Template Owner row, add Administrators under the Users column.

    A release template has two permissions types, template-level - which relate to a template and, Release-level - which relate to a release.

  8. In the Template permissions section, assign the actions and teams as follows:

  9. Template permissions

    • Template Owner: Create Release, View Template, Edit Template, Edit security
    • Release Admin: View Template
  10. Release permissions

    • Template Owner: None
    • Release Admin: View Release, Edit Release, Edit Security, Start Release, Abort Release, Edit Task, Reassign Task

For more information on:

Check out reports

XL Release has a variety of built-in reports that help you analyze your level of release automation and identify bottlenecks in your release processes.

To view reports:

  1. From the navigation bar, click Dashboards.
  2. click Reports.

Next steps

After you have gone through some of the basics of XL Release, you can: