Release-specific alerting (authors/pull-request)

The new Releases functionality is interesting because it offers an opportunity to improve signal-to-noise for Sentry issue alerts. We already use Sentry extensively at the Guardian, but the notifications/alerts are less useful than they might be - they have to be dialled down because (along with other alerting tools we use) there are already too many alerts being delivered to too many people- the dozen or so people who might be associated with a project. At this point, without useful alerting, Sentry become a good research tool once a new issue is identified, but misses out on it’s core ability of being used to discover new ones - even if we only alert on brand new issues, more people are getting notified than need to know about them (at least for the initial evaluation).

Releases means that we could send more alerts, but to fewer people: specifically, for new issues in a release, only notifying the people who were responsible for the release, in a rapid time frame after their deployment of it. There are a couple of ways this might be done:

  • Sentry sending emails to the authors of the commits in the Release - a tightly constrained group
  • Notifications being posted as a comment on the GitHub Pull-Request that triggered the release - this works well in a project using Continuous Deployment, where a Release and a merged PR are roughly equivalent. This would alert a slightly wider set of people, but still a good set- the people who reviewed and merged the PR, as well as the author.

At the moment Sentry doesn’t have any conception of GitHub PRs that I’m aware of, which is kind of OK - at the Guardian we have a tool called Prout that works well with our CD pipeline, understanding the Git graph and alerting developers when their PRs are deployed.

We’ve recently done some work with Prout to push PR Release information into the Sentry Release API - Prout also provides a link to the relevant Sentry Release summary page when the PR goes live:

What I’d like to do is have Prout provide a warning comment or signal against the PR if new issues appear against that release in the first hour or so of it being released. Although all the information appears on the Sentry Release summary page, this doesn’t seem to be currently available with the Sentry Release API - could we have an endpoint to list all the Issues for a Release?


@rtyley – oops, I realize we hadn’t responded to this.

Everyone on the Releases project team has seen this email, and we think it’s a great idea. We’re still working up a backlog of tasks and bugs that came out of that project, but we’ll re-visit this sometime in the future.

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Just some quick notes of what we’re thinking of with the product:

  • We intend to provide native concepts for “patches” (PRs, code review requests, etc)
  • Over time you’ll see some features come into play that focus on “owners”. We have some things we want to do under the hood before we get too deep into that.
  • Our long term goal is “know about new issues that you’re responsible for” plain and simple.
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