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Review Board 2.0 Beta 1 Release Notes

Release date: November 11, 2013

This release contains all bug fixes and features found in Review Board version 1.7.18.


To install this release, run the following:

$ sudo easy_install \
    -f http://downloads.reviewboard.org/releases/ReviewBoard/2.0/ \
    -U ReviewBoard

We do not recommend upgrading a production server with this version of Review Board. It’s best to install on a test server, in case there are any major problems.

New User Features

Diff Viewer

New File Index

The index of files at the top of the diff viewer has been rebuilt from the ground up. In addition to just giving a list of filenames and links to the changed chunks, the new index shows:

  • A graph on the left which shows the ratio of added/changed/deleted lines. The thickness of this graph indicates what percentage of the file has been altered.

  • Whether files have been renamed, and the old filename if so.

  • Indications for deleted or binary files.

  • A list of clickable chunk dots, color-coded to represent add/change/delete.


New Diff Revision Selector

When a Review Request has multiple revisions of a diff, the interface for choosing which revision or interdiff to view has changed. The new design is more compact, and is much easier to understand. The new revision selector allows viewing both individual revisions (by selecting orig and the desired revision), and viewing interdiffs (by selecting the two revisions to compare).


Reload-Free Navigation

As part of the new revision selector, switching between diff revisions, interdiffs, and across pages of a large diff will occur without reloading the entire page.

Visual Design Refresh

We’ve refreshed the visual design of the diff viewer, tweaking many of the colors to dramatically improve readability. In addition, several small bugs with alignment and spacing of various pieces of the diff view have been fixed across all major browsers.

Interdiff Improvements

When the local working directory was synced from a repository during the development process, interdiffs between two revisions of a change could include all the other changes from other developers that happened in between. The diff viewer will now do its best to filter out any changes that weren’t part of the uploaded diff files.

Bug #311

Moved-Lines Detection Improvements

The algorithm for detecting moved lines within a diff file has been dramatically improved. The new algorithm has several improvements:

  • Blank lines are now included in the moved blocks, instead of treated as two separate moves.

  • Adjacent but different move regions didn’t work properly, showing only the first moved region (unless there was at least one line in between them). Now any regions anywhere work, in any order.

  • Only insert/delete lines were considered for moves, which was a problem when moving some functions that resulted in replace lines (such as when one function was replaced by another). Now replace lines are factored in.

The flag indicating a moved block has also been redesigned to be cleaner and easier to read. Instead of flagging each and every line, only the first line is flagged, with a “flagpole” across the rest of the block.

Improved Rendering for New Files

Newly-added files would show empty line number and code columns for the left-hand side of the diff (where the original version of the file would normally go). These have been removed, and new files now take up the entire width of the box.

“New Review Request” UI

The “New Review Request” page has been completely re-done, with many new features and capabilities.


Post-Commit Review Requests

One of the most requested features over the past few years has been the ability to create review requests for committed changes from the web UI. Until now, doing this has required using RBTools from the command-line.

For repositories which support it, the “New Review Request” page now has a list of the committed changes from most recent to least. This can be browsed by branch. Clicking on a commit will download the diff and change description from the repository and create a new review request.

This is currently implemented for GitHub and Subversion repositories. Support for other services and repository types will be coming in future releases.

Bug #100

Simplified Pre-Commit Workflow

The workflow for creating new pre-commit review requests through the web UI has also been reworked and simplified. This will now guide users through the process, asking for additional input only when necessary. In most cases, the workflow is now as simple as dragging a diff file onto the page.

Better Validation and Errors

When uploading diffs through the web UI, more checking is done to ensure correctness before creating the review request. In particular, a common error case with Git repositories and diffs with abbreviated indexes will now produce a useful error message during review request creation instead of failing at the diff display stage.

Review Requests

Markdown for Text Fields

Many of the multi-line text fields in Review Board (Review Request description and testing done, comments, replies, and close description) now support using Markdown. This allows you to add some structure and rich features to your comments. The basic Markdown syntax is available, as well as a few extensions such as GitHub’s “fenced code blocks” and tables.

Most notably, it’s now possible to embed syntax-highlighted code samples or images into your comments. See the user manual for more information on how to use Markdown.

Based on work by Greg Wang. (Bug #2093, Bug #2098)

Changing Issue Status

Issues can now be marked as fixed or dropped and reopened by the user who created the comment, in addition to the owner of the review request.

Based on work by Niklas Hambuechen. (Bug #2713, Bug #2888)

Markdown Review UI

Markdown files uploaded as file attachments can now be reviewed in detail. The uploaded file will be rendered, and users can comment on each paragraph or other top-level block in the output.

Patch by Aamir Mansoor.

Other User Features

  • High-DPI display support for icons, graphs, and thumbnails.

    Continuing our work on supporting high-DPI (“retina”) screens such as phones, tablets, and some newer laptops, we’ve added high-resolution artwork for all the icons throughout the UI. In addition, the graphs in the admin site and thumbnails for uploaded image attachments will be shown in high resolution if appropriate.

  • Expand collapsed reviews when jumping to issues from the summary table.

    When clicking on issues in the issue table, if the containing review was collapsed, it will now be opened before jumping to it.

    Patches by Hiroki Gohara and Yazan Medanat. (Bug #3770)

  • Submitted review requests are now included in the “Starred Reviews” page of the Dashboard.

    Previously, any review requests that a user had starred would be removed from this page as soon as the request was closed. Submitted and discarded review requests are now included in this page along with open ones.

    Patch by Mary Elaine Malit. (Bug #1075)

  • File attachment comment thumbnails (like image excerpts) are now shown in the “Edit Review” dialog.

    When opening the Review dialog (either through the top-level Review action or the Edit Review button on the banner), any comments on file attachments will show the comment thumbnail along with the comment text (for example, the selected region of an image). This more closely mirrors what the review will look like once published.

New Administration Features

Web API Changes

visible Attribute For Repository Resources

The Repository resource now allows you to get and set the visible attribute on repositories, which controls whether or not the repository is listed in the “New Review Request” page. Additionally, the Repository List resource has a new parameter, show-invisible, which can be set to 1 to get a list of all repositories, including those which are not visible.

New Repository Branches and Repository Commits Resources

The Repository Branches and Repository Commits resources are special list resources that allow you to fetch a list of branches or a commit log for supported repositories. These are used for the post-commit review request UI.

Draft Diff Resources

In order to make resources more consistent, diffs that are attached to a draft now have a separate resource. This provides the same interface as the diff resource, with the exception that there’s always a maximum of a single diff attached to a draft.

File Attachments For Diffs

As part of a continuing effort to support reviewing binary files as part of a change, a new resource exists for associating file attachments with file diffs.

Diff Validation Resource

A new resource has been added to verify diff files before creating review requests. The new Diff Validation resource allows you to POST the same data that you would to the Review Request List resource, but instead of creating a new object, it will either return an OK or a detailed error message explaining what is wrong with the posted diff.


Review Board 2.0 includes mostly-complete translations into Italian (it_IT) and Traditional Chinese (zh_TW) locales. These can be activated by choosing preferred languages in your web browser preferences.

Contributions by Po-Chien Lin and Alessandro Menti.


Extension Static Media

Extensions can now define a list of JavaScript and CSS/LESS files into one or more bundles, listed in the extension class’s css_bundles or js_bundles attributes.

When running in a development environment, the files will be included directly into the pages. When building a package, these bundles will be compiled and minified.

User Page Sidebar Hook

A new extension hook has been added for adding links to the sidebar on the user page (/users/<username>/). This hook can add top-level links, as well as one level of nesting.

JavaScript Extensions

Review Board 2.0 adds the beginning of JavaScript extensions, which are a counterpart to standard Review Board extensions. They can be used to hook into parts of the JavaScript codebase in a clean way to augment UI or react to events. Currently, there are two hooks: One for interfacing with the comment dialog, and one for adding additional elements to comments in the review dialog. More will come in future releases.

Performance Improvements

Diff Storage Improvements

Starting in Review Board 1.7, newly uploaded diffs of files would be stored in the database only once, saving storage space if that particular file was used repeatedly in parent diffs or remained unchanged across several iterations of a change.

In Review Board 2.0, when older diffs are viewed, they will be migrated to the new format if necessary.

Consolidated Static Media

In order to speed up page loads, we’ve reduced the number of HTTP requests by consolidating stylesheets, JavaScript, and images into a smaller number of files.

Edit Review Dialog

The Edit Review dialog was previously completely rendered on the server side, which could cause long delays when the review was large. This is now shown immediately in the browser and comments are fetched incrementally from the server.

Bug Fixes

  • Disallow drag-and-drop uploads of non-files.

    The drag-and-drop support for uploading file attachments was too broad, and would accept drops of any type of data (for example, text from a word processor). This will now only accept file drops.

    Patch by Dave Druska.

  • Clarification of the issue_status field in the API when issue_opened is False. (Bug #2984)

    When a comment was modified through the API to remove the issue_opened bit, it would leave things in an inconsistent state where the issue_status was still set to ‘open’ instead of null.

  • Set the cwd of patch to be the tempdir. (Bug #2065)

    In some rare cases with older versions of patch, the diff would fail to display because the target files could not be found. Setting the working directory fixes this problem in this cases.

  • Escape User and Group names when using Active Directory filters. (Bug #2928)

    If User or Group names include characters which are designated as special characters by LDAP, it would cause an authentication failure. These names are now escaped before trying to run filters against Active Directory.

  • Fixed parsing of Git diffs with binary changes.

    Git diffs with a binary file at the end of the diff would show that file as empty instead of binary. These are now parsed correctly.

  • Fixed the z-index of the user account drop-down. (Bug #3088)

    The user account menu at the top right of the page would sometimes overlap incorrectly with other elements, especially within the admin UI.

    Patch by Natasha Dalal.

  • Don’t show Show changes when there’s only one diff revision. (Bug #2901)

    It was previously possible to create a review request where the first revision of the diff was added after the initial publish. In this case, the change description box would include a link to “Show changes” between revisions 0 and 1, leading to a 404.

    Patch by Behzad Raeisfard.

  • Trimming of extra whitespace around review comments. (Bug #2933)

    When writing comments, any blank lines at the beginning or end of the comment would be included in the page and emails. These are now stripped out.

    Patch by Edward Lee.

  • Loading the /r/ page before anything else would cause a profile lookup error. (Bug #3083)

    With a new user, if the first page they visited was the “All Review Requests” page (at /r/), the user profile would fail to be found and cause a 500 error. This has been fixed.

Compatibility Changes

Server-Side and Deployment Changes

  • Django 1.5

    This is the first release to require Django 1.5. This release is not compatible with earlier versions of Django, or tested to be compatible with Django 1.6 or newer.

    We expect the final 2.0 release to require Django 1.6.

  • Dropped Python 2.5 support.

    We no longer support Python 2.5 deployments. Python 2.6 or 2.7 is required both by Review Board 2.0 and Django 1.5. Review Board is not compatible with Python 3.x.

    We expect the final 2.0 release to be compatible with Python 2.6, 2.7, and Python 3.2 and newer.

A Note on Security

As of Django 1.5.x, the ALLOWED_HOSTS setting is required. This setting is used to work around a handful of host poisoning attacks.

By default, Review Board will set this to '*', which disables this security check. We recommend setting this in your settings_local.py file (in your site’s conf directory). For more information, see Django’s ALLOWED_HOSTS documentation.


  • Aamir Mansoor

  • Alessandro Menti

  • Behzad Raeisifard

  • Christian Hammond

  • Dave Druska

  • David Trowbridge

  • Edward Lee

  • Emmanuel Gil Peyrot

  • German Galkin

  • Hiroki Gohara

  • Katherine Schramm

  • Mary Elaine Malit

  • Mike Conley

  • Natasha Dalal

  • Niklas Hambuechen

  • Patrick Uiterwijk

  • Po-Chien Lin

  • Raja Venkataraman

  • Steven MacLeod

  • Tomasz Moń

  • Yazan Medanat