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Review Board 2.0 Beta 2 Release Notes

Release date: January 16, 2014

This release contains all bug fixes and features found in Review Board version 1.7.21.


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.

Important Upgrade Notes

Make a backup of your database!

Substantial changes were made to database migration. While our testing has shown it to work, it could leave your database in a bad state.

Do not upgrade a production database. Make a backup first of any database you want to upgrade.

Please let us know if you have any problems with the upgrade.

New User Features

Visual Refreshes

Review Request Page

The layout of the information for review requests has been redesigned. There are now two columns. The summary, description, and testing fields are on the left, and all the other information is on the right.

This simplifies the view, shows more of the important information at a glance, fixes up some confusing nesting issues, and will allow extensions to add new fields.

Review UIs

Review UIs now look a lot cleaner and more compact. In previous releases, a mostly empty review request box would appear above the review UI, taking up valuable space. This has been removed, providing more focus on the text, image, or PDF being reviewed.

File Attachment Thumbnails

File attachment thumbnails no longer appear scattered. They have a consistent look and size. Long filenames and captions are ellipsized, and the delete and pencil icons are now in consistent places.

The thumbnails now do a nicer job rendering the contents. Text files in particular now have a better preview. The text contents are syntax-highlighted in the thumbnail.

Login and Registration Pages

The user login and registration pages were looking pretty outdated. The redesign makes them much prettier, and extensible!

We’ll be announcing some new extensions in the future that take advantage of the redesign to allow for logging in with services like GitHub and Google.

Bulk Close for Review Requests

There’s a new column available in the dashboard that provides a checkbox for selecting rows of review requests. This allows for selecting one or more review requests and closing them, right from the dashboard.

This is particularly useful for administrators, or users with close privileges, to clean up review requests left open by other users.

You can find the new column by clicking the pencil icon on the upper-right of the dashboard.

Bug #579

Review UIs

Generic Text Review

Text files attached to review requests can now be reviewed just like a diff. Their contents will be syntax-highlighted when possible, allowing for easier review of standalone snippets of code, SQL data dumps, XML files, or anything else.

Comments can be made on single lines, or they can span multiple lines. Any commented lines will appear along with the comment in the review.

Bug #1702

Enhanced Markdown Review

The Markdown file review UI has been updated to show both the source text and the rendered results. Comments can be added to either source or text, and the corresponding lines will appear in the review.

Other User Features

  • Added “Last Diff” timestamp to Review Requests.

    This change adds an additional timestamp to the top of the review request to show the timestamp of the most recent diff update.

    Patch by Vlad Safronov.

  • The dashboard frame now takes up the full page size, instead of fitting the content and possibly scrolling parts off the page.

New Administration Features

Easy Search Setup

The old and often broken PyLucene search backend has been removed. It’s been replaced with a new search using Haystack and Whoosh. These are pure-Python and should make sure much easier to set up.

Note that an existing PyLucene install will no longer be used. The new search should work automatically, though, after doing a full re-index.

Security Checklist

There’s a new Security Checklist page under System Information on the side of the administration UI. This will run through a series of tests and see if there are any immediate problems you need to solve to tighten security on your Review Board installation.

Over time, we’ll add more checks to this. For now, it tests for your ALLOWED_HOSTS setting and for security problems with file attachments.

New Manage Extensions Page

The Manage Extensions page has been rewritten with the following features:

  • Provides visual hints for enabled, disabled, and broken extensions.

  • Extensions can be dynamically enabled or disabled without reloading the page.

  • A new “Scan for new extensions” button updates the list of known extensions.

  • When an extension fails to load, the error and traceback are shown with the extension, to help with debugging.

condensediffs Management Command

A new management command has been introduced to squash duplicate diff data in the database. This can often result in a 50% or greater reduction in the size of the diff tables.

To run the command, type:

$ rb-site manage /path/to/site condensediffs

This may take some time, but you can continue to use Review Board while this is working. A maintenance window is not required. It may, however, slow down access to the database while working.

Better Feedback on Admin Changes

When saving or otherwise modifying a database entry, or performing some other action in the administration UI, you will now see a message confirming what you did.

Note that the first time you view the administration UI, you may see many messages from previous actions prior to the upgrade. This will only happen once, and can be ignored.


New Hooks

Field and FieldSets

Extensions can now add additional fields and groups of fields to review requests through ReviewRequestFieldsHook and ReviewRequestFieldSetsHook. See the documentation for more information on using these.

Custom fields will have their contents saved and published along with drafts. They will also be shown in the “Review request changed” boxes. Fields can provide custom rendering for their changed in these boxes if they need to.

Template Hooks for Login and Registration Pages

There are new before-login-form, after-login-form, before-register-form, and after-register-form template hooks that can be used to render content before or after the login or registration forms. This can be used to provide further instructions or other options.

LessCSS Files

Built-In Constants


These are useful in LessCSS macro guards when you may need to alter a rule depending on the version of Review Board or whether it’s a production install.

Extensions can also use @STATIC_ROOT as the base path for loading in definition files provided by Review Board. For example, @{STATIC_ROOT}/rb/css/defs.less.

These apply to extensions when running in development mode and or when packaging the extension.

Bundled Definitions

LessCSS files can now import @{STATIC_ROOT}/rb/css/defs.less, which provides a number of definitions and macros to help match the style of Review Board.

New extra_data Fields

extra_data fields have been added to DiffSet, DiffSetHistory, FileDiff, Group, Review, ReviewRequest, and ReviewRequestDraft.

These fields accept structured Python data and serialize it to JSON. They accompany the existing extra_data fields on Profile and Repository.

Extensions can now store state on any of these objects for later use. The values can also be accessed and manipulated through the API. See below.

Custom Login Instructions on Authentication Backends

Any custom authentication backend can now set login_instructions to the text to display on the login page. Installations that need something beyond the default instructions can subclass their preferred authentication backend and override these.

Signals for Loading Site and Extension Settings

There are two new signals that can be used by extensions to operate when settings have been changed.

  • site_settings_loaded signal (provided by rb2.0:reviewboard.signals) is emitted after Review Board loads its settings.

  • settings_saved (provided by djblets.extensions.signals) is emitted for an extension when its settings have been saved.

Custom Context Processors

Extensions can now provide custom Django context processors, which will add variables to all rendered templates. This is useful when you need to provide data to pages not directly rendered by an extension, such as the login page.

Improves to Configuration Pages

Configuration pages for an extension can now use the Django admin widgets that are normally reserved for forms in the Django administration UI. These contain useful widgets such as SplitDateTimeWidget and the side-by-side, filterable lists of items.

Other Changes

  • Moved the base-after-navbar template hook.

    This has now been moved to right after the navbar, instead of further down the page, allowing extensions to provide new UI immediately below the navbar.

  • Custom middleware can now take an optional extension parameter.


Improved Markdown Support

  • Added support for forcing Markdown-capable text fields to show Markdown or plain text.

    Fields such as a review request’s description or testing done may be in either Markdown or text format. Clients can now specify which they want to receive by passing ?force-text-type=. Valid arguments are markdown or plain.

    When using markdown, all Markdown-capable fields will be provided as valid Markdown, escaping the text if necessary.

    When using plain, all Markdown-capable fields will be provided as plain text, unescaping if necessary. Any Markdown syntax (such as for links) will remain as-is.

  • Added a text_type field for Markdown-capable resources.

    text_type shows the type of text used for all Markdown-capable fields in that resource. This will be either markdown or plain.

    If using ?force-text-type=, this will reflect the type provided.

    This field replaces the rich_text boolean field introduced in 2.0 beta 1.

  • Added a text.markdown capability.

    Server Info Resource now lists text.markdown: true in the capabilities list, allowing clients to make smart decisions up-front about Markdown support.

Extra Data for Resources

Added support for accessing and manipulating extra data for many resources.

Various resources now support attaching and accessing extra custom data through the API. By setting extra_data.custom_key=custom_value in a request, the caller can set a custom_key that can later be accessed when retrieving the resource.

Extensions can also make use of this data.

The following resources support attaching extra data:

Other Changes

  • Added an absolute_url field to various web API resources.

    This field contains an absolute URL to the user-facing page that the content represents.

    This is available for the various file attachment and screenshot resources, Review Group Resource, and Review Request Resource.

    Patch by Edward Lee.

  • Fixed a breakage when encountering errors looking up users in authentication backends. Patch by Crystal Lok Koo.

Performance Improvements

  • Reduced the memory requirements on the review request and diff viewer pages.

    The memory requirements have been dropped a fair amount compared to beta 1.

  • Sped up publishing and discarding of reviews.

Bug Fixes


  • Fixed the user info box to handle mouse motion better.

    The user info popup that shows up when hovering over a user’s name wasn’t very easy to use. It took too long to appear, and as soon as the mouse moved, it would disappear.

    It now appears quicker, stays open while the mouse is over it, and has a short delay before disappearing.

  • Fixed some z-index issues throughout the UI.


  • Fixed a database evolution issue when upgrading to 2.0 beta 1.

    The repo_revision field for FileAttachments was too long in beta 1, which would cause some key length issues on MySQL when upgrading on some setups.

Markdown Support

  • Fixed broken styles in the text editors, preventing the editor from rendering correctly.

  • Fixed some issues with saving Markdown content.

  • Improved automatic Markdown escaping when posting a change.

    It’s no longer as eager to escape all Markdown characters. It mostly escapes only those that it knows will trigger Markdown processing.

  • Fixed rendering of Markdown in e-mails.


  • Fixed a regression in comment dialog dragging.

  • Fixed the Publish/Discard buttons after replying twice.

    The buttons were staying disabled after saving a reply to a comment twice. They now re-enable themselves.

  • Fixed the icon for the expand/collapse buttons on reviews.

Diff Viewer

  • Fixed scrolling in the diff viewer when switching pages.

    The new diff viewer page implementation in beta 1 was not scrolling back to the top when switching pages.

  • Improved the logic for move detection to not factor in whitespace when deciding on lines.

  • Fixed a breakage when moving a line from the very end of a file.

New Review Request Page

  • Fixed showing meaningful errors when failing to fetch files from GitHub for post-commit review.

    This can happen when GitHub’s API is having problems, or the API is rate-limited.

  • Fixed GitHub post-commit review when a commit deals with a file that doesn’t have a patch associated.


  • Fixed a breakage when building static media for extensions.

  • If two extensions depend on the same third-party app, Review Board won’t break if one of the extensions is disabled.

  • The extension list API no longer breaks if an extension can’t be loaded.


  • Christian Hammond

  • Crystal Lok Koo

  • David Trowbridge

  • Edward Lee

  • Steven MacLeod

  • Vlad Safronov