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Release Cycle

In Gateway API 1.2+, we will be following a more structured and predictable release cycle that is inspired by the upstream Kubernetes release cycle.


  • Ensure a predictable release schedule that enables 2-3 releases a year
  • Minimize the amount of time required from upstream API approvers and make it more predictable
  • Avoid last minute additions to the scope of a release
  • Prevent experimental channel from growing by requiring GEPs to leave or graduate before new ones can be added
  • Ensure that SIG-Network TLs are in the loop throughout the process, and have a meaningful opportunity to review changes before a release
  • Provide more advance notice to everyone (SIG-Network TLs, Docs Reviewers, Implementations, etc)


1. Scoping

Timeline: 4-6 weeks

In this phase, the Gateway API maintainers and community will be responsible for determining the set of features we want to include in the release. Although we can always lessen scope after this point, we will avoid expanding the scope of the release at a later point unless it is absolutely necessary (critical flaw in design, security issue, etc).

A key guideline in this phase is that we want to avoid expanding the size of the Experimental release channel. That means that each new experimental feature should be accompanied by the graduation or removal of an enhancement that is already in the Experimental channel.

Note that in many cases, this scoping work will require some initial work on GEPs to determine their viability before committing to including them in a release.

2. GEP Iteration and Review

Timeline: 5-7 weeks

In this phase, the Gateway API community will work to update GEPs and meet graduation criteria for each feature that has been deemed in scope for the release cycle. As we’re working on new features, we will bring these discussions to the broader SIG-Network meetings for feedback throughout our development process. If a GEP has not merged with the target status by the end of this phase, it will be pulled from the scope of the release.

3. API Refinement and Documentation

Timeline: 3-5 weeks

This phase is entirely focused on translating the concepts defined in the GEP (previous phase) into both API specification and documentation. This offers one final chance for the Gateway API community to refine the details that have already been agreed to in the GEP, but any modifications at this stage should be minor. If either documentation or API Spec have not merged by the end of this phase, this enhancement will be pulled from the scope of the release.

4. SIG-Network Review and Release Candidates

Timeline: 2-4 weeks

This phase officially begins with the review session scheduled with SIG-Network TLs several weeks earlier in phase 3. In that review session, Gateway API maintainers and SIG-Network TLs should reach an agreement on the following:

  1. Any blockers for an initial release candidate
  2. How much time, if any, SIG-Network TLs want to review any changes in this release
  3. A time after which we can assume lazy consensus and move on with the final release of the API

In general, we expect each minor release to be preceded by two release candidates. These release candidates will enable implementations to test against our release, work out any bugs, and gather early feedback on the viability of the release.

Contributions Welcome in Each Phase

The following table illustrates when different kinds of contributions will be welcome. There will be some exceptions to this, but it should be useful as an overall guideline:

1. Scope 2. GEP 3. API 4. Review
New GEPs
Major GEP Updates
GEP Refinement
API Spec Additions
New Conformance Tests
Bug Fixes


Given the above, we expect each release to take 14-22 weeks (4-5 months). At least initially, Gateway API maintainers will set end dates for each phase as we are beginning the phase. In future releases, we may choose to set all dates for the release in advance.