Updating Bazel

Bazel defined a backwards compatibility policy (see guidance for rolling out incompatible changes if you are the author of one). This page summarized best practices on how to test and migrate your project with upcoming incompatible changes and how to provide feedback to the incompatible change authors.

Bazel backwards compatibility policy is designed to avoid upgrade cliffs: any project can be prepared for the next Bazel release without breaking compatibility with the current release.

We recommend the following process for project migration:

  1. Assume that your project already works with a given Bazel release, say 0.26, and you want to prepare for the next release, say 0.27
  2. Find all incompatible changes for which the migration can be started: they are marked with “migration-<release>” label on GitHub, for example “migration-0.26”.
  3. Each of those issues has an associated --incompatible_* flag. For each of them, build your project with that flag enabled, and if the build is unsuccessful, fix the project according to migration recipe as specified in the corresponding GitHub issue:
    • Migration guidance is available in the associated GitHub issue.
    • Migration is always possible in such a way that the project continues to build with and without the flag.
    • For some of the incompatible changes migration tooling is available, for example as part of buildifier. Be sure to check the GitHub issue for migration instructions.
    • Please report any migration problems by commenting associated GitHub issue.
  4. After all changes are migrated, you can continue to build your project without any flags: it will be ready for the next Bazel release.

Migrating with Bazelisk

Bazelisk can greatly simplify the migration process described above.

  • bazelisk --strict will build given targets with all incompatible flags for changes with appropriate migration-* labels.
  • bazelisk --migrate will do even more: it will try every flag and report those for which the build was unsuccessful

Managing Bazel versions with Bazelisk

Bazel team implemented a Bazel wrapper called bazelisk that helps you manage Bazel versions.

Bazelisk can:

  • Autoupdate Bazel to the latest version
  • Build the project with a Bazel version specified in the .bazelversion file. Check in that file into your version control to ensure reproducibility of your builds.
  • Help migrate your project for incompatible changes (see above)
  • Easily try release candidates