Upgrading GitHub from Rails 3.2 to 5.2

On August 15th GitHub celebrated a major milestone: our main application is now running on the latest version of Rails: 5.2.1!

In total the project took a year and a half to upgrade from Rails 3.2 to Rails 5.2. Along the way we took time to clean up technical debt and improve the overall codebase while doing the upgrade. Below we’ll talk about how we upgraded Rails, lessons we learned and whether we’d do it again.

How did we do it?

Upgrading Rails on an application as large and as trafficked as GitHub is no small task. It takes careful planning, good organization, and patience. The upgrade started out as kind of a hobby; engineers would work on it when they had free time. There was no dedicated team. As we made progress and gained traction it became not only something we hoped we could do, but a priority.

Since GitHub is so


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