node package manager


Release a new version of your Node-based project


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Grunt plugin for automating all the release steps of your node lib or bower component, with optional publishing to npm.

Repetition Killed the Cat

Releasing a new version of your killer Node/Bower/Component/JS lib looks something like this:

  1. bump the version in your package.json file.
  2. stage the package.json file's change.
  3. commit that change with a message like "release 0.6.22".
  4. create a new git tag for the release.
  5. push the changes out to GitHub.
  6. also push the new tag out to GitHub.
  7. create a .zip release on GitHub.
  8. publish the new version to npm.

Cool, right? No! What's wrong with you? Automate all that:

grunt release

Done. No more GitHub issues from angry people reminding you how often you forget to do one or more of the steps.


If you haven't used Grunt before, be sure to check out the Getting Started guide, as it explains how to create a Gruntfile as well as install and use Grunt plugins. Once you're familiar with that process, you may install this plugin with this command:

npm install grunt-release --save-dev

Once the plugin has been installed, it may be enabled inside your Gruntfile with this line of JavaScript:


Using grunt-release

Patch Release:

grunt release


grunt release:patch

Minor Release:

grunt release:minor

Major Release:

grunt release:major

Specific Version Release:

grunt release:1.2.3


grunt release:prerelease

prerelease will just update the number after MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH (eg: 1.0.0-1) If you want to add an alphanumeric identifier, you will need to add it by hand. Example: add -alpha.0 to get something like 1.0.0-alpha.0. Calling grunt release:prerelease will just update the last number to 1.0.0-alpha.1.

Releasing Unstable/Beta Versions Sometimes it is useful to publish an 'unstable' or 'beta' version to npm, while leaving your last stable release as the default that gets installed on an npm install. npm accomplishes this using the --tag myUnstableVersion flag. You can enable this flag in grunt-release either by setting the npmtag option:

  release: {
    options: {
      npmtag: 'canary',

or by passing the CLI arg:

grunt release --npmtag canary

NOTE: If the tag you pass is true, then the tag will be the new version number after the bump. Otherwise it will be the string you provided.

Bump multiple files at once

Sometimes you may need to bump multiple files while releasing.

  release: {
    options: {
      additionalFiles: ['bower.json']

You can also provide multiple files in this array or provide a string with multiple file paths separated by comma (,).

The version to bump is set in the master file defined with option 'file' (default : package.json). This version will be propagated to every additionalFiles.

Dry Run: To see what grunt-release does, without really changing anything, use --no-write option.

grunt release --no-write

You'll see something like:

>> Release dry run
>> bumped version to 0.8.0
>> staged package.json
>> committed package.json
>> created new git tag: 0.8.0
>> pushed to remote git repo
>> pushed new tag 0.8.0 to remote git repo
>> published version 0.8.0 to npm
>> created 0.8.0 release on github.
Done, without errors.


The following are all the release steps, you can disable any you need to:

  release: {
    options: {
      bump: false, //default: true 
      changelog: true, //default: false 
      changelogText: '<%= version %>\n', //default: '### <%= version %> - <%="yyyy-mm-dd") %>\n' 
      file: 'component.json', //default: package.json 
      add: false, //default: true 
      commit: false, //default: true 
      tag: false, //default: true 
      push: false, //default: true 
      pushTags: false, //default: true 
      npm: false, //default: true 
      npmtag: true, //default: no tag 
      indentation: '\t', //default: '  ' (two spaces) 
      folder: 'folder/to/publish/to/npm', //default project root 
      tagName: 'some-tag-<%= version %>', //default: '<%= version %>' 
      commitMessage: 'check out my release <%= version %>', //default: 'release <%= version %>' 
      tagMessage: 'tagging version <%= version %>', //default: 'Version <%= version %>', 
      beforeBump: [], // optional grunt tasks to run before file versions are bumped 
      afterBump: [], // optional grunt tasks to run after file versions are bumped 
      beforeRelease: [], // optional grunt tasks to run after release version is bumped up but before release is packaged 
      afterRelease: [], // optional grunt tasks to run after release is packaged 
      updateVars: [], // optional grunt config objects to update (this will update/set the version property on the object specified) 
      github: {
        apiRoot: '', // Default: 
        repo: 'geddski/grunt-release', //put your user/repo here 
        accessTokenVar: 'GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKE', //ENVIRONMENT VARIABLE that contains GitHub Access Token 
        // Or you can use username and password env variables, we discourage you to do so 
        usernameVar: 'GITHUB_USERNAME', //ENVIRONMENT VARIABLE that contains GitHub username 
        passwordVar: 'GITHUB_PASSWORD' //ENVIRONMENT VARIABLE that contains GitHub password 

If you want to use multiline commit messages just pass an array to the commitMessage option instead of a string.

Notes on GitHub Releases:

  1. Yes, you have to use environment variables.
  2. The GitHub Releases API is still unstable and may change in the future.
  3. You should use an environment variable to set an access token and "link" it via accessTokenVar.
  4. You can use environment variables for username (referenced in usernameVar) and password (passwordVar).
  5. We don't encourage you to use username and password for the GitHub release.

For node libs, leave file option blank as it will default to package.json. For Bower components, set it to bower.json.