3.1.0 • Public • Published

Node Publisher by Zendesk

This is a configurable release automation tool for node packages inspired by create-react-app and Travis CI. It has a default configuration, which can be overriden in case of need. As a convention, this release tool defines a set of hooks that represent the release lifecycle. The default configuration can be overriden by redefining what commands should run under which hook in a .release.yml file. The hooks are listed under the Lifecycle section.

NPM version repo-checks

Getting started

1. Install the package:

npm install node-publisher --save-dev


yarn add --dev node-publisher

2. Setup

Run the setup script:

npx node-publisher setup

The script searches for unmet requirements in your package and attempts to address them. In general, it performs the following actions:

  • Checks whether the package root is a git directory.
  • Generates a release script in you package.json with a release branch of your choice.
  • Generates a .nvmrc file if missing.
  • Checks whether a build script is defined in package.json.
  • Checks whether a CI script is defined in package.json.

For more info, read the Prerequisites section.


npm run release -- <version>


yarn release <version>

Since v1.2.0, node-publisher supports the version options supported by the detected npm client. In earlier versions, only major, minor and patch options were accepted. When using yarn, the pre-release identifier (--preid) is ignored.

npm run release -- <version> --preid alpha

Customize the release process

npx node-publisher eject

After ejecting, a .release.yml file will appear in the root directory of your package. You can override the default behaviour by modifying this file.

Custom branch

Using the --branch release param, it is possible to specify which branch should be checked out during the prepare lifecycle step. When no branch is specified, the master branch will be checked out by default.

Multiple configuration files

Using the --config release param, it is possible to specify which file to load the release steps from. This way, one can have different release procedures for different purposes.


// package.json

  "scripts": {
    "release": "node-publisher release",
    "pre-release": "node-publisher release --config path/to/.pre-release.yml"


The default release process assumes the following:

  • The master branch is called master.
  • A .nvmrc file is present in the root of your package. In case it is missing, the release fails in its preparation phase.
  • The tool expects the Node version to match the one in .nvmrc during the release process. If the expectation is not met, the release fails in its preparation phase.
  • The tool expects the build generation script to be called build. Otherwise, the build step is skipped.
  • The tool expects the test triggering script to be called travis or ci. The reason is that many times the standard test scripts are implemented to watch the files for changes to re-trigger the tests. This tool relies on the test script to return eventually, hence the choice of the commonly used CI-friendly script names. The list of accepted script names may be extended in the future. If both travis and ci scripts are present, travis will be preferred.

Notice: the test triggering script (travis or ci) has to return a value, eventually. Otherwise, the release would stall and not run correctly. Interrupting a stalling release process would also interrupt the rollback feature's execution.


  1. prepare: The process that prepares the workspace for releasing a new version of your package. It might checkout to master, check whether the working tree is clean, check the current node version, etc. Between this step and test, a rollback point is created for your git repo.

  2. test: Runs the tests and/or linting. You might want to configure the tool to run the same command as your CI tool does.

  3. build: Runs your build process. By default it runs either yarn build or npm run build depending on your npm client. This step is only run if build is defined unders sripts in your package.json file.

  4. publish: Publishes a new version of your package. By default, the tool detects your npm/publishing client and calls the publish command. Currently supported clients are: npm, yarn, lerna.

  5. after_publish: Runs the declared commands immediately after publishing. By default, it pushes the changes to the remote along with the tags. In case the publishing fails, this hook will not execute.

  6. after_failure: Runs the specified commands in case the release process failed at any point. Before running the configured commands, a rollback to the state after prepare might happen - in case the rollback option is set to true which is the default behaviour.

  7. changelog: In case the package was successfully published, a changelog will be generated. This tool uses the offline-github-changelog package for this purpuse.

  8. after_success: Runs the specified commands after generating the changelog, in case the release process was successful. It might be used to clean up any byproduct of the previous hooks.


The lifecycle hooks can be redefined in the form of a configurable YAML file. Additionally to the hooks, the configuration also accepts the following options:

  • rollback [Boolean] - rolls back to the latest commit fetched after the prepare step. The rollback itself happens in the after_failure step and only if this flag is set to true.

Default configuration

The exact configuration depends on the npm client being used and the contents of your package.json file. In case you use yarn, the default configuration will look like this:

rollback: true

  - git diff-index --quiet HEAD --
  - git checkout master
  - git pull --rebase
  - '[[ -f .nvmrc ]] && ./node_modules/.bin/check-node-version --node $(cat .nvmrc)'
  - yarn install

  - yarn travis

build: # only if "build" is defined as a script in your `package.json`
  - yarn build
  - git diff --staged --quiet || git commit -am "Update build file"

  - git push --follow-tags origin master:master

  - ./node_modules/.bin/offline-github-changelog >
  - git add
  - git commit --allow-empty -m "Update changelog"
  - git push origin master:master

Supported publishing clients

node-publisher supports the main npm clients and Lerna as an underlying publishing tool. It automatically detects them based on the different lock files or config files they produce or require. If multiple of these files are detected, the following precedence will take place regarding the publishing tool to be used:

lerna > yarn > npm


Install packages


Release a new version

yarn release <version>


Contributing to node-publisher is fairly easy, as long as the following steps are followed:

  1. Fork the project
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create a new Pull Request
  6. Mention one or more of the maintainers to get the Pull Request approved and merged


Copyright and License

Copyright (c) 2018 Zendesk Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.

You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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