6.3.1 • Public • Published


Release is a command line tool to automatically generate a new GitHub Release and populates it with the changes (commits) made since the last release.


Firstly, install the package from npm:

npm install -g release

Alternatively, you can use Yarn to install it:

yarn global add release

Once that's done, you can run this command inside your project's directory:

release <type>

A <type> argument can be passed. If you leave it out, a GitHub Release will be created from the most recent commit and tag.

According to the SemVer spec, the argument can have one of these values:

  • major: Incompatible API changes were introduced
  • minor: Functionality was added in a backwards-compatible manner
  • patch: Backwards-compatible bug fixes were applied

In addition to those values, we also support creating pre-releases like 3.0.0-canary.1:

release pre

You can also apply a custom suffix in place of "canary" like this:

release pre <suffix>

Assuming that you provide "beta" as the <suffix> your release will then be 3.0.0-beta.1 – and so on...


The following command will show you a list of all available options:

release help

Pre-Defining Types

If you want to automate release even further, specify the change type of your commits by adding it to the title or description within parenthesis:

Error logging works now (patch)

Assuming that you've defined it for a certain commit, release won't ask you to set a type for it manually. This will make the process of creating a release even faster.

To pre-define that a commit should be excluded from the list, you can use this keyword:

This is a commit message (ignore)

Custom Hook

Sometimes you might want to filter the information that gets inserted into new releases by adding an intro text, replacing certain data or just changing the order of the changes.

With a custom hook, the examples above (and many more) are very easy to accomplish:

By default, release will look for a file named release.js in the root directory of your project. This file should export a function with two parameters and always return a String (the final release):

module.exports = async (markdown, metaData) => {
	// Use the available data to create a custom release
	return markdown;

In the example above, markdown contains the release as a String (if you just want to replace something). In addition, metaData contains these properties:

Property Name Content
changeTypes The types of changes and their descriptions
commits A list of commits since the latest release
groupedCommits Similar to commits, but grouped by the change types
authors The GitHub usernames of the release collaborators

Hint: You can specify a custom location for the hook file using the --hook or -H flag, which takes in a path relative to the current working directory.


As we at Vercel moved all of our GitHub repositories from keeping a file to using GitHub Releases, we needed a way to automatically generate these releases from our own devices, rather than always having to open a page in the browser and manually add the notes for each change.


You can find the authentication flow here.

  1. Fork this repository to your own GitHub account and then clone it to your local device
  2. Uninstall the package if it's already installed: npm uninstall -g release
  3. Link the package to the global module directory: npm link
  4. You can now use release on the command line!

As always, you can use npm test to run the tests and see if your changes have broken anything.


Thanks a lot to Daniel Chatfield for donating the "release" name on npm and my lovely team for telling me about their needs and how I can make this package as efficient as possible.


Leo Lamprecht (@notquiteleo)

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