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When run, this command line interface automatically generates a new GitHub Release and populates it with the changes (commits) made since the last release.


Install the package from npm (you'll need at least Node.js 7.6.0):

npm install -g release

Run this command inside your terminal (in your project's directory):


You can find an example of how to prepare a release in your project here.

Incrementing Version Tags

To bump the version inside package.json or package-lock.json, run this command (npm version is similar to this but will prefix version tags with "v"):

release <major|minor|patch>


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

release help


After installing the package, move into the directory of your project:

cd <your-projects-path>

Inside the directory, make sure you've committed and pushed everything:

git status

If it says "your branch is up-to-date", you're fine. Otherwise, please commit things that haven't already been committed and push the remaining commits to the origin.

Once you're sure that the branch is up-to-date, create a new Git Tag and push it:

git tag <version-number>
git push --tags

Now you're good to run this command (which will create a GitHub Release for you):


Done! 🎉 It's that easy.

Change Types

As described in the Semantic Versioning guide, a commit falls into one of these categories:

  • Major Changes (incompatible API changes)
  • Minor Changes (functionality in a backwards-compatible manner)
  • Patches (backwards-compatible bug fixes)

When running the release command, you'll be asked to provide the types for all of the commits you've created since the last release. This allows the package to automatically generate a proper changelog for you.

Pre-Defining the Type of a Commit

If you want to automate this 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, the package won't ask you to set a type for it manually. This will make the process of creating a release much 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 = (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 ZEIT 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) - ▲ZEIT