Interactive release tool for Git repositories. Increment version, commit, tag, push, build, publish to npm. Supports to build and release to a distribution/component repository.

Release It!

Interactive release tool for Git repositories. Publish to npm. Optionally build and release to a distribution/component repository.

Automatically bump version, commit, tag, push, publish, done.

Obviously, Release It has released itself. Cool, heh?! There's also a Grunt plugin.

npm install release-it -g

Release a "patch" update (increments the x in 0.0.x by one):


Release a patch, minor, major, or specific version:

release-it minor
release-it 0.8.3
release-it 2.0.0-rc.3

You can also do a dry run, which won't write/touch anything, but does output the commands it would execute, and show the interactivity:

release-it --dry-run

If you don't like questions and trust the tool, you can use the non-interactive mode:

release-it --non-interactive

Provide a custom name for the GitHub release:

release-it --githubReleaseName="Awesome Ants"

Release It can do a lot out-of-the-box, but has plenty of options to configure it.

$ release --help
Release It! v1.0.0
Usage: release <increment> [options]
Use e.g. "release minor" directly as shorthand for "release --increment=minor".
  -c, --config           Path to local configuration options [default: ".release.json"]                          
  -d, --dry-run          Do not touch or write anything, but show the commands and interactivity                 
  -e, --debug            Output exceptions                                                                       
  -f, --force            Force tagging with Git                                                                  
  -h, --help             Print help                                                                              
  -i, --increment        Incrementing "major", "minor", or "patch" version; or specify version [default: "patch"]
  -n, --non-interactive  No interaction (assume default answers to questions)                                    
  -p, --publish          Publish to npm (only in --non-interactive mode)                                         
  -v, --version          Print version number                                                                    
  -V, --verbose          Verbose output
    "non-interactive": false,
    "dry-run": false,
    "verbose": false,
    "force": false,
    "pkgFiles": ["package.json"],
    "increment": "patch",
    "commitMessage": "Release %s",
    "tagName": "%s",
    "tagAnnotation": "Release %s",
    "buildCommand": false,
    "distRepo": false,
    "distPkgFiles": null, /* Defaults to pkgFiles */
    "distStageDir": ".stage",
    "distBase": "dist",
    "distFiles": ["**/*"],
    "private": false,
    "publish": false,
    "publishPath": ".",
    "forcePublishSourceRepo": false,
    "githubTokenRef": "GITHUB_TOKEN",
    "githubRelease": false,
    "githubReleaseName": "Release %s",
    "githubReleaseBodyCommand": "git log --pretty=format:'* %s (%h)' [REV_RANGE]"

Some projects use a special distribution repository. There might be multiple reasons to do.

  • Distribute more "clean" file structures (without unrelated test, manifest, documentation files etc.).
  • Distribute to target specific package managers. One example is the "shims" repositories in (the actual source files are elsewhere).
  • Distribute just documentation to a Github Pages branch.


  • To release to a separate "distribution repo", set distRepo to a git endpoint (e.g. "").
  • Note that this can also be a branch, possibly of the same source repository, using # notation (e.g. "").
  • In case you want to update distRepo, but still want to publish the source repository to npm, make sure to set "forcePublishSourceRepo": true.

The tool assumes you've configured your SSH keys and remotes correctly. In case you need to configure things for GitHub, the following pages might be of help.

To create GitHub releases, you'll need to set githubRelease to true, get a GitHub access token, and make this available as the environment variable defined with githubTokenRef. With the default settings, you could set it like this:

export GITHUB_TOKEN="f941e0..."

Place a .release.json file in your project root, and Release It will use it to overwrite default settings. You can use --config if you want to use another filename/location. Most options can be set on the command-line (these will have highest priority).

To keep you in control, many steps need your confirmation before execution. This is what happens if you answer "Yes" to each question:

With the current repository:

  1. Bump version in pkgFiles.
  2. Commit changes with commitMessage (%s is replaced with the new version).
  3. Tag commit with tagName (and tagAnnotation).
  4. Push commit and tag.
  5. Create release on GitHub (with githubReleaseName and output of githubReleaseBodyCommand).
  6. No distRepo? Publish package to npm.

Additionally, if a distribution repository is configured:

  1. Clean distBase and execute the buildCommand.
  2. Clone distRepo in distStageDir.
  3. Copy distFiles from distBase to distRepo.
  4. Bump version, commit, tag, push distRepo.
  5. Published package to npm.


  • The first 3 steps of the distRepo process are actually executed before you are asked to commit anything (even in the source repo), so you know about build, clone, or copy issues as soon as possible.
  • If present, your "private": true setting in package.json will be respected and you will not be bothered with the question to publish to npm.

Major dependencies:

The following Grunt plugins have been a source of inspiration:

Why did I need to create yet another "release" tool/plugin? I think this tool stands out:

  • As a user-friendly, stand-alone CLI tool.
  • Making it simple to release the current project you're working at.
  • Working without any configuration, but also provides many options.
  • Releasing a separate distribution repository (in a single run).
  • Being as quiet or verbose as you want it to be.