This package has been deprecated

Author message:

This package has been re-published as @hutson/semantic-delivery-gitlab. Please consider removing the old package and installing the new package.


8.0.1 • Public • Published


Automatically generate a release, along with a corresponding git tag, for GitLab-hosted source code.

When you create a new release for your GitLab project, you probably do several of the steps listed below:

  • Get a list of all commits to the project that have not been released.
  • Determine the appropriate semantic version to use for the release.
  • Generate a git tag for the repository on GitLab with that version.
  • Publish a GitLab release page with a list of changes in that version.
  • Inform people subscribed to GitLab issues, or merge requests, about the release.

Well, semantic-release-gitlab streamlines all those steps into a single command line tool.

Since semantic-release-gitlab is a command line tool, you can call semantic-release-gitlab yourself whenever you want, or you can setup your project to automatically call semantic-release-gitlab after every commit to your repository, or set it up to run on a regular schedule.

This idea, however, is not new. semantic-release-gitlab was heavily inspired by the work of semantic-release.

Table of Contents



To install the semantic-release-gitlab tool for use in your project's release process please run the following command:

yarn add --dev semantic-release-gitlab


Setup the environment variable described in the Required Environment Variable section.

Then call semantic-release-gitlab from within your project's top folder:

$(yarn bin)/semantic-release-gitlab

To learn how semantic-release-gitlab can be used to automatically release your project on new changes to your repository, please see the Continuous Integration and Delivery (CID) Setup section below.

How the Release Happens

First step of semantic-release-gitlab is to get a list of commits made to your project after the latest semantic version tag. If no commits are found, which typically happens if the latest commit in your project is pointed to by a semantic version tag, then semantic-release-gitlab will exit cleanly and indicate no changes can be released. This ensures you can run the release process multiple times and only release new versions if there are unreleased commits. If unreleased commits are available, semantic-release-gitlab will proceed to the next step.

Unless you have configured a preset, the convention used by your project will be determined by conventional-commits-detector. Once we have determined your convention, we pass along the preset package associated with that convention to conventional-recommended-bump. conventional-recommended-bump will determine the appropriate version to release. For more information on how versions are determined, please see the Version Selection section below.

Once a recommendation has been provided by conventional-recommended-bump, we generate a new GitLab release page, with a list of all the changes made since the last version, using the authentication token configured in the Required Environment Variables section below. Creating a GitLab release also creates an annotated git tag (You can retrieve the annotated tag using git fetch).

Lastly, a comment will be posted to every issue that is referenced in a released commit, informing subscribers to that issue of the recent release and version number.

Required Environment Variable

For semantic-release-gitlab to publish a release to GitLab you must setup a GitLab Personal Access Token in your environment with the following environment variable name:

Environment variable name - GITLAB_AUTH_TOKEN

The personal access token must have the following scope set:

  • api

The personal access token must be setup on an account for a member of the project you're wanting to automatically release.

GitLab permissions are documented on the GitLab Permissions site.

Required GitLab CE/EE Edition

Version 9.0, or higher, of GitLab CE/EE is required for semantic-release-gitlab.

Core features used:

This only applies to you if you're running your own instance of GitLab. is always the latest version of the GitLab application.


Version selection, the format of the release notes, among other things, are configured through a conventional-changelog preset package.

For example, to use the ESLint release conventions, first install their preset package along-side semantic-release-gitlab:

yarn add --dev conventional-changelog-eslint

Then pass the name, minus conventional-changelog-, of the preset package to semantic-release-gitlab:

$(yarn bin)/semantic-release-gitlab --preset eslint

If a preset is not provided semantic-release-gitlab will use conventional-changelog-angular.

Using HTTP for GitLab

By default all API calls to GitLab are made over HTTPS. To use HTTP set the environment variable GITLAB_INSECURE_API to true. Other values, including not setting the environment variable, will cause semantic-release-gitlab to use HTTPS.

We strongly advise against communicating with GitLab over HTTP, but this option is supported for those cases where configuring SSL for GitLab is not feasible.

Continuous Integration and Delivery (CID) Setup

Since semantic-release-gitlab relies on a GitLab token, and a package published to the public npm registry, semantic-release-gitlab works on any GitLab-compatible continuous integration platform.

However, given the enormous number of CI providers available, we will only cover the CI system built into GitLab.

Configuring a GitLab CI job is facilitated through a .gitlab-ci.yml configuration file kept at the root of your project. To publish changes using semantic-release-gitlab you will need to create a dedicated build stage that executes only after all other builds and tests have completed successfully.

That can be done with GitLab CI by creating a dedicated release stage and adding it as the last item under stages. Next, create a job called release and add it to the release stage. Within release call semantic-release-gitlab.

You can see a snippet of a .gitlab-ci.yml file below with this setup:

  - build
  - test
  - release
    - yarn install --frozen-lockfile
  image: node:8
    - master@<GROUP>/<PROJECT>
    - $(yarn bin)/semantic-release-gitlab
  stage: release

Full documentation for GitLab CI is available on the GitLab CI site.

You may also take a look at our .gitlab-ci.yml file as an example.

In addition to publishing a new release on every new commit, which is the strategy shown above, you may use use any number of other strategies, such as publishing a release on a given schedule. Please see the Release Strategies section below for a few such alternative approaches.

How to Publish Project to an npm Registry

Once semantic-release-gitlab has created a release on GitLab, the next step for an npm package is to publish that package to an npm-compatible registry. To publish your project to an npm-compatible registry, please use npm-publish-git-tag.

Version Selection

As noted earlier semantic-release-gitlab uses conventional-recommended-bump to determine if a release is needed, and whether that should be a major, minor, or patch release.

The process involves semantic-release-gitlab passing the list of all unreleased commits, along with your project's commit message convention, to conventional-recommended-bump. conventional-recommended-bump will either report that no new release is recommended, or it will recommend a new major, minor, or patch release.

If conventional-recommended-bump indicates that no new release should be made, semantic-release-gitlab will not release a new version of your project.

If a release is recommended, and no previous version exists, we will always set the first version to 1.0.0.

If a previous version exists, we take that version and increment it according to the recommendation using the default behavior of the inc function provided by the semver package.

Release Strategies

You can employ many different release strategies using an automated tool such as semantic-release-gitlab.

Below we document a few release strategies. Please don't consider this list exhaustive. There are likely many other ways to decide when it's best to generate a new release for your project.

On Every Push To A Repository With New Commits

Publishing a new release on every push to a repository with new commits is the approach taken by this project. If you take this approach, you can push a single commit, leading to a release for that one change, or you can create multiple commits and push them all at once, leading to a single release containing all those changes.

An example our setup for GitLab CI can be seen in the Continuous Integration and Delivery (CID) Setup section above.

On A Schedule

You may also release your changes on a schedule. For example, using a CI platform like Jenkins CI, you can create and configure a job to run on a given schedule, such as once every two weeks, and, as part of a Post Build Action, run the release tool.

Other CI platforms besides Jenkins also allow you to run a particular action on a given schedule, allowing you to schedule releases as you could with Jenkins CI.

With this strategy all commits that have accumulated in your repository since the last scheduled job run will be incorporated into a single new release. Because this release tool uses conventional-recommended-bump, which recommends an appropriate new version based on all commits targeted for release, you can be assured that each scheduled release will use a version appropriate for the changes accumulated in that release.

Common Issues

A collection of common issues encountered while using semantic-release-gitlab.

GitLabError: 404 Project Not Found (404)

In some instances you may see the following error after running semantic-release-gitlab:

semantic-release-gitlab failed for the following reason - GitLabError: 404 Project Not Found (404)

That error can be caused by one of several reasons.

First, the project, or at least the project URL used by semantic-release-gitlab, is not valid. Please make sure the repository field in your package.json is correct. If it is correct, please consider running semantic-release-gitlab in debug mode to see what URL is being used to interact with GitLab.

Second, you have not set the required environment variable, or the access token assigned to that environment variable does not have access to your project's repository.


To assist users of semantic-release-gitlab with debugging the behavior of this module we use the debug utility package to print information about the release process to the console. To enable debug message printing, the environment variable DEBUG, which is the variable used by the debug package, must be set to a value configured by the package containing the debug messages to be printed.

To print debug messages on a unix system set the environment variable DEBUG with the name of this package prior to executing semantic-release-gitlab:

DEBUG=semantic-release-gitlab semantic-release-gitlab

On the Windows command line you may do:

set DEBUG=semantic-release-gitlab

Node Support Policy

We only support Long-Term Support versions of Node.

We specifically limit our support to LTS versions of Node, not because this package won't work on other versions, but because we have a limited amount of time, and supporting LTS offers the greatest return on that investment.

It's possible this package will work correctly on newer versions of Node. It may even be possible to use this package on older versions of Node, though that's more unlikely as we'll make every effort to take advantage of features available in the oldest LTS version we support.

As each Node LTS version reaches its end-of-life we will remove that version from the node engines property of our package's package.json file. Removing a Node version is considered a breaking change and will entail the publishing of a new major version of this package. We will not accept any requests to support an end-of-life version of Node. Any merge requests or issues supporting an end-of-life version of Node will be closed.

We will accept code that allows this package to run on newer, non-LTS, versions of Node. Furthermore, we will attempt to ensure our own changes work on the latest version of Node. To help in that commitment, our continuous integration setup runs against all LTS versions of Node in addition the most recent Node release; called current.

JavaScript package managers should allow you to install this package with any version of Node, with, at most, a warning if your version of Node does not fall within the range specified by our node engines property. If you encounter issues installing this package, please report the issue to your package manager.


Please read our contributing guide to see how you may contribute to this project.

Package Sidebar


npm i semantic-release-gitlab

Weekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

39.8 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • hutson