Bhuwan Upadhyay

Talks all about software engineering

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Applying semantic versioning with git repository



Semantic versioning is the practice of assigning version numbers based on the severity of the change. For semantic versioning, the Semver used as a versioning standard, and it based on the Conventional Commits.

By using the node library: semantic-release we can automate the whole package release workflow including: determining the next version number, generating the release notes and publishing the package.

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In this post, I will explain how we can integrate semantic versioning in the git repository.

Conventional Commits

To be used, semantic release needs commit message to follow a precise pattern. Here is the expected syntax for commit messages.

<type>(<scope>): <subject>
[optional body]
[optional footer(s)]

The commit contains the following structural elements, to communicate intent to the consumers of your library:

  • fix ➜ patches a bug in your codebase [PATCH]
  • feat ➜ introduces a new feature to the codebase [MINOR]
  • BREAKING CHANGE ➜ (a commit that has a footer BREAKING CHANGE:, or appends a ! after the type/scope) introduces a breaking API change [MAJOR]
  • build, chore, ci, docs, style, refactor, revert, perf, test ➜ other types than fix and feat
  • footers other than BREAKING CHANGE: <description> may be provided and follow a convention similar to git trailer format
  • <subject> - succinct description of the change, use the imperative, present tense: change not changed nor changes, don’t capitalize first letter, no dot (.) at the end
  • <scope> - We can insert as scope references to our JIRA/GITHUB/GITLAB issues id(XXX-1223)

Enforce Conventional Commits

The automated versioning only work fully when all the team respect these rules. To ensure automated versioning, we need to add some custom hooks in your versioning system.

Remote hooks setup on Github or Gitlab

Local hooks setup for the conventional commit

  • Run following commands in git repository directory
echo "module.exports = {extends: ['@commitlint/config-conventional']};" > commitlint.config.js
echo '{"hooks":{"commit-msg":"commitlint -E HUSKY_GIT_PARAMS"}}' > .huskyrc
  • Install commitlint and husky :
npm init
npm install --save-dev husky @commitlint/{cli,config-conventional}
  • Next git commit if you don't follow conventional commit patterns then it will reject the commit.

Semantic Release

npm i -g semantic-release @semantic-release/{git,exec,changelog}
  • Create .releaserc in your repository
 "branches": ["master"],
 "plugins": [
        ["@semantic-release/exec", {
              "prepareCmd" : "echo '${nextRelease.version} run your custom shell script'",
              "publishCmd" : "echo 'Published.......run your custom shell script'"
  • To run locally in dry run mode from repository
export GITHUB_TOKEN=<token> from https://github.com/settings/tokens (repo Permission)
semantic-release --dry-run

If you want to integrate semantic release with your CICD pipelines visit this documentation.

I have enabled semantic release with Github actions for my maven project factory-parent.

name: Release
on: [push]
    needs: build
    name: Semantic Release
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    if: github.ref == 'refs/heads/master'
      # check out repository code and setup node
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - uses: actions/setup-node@v1
          node-version: '12.x'
      # install dependencies and run semantic-release
      - run: npm i -g semantic-release @semantic-release/{git,exec,changelog}
      - run: semantic-release
          GITHUB_TOKEN: <github_token>