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Sbt plugin for fully automated releases, without SNAPSHOT and git sha's in the version. A remix of the best ideas from sbt-ci-release and sbt-release-early.
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bin Add scalafmt Jun 10, 2018
project simplify plugin dependencies Sep 10, 2018
src fix tests Sep 10, 2018
.gitignore setup on travis Sep 8, 2018
build.sbt remove scripted plugin Sep 10, 2018
private-key.pem.enc gem install note Mar 15, 2019


Build Status Scaladex

Sbt plugin for fully automated releases, without SNAPSHOT and git sha's in the version. A remix of the best ideas from sbt-ci-release and sbt-release-early.



  • detects last version from git (e.g. v1.0.0) and increments the last digit, i.e. the next release is automatically inferred as v1.0.1
  • no more git hashes in the released version
  • no more need to manually tag the builds
  • builds the release, creates and pushes the git tag, publishes the artifact
  • ci-release for your in-house setup (e.g. jenkins/artifactory/nexus etc), very easy to configure
  • ci-release-sonatype for your open source travis/sonatype/maven central setup, a little more involved to configure
  • easy to test locally (faster turnaround than debugging on
  • automatically handles cross release for multiple scala versions
  • verifies that your build does not depend on any snapshot dependencies


Add the dependency in your projects/plugins.sbt:

addSbtPlugin("io.shiftleft" % "sbt-ci-release-early" % "1.0.6")

Latest version: Scaladex

In-house setup (e.g. jenkins/artifactory)

Make sure the typical publishTo variable in your built.sbt points to your repository (this isn't specific to this plugin). Example: ThisBuild / publishTo := Some("releases" at "")

Then just run ci-release as part of your build pipeline:

sbt ci-release

Public build (e.g.

Public repositories like Sonatype (which syncs to maven central) typically impose additional constraints on the published artifacts, so the setup becomes a little more involved. These steps assume you're using, but it should be similar on other build servers.

Sonatype account

If you don't have a sonatype account yet, follow the instructions in to create one.


Make sure build.sbt does not define any of the following settings

  • version

Ensure the following settings are defined in your build.sbt:

  • name
  • organization: must match your sonatype account priviledges
  • licenses
  • developers
  • scmInfo
  • publishTo: e.g. sonatypePublishTo.value


Example for a multi-project build:

  organization := "io.shiftleft",
  publishTo := sonatypePublishTo.value,
  licenses := List("Apache-2.0" -> url("")),
  homepage := Some(url("")),
  scmInfo := Some(ScmInfo(
  developers := List(
    Developer("mpollmeier", "Michael Pollmeier", "", url(""))

gpg keys

Sonatype requires all artifacts to be signed. Since it doesn't matter which key it's signed with, and we need to share the private key with, we will simply create a new one specifically for this project:

gpg --gen-key
  • For real name, use "$PROJECT_NAME bot", e.g. gremlin-scala bot
  • For email, use your own email address
  • For passphrase, generate a random password

At the end you'll see output like this

pub   rsa2048 2018-06-10 [SC] [expires: 2020-06-09]
uid                      $PROJECT_NAME bot <$EMAIL>

Take note of $LONG_ID, make sure to replace this ID from the code examples below. The ID will look something like 6E8ED79B03AD527F1B281169D28FC818985732D9.

export LONG_ID=6E8ED79B03AD527F1B281169D28FC818985732D9

Now submit the public key to a keyserver (shouldn't matter which one, keyservers synchronize their keys with each other):

gpg --send-keys $LONG_ID

Then export the private key locally so we can later encrypt it for travis. Make sure you don't publish this anywhere. The actual damage is small since it's just for this project, but people will laugh at you :)

gpg --armor --export-secret-keys $LONG_ID > private-key.pem
echo "\nprivate-key.pem" >> .gitignore

Git push access

Travis will automatically tag each release in git. In order to push that tag, it needs push access to your repository. The easiest way to achieve that is to create a personal access token for travis. Note it down somewhere, it will be used in the next section (and you can use for all your travis builds).

Open the "Settings" panel for your project on Travis CI, for example

And define the following secret variables. They are shared with travis, but cannot be accessed outside your build:

  • SONATYPE_USERNAME: The email you use to log into
  • SONATYPE_PASSWORD: The password you use to log into
  • PGP_PASSPHRASE: The randomly generated password you used to create a fresh gpg key.
  • GITHUB_TOKEN: the token that allows travis to push to your remote git(hub) repository

Now configure your .travis.yml. There are many ways to do this, but to make things simple you can just copy paste the following into your .travis.yml. It sets up your build in two stages:

  • test: always run sbt +test
  • release: if it's the master branch and all tests passed, run sbt ci-release-sonatype
language: scala
jdk: oraclejdk8

- git fetch --tags

- gpg --import private-key.pem
- gpg --list-keys

- name: test
- name: release
  if: branch = master

    - stage: test
      script: sbt +test
    - stage: release
      script: sbt ci-release-sonatype

- du -h -d 1 $HOME/.ivy2/cache
- du -h -d 2 $HOME/.sbt/
- find $HOME/.sbt -name "*.lock" -type f -delete
- find $HOME/.ivy2/cache -name "ivydata-*.properties" -type f -delete
- rm -rf $HOME/.ivy2/local
  - "$HOME/.sbt/1.0/dependency"
  - "$HOME/.sbt/boot/scala*"
  - "$HOME/.sbt/launchers"
  - "$HOME/.ivy2/cache"
  - "$HOME/.coursier"

Finally, share the private key with travis. Note that this has to be run from within the repository. If you haven't yet, you'll need to install travis (e.g. with gem install travis).

travis encrypt-file private-key.pem --add

That's all - give it a try.


By installing sbt-ci-release-early the following sbt plugins are also brought in:

  • sbt-pgp: to cryptographically sign the artifacts before publishing
  • sbt-sonatype: to publish artifacts to Sonatype


How can determine the latest released version?

Other than manually looking at sonatype/maven central or git tags, you can use the following snippet that remotely gets the git tags that start with v and have (in this version) three decimals separated by ., and returns the highest version.

git ls-remote --tags $REPO | awk -F"/" '{print $3}' | grep '^v[0-9]*\.[0-9]*\.[0-9]*' | grep -v {} | sort --version-sort | tail -n1

My sonatype staging repos seems to be in a broken state

When a build is e.g. interrupted, or didn't satisfy the sonatype requirements for publishing, it is likely that these artifacts are still lying around in the sonatype staging area. You can log into and clean it up, or just do it from within sbt, locally on your machine:

  • sonatypeStagingRepositoryProfiles // lists staging repo ids
  • sonatypeDrop [id]

Why not just use SNAPSHOT dependencies instead?

SNAPSHOT dependencies are evil because they:

  • are mutable, i.e. your builds aren't reproducible
  • slow down your build, because sbt has to check for updates all the time
  • involve (sometimes multiple layers) of caches, which tend to break and add complexity if you try to debug a problem

How do I release a specific version?

To keep things simple I decided to not add that feature to this plugin. If you want to release a specific version you have to do that yourself:

// in sbt:
set version := "1.2.3"

// on the terminal:
git tag v1.2.3
git push origin v1.2.3

Note to future self: this would have added complexity because to trigger it we would rely on git tags, and we need a foolproof way to check if a given tag has already been released. My intial thought was to tag anything released with _released_1.0.1_, but it was getting quite complicated for handling an edge case.

How do I disable publishing in certain projects?

Add the following to the project settings:

skip in publish := true

What if my build contains subprojects?

If the build defines a dependency on the subproject (e.g. dependsOn(subProjectName)) then it's automatically included in the release. Otherwise you can just append subProjectName/publish to your build pipeline, the version is already set for you :)

Can I depend on Maven Central releases immediately?

Yes! As soon as CI "closes" the staging repository you can depend on those artifacts with

resolvers += Resolver.sonatypeRepo("releases")

Can I publish sbt plugins?

You can publish sbt plugins to Maven Central like a normal library, no custom setup required. In fact, this plugin is published with a previous version of itself :)


There exist great alternatives to sbt-ci-release-early that may work better for your setup.

  • sbt-ci-release: Releases versions that you previously tagged in git (rather than automatically tagging every build). This plugin started as a fork of sbt-ci-release. I ran into some issues with gpg keys, ymmv.
  • sbt-release-early: additionally supports publishing to Bintray
  • sbt-rig: additionally supporting publishing code coverage reports, managing test dependencies and publishing docs.
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