Ruby program with command-line interface that creates a changelog from log lines in a Git repository that can be read and understood by end users.
There are several approaches to creating changelog files from Git commits (e.g., gitchangelog, gitlog-to-changelog and many more). None of these quite fit my needs, so I decided to create my own tool.
What's special about my approach is that the changelog information is not taken from every commit, but from specially marked lines in the commit messages and tag annotations. Changelog lines must comply with the format:
- [KEYWORD]: [TEXT]
[KEYWORD] may be any keyword of your liking, such as "NEW",
"FIX", and so on. (I am planning to predefine these keywords in a later
[TEXT] is an explanation of the change. Note that the
program currently operates on single lines, so it is not possible to
[TEXT] span several lines.
The reason why I chose to have special changelog lines rather than commit subjects is that commits are rather technical, but I want to have a changelog that can be read by 'normal' end users.
create-changelog assumes that each tag in the repository represents a release version. The changelog for a version consists of the tag's name, the tag's annotation, and the unique combined, filtered changelog lines of the tag annotation and all commits since the previous tag.
Creating log entries
When committing, add a line to the commit message that fits the above definition, e.g.
Implement Backup class. - NEW: Ability to back up the files.
When releasing a new version, create an annotated tag:
Version 7.0.0-alpha.3 This version adds a new backup feature and fixes several bugs.
If you wish, you can include additional changelog entries in the tag annotation. These may even be the same that you used for the commit messages (and this tool provides a way to filter the commit messages for just these lines). The tool ensures that there are no duplicate changelog entries.
Version 7.0.0-alpha.3 This version adds a new backup feature and fixes several bugs. - NEW: Ability to back up the files.
Generating the log
To generate a complete change log, simply run the tool in the directory of the Git repository, or indicate a working directory:
ccl -d /home/me/my/repository
The output will be in markdown format. If you wish, you can further process it using tools like pandoc for example. Of course, it is also possible to incorporate the command in the content files for a static site generator such as nanoc.
If you want to track your log in the Git repository, you will not yet have an annotated tag for the version you are preparing at the time when you generate the changelog. In this case, the tool will use "Unpublished changes" as the heading for the latest changes. To rather use the version number that you are about to use in the tag, execute the tool with an optional argument:
ccl "Version 7.0.0-alpha.4"
You then use this same version number for your release tag.
Be aware that currently, the date of the most recent commit (that HEAD points to) will be appended to the heading.
To exclude recent changes that were logged since the last tag:
ccl --no-recent ccl -n
To just see the (undecorated) changelog entries since the last tag, use:
ccl --recent ccl -r
This can be handy if you want to add a log of recent changes to your tag annotation. For example, using the Vim text editor, issue:
The tool will make sure that no changelog lines are duplicated.
The changelog format resembles the suggestions made by Olivier Lacan, but it does not fully comply with Olivier's specification. I have not yet have the time to implement automatic generation of subheadings. Maybe I'll add the feature in the future.
- Add automatic subheadings
- Add ability to handle multi-line change log entries
- Add to-do list feature
... or of course CHANGELOG.md in this repository.
The code is documented in Yard style. The
doc subdirectory is
git-ignored so you can safely generate the docs.
Copyright 2015 Daniel Kraus firstname.lastname@example.org
Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at
Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.