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SBT plugin to support versioning
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sbt-git-versioning is a suite of sbt plugins designed to make maintaining a simple, consistent, and accurate semantic versioning scheme with as little manual labor as possible.

There are two sbt plugins in this one plugin library:


Tested and supported for sbt versions: 0.13.17, 1.1.6, and 1.2.1


  1. Remove the version := ... directive from the project's build.sbt file
  2. Add the following code to project/plugins.sbt file (if you want to use Ivy style resolution):
  resolvers += Resolver.bintrayIvyRepo("rallyhealth", "sbt-plugins")

Alternatively, you can add the following (if you want to use Maven style resolution):

  Resolver.bintrayRepo("rallyhealth", "sbt-plugins")

In either case, you should now be able to add the plugin dependency to project/plugins.sbt:

  addSbtPlugin("com.rallyhealth.sbt" % "sbt-git-versioning" % "x.y.z")
  1. Enable the SemVer plugin to enforce SemVer with MiMa. (Important for shared libraries, not so much for personal apps)
val example = project
  1. Add a gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound placeholder in build.sbt.
// Uncomment when you're ready to start building 1.0.0-...-SNAPSHOT versions.
// gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound in ThisBuild := "1.0.0"


GitVersioningPlugin focuses on automatically determining the value of the version setting. The version is determined by looking at git history (for previous tags) and the state of the working directly. Read on for the exact details.


This plugin will automatically determine and set the version setting on startup. There is nothing developers need to explicitly do. You can publishLocal and PRs and use the created snapshot artifacts anywhere you would a release artifact.

You will see additional log statements like:

[info] Skipping fetching tags from git remotes; to enable, set the system property version.autoFetch=true
[info] GitVersioningPlugin set versionFromGit=2.0.0-dirty-SNAPSHOT
[info] GitVersioningPlugin set version=2.0.0-dirty-SNAPSHOT
[info] GitVersioningPlugin set isCleanRelease=false


The version format is:

  • Leading v
  • Major.Minor.Patch, e.g 1.2.3
  • (Optional) Commits since last tag
  • (Optional) Short hash of the current commit
  • (Optional) -dirty-SNAPSHOT if uncommitted changes

Putting it all together (including all optionals) gives you v1.2.3-<commit_count>-<hash>-dirty-SNAPSHOT.

If HEAD is... ...and commits have a tag (ex. v1.0.3) ... ...and is "clean" Then the version is
tagged (ex. v1.1.0) v1.1.0
tagged (ex. v1.1.0) v1.1.0-dirty-SNAPSHOT
not tagged v1.0.4-1-0123abc-SNAPSHOT
not tagged v1.0.4-1-0123abc-dirty-SNAPSHOT
not tagged v0.0.1-1-0123abc-SNAPSHOT
not tagged v0.0.1-1-0123abc-dirty-SNAPSHOT
non-existent v0.0.1-dirty-SNAPSHOT
non-existent v0.0.1-dirty-SNAPSHOT

Nudging the version

The version is generally derived from git, though there are a couple ways to change that.

Version Override

The version.override arg sets the version and overrides all other sources.

sbt -Dversion.override=1.2.3 ...


The gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound settingKey can push the version to a higher version snapshot than the current git state.

This is useful for preparing major releases with breaking changes (esp. when combined with shading -- stay tuned for more features here).

versionFromGit gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound Final Version
1.0.0 1.0.0
1.0.0-n-0123abc-SNAPSHOT 1.0.0-n-0123abc-SNAPSHOT
1.0.0 2.0.0 2.0.0-n-0123abc-SNAPSHOT

Release arg Property

The release arg bumps the version up by a major, minor, or patch increment.

sbt -Drelease=major ...

The release arg alters the value of versionFromGit, but is still bounded by gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound. For example:

versionFromGit -Drelease gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound Final Version
1.0.0 patch 1.0.1
1.0.0 minor 1.1.0
1.0.0 major 2.0.0
1.0.0 patch 2.0.0 2.0.0-n-0123abc-SNAPSHOT
1.0.0 minor 2.0.0 2.0.0-n-0123abc-SNAPSHOT
1.0.0 major 2.0.0 2.0.0


With most recent git tag at v1.4.2 and a gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound setting of:

gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound in ThisBuild := "2.0.0"
$ sbt
[info] GitVersioningPlugin set versionFromGit=1.4.3-1-400b9ac-SNAPSHOT
[info] GitVersioningPlugin set version=2.0.0-1-400b9ac-SNAPSHOT


  • The patch version is incremented if there are commits, dirty or not. But it is not incremented if there are no commits.
  • The hash does not have a 'g' prefix like the output of git describe
  • A build will be flagged as not clean (and will have a -dirty-SNAPSHOT identifier applied) if git status --porcelain returns a non-empty result.
  • If there is no tag in the commit history, the number appended after the version number will reflect the number of commits since the creation of the repository.
  • This plugin is intentionally different than something like sbt-release which stores the version in a version.sbt file. Those types of plugins require more manual effort on the part of the developer.

Warning: Git Versioning may misbehave with shallow clones. If the incorrect version is being returned and tags are accessible, you may be using a shallow clone, in which case git fetch --unshallow will fix the issue. On CI systems, ensure that any git plugins are configured to not use shallow clones.

Creating a Release

Recommended: -Drelease

Creating a release is done by passing a release arg.

sbt -Drelease=patch publish[Local]

You can extract the version for other purposes (e.g. git tagging after successful publish) using the writeVersion <file> input task.

export VERSIONFILE=$(mktemp) # avoid creating untracked files so version doesn't become -dirty.
sbt "writeVersion $VERSIONFILE"
git tag "v${VERSION}""
git push origin "v${VERSION}"
# ...

Possible: tag + sbt-git-versioning

...or by tagging and then publishing a release...

git tag v1.2.3
sbt publish[Local]

Not recommended (unless have good reasons): version.override

...or by overriding the version that will be applied to a specific build, using the version.override setting. Typically this is done by at the command line to avoid changing build.sbt.

sbt -Dversion.override=1.2.3 publish[Local]

You shouldn't do this without good reason. Version determination can be complicated, because git can be complicated.

Extra Identifiers

To add an extra identifier like "-alpha" or "-rc1" or "-rally" it must be included it in the version directly by overriding the "version" setting directly. (There was a feature to add those separately but it has been removed because it was never used. Feel free to re-add it.)


SemVerPlugin will halt the build (compile, publish, etc.) if your changes would not make a valid semantic version. The plugin checks the previous release, your changes, and the semVerLimitRelease to ensure your changes are really patch/minor/major changes if you want to release a patch/minor/major.


You can run the check manually using semVerCheck. The check and also be run automatically:

  • Compile - If semVerCheckOnCompile is set to true (the default) it will check after you compile
  • Test - If semVerCheckOnTest is set to true (the default) it will check after you test
  • Publish - If semVerCheckOnPublish is set to true (the default) it will check before you publish
  • PublishLocal - If semVerCheckOnPublish is set to true (the default) it will check before you publishLocal

When the SemVerPlugin halts the build it will look like:

[error] (api/*:semVerCheck) com.rallyhealth.sbt.semver.SemVerVersionTooLowException: Your changes have new functionality and binary incompatibilites which violates the rules for a Minor release.
[error] Specifically, MiMa detected the following binary incompatibilities:
[error] (1/1) Backward -> method url(java.lang.String)com.rallyhealth.rq.v1.RqRequest in object com.rallyhealth.rq.v1.Rq does not have a correspondent in current version
[error] These changes would require a Major release instead (1.9.0 => 2.0.0).
[error] You can adjust the version by adding the following setting:
[error]   gitVersioningSnapshotLowerBound in ThisBuild := "2.0.0"
[error] Total time: 0 s, completed Jul 13, 2018 3:49:57 PM


SemverPlugin is built on top of Typesafe's migration-manager tool. First it finds the previous version by looking at git history to find a previous tag (like GitVersioningPlugin). Then it uses that artifact as the baseline and compares against your changes.


  • Semantic versioning is disabled for initial development versions (i.e. 0.x.y).

  • When adding a new sub-module within an existing module, be sure to add semVerEnforceAfterVersion in the sbt settings and that version is a minor update.

    Example: Current tag is 1.3.4. Then the sbt sub-module settings should have semVerEnforceAfterVersion := Some("1.4.0")

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