Drafts your next release notes as pull requests are merged into master.
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Latest commit 55c2ac0 Oct 16, 2018


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Drafts your next release notes as pull requests are merged into master. Built with Probot.

Install the GitHub App

NPM package


  1. Install the Release Drafter GitHub App into the repositories you wish to automatically create releases in.
  2. Add a .github/release-drafter.yml configuration file to each repository.


For example, take the following .github/release-drafter.yml file in a repository:

template: |
  ## What’s Changed


As pull requests are merged, a draft release is kept up-to-date listing the changes, ready to publish when you’re ready:

Screenshot of generated draft release

Configuration options

You can configure Release Drafter using the following key in your .github/release-drafter.yml file:

Key Required Description
template Required The template for the body of the draft release. Use template variables to insert values.
change-template Optional The template to use for each merged pull request. Use change template variables to insert values. Default: * $TITLE (#$NUMBER) @$AUTHOR
no-changes-template Optional The template to use for when there’s no changes. Default: * No changes
branches Optional The branches to listen for configuration updates to .github/release-drafter.yml and for merge commits. Useful if you want to test the app on a pull request branch. Default is the repository’s default branch.

Release Drafter also supports Probot Config, if you want to store your configuration files in a central repository. This allows you to share configurations between projects, and create a organization-wide configuration file by creating a repository named .github and file named release-drafter.yml.

Template variables

You can use any of the following variables in your template:

Variable Description
$CHANGES The markdown list of pull requests that have been merged.
$CONTRIBUTORS A comma separated list of contributors to this release (pull request authors, commit authors, and commit committers).
$PREVIOUS_TAG The previous releases’s tag.

Change Template variables

You can use any of the following variables in change-template:

Variable Description
$NUMBER The number of the pull request, e.g. 42
$TITLE The title of the pull request, e.g. Add alien technology
$AUTHOR The pull request author’s username, e.g. gracehopper

GitHub Installation Permissions

Release Drafter needs to update your releases for you, and so it requires write access to the repository you want to automatically update. Unfortunately, at this time, GitHub doesn't offer a release-only write scope. Please don't just add it to your entire GitHub account! Only add the repositories you want to draft releases on.


If you have Node v10+ installed locally, you can run the tests, and a local app, using the following commands:

# Install dependencies

# Run the tests
npm test

# Run the app locally
npm start

If you don’t have Node installed, you can use Docker Compose:

# Run the tests
docker-compose run --rm app npm test


Third-party contributions are welcome! 🙏🏼 See CONTRIBUTING.md for step-by-step instructions.

If you need help or have a question, let me know via a GitHub issue.


If you want to deploy your own copy of Release Drafter, follow the Probot Deployment Guide.


Run the following command:

git checkout master && git pull && npm test && npm version [major | minor | patch]

The command does the following:

  • Ensures you’re on master and don’t have local, un-commited changes
  • Bumps the version number in package.json based on major, minor or patch
  • Runs the postversion npm script in package.json, which:
    • Pushes the tag to GitHub
    • Publishes the npm release
    • Deploys to Now
    • Opens the GitHub releases page so you can publish the release notes