Gradle implementation of semantic release (
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
.gitattributes initial project layout Jun 25, 2015
.gitignore initial project layout Jun 25, 2015
.travis.yml chore: reformat .travis.yml again Jan 29, 2019
LICENSE.txt docs: add a missing backslash Jan 28, 2019
gradlew chore: upgrade Gradle from 3 to 4 Jan 22, 2019

Build Status Coverage Status

Gradle implementation of semantic release

What is semantic-release about?

At its core semantic-release is a set of conventions that gives you entirely automated, semver-compliant package publishing. Coincidentally these conventions make sense on their own – like meaningful commit messages.

This removes the immediate connection between human emotions and version numbers, so strictly following the SemVer spec is not a problem anymore – and that’s ultimately semantic-release’s goal.

“We fail to follow SemVer – and why it needn’t matter”

JSConf Budapest 2015

JSConfBP Talk

This talk gives you a complete introduction to the underlying concepts of this module -- semantic release

How does it work?

Instead of writing meaningless commit messages, we can take our time to think about the changes in the codebase and write them down. Following formalized conventions it this then possible to generate a helpful changelog and to derive the next semantic version number from them.

When semantic-release got setup it will do that after every successful continuous integration build of your master branch (or any other branch you specify) and publish the new version for you. That way no human is directly involved in the release process and your releases are guaranteed to be unromantic and unsentimental.

This module ships with the AngularJS Commit Message Conventions and changelog generator, but you can define your own style.

Commit Message Format

Each commit message consists of a header, a body and a footer. The header has a special format that includes a type, a scope and a subject:

<type>(<scope>): <subject>

Full explanation

Under the hood this plugin uses gradle-git's release-base plugin and configures it to automatically increment the major, minor or patch version depending on the commit messages since the last release. Releases are only performed on certain branches (/master/ and /(?:release[-/])?\d+(?:.\d+)?.x/ by default). On other branches only SNAPSHOT versions are built. On these branches the branch name is automatically appended to the version.

When doing a final release -- in addition to the default behavior of gradle-git to tag the release and push the tag -- if the origin repository is a github repository, the plugin generates a changelog and creates a release on GitHub.


Apply the plugin in the rootProject (and only there) of your gradle build.

Gradle >= 2.1

plugins {
    id 'de.gliderpilot.semantic-release' version '1.0.0'

Gradle < 2.1

buildscript {
    repositories {
    dependencies {
        classpath 'de.gliderpilot.gradle.semantic-release:gradle-semantic-release-plugin:1.0.0'
apply plugin: 'de.gliderpilot.semantic-release'

Setup the release task

Don't configure the version property of the gradle project (no version in, no version in build.gradle)

Example for a java project deploying to maven

apply plugin: 'java'
apply plugin: 'maven-publish'
group = 'org.example'
publishing {

There is a new release task, which automatically dependsOn the build task and is finalizedBy the publish task (and the uploadArchives task, if you use the old publishing mechanism).

Uploading SNAPSHOT and releases to different repositories

Because the release task does automatically execute the publish task, you must take care of configuring only valid repositories.

publishing {
    repositories {
        maven {
            if (version.toString().endsWith("-SNAPSHOT") {
                url "http://.../snapshots"
            } else {
                url "http://.../releases"

Uploading using other plugins

If you need other mechanisms to upload your artifacts, you need to manually configure this.

if (!version.toString().endsWith('-SNAPSHOT'))
    publish.dependsOn publishPlugins, bintrayUpload
else if ((System.getenv('TRAVIS_PULL_REQUEST') ?: "false") == "false")
    publish.dependsOn artifactoryPublish

Enable upload of the changelog to GitHub

In order to automatically upload the changelog to GitHub, you need a GitHub token and tell the plugin about it.

project.ext.ghToken = project.hasProperty('ghToken') ? project.getProperty('ghToken') : System.getenv('GH_TOKEN') ?: null
semanticRelease {
    repo {
        ghToken = project.ghToken

Enable upload release files to GitHub

The ghToken is mandatory.

apply plugin: 'java'
task sourcesJar(type: Jar) {
    classifier = 'sources'
    from sourceSets.main.allSource
semanticRelease {
    repo {
        releaseAsset jar
        // optionally set name, label and/or contentType
        releaseAsset sourcesJar, name: "the-sources.jar", label: 'the sources jar', contentType: 'application/zip'
        // or
        // releaseAsset sourcesJar name "the-sources.jar" label "the sources jar" contentType "application/zip"

Using with GitHub Enterprise

By specifying useGhEnterprise this plugin can be used to publish releases along with the changelog to a GitHub Enterprise server.

semanticRelease {
  repo {
    ghToken = project.ext.ghToken
    useGhEnterprise "https://github.enterprise" // GitHub Enterprise URL

Setup travis-ci

First, you need to configure the environment variable GH_TOKEN in travis. Then you need a .travis.yml

sudo: false
    - git
language: java
jdk: oraclejdk7
env: TERM=dumb
    - /^v\d+\.\d+\.\d+$/
  - git fetch --unshallow
  - git config ""
  - git config "Travis-CI"
  - git config url.https://.insteadOf git://
  - git checkout -qf $TRAVIS_BRANCH
  - echo "skip default gradlew assemble"
  - ./gradlew release -Dorg.ajoberstar.grgit.auth.username=${GH_TOKEN} -Dorg.ajoberstar.grgit.auth.password

Supported workflows

By default the plugin allows a couple of workflows (aka branching strategies).

Master only

Just commit on master. As soon as you push to origin, travis will build a new version.


Develop on develop and feature branches. Travis will build SNAPSHOT versions on these branches.

To create a release, just create a branch release/1.x or release/1.0.x, and travis will create the release.


Develop features on branches branched from master. Once a feature is merged back to master, a version is released.


You can tweak the default behavior of the plugin using two extensions.

Semantic Release extension

semanticRelease {
    changeLog {
        changeScope = { org.ajoberstar.grgit.Commit ->
            // return org.ajoberstar.gradle.git.release.semver.ChangeScope
            // return MAJOR, MINOR or PATH to create a release
            // return null, if this commit is not relevant (e.g. only doc)
        changeLog = { List<Commit> commits, org.ajoberstar.gradle.git.release.base.ReleaseVersion version ->
                Release of $version.version

    releaseBranches {
        include 'stable'
    branchNames {
        // feature branches are dev/... instead of feature/...
        // the version on branch dev/foo should be 1.0.0-foo-SNAPSHOT
        // and not 1.0.0-dev-foo-SNAPSHOT
        replace ~/^dev\/(.*)$/, '$1'

Version Strategies

Since this plugin uses gradle-git under the cover, you can configure this plugin as described in their wiki.

The plugin does configure gradle-git with one versionStrategy and one defaultVersionStrategy. The defaultVersionStrategy is responsible for building SNAPSHOT versions. The semantic-release versionStrategy is only used, if there are

  • relevant changes (features with or without BREAKING CHANGES, bugfixes or performance improvements)
  • the branch is master or a release branch
  • the task release was used and
  • the workspace is clean

The gradle-semantic-release-plugin defines it's own extension semanticRelease. When configuring gradle-git, you must not use the VersionStrategies defined by gradle-git directly, but you must use the releaseStrategy or snapshotStrategy of the semanticRelease extension as a base and use copyWith. Otherwise the version will not be inferred based on the commit messages.

import org.ajoberstar.gradle.git.release.semver.*
import org.ajoberstar.gradle.git.release.opinion.Strategies
release {
    // replace the default strategy to add '-FINAL' to the version
    versionStrategy semanticRelease.releaseStrategy.copyWith{
        preReleaseStrategy: { it.copyWith(inferredPreRelease: 'FINAL') }

    // add a second strategy to create release candidates from 'rc/.*' branches
    versionStrategy semanticRelease.releaseStrategy.copyWith(
        // the type is important, without type you would again replace the default strategy
        type: 'rc',
        selector: { SemVerStrategyState state ->
            !state.repoDirty && ==~ /rc\/.*/ &&
                    semanticRelease.semanticStrategy.canRelease(state) && project.gradle.startParameter.taskNames.find { it == 'release' }
        preReleaseStrategy: StrategyUtil.all({ it.copyWith(inferredPreRelease: 'rc') } as PartialSemVerStrategy, Strategies.PreRelease.COUNT_INCREMENTED)


I think you might frequently ask questions like these

Is there a way to preview which version would currently get published?

If you run ./gradlew locally, the version that would be build gets logged (just remove -SNAPSHOT).

Can I run this on my own machine rather than on a CI server?

Of course you can, but this doesn't necessarily mean you should. Running your tests on an independent machine before releasing software is a crucial part of this workflow. Also it is a pain to set this up locally, with tokens lying around and everything.

Can I manually trigger the release of a specific version?

You can trigger a release by pushing to your GitHub repository. You deliberately cannot trigger a specific version release, because this is the whole point of semantic-release. Start your packages with 1.0.0 and semver on. You can however prevent an accidental major version bump by using a branch pattern release/\d+\.x. And you can prevent an accidental minor version bump by using a branch pattern release/\d+\.\d+\.x. Using these two branchname patterns, you can also manually trigger a version bump without a correspondent commit message.

Is it really a good idea to release on every push?

It is indeed a great idea because it forces you to follow best practices. If you don't feel comfortable making every passing feature or fix on your master branch addressable you might not treat your master right. Have a look at branch workflows. If you still think you should have control over the exact point in time of your release, e.g. because you are following a release schedule, you can release only on the release branch and push your code there in certain intervals.

Why should I trust semantic-release with my releases?

gradle-semantic-release-plugin has a full unit- and integration-test-suite. Additionally we eat our own dogfood and release using our own plugin -- A new version won't get published if there is an error.


Apache License Version 2.0, January 2004 2015 © Tobias Schulte, based on the ideas of the semantic-release plugin of Stephan Bönnemann and contributors