Release Tools

A collection of scripts to help with creating releases for publishing libraries and dart packages.

build Coverage Status Pub


  • release_tools update_version - Update the version number of pubspec.yaml
  • release_tools next_version - Get the next version based on commits.
  • release_tools should_release - Check if we can create a release based on commits that follow the Conventional Commit spec.
  • release_tools changelog - Update changelog based on commits that follow the Conventional Commit spec.
  • release_tools update_year - For syncing years on license files.
  • release_tools remote_tag_id - Get the commit id of a remote tag.
  • release_tools current_version - Get the current version of this package.
  • release_tools prepare_release - Complete release prep logic using the tools previously mentioned.

Notes Before Using

To be effective, release_tools makes a few assumptions about a project:

If your project needs are typical, you probably only need prepare_release. However, if you need more fine-grained control, use the other scripts as you see fit.


I recommend installing release_tools globally so that it won't interfere with your project's own dependecies. Constrain it to a specific version to limit supply-chain exploits.

$ pub global activate release_tools 0.3.2



The following command will update the version on pubspec.yaml on the current directory to version 1.0.1

$ release_tools update_version 1.0.1

If you want to update the version on a text file other than pubspec.yaml, use the --file option:

$ release_tools update_version --file="" 1.0.1

By default, it will look for strings that look like semver-flavored version strings. If you want to be specific, you can specify a template for replacement. For example, if the file contains the following text:

# My Project

Current Version: 1.0.0

Starting from version 1.0.0, all alert buttons will be red.

Running the following command...

$ release_tools update_version --file="" --template="Current Version: [VERSION]" 1.0.1

...will change the contents of to:

# My Project

Current Version: 1.0.1

Starting from version 1.0.0, all alert buttons will be red.


$ release_tools next_version 1.0.1
$ release_tools next_version

If you don't pass the version to increment from, it will attempt to get the version from pubspec.yaml. The script will return the next version based on the releasable commit logs that follow the conventional commit spec.

For example, if the commit logs contain a commit with the following message:

feat: something new

BREAKING-CHANGE: this changes everything

... then it will output a new major version:


By default, next_version considers all the logs from the beginning of the commit history but you can also specify a starting range:

$ release_tools next_version --from=abcde1234 1.0.1

...where --from should point to a commit id.

It will also increment the build number if the version on the pubspec.yaml or the version passed has it if there are releasable commits.

$ release_tools next_version 1.0.1+1
# 1.1.0+2

If you don't want this behavior, pass the --freezeBuild flag.

$ release_tools next_version --freezeBuild 1.0.1+1
# 1.1.0+1

To output just the version without the build number, pass the --noBuild flag.

$ release_tools next_version --noBuild 1.0.1+1
# 1.1.0


The following will print 'yes' to stdout if there are releasable commits, or 'no' if there are none.

$ release_tools should_release
$ release_tools should_release --from=abcde1234

"Releasable" here means that the commit logs contain at least one fix (PATCH), feat (MINOR), or BREAKING (MAJOR) logs as described in the conventional commits spec.


The following will update the changelog based on the releasable commits.

$ release_tools changelog 2.0.1
$ release_tools changelog --from=3682c64 2.0.1

A sample changelog would be the following:

# 1.0.0 (2021-02-09)

## Bug Fixes

- eat healthy ([#3](issues/3)) ([cf60800](commit/cf60800))

## Features

- **movement:** it jumps ([#1](issues/1)) ([925fcd3](commit/925fcd3))
- **movement:** it pounces ([#2](issues/2)) ([a25fcd3](commit/a25fcd3))
- **communication:** it talks ([#4](issues/4)) ([a25fcd3](commit/a25fcd3))
- **communication:** it sends sms ([#5](issues/5)) ([b25fcd3](commit/b25fcd3))


- null-safety ([#6](issues/6)) ([43cf9b7](commit/43cf9b7))


A simple tool for updating the year on LICENSE files. Note that the logic is really simple. It simply updates the first 4-digit number to the current year which may or may not be enough for your needs.

$ release_tools update_year
$ release_tools update_year --license=MY_LICENSE_FILE


Use this to retrieve the commit id of a tag on the git repository's remote.

$ release_tools remote_tag_id 0.2.2
# 3ed81541a61c7502b658c027f6d5ec87c129c1a9

Underneath, it simply runs the following git command:

git ls-remote -q --tags origin 0.2.2

You can specify the remote repository instead of the default 'origin' if needed:

$ release_tools remote_tag_id --remote=source 0.2.2


Use this if you need to retrieve the current version on pubspec.yaml

$ release_tools current_version
# 1.0.2


Complete release preparation logic with the following steps:

  1. Get the current version
  2. Get the commits from the last version tag or, if a version tag is not available for the last release, it will get them from the beginning of the commit history
  3. Check if a release is appropriate and if so...
  4. Update version on pubspec including incrementing the build number
  5. Create summary changelog from the commits
$ release_tools prepare_release

If there are no releasable commits, it will print the following:

There are no releasable commits

Otherwise, it will print something like the following:

Version bumped to: 0.2.5


# 0.2.5 (2021-05-03)

## Bug Fixes

- **changelog:** performance section in changelogs ([063e07d](commit/063e07d))

## Features

- prepare_release command ([877d63e](commit/877d63e))

If you need a summary of the result of the script run, you can pass -w to write some summary files like in the following:

$ release_tools prepare_release -w

This will create two files, VERSION.txt and RELEASE_SUMMARY.txt which will contain just the version for release and the summary of changes, respectively.

Similar Tools

  • pub_release - A much more mature release tool. I wanted to use this tool on my projects but found I didn't need a lot of its features. Still awesome!
  • melos - This one is geared towards monorepos.