Git describe information at runtime, with semver support

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import gitDescribe from '';



npm version npm license travis build vulnerabilities

This Node.js module runs git describe on the working directory or any other directory and parses the output to individual components. Additionally, if your tags follow semantic versioning the semver will be parsed and supplemented with the git-specific information as build metadata.


Available from npm: npm install git-describe

Tests are not included in the npm package — clone the git repository to run tests (Node.js 4+ required).

As of version 4.0.0, semver is an optional dependency that does not have to be installed if you do not require semver functionality.

Note that the git executable must be in the system's executable path for this module to function.


The module exposes two functions:

  • gitDescribe(directory, options, cb) -> Promise
  • gitDescribeSync(directory, options) -> Object

The only difference is that gitDescribe has an asynchronous API (either the callback argument or the returned promise can be used), whilst gitDescribeSync is fully synchronous (blocks until the git executable returns and throws an Error on failure).

Both functions can take a directory string (defaults to working directory) and an options object. Either or both arguments can be omitted.

const {gitDescribe, gitDescribeSync} = require('git-describe');

// Target working directory
const gitInfo = gitDescribeSync();

// Target the directory of the calling script
// Recommended when you want to target the repo your app resides in
const gitInfo = gitDescribeSync(__dirname);

// With options (see below)
const gitInfo = gitDescribeSync(__dirname, {
    longSemver: true,
    dirtySemver: false

// Another example: working directory, use 16 character commit hash abbreviation
const gitInfo = gitDescribeSync({
    customArguments: ['--abbrev=16']

// Asynchronous with promise
    .then((gitInfo) => console.dir(gitInfo))
    .catch((err) => console.error(err));

// Asynchronous with node-style callback
gitDescribe(__dirname, (err, gitInfo) => {
    if (err)
        return console.error(err);

Example output

    dirty: false,
    hash: 'g3c9c15b',
    distance: 6,
    tag: 'v2.1.0-beta',
    semver: SemVer, // SemVer instance, see
    suffix: '6-g3c9c15b',
    raw: 'v2.1.0-beta-6-g3c9c15b',
    semverString: '2.1.0-beta+6.g3c9c15b'


Option Default Description
dirtyMark '-dirty' Dirty mark to use if repo state is dirty (see git describe's --dirty).
dirtySemver true Appends the dirty mark to semverString if repo state is dirty.
long true Always adds commit distance and hash to raw, suffix and .toString() (matches the behaviour of git describe's --long)
longSemver false Always adds commit distance and hash to semverString (similar to git describe's --long, but for semver).
requireAnnotated false Uses --tags if false, so that simple git tags are allowed.
match 'v[0-9]*' Uses --match to filter tag names. By default only tags resembling a version number are considered.
customArguments [] Array of additional arguments to pass to git describe. Not all arguments are useful and some may even break the library, but things like --abbrev and --candidates should be safe to add.