replacement for `npm version` with automatic CHANGELOG generation

Usage no npm install needed!

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  import nonStandardVersion from '';


Standard Version

A utility for versioning using semver and CHANGELOG generation powered by Conventional Commits.

Build Status NPM version Coverage Status Conventional Commits Community slack

Having problems? Want to contribute? Join us on the node-tooling community Slack.

How It Works:

  1. Follow the Conventional Commits Specification in your repository.
  2. When you're ready to release, run standard-version.

standard-version will then do the following:

  1. Retreive the current version of your repository by looking at bumpFiles[1], falling back to the last git tag.
  2. bump the version in bumpFiles[1] based on your commits.
  3. Generates a changelog based on your commits (uses conventional-changelog under the hood).
  4. Creates a new commit including your bumpFiles[1] and updated CHANGELOG.
  5. Creates a new tag with the new version number.

bumpFiles, packageFiles and updaters

standard-version uses a few key concepts for handling version bumping in your project.

  • packageFiles – User-defined files where versions can be read from and be "bumped".
    • Examples: package.json, manifest.json
    • In most cases (including the default), packageFiles are a subset of bumpFiles.
  • bumpFiles – User-defined files where versions should be "bumped", but not explicitly read from.
    • Examples: package-lock.json, npm-shrinkwrap.json
  • updaters – Simple modules used for reading packageFiles and writing to bumpFiles.

By default, standard-version assumes you're working in a NodeJS based project... because of this, for the majority of projects you might never need to interact with these options.

That said, if you find your self asking How can I use standard-version for additional metadata files, languages or version files? – these configuration options will help!

Installing standard-version

As a local npm run script

Install and add to devDependencies:

npm i --save-dev standard-version

Add an npm run script to your package.json:

  "scripts": {
    "release": "standard-version"

Now you can use npm run release in place of npm version.

This has the benefit of making your repo/package more portable, so that other developers can cut releases without having to globally install standard-version on their machine.

As global bin

Install globally (add to your PATH):

npm i -g standard-version

Now you can use standard-version in place of npm version.

This has the benefit of allowing you to use standard-version on any repo/package without adding a dev dependency to each one.

Using npx

As of npm@5.2.0, npx is installed alongside npm. Using npx you can use standard-version without having to keep a package.json file by running: npx standard-version.

This method is especially useful when using standard-version in non-JavaScript projects.


You can configure standard-version either by:

  1. Placing a standard-version stanza in your package.json (assuming your project is JavaScript).
  2. Creating a .versionrc, .versionrc.json or .versionrc.js.
  • If you are using a .versionrc.js your default export must be a configuration object, or a function returning a configuration object.

Any of the command line parameters accepted by standard-version can instead be provided via configuration. Please refer to the conventional-changelog-config-spec for details on available configuration options.

Customizing CHANGELOG Generation

By default (as of 6.0.0), standard-version uses the conventionalcommits preset.

This preset:

  • Adheres closely to the specification.
  • Is highly configurable, following the configuration specification maintained here.
    • We've documented these config settings as a recommendation to other tooling makers.

There are a variety of dials and knobs you can turn related to CHANGELOG generation.

As an example, suppose you're using GitLab, rather than GitHub, you might modify the following variables:

  • commitUrlFormat: the URL format of commit SHAs detected in commit messages.
  • compareUrlFormat: the URL format used to compare two tags.
  • issueUrlFormat: the URL format used to link to issues.

Making these URLs match GitLab's format, rather than GitHub's.

CLI Usage

NOTE: To pass nested configurations to the CLI without defining them in the package.json use dot notation as the parameters e.g. --skip.changelog.

First Release

To generate your changelog for your first release, simply do:

# npm run script
npm run release -- --first-release
# global bin
standard-version --first-release
# npx
npx standard-version --first-release

This will tag a release without bumping the version bumpFiles1.

When you are ready, push the git tag and npm publish your first release. \o/

Cutting Releases

If you typically use npm version to cut a new release, do this instead:

# npm run script
npm run release
# or global bin

As long as your git commit messages are conventional and accurate, you no longer need to specify the semver type - and you get CHANGELOG generation for free! \o/

After you cut a release, you can push the new git tag and npm publish (or npm publish --tag next) when you're ready.

Release as a Pre-Release

Use the flag --prerelease to generate pre-releases:

Suppose the last version of your code is 1.0.0, and your code to be committed has patched changes. Run:

# npm run script
npm run release -- --prerelease

This will tag your version as: 1.0.1-0.

If you want to name the pre-release, you specify the name via --prerelease <name>.

For example, suppose your pre-release should contain the alpha prefix:

# npm run script
npm run release -- --prerelease alpha

This will tag the version as: 1.0.1-alpha.0

Release as a Target Type Imperatively (npm version-like)

To forgo the automated version bump use --release-as with the argument major, minor or patch.

Suppose the last version of your code is 1.0.0, you've only landed fix: commits, but you would like your next release to be a minor. Simply run the following:

# npm run script
npm run release -- --release-as minor
# Or
npm run release -- --release-as 1.1.0

you will get version 1.1.0 rather than what would be the auto-generated version 1.0.1.

NOTE: you can combine --release-as and --prerelease to generate a release. This is useful when publishing experimental feature(s).

Prevent Git Hooks

If you use git hooks, like pre-commit, to test your code before committing, you can prevent hooks from being verified during the commit step by passing the --no-verify option:

# npm run script
npm run release -- --no-verify
# or global bin
standard-version --no-verify

Signing Commits and Tags

If you have your GPG key set up, add the --sign or -s flag to your standard-version command.

Lifecycle Scripts

standard-version supports lifecycle scripts. These allow you to execute your own supplementary commands during the release. The following hooks are available and execute in the order documented:

  • prerelease: executed before anything happens. If the prerelease script returns a non-zero exit code, versioning will be aborted, but it has no other effect on the process.
  • prebump/postbump: executed before and after the version is bumped. If the prebump script returns a version #, it will be used rather than the version calculated by standard-version.
  • prechangelog/postchangelog: executes before and after the CHANGELOG is generated.
  • precommit/postcommit: called before and after the commit step.
  • pretag/posttag: called before and after the tagging step.

Simply add the following to your package.json to configure lifecycle scripts:

  "standard-version": {
    "scripts": {
      "prebump": "echo 9.9.9"

As an example to change from using GitHub to track your items to using your projects Jira use a postchangelog script to replace the url fragment containing '' with a link to your Jira - assuming you have already installed replace

  "standard-version": {
    "scripts": {
      "postchangelog": "replace '' 'https://myjira/browse/'"

Skipping Lifecycle Steps

You can skip any of the lifecycle steps (bump, changelog, commit, tag), by adding the following to your package.json:

  "standard-version": {
    "skip": {
      "changelog": true

Committing Generated Artifacts in the Release Commit

If you want to commit generated artifacts in the release commit (e.g. #96), you can use the --commit-all or -a flag. You will need to stage the artifacts you want to commit, so your release command could look like this:

"prerelease": "webpack -p --bail",
"release": "git add <file(s) to commit> && standard-version -a"

Dry Run Mode

running standard-version with the flag --dry-run allows you to see what commands would be run, without committing to git or updating files.

# npm run script
npm run release -- --dry-run
# or global bin
standard-version --dry-run

Prefix Tags

Tags are prefixed with v by default. If you would like to prefix your tags with something else, you can do so with the -t flag.

standard-version -t @scope/package\@

This will prefix your tags to look something like @scope/package@2.0.0

If you do not want to have any tag prefix you can use the -t flag without value.

CLI Help

# npm run script
npm run release -- --help
# or global bin
standard-version --help

Code Usage

const standardVersion = require('standard-version')

// Options are the same as command line, except camelCase
// standardVersion returns a Promise
  noVerify: true,
  infile: 'docs/',
  silent: true
}).then(() => {
  // standard-version is done
}).catch(err => {
    console.error(`standard-version failed with message: ${err.message}`)

TIP: Use the silent option to prevent standard-version from printing to the console.


How is standard-version different from semantic-release?

semantic-release is described as:

semantic-release automates the whole package release workflow including: determining the next version number, generating the release notes and publishing the package.

While both are based on the same foundation of structured commit messages, standard-version takes a different approach by handling versioning, changelog generation, and git tagging for you without automatic pushing (to GitHub) or publishing (to an npm registry). Use of standard-version only affects your local git repo - it doesn't affect remote resources at all. After you run standard-version, you can review your release state, correct mistakes and follow the release strategy that makes the most sense for your codebase.

We think they are both fantastic tools, and we encourage folks to use semantic-release instead of standard-version if it makes sense for their use-case.

Should I always squash commits when merging PRs?

The instructions to squash commits when merging pull requests assumes that one PR equals, at most, one feature or fix.

If you have multiple features or fixes landing in a single PR and each commit uses a structured message, then you can do a standard merge when accepting the PR. This will preserve the commit history from your branch after the merge.

Although this will allow each commit to be included as separate entries in your CHANGELOG, the entries will not be able to reference the PR that pulled the changes in because the preserved commit messages do not include the PR number.

For this reason, we recommend keeping the scope of each PR to one general feature or fix. In practice, this allows you to use unstructured commit messages when committing each little change and then squash them into a single commit with a structured message (referencing the PR number) once they have been reviewed and accepted.

Can I use standard-version for additional metadata files, languages or version files?

YES! Using bumpFiles (and packageFiles) configurations you should be able to configure standard-version to work for you.

  1. Specify a custom bumpFile "file", this is the path to the file you want to "bump"

  2. Specify the bumpFile "updater", this is how the file will be bumped.

    a. If your using a common type, you can use one of standard-version's built-in updaters by specifying a type.

    b. If your using an less-common version file, you can create your own updater.

// .versionrc
  "bumpFiles": [
      "filename": "MY_VERSION_TRACKER.txt",
      // The `plain-text` updater assumes the file contents represents the version.
      "type": "plain-text"
      "filename": "a/deep/package/dot/json/file/package.json",
      // The `json` updater assumes the version is available under a `version` key in the provided JSON document.
      "type": "json"
      "filename": "VERSION_TRACKER.json",
      //  See "Custom `updater`s" for more details.
      "updater": "standard-version-updater.js"

Custom updaters

An updater is expected to be a Javascript module with atleast two methods exposed: readVersion and writeVersion.

readVersion(contents = string): string

This method is used to read the version from the provided file contents.

The return value is expected to be a semantic version string.

writeVersion(contents = string, version: string): string

This method is used to write the version to the provided contents.

The return value will be written directly (overwrite) to the provided file.

Let's assume our VERSION_TRACKER.json has the following contents:

  "tracker": {
    "package": {
      "version": "1.0.0"

An acceptable standard-version-updater.js would be:

// standard-version-updater.js
const stringifyPackage = require('stringify-package')
const detectIndent = require('detect-indent')
const detectNewline = require('detect-newline')

module.exports.readVersion = function (contents) {
  return JSON.parse(contents).tracker.package.version;

module.exports.writeVersion = function (contents, version) {
  const json = JSON.parse(contents)
  let indent = detectIndent(contents).indent
  let newline = detectNewline(contents)
  json.tracker.package.version = version
  return stringifyPackage(json, indent, newline)