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Juan Vega
Juan Vega

Posted on • Updated on

Configure the release of your golang module with Github Actions

Building and distributing a golang module is relatively easy. You need to create a GitHub repository and push your code. That's all, isn't it?

Not really. An adequately distributed module needs to be tagged and versioned so people can trust your module for production usage.

How do you decide when or how to bump your package version?

Luckily, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Most packages inside and outside the golang community follow SemVer. TL;DR:

  1. You have three numbers divided by a dot (.) -> 1.2.5
  2. For changes that break the existing API, you change the first number
  3. For changes that add new capabilities but don't affect existing ones, you change the second
  4. For changes that fix existing behavior because of a bug, you change the third.

There are minor trade-offs and personal tastes that might change the practical application. Still, the core concepts are as simple as that 4 points, and with that foundation, the semantic-release package was created.

GitHub logo semantic-release / semantic-release

📦🚀 Fully automated version management and package publishing

📦🚀 semantic-release

Fully automated version management and package publishing

Join the community on GitHub Discussions Build states semantic-release: angular

npm latest version npm next version npm beta version

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

This removes the immediate connection between human emotions and version numbers, strictly following the Semantic Versioning specification and communicating the impact of changes to consumers.

Trust us, this will change your workflow for the better. –


How does it work?


Commit Convention

Using a proper commit convention is crucial for versioning and keeping an up-to-date change log easily. I have been using Convetional Commit for a few years. From my point of view, it is the easiest to adopt and manage with a great return on investment.

Check, how clean and clear the semantic-release git history feels.

Tag and release

Suppose you are using Convetional Commit, and you want proper semantic versioning. In that case, the best choice is the semantic release package.

At first sight, you might find it strange because the tool is written in JS, designed for the nodejs environment. Still, you can abstract those implementation details using GitHub and GitHub action.

Semantic Version with golang

The package will create a release and a tag on the GitHub repository. You can check an example on my go-again repository

You need both the GitHub Action configuration and the .releaserc file.

name: Release
      - main

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - name: Checkout
        uses: actions/checkout@master
      - name: Release
        uses: codfish/semantic-release-action@v2.0.0
          GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}

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And the .releaserc

  - name: "main"

  - "@semantic-release/commit-analyzer"
  - "@semantic-release/release-notes-generator"
  - "@semantic-release/GitHub"

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Every time you merge or push a commit to the repository, you will get a new version following the conventional commit to semantic versioning:

  • fix: --> patch
  • feat --> minor

The translation for commit type to semantic versioning bump is configurable using the commit-analyzer package

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