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Automated release notes based on your project's git log.

Release::Notes is a small wrapper around your project's git log. The gem is intended to help increase visability to all team members and/or stakeholders with automated documentation of important changes made to your code base for a given production deployment based on tags and labels in your commit messages.

Release::Notes is different than a changelog. Though it can log all commits, it's meant for situations where other team members in your organization need to know about key changes to the production software. These key changes are determined by the labeling you set forth in the configuration for features, bugs and misc commits. If you're looking for a comprehnsive changelog that reflects resolved github issues and uses the github api, I'd suggest you look at something else like github-changelog-generator.

Not looking for a tested gem or prefer the rawness of a bash script? Checkout the similar bash implementation

Getting Started

Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'release-notes'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install release-notes

After you install Release::Notes, generate the intializer file:

# rails
$ rails generate release:notes:install

# non-rails
$ bundle exec rake release:notes:install


Override any of these defaults in config/initializers/release_notes.rb:

Release::Notes.configure do |config|
  config.output_file = './'
  config.temp_file = './'
  config.include_merges = false
  config.ignore_case = true
  config.log_format = '- %s'
  config.extended_regex = true
  config.header_title = "tag"
  config.bug_labels = %w(Fix Update)
  config.feature_labels = %w(Add Create)
  config.misc_labels = %w(Refactor)
  config.bug_title = '**Fixed bugs:**'
  config.feature_title = '**Implemented enhancements:**'
  config.misc_title = '**Miscellaneous:**'
  config.log_all_title = '**Other:**'
  config.log_all = false
  config.link_to_labels = %w()
  config.link_to_humanize = %w()
  config.link_to_sites = %w()
  config.timezone = 'America/New_York'
  config.prettify_messages = false
  config.force_rewrite = false
  config.single_label = true

For more information about each individual setting checkout Release::Notes's config docs.



Install the binstub

$ bundle binstubs release-notes

and run

$ bin/release-notes

OR, just use the rake task

$ bundle exec rake update_release_notes:run

Git Worklow

Release::Notes works best with a rebase workflow and requires tagging. General rebase benefits include:

  • One clear commit per feature, bug or miscellaneous addition to the codebase
  • Commits in logical time manner

By default configuration, Release::Notes ignores merges. Along with rebasing, by deafult, Release::Notes relies mainly on the subject of a commit. Therefore, it's important to craft concise and meaningful commit subjects with longer bodies as needed for larger feature additions or bug fixes.

For more information about a rebase workflow or crafting solid commit messages check out the following links

Deploying with Capistrano

A sample capistrano rake task might look like:

# config/deploy/production.rb
namespace :deploy do
  before :starting, :update_release_notes

  task :update_release_notes do
    # use the binstub
    sh 'bin/release-notes"'

    # Then check in your release notes with a commit
    sh "git commit -am 'Release to production #{}'"
    sh "git push origin master"

Useful information can be found here regarding the capistrano flow.

From there, make sure you tag your releases


  • Your project must tag releases(release-notes uses the tag date to output the changes) (PR's to make this more flexible are welcome)
  • Linking is opinionated and will link to a URI structure of #{site-url}/#{issue_number}. It will ouput something like: [HONEYBADGER #33150353]( This also means that your link_to_labels have to be something like ['HB #'] (PR's to make this more flexible are welcome)
  • We grep the entire commit message when generating the release notes file. If you include keywords in your commit subject and message that match multiple configured labels, that commit will be listed under all relevant label headers, which could lead to commits being listed under more than one label.


After checking out the repo, run bin/setup to install dependencies. Then, run bin/test to run the tests. You can also run bin/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment.


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Contributing Guide.


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.