GitHub Actions

Environment variables

The Authentication environment variables can be configured with Secret Variables.

In this example a publish type NPM_TOKEN is required to publish a package to the npm registry. GitHub Actions automatically populate a GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable which can be used in Workflows.

npm provenance

Since GitHub Actions is a supported provider for npm provenance, it is recommended to enable this to increase supply-chain security for your npm packages. Find more detail about configuring npm to publish with provenance through semantic-release in the documentation for our npm plugin.

Node project configuration

GitHub Actions support Workflows, allowing to run tests on multiple Node versions and publish a release only when all test pass.

Note: The publish pipeline must run on a Node version that meets our version requirement.

.github/workflows/release.yml configuration for Node projects

The following is a minimal configuration for semantic-release with a build running on the latest LTS version of Node when a new commit is pushed to a master/main branch. See Configuring a Workflow for additional configuration options.

name: Release
      - master # or main

  contents: read # for checkout

    name: Release
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      contents: write # to be able to publish a GitHub release
      issues: write # to be able to comment on released issues
      pull-requests: write # to be able to comment on released pull requests
      id-token: write # to enable use of OIDC for npm provenance
      - name: Checkout
        uses: actions/checkout@v3
          fetch-depth: 0
      - name: Setup Node.js
        uses: actions/setup-node@v3
          node-version: "lts/*"
      - name: Install dependencies
        run: npm clean-install
      - name: Verify the integrity of provenance attestations and registry signatures for installed dependencies
        run: npm audit signatures
      - name: Release
          GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
          NPM_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.NPM_TOKEN }}
        run: npx semantic-release

Pushing package.json changes to your repository

If you choose to commit changes to your package.json against our recommendation, the @semantic-release/git plugin can be used.

Note: Automatically populated GITHUB_TOKEN cannot be used if branch protection is enabled for the target branch. It is not advised to mitigate this limitation by overriding an automatically populated GITHUB_TOKEN variable with a Personal Access Tokens, as it poses a security risk. Since Secret Variables are available for Workflows triggered by any branch, it becomes a potential vector of attack, where a Workflow triggered from a non-protected branch can expose and use a token with elevated permissions, yielding branch protection insignificant. One can use Personal Access Tokens in trusted environments, where all developers should have the ability to perform administrative actions in the given repository and branch protection is enabled solely for convenience purposes, to remind about required reviews or CI checks.

If the risk is acceptable, some extra configuration is needed. The actions/checkout persist-credentials option needs to be false, otherwise the generated GITHUB_TOKEN will interfere with the custom one. Example:

- name: Checkout
  uses: actions/checkout@v2
    fetch-depth: 0
    persist-credentials: false # <--- this

Trigger semantic-release on demand

Using GUI:

You can use Manual Triggers for GitHub Actions.

Using HTTP:

Use repository_dispatch event to have control on when to generate a release by making an HTTP request, e.g.:

name: Release
    types: [semantic-release]
# ...

To trigger a release, call (with a Personal Access Tokens stored in GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable):

$ curl -v -H "Accept: application/vnd.github.everest-preview+json" -H "Authorization: token ${GITHUB_TOKEN}"[org-name-or-username]/[repository]/dispatches -d '{ "event_type": "semantic-release" }'

Using 3rd party apps:

If you'd like to use a GitHub app to manage this instead of creating a personal access token, you could consider using a project like:

  • Actions Panel - A declaratively configured way for triggering GitHub Actions

  • Action Button - A simple badge based mechanism for triggering GitHub Actions

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