Software development notes - Ryan Lanciaux

Releasing node packages

August 20, 2017

When releasing a new version of an open source project, it’s important to make sure a series of things happen in the same order for every release. I’ve attempted to make a “script” I follow for releasing Griddle to npm that helps promote consistent releases and (as much as possible) illuminates any issues before they impact others using the package.

  1. Run all tests and local ”smoke-tests
  2. Update the version in package.json
  3. Update CHANGELOG.md with any high-level changes
  4. Push package.json and CHANGELOG.md to the master branch of the project
  5. Release to npm as a tagged, pre-release version. Generally, this would be done by running npm publish --tag next (or whatever you want to call your pre-release version). This lets you test your project as a npm package without making it the version that is installed when running npm install or yarn add. In Griddle, we generally run this through npm run ship-it which essentially runs our build script and then pushes the output as a pre-release package. See this blog post for more thoughts on this pre-release strategy.
  6. From here, I generally install the new, pre-release version on the griddle-docs project as well as some of my own projects that use the library. I do this to help ensure that there are no known regressions before making this version the @latest tag in npm.
  7. If all is successful, it’s time to officially release this version — npm dist-tag griddle-react@1.8.0 latest

While following a script doesn’t ensure there will be zero issues, it does help avoid common mistakes or makes things very clear where there is a problem in the process.


Ryan LanciauxWritten by Ryan Lanciaux. Ryan is a developer based out of Ann Arbor who programs in many languages. He is the author of Griddle (react data-grid) and other various open source projects.

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