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chalog

This is chalog, a changelog management tool. With chalog you can manage your project’s changelog in a simple markdown format, split across multiple files, and then use chalog to generate the final combined changelog.

This is primarily to address the issue of merge conflicts in changelogs, which can occur easily if there are multiple people working on a single project (there have been a few articles with other solutions to this problem, this is just a different solution).

Format

The chalog tool currently only works with the keep a changelog v1.1.0 changelog format, and on releases hosted on GitHub.

The format for chalog is intended to be simple, readable, and not require much knowledge or configuration – chalog works out of the box without any configuration.

The format for storing your changelog is a changelog directory with subdirectories, with each subdirectory being a release in your changelog. Inside these release directories there can be any number of markdown files (no markdown files is still valid) which contain the changes for the release. When the chalog tool is run these files are read and grouped by release, combining them into a single changelog markdown file.

It is important that when you create your markdown files as part of your changelog, they should be split up by top level headers (e.g. # Added) because chalog uses these headers to group changes. If no header is provided, the file will be ignored.

Installation

If using a Go development environment, chalog can be installed by running:

go install -ldflags="-X 'main.Version=v1.0.0'" github.com/jthomperoo/[email protected]

Otherwise, the packaged binaries can be used, check out the available binaries for v1.0.0 from the GitHub releases page here.

Quick start

  1. Install chalog.

  2. Add a new .changelog directory to the root directory of your project.

  3. Add a new Unreleased subdirectory to your new .changelog directory.

  4. Add a new v1.0.0 subdirectory to your new .changelog directory.

  5. Create a new markdown file under the v1.0.0 subdirectory called init.md with the following content:

# Added
- Initial release of my project!
  1. Now run chalog in the root directory of your project, if it is successful it will generate a CHANGELOG.md file that will contain your new combined changelog.

  2. You now have a chalog formatted changelog set up for your project, try adding some more markdown files under releases, or adding new releases and check how the CHANGELOG.md file is generated after running chalog again.

Examples

For an example of a project using chalog, look at the chalog project itself – it uses itself to manage its changelog.

You can see the latest generated changelog attached as an asset to the latest release.

Configuration

The chalog tool includes some configuration options that can be set by flags provided to the executable. These are all optional.

Usage: chalog [options]
  -config string
    	path to the config file to load (default ".chalog.yml")
  -in string
    	the directory for storing the changelog files (default ".changelog")
  -out string
    	the changelog file to output to (default "CHANGELOG.md")
  -preamble string
    	path to a file containing the preamble to insert at the start of the changelog
  -repo string
    	the repository base url, include the protocol (http/https)
  -target string
    	target to output to, e.g. stdout or a file (default "file")
  -unreleased string
    	the release name that should be treated as a the 'unreleased' section (default "Unreleased")
  -version
    	if the process should be skipped, instead printing the version info

Releases file

The chalog tool allows you to provide an optional releases.txt file inside your changelog directory, which allows you to provide an ordering for the releases in the changelog, and to optionally provide metadata (e.g. the date of a release). If this file does not exist then the releases will just be sorted according to semantic versioning (as best as possible) and without any metadata.

To use the releases file, create a releases.txt in the changelog directory with the following format:

v0.2.0,2021-04-01
v0.1.0,2021-03-07

This will result in a generated changelog which will follow this order, with the dates provided appended as metadata to the release:

## [v0.1.0] - 2021-03-07

If a release is mentioned in the releases file, but there is no directory, the release will be added to the changelog with no changes listed.

Config file

The chalog tool allows you to provide an optional YAML configuration, which lets you set any option that is avaialble as a command line option (other than config) through a YAML file, which can be easily stored in source control.

The default location of the configuration file is .chalog.yml in the directory chalog is run in, if there is no file provided it will ignore it and continue as normal. A path to the configuration file can be provided with the -config command line option, e.g. -config my_chalog_config.yml.

The YAML configuration looks like this:

in: .changelog
out: CHANGELOG.md
unreleased: Unreleased
repo: https://github.com/jthomperoo/chalog

The configuration file is overridden by any command line options provided, so can act as sensible defaults that can be modified by adjusting command line options provided.

Contributing

Feel free to contribute to this project, here’s some useful info for getting set up.

Dependencies

Developing this project requires these dependencies:

  • Go >= 1.16
  • Golint == v0.0.0-20201208152925-83fdc39ff7b5

Commands

Use the following commands to develop:

  • go run main.go = run the tool.
  • make lint = run the code linter against the code, if this does not pass the CI will not pass.
  • make beautify = run the code beautifier against the code, this must be run for the CI to pass.
  • make test = run the project tests.
  • make = cross compile all supported architectures and operating systems.
  • make zip = zip up all the compiled and built binaries.

GitHub

https://github.com/jthomperoo/chalog