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zest.releaser 5.1

Software releasing made easy and repeatable

Package releasing made easy: zest.releaser overview and installation

zest.releaser is collection of command-line programs to help you automate the task of releasing a Python project.

It does away with all the boring bits. This is what zest.releaser automates for you:

  • It updates the version number. The version number can either be in or version.txt (or in a __versions__ attribute in a Python file). For example, it switches you from 0.3.dev0 (current development version) to 0.3 (release) to 0.4.dev0 (new development version).
  • It updates the history/changes file. It logs the release date on release and adds a new heading for the upcoming changes (new development version).
  • It tags the release. It creates a tag in your version control system named after the released version number.
  • It optionally uploads a source release to PyPI. It will only do this if the package is already registered there (else it will ask, defaulting to ‘no’); zest releaser is careful not to publish your private projects!

Most important URLs

First the three most important links:

And… we’re automatically being tested by Travis and Landscape:

Compatibility / Dependencies

zest.releaser works on Python 2.7. Python 2.6 is not officially supported anymore since version 4.0: it may still work, but we are no longer testing against it. Python 3.3+ is supported.

To be sure: the packages that you release with zest.releaser may very well work on other Python versions: that totally depends on your package.

We depend on:

  • setuptools for the entrypoint hooks that we offer.
  • colorama for colorized output (some errors printed in red).
  • six for python2/python3 compatibility.

Since version 4.0 there is a recommended extra that you can get by installing zest.releaser[recommended] instead of zest.releaser. It contains a few trusted add-ons that we feel are useful for the great majority of zest.releaser users:

  • wheel for creating a Python wheel that we upload to PyPI next to the standard source distribution. Wheels are the new Python package format. Create or edit setup.cfg in your project (or globally in your ~/.pypirc) and create a section [zest.releaser] with create-wheel = yes to create a wheel to upload to PyPI. See for deciding whether this is a good idea for your package. Briefly, if it is a pure Python 2 or pure Python 3 package: just do it.
  • check-manifest checks your file for completeness, or tells you that you need such a file. It basically checks if all version controlled files are ending up the the distribution that we will upload. This may avoid ‘brown bag’ releases that are missing files.
  • pyroma checks if the package follows best practices of Python packaging. Mostly it performs checks on the file, like checking for Python version classifiers.
  • chardet, the universal character encoding detector. To do the right thing in case your readme or changelog is in a non-utf-8 character set.
  • readme to check your long description in the same way as pypi does. No more unformatted restructured text on your pypi page just because there was a small error somewhere. Handy.
  • twine for secure uploading via https to pypi. Plain setuptools doesn’t support this.


Just a simple pip install zest.releaser or easy_install zest.releaser is enough. If you want the recommended extra utilities, do a pip install zest.releaser[recommended].

Alternatively, buildout users can install zest.releaser as part of a specific project’s buildout, by having a buildout configuration such as:

parts =

recipe = zc.recipe.egg
eggs = zest.releaser[recommended]

Version control systems: svn, hg, git, bzr

Of course you must have a version control system installed. zest.releaser currently supports:

  • Subversion (svn).
  • Mercurial (hg).
  • Git (git).
  • Git-svn.
  • Bazaar (bzr).

Others could be added if there are volunteers! Git and mercurial support have been contributed years ago when we were working with bzr and subversion, for instance.

Available commands

Zest.releaser gives you four commands to help in releasing python packages. They must be run in a version controlled checkout. The commands are:

  • prerelease: asks you for a version number (defaults to the current version minus a ‘dev’ or so), updates the or version.txt and the CHANGES/HISTORY/CHANGELOG file (with either .rst/.txt/.markdown or no extension) with this new version number and offers to commit those changes to subversion (or bzr or hg or git)
  • release: copies the the trunk or branch of the current checkout and creates a version control tag of it. Makes a checkout of the tag in a temporary directory. Offers to register and upload a source dist of this package to PyPI (Python Package Index). Note: if the package has not been registered yet, it will not do that for you. You must register the package manually (python register) so this remains a conscious decision. The main reason is that you want to avoid having to say: “Oops, I uploaded our client code to the internet; and this is the initial version with the plaintext root passwords.”
  • postrelease: asks you for a version number (gives a sane default), adds a development marker to it, updates the or version.txt and the CHANGES/HISTORY/CHANGELOG file with this and offers to commit those changes to version control. Note that with git and hg, you’d also be asked to push your changes (since 3.27). Otherwise the release and tag only live in your local hg/git repository and not on the server.
  • fullrelease: all of the above in order.

There are two additional tools:

  • longtest: small tool that renders a’s long description and opens it in a web browser. This assumes an installed docutils (as it needs
  • lasttagdiff: small tool that shows the diff of the currently committed trunk with the last released tag. Handy for checking whether all the changes are adequately described in the changes file.


  • Reinout van Rees (Nelen & Schuurmans) is the originator and main author.
  • Maurits van Rees (Zest Software) added a heapload of improvements.
  • Kevin Teague (Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Center) added support for multiple version control systems, most notable Mercurial.
  • Wouter vanden Hove (University of Gent) added support for uploading to multiple servers, using collective.dist.
  • Godefroid Chapelle (BubbleNet) added /tag besides /tags for subversion.
  • Richard Mitchell (Isotoma) added Python 3 support.

Changelog for zest.releaser

5.1 (2015-06-11)

  • Fix writing history/changelog file with non-ascii. Issue #109. [maurits]
  • Release zest.releaser as universal wheel, so one wheel for Python 2 and 3. As usual, we release it also as a source distribution. [maurits]
  • Regard “Skipping installation of (namespace package)” as warning, printing it in magenta. This can happen when creating a wheel. Issue #108. [maurits]

5.0 (2015-06-05)

  • Python 3 support. [mitchellrj]
  • Use the same readme library that PyPI uses to parse long descriptions when we test and render them. [mitchellrj]

4.0 (2015-05-21)

  • Try not to treat warnings as errors. [maurits]
  • Allow retrying some commands when there is an error. Currently only for commands that talk to PyPI or another package index. We ask the user if she wants to retry: Yes, no, quit. [maurits]
  • Added support for twine. If the twine command is available, it is used for uploading to PyPI. It is installed automatically if you use the zest.releaser[recommended] extra. Note that if the twine command is not available, you may need to change your system PATH or need to install twine explicitly. This seems more needed when using zc.buildout than when using pip. Added releaser.before_upload entry point. Issue #59. [maurits]
  • Added check-manifest and pyroma to the recommended extra. Issue #49. [maurits]
  • Python 2.6 not officially supported anymore. It may still work, but we are no longer testing against it. [maurits]
  • Do not accept y or n as answer for a new version. [maurits]
  • Use colorama to output errors in red. Issue #86 [maurits]
  • Show errors when uploading to PyPI. They were unintentionally swallowed before, so you did not notice when an upload failed. Issue #84. [maurits]
  • Warn when between the last postrelease and a new prerelease no changelog entry has been added. ‘- Nothing changed yet’ would still be in there. Issue #26. [maurits]
  • Remove code for support of collective.sdist. That package was a backport from distutils for Python 2.5 and earlier, which we do not support. [maurits]
  • Add optional support for uploading Python wheels. Use the new zest.releaser[recommended] extra, or run pip install wheel yourself next to zest.releaser. Create or edit setup.cfg in your project (or globally in your ~/.pypirc) and create a section [zest.releaser] with create-wheel = yes to create a wheel to upload to PyPI. See for deciding whether this is a good idea for your package. Briefly, if it is a pure Python 2 or pure Python 3 package: just do it. Issue #55 [maurits]
  • Optionally add extra text to commit messages. This can be used to avoid running Travis Continuous Integration builds. See To activate this, add extra-message = [ci skip] to a [zest.releaser] section in the setup.cfg of your package, or your global ~/.pypirc. Or add your favorite geeky quotes there. [maurits]
  • Fix a random test failure on Travis CI, by resetting AUTO_RESPONSE. [maurits]
  • Added clarification to logging: making an sdist/wheel now says that it is being created in a temp folder. Fixes #61. [reinout]

3.56 (2015-03-18)

  • No need anymore to force .zip for sdist. Issue #76 [reinout]
  • Still read setup.cfg even if ~/.pypirc is wrong or missing. Issue #74 [tomviner]

3.55 (2015-02-03)

  • Experimental work to ignore setuptools’ stderr output. This might help with some of the version warnings, which can break zest.releaser’s output parsing. [reinout]
  • Fix for #72. Grabbing the version from the on windows can fail with an “Invalid Signature” error because setuptools cannot find the crypto dll. Fixed by making sure setuptools gets the full os.environ including the SYSTEMROOT variable. [codewarrior0]

3.54 (2014-12-29)

  • Blacklisting debian/changelog when searching for changelog-like filenames as it gets picked in favour of docs/changelog.rst. The debian one is by definition unreadable for us.

3.53.2 (2014-11-21)

  • Additional fix to 3.53: version.rst (and .md) also needed to be looked up in a second spot.

3.53 (2014-11-10)

  • Also allowing .md extension in addition to .rst/.txt/.markdown for CHANGES.txt. [reinout]
  • Similarly, version.txt (if you use that for can now be version.rst or .md/.markdown, too. [reinout]

3.52 (2014-07-17)

3.51 (2014-07-17)

3.50 (2014-01-16)

  • Changed command “hg manifest” to “hg locate” to list files in Mercurial. The former prints out file permissions along with the file name, causing a bug. [rafaelbco]

3.49 (2013-12-06)

  • Support git-svn checkouts with the default “origin/” prefix. [kuno]

3.48 (2013-11-26)

  • When using git, checkout submodules. [dnozay]

3.47 (2013-09-25)

3.46 (2013-06-28)

  • Support actually updating VERSION as well. Issue #43.

3.45 (2013-04-17)

  • Supporting VERSION (without extension) in addition to the old-zope-products-VERSION.txt files.

3.44 (2013-03-21)

  • Added optional python-file-with-version setting for the [zest.releaser] section in setup.cfg. If set, zest.releaser extracts the version from that file’s __version__ attribute. (See PEP 396).
  • File writes now use the platform’s default line endings instead of always writing \n unix style line endings. (Technically, we write using w instead of wb mode).
  • Added link to other documentation sources in the sphinx docs.
  • Noting in our pypi classifiers that we support python 2.6+, not python 2.4/2.5. Slowly things will creep into zest.releaser’s code that break compatibility with those old versions. And we want to get it to work on python 3 and that’s easier with just 2.6/2.7 support.

3.43 (2013-02-04)

3.42 (2013-01-07)

  • When finding multiple version, changes or history files, pick the one with the shortest path. [maurits]
  • Support project-specific hooks listed in setup.cfg. [iguananaut]

3.41 (2012-11-02)

  • Getting the version from can give a traceback if the has an error. During prerelease this would result in a proposed version of ‘Traceback’. Now we print the traceback and quit. [maurits]

3.40 (2012-10-13)

  • Support svn (1.7+) checkouts that are not directly in the root. Only applies when someone checks out a whole tree and wants to release one of the items in a subdirectory. Fixes #27.

3.39 (2012-09-26)

  • Only search for files in version control. This is when finding a history file or version.txt file. We should not edit files that are not in our package. Fixes issue #22. [maurits]

3.38 (2012-09-25)

  • Fixed svn tag extraction on windows: a \r could end up at the end of every tag name. Thanks Wouter Vanden Hove for reporting it!
  • Small fixes to the developers documentation and to the automatic travis CI tests configuration.

3.37 (2012-07-14)

  • Documentation update! Started sphinx documentation at Removed documentation from the README and put it into sphinx.
  • Actually ask if the user wants to continue with the release when there is no We asked for a yes/no answer, but the question was missing. [maurits]

3.36 (2012-06-26)

  • Improved changes/history file detection and fixed the documentation at this point. We now recognize CHANGES, HISTORY and CHANGELOG with .rst, .txt, .markdown and with no extension.
  • Set up travis CI integration. Our tests pass on python 2.5, 2.6 and 2.7.

3.35 (2012-06-21)

3.34 (2012-03-20)

  • In the warning about a missing file, also suggest to install setuptools_subversion/git, etc. Fixes issue #4. [maurits]

3.33 (2012-03-20)

  • Fix python 2.4 issues with tarfile by always creating a zip file. Formerly we would only do this when using python2.4 for doing the release, but a tarball sdist created by python2.6 could still break when the end user is using python 2.4. [kiorky]

3.32 (2012-03-09)

3.31 (2012-02-23)

  • Fixed test for unadvised egg_info commands on tag, which could result in a ConfigParser error. [maurits]

3.30 (2011-12-27)

  • Added some more PyPI classifiers. Tested with Python 2.4, 2,4, 2.6, and 2.7. [maurits]
  • Moved changes of 3.15 and older to docs/HISTORY.txt. [maurits]
  • Added GPL license text in the package. [maurits]
  • Updated README.txt. Added [maurits]

3.29 (2011-12-27)

  • In postrelease create a version number like 1.0.dev0. See [maurits]
  • Offer to cleanup setup.cfg on the tag when releasing. You do not want tag_build or tag_svn_revision options in a release usually. [maurits]
  • For convenience also print the tag checkout location when only doing a release (instead of a fullrelease). [maurits]

3.28 (2011-11-18)

  • Git: in pre/postrelease only check for uncommitted changes in files that are already tracked. [maurits]

3.27 (2011-11-12)

  • Postrelease now offers (=asks) to push your changes to the server if you’re using hg or git.
  • Support for some legacy projects, often converted from CVS, have multiple subprojects under a single trunk. The trunk part from the top level project isn’t erroneously stripped out anymore. Thanks to Marc Sibson for the fix.

3.26 (2011-11-01)

  • Added sanity check before doing a prerelease so you are warned when you are about to commit on a tag instead of a branch (or trunk or master). [maurits]

3.25 (2011-10-28)

  • Removed special handling of subversion lower than 1.7 when searching for the history/changes file. In corner cases it may be that we find a wrong HISTORY.txt or CHANGES.txt file when you have it buried deep in your directory structure. Please move it to the root then, which is the proper place for it. [maurits]
  • Fixed finding a history/changes file that is in a sub directory when using subversion 1.7 or higher or bazaar. [maurits]

3.24 (2011-10-19)

  • Note: you may need to install setuptools_subversion when you use subversion 1.7. If you suddenly start missing files in the sdists you upload to PyPI you definitely need it. Alternatively: set up a proper as that method works with any version control system. [maurits]
  • Made compatible with subversion 1.7 (the only relevant change is in the code that checks if a tags or tag directory already exists). Earlier versions of subversion are of course still supported. [maurits]
  • Code repository moved to github: [maurits]

3.23 (2011-09-28)

File Type Py Version Uploaded on Size
zest.releaser-5.1-py2.py3-none-any.whl (md5) Python Wheel py2.py3 2015-06-11 96KB
zest.releaser-5.1.tar.gz (md5) Source 2015-06-11 101KB
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