Use git tags to add semver to your go package.
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AJ ONeal d4628bd751 fail softly, as documented 7 月之前
examples rename outfile xversion.go to lower init() priority, add outfile option 8 月之前
gitver separate ExecAndParse, bugfix source format 8 月之前
.gitignore rename outfile xversion.go to lower init() priority, add outfile option 8 月之前
LICENSE Initial commit 8 月之前 add common issue 8 月之前
gitver.go fail softly, as documented 7 月之前
go.mod v1.0.0: get version from git, or fail gracefully 8 月之前
version.go v1.1.2 8 月之前


Use git tags to add semver to your go package.

Goal: Either use an exact version like v1.0.0
      or translate the git version like v1.0.0-4-g0000000
      to a semver like v1.0.1-pre4+g0000000

      Fail gracefully when git repo isn't available.


Generate an xversion.go file:

go run
cat xversion.go

Note: The file is named xversion.go by default so that the generated file’s init() will come later, and thus take priority, over most other files.

See go-gitvers self-generated version:

go run version


Add this to the top of your main file:

//go:generate go run -mod=vendor

Add a file that imports go-gitver (for versioning)

// +build tools

package example

import _ ""

Change you build instructions to be something like this:

go mod vendor
go generate -mod=vendor ./...
go build -mod=vendor -o example cmd/example/*.go

You don’t have to use mod vendor, but I highly recommend it.


version           print version and exit
--fail            exit with non-zero status code on failure
--package <name>  will set the package name
--outfile <name>  will replace `xversion.go` with the given file path


# Alias for --fail

For example:

//go:generate go run -mod=vendor --fail

go run -mod=vendor version


See examples/basic

  1. Create a tools package in your project
  2. Guard it against regular builds with // +build tools
  3. Include _ "" in the imports
  4. Declare var GitRev, GitVersion, GitTimestamp string in your package main
  5. Include //go:generate go run -mod=vendor as well


// +build tools

// This is a dummy package for build tooling
package tools

import (
	_ ""


//go:generate go run --fail

package main

import "fmt"

var (
	GitRev       = "0000000"
	GitVersion   = "v0.0.0-pre0+0000000"
	GitTimestamp = "0000-00-00T00:00:00+0000"

func main() {

If you’re using go mod vendor (which I highly recommend that you do), you’d modify the go:generate ever so slightly:

//go:generate go run -mod=vendor --fail

The only reason I didn’t do that in the example is that I’d be included the repository in itself and that would be… weird.

Why a tools package?

import “” is a program, not an importable package

Having a tools package with a build tag that you don’t use is a nice way to add exact versions of a command package used for tooling to your go.mod with go mod tidy, without getting the error above.

git: behind the curtain

These are the commands that are used under the hood to produce the versions.

Shows the git tag + description. Assumes that you’re using the semver format v1.0.0 for your base tags.

git describe --tags --dirty --always
# v1.0.0
# v1.0.0-1-g0000000
# v1.0.0-dirty

Show the commit date (when the commit made it into the current tree). Internally we use the current date when the working tree is dirty.

git show v1.0.0-1-g0000000 --format=%cd --date=format:%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%SZ%z --no-patch
# 2010-01-01T20:30:00Z-0600
# fatal: ambiguous argument 'v1.0.0-1-g0000000-dirty': unknown revision or path not in the working tree.

Shows the most recent commit.

git rev-parse HEAD
# 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000


cannot find package “.”

package cannot find package "." in:
cmd/example/example.go:1: running "go": exit status 1

You forgot to update deps and re-vendor:

go mod tidy
go mod vendor