Dist::Zilla::Plugin::ChangelogFromGit - Write a Changes file from a
    project's git log.


    version 0.017


    Here's an example dist.ini section showing all the current options and
    their default values.

            max_age     = 365
            tag_regexp  = ^v(\d+\.\d+)$
            file_name   = CHANGES
            wrap_column = 74
            debug       = 0

    Variables don't need to be set to their default values. This is
    equivalent to the configuration above.



    This Dist::Zilla plugin turns a project's git commit log into a change
    log file. It's better than simply running `git log > CHANGES` in at
    least two ways. First, it understands release tags, and it uses them to
    group changes by release. Second, it reformats the changes to make them
    easier to read. And third, subclasses can change some or all of the
    reformatting to make change logs even easier to read.

    See this project's CHANGES file for sample output. Yes, this project
    uses itself to generate its own change log. Why not?


    As seen in the "SYNOPSIS", this plugin has a number of public
    attributes that may be set using dist.ini configuration variables.

 max_age = INTEGER

    The max_age configuration variable limits the age of releases to be
    included in the change log. The default is to include releases going
    back about a year. To include about two years, one would double the
    default value:

            max_age = 730

    max_age is intended to limit the size of change logs for large,
    long-term projects that don't want to include the entire, huge commit
    history in every release.

 min_releases = INTEGER

    min_releases sets the minimum number of releases that should be
    included. It defaults to 1 so that at least the current release is
    added, regardless of max_age.

            min_releases = 5

 max_releases = INTEGER

    c<max_releases> allows you limit the number of releases included.
    max_age will still be the limiting factor if it contains fewer releases
    than the max specified.

            max_releases = 15


    tag_regexp sets the regular expression that detects which tags mark
    releases. It also extracts the version numbers from these tags using a
    regular expression back reference or capture. For example, a project's
    release tags might match 'release-1.000', 'release-1.001', etc. This
    tag_regexp will find them and extract their versions.

            tag_regexp = ^release-(\d+.*)$

    There is no single standard format for release tags. tag_regexp
    defaults to the author's convention. It will most likely need to be

 file_name = STRING

    file_name sets the name of the change log that will be written. It
    defaults to "CHANGES", but some people may prefer "Changes",
    "Changelog", or something else.

            file_name = Changes

 wrap_column = INTEGER

    Different contributors tend to use different commit message formats,
    which can be disconcerting to the typographically aware release
    engineer. wrap_column sets the line length to which all commit messages
    will be re-wrapped. It's 74 columns by default. If this is too short:

            wrap_column = 78

 debug = BOOLEAN

    Developers are people, too. The debug option enables some noisy runtime
    tracing on STDERR.

            debug = 1

 exclude_message = REGULAR_EXPRESSION

    exclude_message sets a regular expression which discards matching
    commit messages. This provides a way to exclude commit messages such as
    'forgot to include file X' or 'typo'. The regular expression is case

            exclude_message = ^(forgot|typo)

    include_message can be used to do the opposite: exclude all changes
    except ones that match a regular expression. Using both at once is
    liable to generate empty change logs.

 include_message = REGULAR_EXPRESSION

    include_message does the opposite of exclude_message: it sets a regular
    expression which commit messages must match in order to be included in
    the Changes file. This means that when making a commit with a relevant
    message, you must include text that matches the regular expression
    pattern to have it included in the Changes file. All other commit
    messages are ignored.

    The regular expression is case sensitive.

            include_message = ^Major

    Using both include_message and exclude_message at the same time will
    most likely result in empty change logs.


    Dist::Zilla::ChangelogFromGit collects the tags matching tag_regexp
    that are not older than max_age days old. These are used to identify
    and time stamp releases. Each release is encapsulated into a
    Software::Release object.

    Git::Repository::Log::Iterator is used to collect the changes prior to
    each release but after the previous release. Change log entries are
    added to their respective Software::Release objects.

    $self->render_changelog() is called after all the relevant releases and
    changes are known. It must return the rendered change log as a string.
    That string will be used as the content for a
    Dist::Zilla::File::InMemory object representing the new change log.


    Dist::Zilla::ChangelogFromGit implement about a dozen methods to render
    the various parts of a change log. Subclasses may override or augment
    any or all of these methods to alter the way change logs are rendered.

    All methods beginning with "render" return strings that will be
    incorporated into the change log. Methods that will not contribute to
    the change log must return empty strings.

 Rendering Entire Change Logs

    Methods beginning with "render_changelog" receive no parameters other
    than $self. Everything they need to know about the change log is
    included in the object's attributes: wrap_column, releases,
    skipped_release_count, earliest_date.


    render_changelog() returns the text of the entire change log. By
    default, the change log is built from a header, zero or more releases,
    and a footer.

            sub render_changelog {
                    my $self = shift();
                            $self->render_changelog_header() .
                            $self->render_changelog_releases() .


    render_changelog_header() renders some text that introduces the reader
    to the change log.

            sub render_changelog_header {
                    my $self = shift();
                    my $header = (
                            "Changes from " . $self->format_datetime($self->earliest_date()) .
                            " to present."
                    return $self->surround_line("=", $header) . "\n";


    render_changelog_releases() iterates through each release, calling upon
    $self to render them one at a time.

            sub render_changelog_releases {
                    my $self = shift();
                    my $changelog = '';
                    RELEASE: foreach my $release (reverse $self->all_releases()) {
                            next RELEASE if $release->has_no_changes();
                            $changelog .= $self->render_release($release);
                    return $changelog;


    render_changelog_footer() tells the reader that the change log is over.
    Normally the end of the file is sufficient warning, but a truncated
    change log is friendlier when the reader knows what they're missing.

            sub render_changelog_footer {
                    my $self = shift();
                    my $skipped_count = $self->skipped_release_count();
                    my $changelog_footer;
                    if ($skipped_count) {
                            my $releases = "release" . ($skipped_count == 1 ? "" : "s");
                            $changelog_footer = (
                                    "Plus $skipped_count $releases after " .
                                    $self->format_datetime($self->earliest_date()) . '.'
                    else {
                            $changelog_footer = "End of releases.";
                    return $self->surround_line("=", $changelog_footer);

 Rendering Individual Releases

    Methods beginning with "render_release" receive $self plus one
    additional parameter: a Software::Release object encapsulating the
    release and its changes. See Software::Release to learn the information
    that object encapsulates.


    render_release() is called upon to render a single release. In the
    change log, a release consists of a header, one or more changes, and a

            sub render_release {
                    my ($self, $release) = @_;
                            $self->render_release_header($release) .
                            $self->render_release_changes($release) .


    render_release_header() introduces a release.

            sub render_release_header {
                    my ($self, $release) = @_;
                    my $version = $release->version();
                    $version = $self->zilla()->version() if $version eq 'HEAD';
                    my $release_header = (
                            $self->format_release_tag($release->version()) . ' at ' .
                    return $self->surround_line("-", $release_header) . "\n";


    render_release_changes() iterates through the changes associated with
    each Software::Release object. It calls upon render_change() to render
    each change.

            sub render_release_changes {
                    my ($self, $release) = @_;
                    my $changelog = '';
                    foreach my $change (@{ $release->changes() }) {
                            $changelog .= $self->render_change($release, $change);
                    return $changelog;


    render_release_footer() may be used to divide releases. It's not used
    by default, but it's implemented for completeness.

            sub render_release_footer {
                    my ($self, $release) = @_;
                    return '';

 Rendering Individual Changes

    Methods beginning with "render_change" receive two parameters in
    addition to $self: a Software::Release object encapsulating the release
    containing this change, and a Software::Release::Change object
    encapsulating the change itself.


    render_change() renders a single change, which is the catenation of a
    change header, change message, and footer.

            sub render_change {
                    my ($self, $release, $change) = @_;
                            $self->render_change_header($release, $change) .
                            $self->render_change_message($release, $change) .
                            $self->render_change_footer($release, $change)


    render_change_header() generally renders identifying information about
    each change. This method's responsibility is to produce useful
    information in a pleasant format.

            sub render_change_header {
                    my ($self, $release, $change) = @_;
                    use Text::Wrap qw(fill);
                    local $Text::Wrap::huge    = 'wrap';
                    local $Text::Wrap::columns = $self->wrap_column();
                    my @indent = ("  ", "  ");
                                    "  ", "  ",
                                    'Change: ' . $change->change_id
                            ) .
                            "\n" .
                                    "  ", "  ",
                                    'Author: ' . $change->author_name.' <'.$change->author_email.'>'
                            ) .
                            "\n" .
                                    "  ", "  ",
                                    'Date  : ' . $self->format_datetime($change->date())
                            ) .


    render_change_message() renders the commit message for the change log.

            sub render_change_message {
                    my ($self, $release, $change) = @_;
                    use Text::Wrap qw(fill);
                    return '' if $change->description() =~ /^\s/;
                    local $Text::Wrap::huge = 'wrap';
                    local $Text::Wrap::columns = $self->wrap_column();
                    return fill("    ", "    ", $change->description) . "\n";


    render_change_footer() returns summary and/or divider text for the

            sub render_change_footer {
                    my ($self, $release, $change) = @_;
                    return "\n";

 Formatting Data

    Dist::Zilla::Plugin::ChangelogFromGit includes a few methods to
    consistently format certain data types.


    format_datetime() converts the DateTime objects used internally into
    friendly, human readable dates and times for the change log.

            sub format_datetime {
                    my ($self, $datetime) = @_;
                    return $datetime->strftime("%F %T %z");


    format_release_tag() turns potentially cryptic release tags into
    friendly version numbers for the change log. By default, it also
    replaces the 'HEAD' version with the current version being released.
    This accommodates release managers who prefer to tag their
    distributions after releasing them.

            sub format_release_tag {
                    my ($self, $release_tag) = @_;
                    return 'version ' . $self->zilla()->version() if $release_tag eq 'HEAD';
                    my $tag_regexp = $self->tag_regexp();
                    $release_tag =~ s/$tag_regexp/version $1/;
                    return $release_tag;


    surround_line() will surround a line of output with lines of dashes or
    other characters. It's used to help heading stand out. This method
    takes two strings: a character (or string) that will repeat to fill
    surrounding lines, and the line to surround. It returns a three-line
    string: the original line preceded and followed by surrounding lines.

            sub surround_line {
                    my ($self, $character, $string) = @_;
                    my $surrounder = substr(
                            ($character x (length($string) / length($character) + 1)),
                    return "$surrounder\n$string\n$surrounder\n";


    Dist::Zilla::Plugin::ChangelogFromGit accumulates useful information
    into a few internal attributes. These aren't intended to be configured
    by dist.ini, but they are important for rendering change logs.


    earliest_date() contains a DateTime object that represents the date and
    time of the earliest release to include. It's initialized as midnight
    for the date max_age() days ago.


    releases() contains an array reference of Software::Release objects
    that will be included in the change log.


    all_releases() returns a list of the Software::Release objects that
    should be included in the change log. It's a friendly equivalent of


    get_release() returns a single release by index. The first release in
    the change log may be retrieved as $self->get_release(0).


    release_count() returns the number of Software::Release objects in the
    "releases" attribute.


    sort_releases() sorts the Software::Release objects in the releases()
    using some comparator. For example, to sort releases in time order:

                    sub {
                            DateTime->compare( $_[0]->date(), $_[1]->date() )


    skipped_release_count() contains the number of releases truncated by
    max_age(). The default render_changelog_footer() uses it to display the
    number of changes that have been omitted from the log.


    Dist::Zilla::Plugin::ChangelogFromGit implements a couple of
    "unpublished" methods. These are not intended for general use.


    Find all release tags back to the earliest changelog date.

    Add a virtual release for the most recent change in the repository.
    This lets us include changes after the last releases, up to "HEAD".


    A wrapper to run git commands.

Subversion and CVS

    This plugin is almost entirely a copy-and-paste port of a command-line
    tool I wrote a while ago. I also have tools to generate similar change
    logs for CVS and Subversion projects. I'm happy to contribute that code
    to people interested in creating Dist::Zilla plugins for other version
    control systems.

    We should also consider abstracting the formatting code out to a role
    so that it can be shared among different plugins.


    The documentation includes copies of the renderer methods. This
    increases technical debt, since changes to those methods must also be
    copied into the documentation. Rocco needs to finish Pod::Plexus and
    use it here to simplify maintenance of the documentation.

    Collecting all releases and changes before rendering the change log may
    be considered harmful for extremely large projects. If someone thinks
    they can generate change logs incrementally, their assistance would be


    Rocco Caputo <> - Initial release, and ongoing
    management and maintenance.

    Cory G. Watson <> - Made formatting extensible and


    This software is copyright (c) 2010-2018 by Rocco Caputo.

    This is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under
    the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language itself.