Inferring Release Number from Git TagsΒΆ

When starting a Sphinx documentation using sphinx-quickstart, it asks you for version number of the docs. This already makes me question about the maintenance burden.

The version number is already stored in the project as Git tags and package.json (but npm has a built-in command to increment the version number and also create a Git tag). Having to specify the version number in Sphinx documentation doesn’t seem right to me.

After finding out that the configuration file is just a Python script, I modified it to infer the version number from Git tags:

import re
# The full version, including alpha/beta/rc tags.
release = re.sub('^v', '', os.popen('git describe').read().strip())
# The short X.Y version.
version = release

This code uses git describe to generate a version number based on current Git commit. If we are on a tag, such as v0.10.1, git describe returns that tag name:

$ git describe

However, if we are not on the tag, git describe will find the closest tag to this commit, and append the number of commits since that tag, along with the commit ID:

$ git describe

So there you have it. When building, the version number will describe exactly what commit the documentation is being built for.

Author:Thai Pangsakulyanont