Simple Hackage release workflow for package maintainers

Version on this page:
LTS Haskell 22.29:0.4.6
Stackage Nightly 2024-07-21:0.4.6
Latest on Hackage:0.4.6

See all snapshots hkgr appears in

GPL-3.0-only licensed and maintained by Jens Petersen
This version can be pinned in stack with:hkgr-,2268

Module documentation for

There are no documented modules for this package.


Hackage GPL-3 license GitHub CI

hkgr (pronounced “hackager”) is a tool for making releases of Haskell packages on Hackage.

It uses a cautious stepped iterative approach to releases.

Example usage

Here is an example of doing a release of hkgr itself.

After committing the latest changes for the release, create a tag and tarball:

$ hkgr tagdist
No errors or warnings could be found in the package.
Running hlint
src/Main.hs:(407,9)-(408,55): Warning: Eta reduce
  replaceHolder lbl val file
    = sed ["s/@" ++ lbl ++ "@/" ++ val ++ "/"] file
  replaceHolder lbl val = sed ["s/@" ++ lbl ++ "@/" ++ val ++ "/"]

Wrote tarball sdist to /home/petersen/github/hkgr/.hkgr/hkgr-0.4.tar.gz

After fixing up, retag a new tarball with --force and upload candidate, in one go:

$ hkgr upload -f
Updated tag 'v0.4' (was f6d72ba)
No errors or warnings could be found in the package.
Running hlint
Wrote tarball sdist to /home/petersen/github/hkgr/.hkgr/hkgr-0.4.tar.gz password:
Uploaded to

Alternatively if you had manually tagged the release with v0.4 you can use hkgr tagdist --existing-tag to create a dist tarball.

One can continue to tagdist -f and/or upload -f until everything looks good and CI passed etc.

Then it is time to push the final tag and publish the release:

$ hkgr publish
git pushing... done
Total 0 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 0
 * [new tag]         v0.4 -> v0.4 password:
Published at


$ hkgr --version

$ hkgr --help

Hackage Release tool

Usage: hkgr [--version] COMMAND

  'Hackager' is a package release tool for easy Hackage workflow

Available options:
  -h,--help                Show this help text
  --version                Show version

Available commands:
  new                      setup a new project
  tagdist                  'git tag' version and 'cabal sdist' tarball
  upload                   'cabal upload' candidate tarball to Hackage
  publish                  Publish to Hackage ('cabal upload --publish')
  upload-haddock           Upload candidate documentation to Hackage
  publish-haddock          Publish documentation to Hackage
  build                    Do a local pristine build from the tarball
  version                  Show the package version from .cabal file
  rename                   Rename the Cabal package
  github                   Add github repo



hkgr tagdist makes a dist tarball from a git tag:

The tagdist command first reads the current package version (from the .cabal file in the current directory), and uses that to git tag. It then runs cabal sdist from a temporary pristine checkout of the tag to generate the dist tarball.

Note that hkgr is lenient: it allows making a release with uncommitted changes in the working tree, but it will show the uncommitted changes. However the version must be committed.

If the tag already exists (eg if you already ran tagdist earlier), and you need to add commits to the release you can use --force to move the tag to the latest commit and generate a new tarball off that, otherwise tagdist refuses to run again to prevent accidently overwriting the tag and dist tarball.

One should not be able to tagdist on an already published (ie released) version made with hkgr, until the version is bumped.

If sdist fails for some reason then hkgr tries to reset the tag.

Alternatively if you have already manually tagged a release with ‘v’ prefix you can use --existing-tag to create a dist tarball.


hkgr upload uploads the tarball to Hackage as a candidate release. Like hkgr tagdist -f, hkgr upload -f can be repeated.

Haddock draft documentation can also be uploaded once if desired with hkgr upload-haddock.

If you have an existing version tag (starting with v) you can use the --existing-tag option to skip the tagging step (like for tagdist).


hkgr publish releases the tarball to Hackage, after doing a pristine local build and git pushing the tag and its commits to origin.

If it succeeds, then hkgr creates a “published lockfile” in .hkgr/.

(Then hkgr will refuse to do further commands on the released version.)

Optionally one can publish haddock docs with hkgr publish-haddock.


hkgr build will try to do a pristine build of the latest created tarball for the tag. This is useful for catching missing files from the tarball, preventing brownbag releases.


hkgr new creates a new project.

If you don’t pass a name it will try to check the current directory.

It uses cabal init to setup various files but replaces the .cabal file with a template stored in ~/.config/hkgr/template.cabal which the user can freely customize.

A stack.yaml file and git repo is also set up.


(One can use gh repo create etc to create the project repo on Github) and then hkgr github to add the github remote to your project.


hkgr uses cabal-install >=2, git, and also hlint if available.


hkgr is distributed under GPL version 3 or later.

Reports and contributions are welcome at


Changelog (2023-07-05)

  • fix the template file SPDX license tag and cabal-version field placement

0.4.3 (2023-05-30)

  • bump template to Cabal 2.2
  • add pristine ‘build’ command: used before publish
  • use haskeline for reading user/passwd via simple-prompt

0.4.2 (2022-06-24)

  • ‘new’: need cabal init –license option, otherwise no LICENSE file is created
  • ‘github’: new command to add github remote for project

0.4.1 (2022-06-23)

  • ‘rename’ improvements
  • ‘new’: avoid error on cabal >= 3.4 by not passing –license to cabal init

0.4 (2022-03-27)

  • template.cabal: use cabal 2.0 and define hs-source-dirs
  • ‘tagdist –existing-tag’ replaces ‘dist’ command
  • ‘upload’: add –existing-tag for dist rather than tagdist
  • ‘new’: stack init with lts-17
  • ‘rename’: experimental command to rename a project
  • add ‘–no-hlint’ option to skip running hlint (also hlint is no longer run for ‘publish’)

0.3 (2020-05-07)

  • only read Hackage username/password if not in ~/.cabal/config
  • ‘upload’: show newer untagged commits
  • ‘dist’: new command for a manually tagged release
  • fix the check for package version committed

0.2.7 (2020-02-27)

  • Main.hs: explicitly export main and add SPDX-License-Identifier
  • move Main.hs to src/
  • handle git submodules (not –recursive yet)
  • use typed-process to interleave IO to display auth errors
  • check name and .cabal filename consistent
  • put tarballs in .hkgr/
  • upload: error if tag no longer on branch
  • publish: only push up to tag (2020-07-30)

  • upload: do not hide output since it conceals any error
  • new: improvements to work better with cabal-3.0 init

0.2.6 (2020-06-11)

  • tagdist: include existing tag in error message
  • experimental ‘new’ project command with user template file ~/.config/hkgr/template.cabal
  • switch to cabal v2-sdist
  • upload: display error correctly
  • upload: add –force switch - to refresh tag and tarball (2020-02-29)

  • no hlint summary
  • fix published message (2020-02-29)

  • improve output for hlint and uploaded url
  • also check for staged changes

0.2.5 (2020-02-29)

  • check that package version is committed
  • use quiet cabal v1-configure and v1-sdist commands
  • make cabal upload quiet (2020-02-11)

  • assert that cabal-install installed
  • run hlint in git checkout instead of working tree

0.2.4 (2019-10-05)

  • git push before publishing
  • only push up to tag

0.2.3 (2019-09-30)

  • push git tag
  • hlint is now a warning not an error
  • prefix version tags with v
  • surround git diff output with quote lines
  • catch exception for sdist

0.2.2 (2019-07-06)

  • run hlint before git tag
  • relax force sdist when no existing tarball
  • show git diff to warn project dirty

0.2.1 (2019-06-24)

  • fix creation of published symlink lockfile
  • tagdist before cabal upload if no tarball

0.2 (2019-06-24)

  • merge tag and dist commands into tagdist
  • if sdist fails then reset tag
  • drop push-tags command

0.1 (2019-06-24)

  • add published lock file: prevents tagging/dist/upload after publish
  • tag before sdist if no tag
  • push tag after publishing

0.0 (2019-06-08)

  • Initially created.