Publishing your projects in Alire

Publishing a project in Alire is done with the help of the alr publish command. The steps to take are described after some introductory concepts (jump to these steps directly here; you can also ask for help on the gitter channel of the project.

Automated publishing (TL;DR.)

The simplest publishing experience, provided you have a GitHub account and Personal Access Token, consist on issuing

alr publish

at the root of your workspace, when said workspace is an up-to-date clone of a git repository.

The publishing assistant will review your submission, point out any necessary fixes or additional information required, and request a pull into the community index on GitHub on your behalf.

Read on for the details underlying these automated steps, or in case you need to perform further tweaking.

Creating a GitHub Personal Access Token

A Personal Access Token (PAT) allows Alire to act on your behalf to fork the community index, push the new release manifest to a new branch in your own fork, and finally open a pull-request against the community repository.

The PAT, once created, is a plain string. You can either export the environment variable GH_TOKEN set to this string, or provide it when Alire asks for it.

There are two kinds of PATs on GitHub: classic and fine-grained. The latter are in beta and not documented here yet. Follow these steps to create a classic PAT:

  1. On the main page, after having logged in, click on your profile photo on the top-right corner.
  2. Click on “Settings” in the list of options in the profile menu.
  3. Click on “Developer settings” entry at the bottom in your Settings page.
  4. Click on “Personal access tokens” and then “Tokens (classic)”.
  5. Click on “Generate new token” and the select the classic variant.
  6. In the “Select scopes” section, under “repo”, check “public_repo” and “workflow”. Those are the only permissions needed for this PAT.
  7. Click on “Generate token” at the bottom.

You will get the PAT string after completing the generation.

General concepts

The community index is a collection of TOML files stored in the alire-index repository, under the index directory. Each file contains a release for a crate and is named after the crate and version it contains. A file contains the description of a release, with other metadata.

The complete specification of such TOML files is available in this document.

New crates and releases

Publishing a new crate is achieved through a pull-request against the index repository, in which the TOML file for the release must be provided.

Index branches

The community index is supported through two kinds of branches:

  • stable-x.x branches are used by stable versions of alr.
  • devel-x.x branches are used to introduce breaking changes in the index format, during the development of alr.

Your alr version knows which branch to use, so you do not need to manually select one. When using alr publish to assist on creating a release, alr will either create the pull request against the proper branch, or you will be provided with an upload link for the branch your alr is using.

However, when submitting releases manually, you can decide to which branch they will be added: selecting the latest stable branch results in the release becoming immediately available to the latest stable alr. Conversely, using the latest development branch will make the releases available for testing by unstable clients, and will become generally available with the next stable release of alr.

Checks on contributions

Each crate is “owned” by a list of maintainers, provided with the maintainers-logins property of the crate file. After the initial submission, which will be manually approved (see the policies for details), the maintainers of a crate are the only people allowed to submit new releases or metadata modifications to the corresponding crate.

Other checks your submission will go through are:

  • It contains all required metadata.
  • It builds on all of our CI configurations.
    • You can disable an unsupported target with the available property.

Best practices

See the section on best practices for crates before publishing your first release.

Detailed steps

Depending on how you develop your project, you can use one of the following methods to prepare your release submission:

Starting from a git repository that contains an Alire workspace

For this common use case, you need:

  • A git repository that is clean and up-to-date with its remote.
    • The repository already contains the release you want to publish.
    • The commit with the release must exist both locally and at the remote.
  • The repository must also be an Alire-enabled workspace:
    • It contains a top-level alire.toml manifest describing the release.
  • The remote host must be one of a few trusted major open-source sites.
    • This requirement is motivated by vulnerabilities identified with SHA1, whose migration to a stronger hash is not yet complete in git.
    • alr will inform you if your host is not supported. Please contact us if you think a site should be allowed. The complete list can be consulted by running alr publish --trusted-sites.
    • This is a temporary measure until more sophisticated publishing automation is supported. See the Starting with a remote source archive case for alternatives to this scenario (you are not forced to change your code hosting, or even have an online repository).

By default, the last commit is used for the release. You can alternatively provide another commit, tag, or branch. In any case, the git revision will be used to obtain a final commit. That is, a release cannot evolve with a branch, or be updated by moving a tag.

  • Within the repository, issue

alr publish

to use the last commit. You can, alternatively, issue:

alr publish . <commit|tag|branch>

Note the path between publish and your non-commit revision. Likewise, you can run this command from outside your repository, as long as you supply the proper path to it.

At this point, alr publish will carry out a few tests and, if everything checks out, it will create a ${repo_root}/alire/releases/crate-version.toml file. This file must be submitted to the community index via a PR. alr will offer to create the pull request for you, unless you specify --skip-submit. If so, a link for conveniently creating this PR will also be provided by alr:

  • Upload the generated index manifest file (crate-version.toml) to the supplied page link on GitHub and create a pull-request.

Starting with a remote repository, without local clone

This case is analogous to the previous one, but you don’t need the local repository. The same considerations about allowed hosts discussed in the previous scenario apply:

  • The repository already contains the commit with release you want to publish.
  • The repository must also be an Alire-enabled workspace:
    • It contains a top-level alire.toml manifest describing the release.
  • The remote host must be one of a few trusted major open-source sites.
    • This requirement is motivated by vulnerabilities identified with SHA1, whose migration to a stronger hash is [not yet complete] ( in git.
    • alr will inform you if your host is not supported. Please contact us if you think a site should be allowed. The complete list can be consulted by running alr publish --trusted-sites.

The only difference when invoking alr is that you must supply the remote URL and commit (not a tag or branch). The commit must exist in the repository:

alr publish <URL> <commit>

The checks will be carried out and the outcome will be the same as in the previous scenario.

Starting with a remote source archive

This case can be used when you use another VCS other than git, or do not work with an online repository.

In this use case, you start from an already prepared final remote tarball/zipball:

  • The archive must contain a single directory (name not important) containing, in turn, the sources. This is the kind of archives automatically generated by GitHub, GitLab, Sourceforge… or through git archive.
  • The alire.toml manifest must be placed at the top-level with the rest of your sources (inside the same single directory just described), containing all required information except for the [origin] table, which will be created by alr.
  • This archive must not contain the alire directory generated by alr in working directories. The alire directory is designed to be put in your VCS ignore list.

With the source archive already uploaded to the online host where it is going to be served (there are no restrictions on this host), you should issue

alr publish <URL>

and the publishing process will carry on as in the previous cases, performing the checks and providing you with a file to submit to the index, and an upload URL to do so.

Starting with a local source folder

Invoking alr publish --tar inside an Alire workspace will result in the creation of a source archive at ${CRATE_ROOT}/alire/archives/. This archive must be manually uploaded by the user to a publicly accessible hosting service.

After the upload, the user can supply the URL to fetch this archive to the publishing assistant (which will be waiting for this information), and the assistant will resume as if it had been invoked with alr publish <URL> (see Starting with a remote source archive).

Support for complex projects whose sources become multiple Alire crates

In case your project does not easily map to a single Alire crate (e.g., because you manage multiple project files with different dependencies, or there are other reasons to keep the sources together even if they generate several crates), you have several options.

The simplest one is to store each crate in a subdirectory within the repository, with its corresponding Alire manifest, sources and project files. With the repository up-to-date with the remote, and the local copy checked out at the desired commit, issuing alr publish in each subdirectory will properly recognize that the crate is nested below the repository root. Furthermore, when using this method, all nested crates will share the same storage when retrieved as dependencies.

A similar alternative would be to publish each crate relying on source archives In this case you can use alr publish --tar normally inside each subdirectory. Compared with the previous options, there is no disadvantage to this method if you favor source archives.

Another possibility would be to use a bit of scripting to create temporary subfolders with the described organization, and again using alr publish --tar normally.

Finally, the alr publish command provides a --manifest <file> switch to work in place with several crates. You can have different manifests at custom locations (other than the expected ./alire.toml) and provide each one in turn with the --manifest switch to create their respective crate. In this case, alr temporarily uses the given file as the root manifest, so all sources will be packaged for each crate. This is a bit wasteful, but as long as each crate’s project files are properly defined (no shared sources), this remains an option to split the sources into crates. With the current support for autodetection of crates in subdirectories, this option is not recommended for new repositories.

Starting from other configurations

If your case does not fit well into any of the situations above we definitely want to hear about it, to see how it can be brought into existing or new Alire workflows.

Creating the PR via cloning.

Instead of uploading the generated index manifest file via the GitHub upload link, you can follow the usual procedure to submit a PR to a GitHub repository:

  1. Fork the community index to your GitHub account.
  2. Clone your fork locally and place generated manifest at the intended folder.
  3. Commit and push the changes to your fork.
  4. Create the pull request from your fork against the community repository through the GitHub web interface (or the hub tool).
    1. The base branch you select for the pull request will determine where your changes will become available; see the section on index branches for details.

Publishing outcome

Once the pull request is verified and merged, the new release will become available for normal use after running alr index --update-all. The open source Ada ecosystem needs all the help it can get, so thank you for contributing!

ALR Badge

If you like, you can add a nice, shiny badge to your project page which links back to the Alire website. This can even serve as a reminder to republish your project once you published a new release, because the badge shows the latest version of your project that is known to Alire.

The Alire website is updated once a day, every day. Hence, after we accepted and merged your pull request, it might take up to a day for your changes to appear there, usually less.

To add the badge, all you need to do is add the line


to your Of course, you need to replace the string YOUR_CRATE with your actual project’s crate name.

Here’s an example:


This will be shown as:


Publishing to a local/private index

Having a local index may be useful sometimes, be it for local testing, or for private crates not intended for publication.

There is no practical difference between the community index that is cloned locally and a private local index stored on disk. Hence, after obtaining the manifest file with alr publish, it is a matter of placing it at the expected location within the index: /path/to/index/cr/crate_name/crate_name-x.x.x.toml

If the crate being published locally contains "provides" definitions, it is necessary to call alr index --update-all once to ensure it is properly used by the dependency solver. This is only necessary for the first release in a crate that uses the "provides" feature.