Install v0.2.0

Published on Aug 30 2023 at 17:32 UTC
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cargo-dist docs Rust CI

cargo build but For Building Final Distributable Artifacts and uploading them to an archive.

The Big Idea of cargo-dist is that we want to streamline all the steps of providing prebuilt binaries for a rust project. This includes:

  1. Generating your "Cut A Release" Github CI for you
  2. Picking good build flags for a "production" release
  3. Making zips and installers for the resulting binaries
  4. Generating a machine-readable manifest so other tools can understand the results
  5. Uploading all the resulting artifacts to a Github Release™️

Even though cargo-dist is primarily a tool for building and packaging applications (steps 2-4), we put a fair amount of effort into Generating Your CI Scripts For You because we want to be able to run things locally and know what the CI should do without actually running it. It also helps avoid needless vendor lock-in -- while the extra conveniences currently only support GitHub Actions, in the future migrating from Github to Gitlab or your own personal infra will be just one invocation of cargo-dist away!

Read The Book!

We've got all the docs you need over at the cargo-dist book!


Updating Snapshots

cargo-dist's tests rely on cargo-insta for snapshot testing various outputs. This allows us to both catch regressions and also more easily review UI/output changes. If a snapshot test fails, you will need to use the cargo insta CLI tool to update them:

cargo install cargo-insta

Once installed, you can review and accept the changes with:

cargo insta review

If you know you like the changes, just use cargo insta accept to auto-apply all changes.

(If you introduced brand-new snapshot tests you will also have to git add them!)

NOTE: when it succeeds, cargo-dist-schema's emit test will actually commit the results back to disk to cargo-dist-schema/cargo-dist-schema.json as a side-effect. This is a janky hack to make sure we have that stored and up to date at all times (the test also uses an insta snapshot but insta snapshots include an extra gunk header so it's not something we'd want to link end users). The file isn't even used for anything yet, I just want it to Exist because it seems useful and important. In the future we might properly host it and have our outputs link it via a $schema field.

Cutting Releases

cargo-dist is self-hosting, so you just need to push a git-tag with the right format to "do" a release. Of course there's lots of other tedious tasks that come with updating a release, and we use cargo-release to handle all those mechanical details of updating versions/headings/tags. See these sections of the docs for the release workflow we use.


  • Update's "Unreleased" section to include all the release notes you want
  • run cargo-release as described in the docs
  •'re done!

Note that we've wired up cargo-dist and cargo-release to understand the "Unreleased" heading so you should never edit that name, the tools will update it as needed.

If that releases succeeds, we recommend updating the bootstrap version of cargo-dist as a follow up:

  • install the version of cargo-dist you just released on your system
  • run cargo dist init --yes
  • commit "chore: update bootstrap dist to ..."

Note that as a consequence of the way we self-host, cargo-dist's published artifacts will always be built/generated by a previous version of itself. This can be problematic if you make breaking changes to cargo-dist-schema's format... so don't! Many things in the schema are intentionally optional to enable forward and backward compatibility, so this should hopefully work well!