#semver #check #linter #crates #depend #cargo

bin+lib cargo-semver-checks

Scan your Rust crate for semver violations

53 releases (29 breaking)

0.31.0 Apr 22, 2024
0.30.0 Mar 16, 2024
0.29.1 Feb 23, 2024
0.27.0 Dec 28, 2023
0.5.1 Jul 31, 2022

#70 in Cargo plugins

Download history 392/week @ 2024-02-01 428/week @ 2024-02-08 745/week @ 2024-02-15 730/week @ 2024-02-22 498/week @ 2024-02-29 579/week @ 2024-03-07 730/week @ 2024-03-14 480/week @ 2024-03-21 513/week @ 2024-03-28 467/week @ 2024-04-04 428/week @ 2024-04-11 677/week @ 2024-04-18 542/week @ 2024-04-25 423/week @ 2024-05-02 502/week @ 2024-05-09 415/week @ 2024-05-16

1,997 downloads per month
Used in 3 crates

Apache-2.0 OR MIT

13K SLoC

Rusty Object Notation 9K SLoC // 0.0% comments Rust 3.5K SLoC // 0.1% comments Shell 221 SLoC // 0.2% comments



Lint your crate API changes for semver violations.

Quick Start

$ cargo install cargo-semver-checks --locked

# Check whether it's safe to release the new version:
$ cargo semver-checks

Or use as a GitHub Action (used in .github/workflows/ci.yml in this repo):

- name: Check semver
  uses: obi1kenobi/cargo-semver-checks-action@v2


Each failing check references specific items in the Cargo SemVer reference or other reference pages, as appropriate. It also includes the item name and file location that are the cause of the problem, as well as a link to the implementation of that query in the current version of the tool.


What Rust versions does cargo-semver-checks support?

cargo-semver-checks uses the rustdoc tool to analyze the crate's API. Rustdoc's JSON output format isn't stable, and can have breaking changes in new Rust versions.

When each cargo-semver-checks version is released, it will at minimum include support for the then-current stable and beta Rust versions. It may, but is not guaranteed to, additionally support some nightly Rust versions.

The GitHub Action by default uses the most recent versions of both cargo-semver-checks and stable Rust, so it should be unaffected. Users using cargo-semver-checks in other ways are encouraged to update cargo-semver-checks when updating Rust versions to ensure continued compatibility.

Can I use cargo-semver-checks with nightly Rust?

Support for nightly Rust versions is on a best-effort basis. It will work often, but not always. If you must use nightly, it's strongly recommended to pin to a specific nightly version to avoid broken workflows.

cargo-semver-checks relies on the rustdoc JSON format, which is unstable and changes often. After a new rustdoc JSON format version gets shipped in nightly, it usually takes several days to several weeks for it to be supported in a new cargo-semver-checks, during which time it is not possible to use cargo-semver-checks with those nightly versions.

It's also possible that support for some nightly versions may be dropped even while older stable versions are still supported. This usually happens when a rustdoc format gets superseded by a newer version before becoming part of any stable Rust. In that case, we may drop support for that format to conserve maintenance bandwidth and speed up compile times. For example, cargo-semver-checks v0.24 supported rustdoc formats v24, v26, and v27, but did not support the nightly-only v25 format.

What if my project needs stronger guarantees around supported Rust versions?

If you'd like extended support for older Rust versions, or an SLA on supporting new nightly releases, we're happy to offer those on a commercial basis. It could be in the form of a formal support contract, or something as simple as discussing expectations over email and setting up a recurring GitHub sponsorship for an agreed-upon amount.

Please reach out at the email in the Cargo.toml and let us know about what projects this is for and what their needs are.

Does the crate I'm checking have to be published on crates.io?

No, it does not have to be published anywhere. You'll just need to use a flag to help cargo-semver-checks locate the version to use as a baseline for semver-checking.

By default, cargo-semver-checks uses crates.io to look up the previous version of the crate, which is used as the baseline for semver-checking the current version of the crate. The following flags can be used to explicitly specify a baseline instead:

--baseline-version <X.Y.Z>
    Version from registry to lookup for a baseline

--baseline-rev <REV>
    Git revision to lookup for a baseline

--baseline-root <MANIFEST_ROOT>
    Directory containing baseline crate source

--baseline-rustdoc <JSON_PATH>
    The rustdoc json file to use as a semver baseline

Custom registries are not currently supported (#160), so crates published on registries other than crates.io should use one of the other approaches of generating the baseline.

What features does cargo-semver-checks enable in the tested crates?

By default, checking is done on all features except features named unstable, nightly, bench, no_std, or ones with prefix _, unstable-, or unstable_, as such names are commonly used for private or unstable features.

This behaviour can be overriden. Checked feature set can be changed to:

  • all the features, selected with --all-features,
  • only the crate's default features, selected with --default-features,
  • empty set, selected with --only-explicit-features.

Additionally, features can be enabled one-by-one, using flags --features, --baseline-features and --current-features.

For example, consider crate serde, with the following features (per v1.0.163):

  • std - the crate's only default feature,
  • alloc, derive, rc - optional features,
  • unstable - a feature that possibly breaks semver.
used flags selected feature set explanation
none std, alloc, derive, rc Feature unstable is excluded by the default heuristic.
--features unstable std, alloc, derive, rc, unstable The flag explicitly adds unstable to the heuristic's selections.
--all-features std, alloc, derive, rc, unstable All the features are used, disabling the default heuristic.
--default-features std The crate has only one default feature.
--default-features --features derive std, derive Feature derive is used along with crate's default features.
--only-explicit-features none No explicit features are passed.
--only-explicit-features --features unstable unstable All features can be added explicitly, regardless of their name.

Does cargo-semver-checks have false positives?

"False positive" means that cargo-semver-checks reported a semver violation incorrectly. A design goal of cargo-semver-checks is to not have false positives. If they do occur, they are considered bugs.

When cargo-semver-checks reports a semver violation, it should always point to a specific file and approximate line number where the specified issue occurs; failure to specify a file and line number is also considered a bug.

If you think cargo-semver-checks might have a false-positive but you aren't sure, please open an issue. Semver in Rust has many non-obvious and tricky edge cases, especially in the presence of macros. We'd be happy to look into it together with you to determine if it's a false positive or not.

Will cargo-semver-checks catch every semver violation?

No, it will not — not yet! There are many ways to break semver, and cargo-semver-checks doesn't yet have lints for all of them. New lints are added frequently, and we'd be happy to mentor you if you'd like to contribute new lints!

Append --verbose when semver-checking your crate to see the full list of performed semver checks.

Here are some example areas where cargo-semver-checks currently will not catch semver violations:

  • breaking type changes, for example in the type of a field or function parameter
  • breaking changes in generics or lifetimes
  • breaking changes that exist when only a subset of all crate features are activated

If I really want a new feature to be implemented, can I sponsor its development?

Depending on the feature, possibly yes!

Please reach out to us ahead of time over email to discuss the scope of the feature and sponsorship.

It's possible that the feature might be deemed out of scope, too complex to build or maintain, or otherwise unsuitable. In such cases we'd like to let you know that before you've sent us money, since there are no refunds on GitHub Sponsors.

If the feature is viable and the work involved in building is commensurate to the sponsorship amount, we'd be happy to build it. At your option, we'd also be happy to give you a shout-out for sponsoring the feature when it is announced in the release notes.

How is cargo-semver-checks similar to and different from other tools?

rust semverver builds on top of rustc internals to build rlib's and compare their metadata. This strips the code down to the basics for identifying changes. However, is tightly coupled to specific nightly compiler versions and takes work to stay in sync. As of April 17, 2023, it appears to be deprecated and no longer maintained.

cargo breaking effectively runs cargo expand and re-parses the code using syn which requires re-implementing large swaths of rust's semantics to then lint the API for changes. This is limited to the feature and target the crate was compiled for. As of November 22, 2022, it appears to be archived and no longer maintained.

cargo-semver-checks sources its data from rustdoc's json output. While the json output format is unstable, the rate of change is fairly low, reducing the churn in keeping up. The lints are also written as queries for trustfall "query everything" engine, reducing the work for creating and maintaining them. Because of the extra data that rustdoc includes, some level of feature/target awareness might be able to be introduced.

There is interest in hosting rustdoc JSON on docs.rs meaning that semver-checking could one day download the baseline rustdoc JSON file instead of generating it. Also, generally speaking, inspecting JSON data is likely going to be faster than full compilation.

cargo-public-api uses rustdoc, like cargo-semver-checks, but focuses more on API diffing (showing which items has changed) and not API linting (explaining why they have changed and providing control over what counts).

Why is it sometimes cargo-semver-check and cargo-semver-checks?

This crate was intended to be published under the name cargo-semver-check, and may indeed one day be published under that name. Due to an unfortunate mishap, it remains cargo-semver-checks for the time being.

The cargo_semver_check name is reserved on crates.io but all its versions are intentionally yanked. Please use the cargo-semver-checks crate instead.

What is the MSRV policy with respect to semver?

MSRV bumps are not considered major changes.

cargo-semver-checks has two Rust version bounds, since it depends on Rust both at compile-time and at runtime:

  • The MSRV for compiling cargo-semver-checks ("compile MSRV") is currently Rust 1.70. This is primarily determined by our dependencies' MSRVs.
  • The MSRV for checking crates ("runtime MSRV") is currently Rust 1.71. This is determined based on the rustdoc JSON format versions and known bugs in older rustdoc versions.

As much as practically possible, changes to the runtime MSRV will come in bumps of the middle number in the version, e.g. 0.24.1 -> 0.25.0 or 1.2.3 -> 1.3.0.

Changes to the compile MSRV may happen in any kind of version bump. As much as practically possible, we'll aim to make them simultaneously with runtime MSRV bumps.

Visual Design

Logo by NUMI:



Available under the Apache License (Version 2.0) or the MIT license, at your option.

Copyright 2022-present Predrag Gruevski and Project Contributors. The present date is determined by the timestamp of the most recent commit in the repository. Project Contributors are all authors and committers of commits in the repository.


~1M SLoC