Version Stamping

Bazel is generally only a build tool, and is unaware of your version control system. However, when publishing releases, you may want to embed version information in the resulting distribution. Bazel supports this with the concept of a "Workspace status" which is evaluated before each build. See the Bazel workspace status docs

To stamp a build, you pass the --stamp argument to Bazel.

Note: proposes that Bazel enforce this by only giving constant values to rule implementations when stamping isn't enabled.

Stamping is typically performed on a later action in the graph, like on a linking or packaging rule (pkg_*). This means that a changed status variable only causes that action, not re-compilation and thus does not cause cascading re-builds.

Bazel provides a couple of statuses by default, such as BUILD_EMBED_LABEL which is the value of the --embed_label argument, as well as BUILD_HOST and BUILD_USER. You can supply more with the workspace status script, see below.

Some rules accept an attribute that uses the status variables. They will usually say something like "subject to stamp variable replacements".

Stamping with a Workspace status script

To define additional statuses, pass the --workspace_status_command flag to bazel. This slows down every build, so you should avoid passing this flag unless you need to stamp this build. The value of this flag is a path to a script that prints space-separated key/value pairs, one per line, such as

#!/usr/bin/env bash
echo STABLE_GIT_COMMIT $(git rev-parse HEAD)

For a more full-featured script, take a look at the bazel_stamp_vars in Angular

Make sure you set the executable bit, eg. chmod +x tools/

NOTE keys that start with STABLE_ will cause a re-build when they change. Other keys will NOT cause a re-build, so stale values can appear in your app. Non-stable (volatile) keys should typically be things like timestamps that always vary between builds.

You might like to encode your setup using an entry in .bazelrc such as:

# This tells Bazel how to interact with the version control system
# Enable this with --config=release
build:release --stamp --workspace_status_command=./tools/

Writing a custom rule which reads stamp variables

First, load the helpers:

load("@aspect_bazel_lib//lib:stamping.bzl", "STAMP_ATTRS", "maybe_stamp")

In your rule implementation, call the maybe_stamp function. If it returns None then this build doesn't have stamping enabled. Otherwise you can use the returned struct to access two files. The stable_status file contains the keys which were prefixed with STABLE_, see above. The volatile_status file contains the rest of the keys.

def _rule_impl(ctx):
    args = ctx.actions.args()
    inputs = []
    stamp = maybe_stamp(ctx)
    if stamp:
        args.add("--volatile_status_file", stamp.volatile_status_file.path)
        args.add("--stable_status_file", stamp.stable_status_file.path)
        inputs.extend([stamp.volatile_status_file, stamp.stable_status_file])

    # ... call actions which parse the stamp files and do something with the values ...

Finally, in the declaration of the rule, include the STAMP_ATTRS to declare attributes which are read by that maybe_stamp function above.

my_stamp_aware_rule = rule(
    attrs = dict({
        # ... my attributes ...
    }, **STAMP_ATTRS),

Macros and Functions


Provide the bazel-out/stable_status.txt and bazel-out/volatile_status.txt files.

Example usage (generated)

load("@aspect_bazel_lib//lib:stamping.bzl", "maybe_stamp")

    # The rule context
    ctx = None,


The rule context