What is GitHub Actions?
GitHub Actions allows you to easily and efficiently automate your software workflows and save time on manual processes! GitHub Actions is GitHub’s take on a modern CI/CD pipeline, where users are provided with on-demand compute power to execute pipelines, eliminating the need for having their own servers.
What is GitHub Actions used for?
GitHub Actions is a powerful tool that provides users with a wide variety of building blocks, called Actions, which they can use to create customised pipelines that fit their specific requirements. These Actions are available on the GitHub Marketplace, which offers a vast selection of options across multiple categories such as Testing, Security, CI/CD, Deployment, and more.
In order to utilize GitHub Actions, it is necessary for your code to be hosted on GitHub.
How does GitHub Actions work?
In practice, you place YAML documents, which define your pipeline (also known as a workflow), in a GitHub-specific folder. In the workflow, you can define when your Actions should run, e.g.:
- On every commit.
- On every pull request.
- When a specific branch is merged, and more.
One of the biggest benefits of using GitHub workflows is that they can be made reusable by creating templates that can be used across multiple repositories or other workflows.
GitHub Actions environment variables:
When running an Action, you have the option to indicate which environment it should use. Environments can be set up for individual repositories or for the entire organization. This feature allows you to easily set rules to determine when certain branches or scenarios should be executed in either a development or production environment.
Where does GitHub Actions run from?
There are two ways to use GitHub Actions:
GitHub-hosted Runners: You can choose between GitHub-hosted runners or self-hosted runners. GitHub-hosted runners come with pre-installed tools available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.
Self-hosted runners: Self-hosted runners provide greater control over hardware, operating systems, and software. They can be either physical, virtual, or container-based and can run on-premises or in the cloud.
When should you use GitHub Actions?
GitHub Actions can be advantageous as soon as you want to automate a process in your workflow, whether it’s just spell checking, linting, or more advanced tasks like Continuous Integration or deployment.
Automating workflows using GitHub Actions is beneficial for spell checking, linting, Continuous Integration, and deployment.
What are the benefits of using GitHub Actions?
Automation: GitHub Actions helps you perform automated actions related to builds, tests, and deployment. This allows you to optimise your workflows, save time, and avoid manual repetition.
Continuous Integration (CI): With GitHub Actions, you can easily implement Continuous Integration (CI) into your project. It allows you to automatically test your code whenever changes are made, and receive real-time reporting of the results.
Continuous Deployment (CD): Applications can be deployed securely and efficiently while minimising the risk of manual errors
Integration with Third-party Tools: GitHub Actions supports integration with a wide variety of third-party tools and services, such as: Docker, AWS, Slack and many more.
Customized Workflows: GitHub Action’s “building block concept” makes it fast and easy to customise your own workflow using the numerous actions available, not only for GitHub, but also for third-party tools.
Coding Custom Actions: GitHub Actions also allows you to code your own actions, which can be made available on the GitHub Marketplace (GitHub.com/marketplace), expanding the range of available actions.
How can Tech Chapter help you with GitHub Actions?
At Tech Chapter, we have extensive experience using GitHub Actions, both for internal workflows, and for client projects. We offer assistance with GitHub Actions in the following areas:
Training: We provide training for individuals or teams who want to be able to work independently with GitHub Actions.
Consulting: Our team of consultants provides expert assistance with setups, workflow customizations, environments, and runners to ensure you have the optimal workflows from the start.
Support: We offer a tailored support agreement so you can quickly and effectively get help from our experts when issues arise.
Alternative solutions to GitHub Actions:
There are also alternative CI/CD solutions to GitHub Actions, including:
Get Started with GitHub Actions Today!
Contact us to learn more about your options and how to best get started automating workflows with GitHub Actions.