Aug 16, 2019

GitHub Actions now supports automated continuous integration and continuous deployment

GitHub Actions is an API for cause and effect on GitHub, helping developers build robust workflows directly inside their code repositories. Workflows work with any platform, including Linux, Windows, and macOS, and can be run on virtual machines or containers. Actions are simply YAML files and have access to GitHub and public APIs to expand their functionality. GitHub Actions is currently in beta and will be generally available in early November, but users can join the beta today.

Developers can now automate continuous integration and continuous deployment workflows through GitHub Actions, an important step in making the Actions platform more powerful. Developers can trigger builds via Actions on other CI tools, like CircleCI. Actions, however, also has a rich ecosystem of Actions from LaunchDarkly, mabl, Code Climate, and GitKraken.

When you enable Actions, GitHub will recommend Actions workflows that are appropriate for your project. Recommending automations has two important effects. First, recommendations drive greater adoption that bring more of the development workflow into the GitHub sphere of influence, helping strengthen the GitHub platform. Second, smarter GitHub recommendations solidify GitHub’s reputation as a developer-friendly tool that will help developers write more powerful code.

GitHub Actions are also code, so forking a repository will also fork any related Actions. For developers hoping to extend existing projects or templates, Actions’ seamless integration to the source code makes it easier to build and run new projects, aiding in discovery across the GitHub developer ecosystem. GitHub is already a major catalyst for code sharing and is home to much of the world’s open source software, but adding Actions helps package projects more neatly, so that code and its deployment are bundled into portable, reproducible repositories.

GitHub promises to remain an open platform that will continue to integrate with any existing CI/CD tools, but with millions of developers and tens of millions of repositories, GitHub is likely to quickly become a heavyweight in the development automation space. Actions is a perfect funnel for many of GitHub’s other ambitions; package registries, too, will face greater competition as GitHub Actions makes it easy to publish and consume packages from the new GitHub Package Registry. GitHub is building symbiotic products that strengthen each other, with openness and convenience as the primary adoption accelerators.

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