GitHub Actions, an event-based tool that helps developers automate workflows, shows promise for those who want...
to speed up steps in their software development processes but are hampered by poorly integrated tools. The tool is now in limited public beta.
Most developers choose to host their source code on GitHub, so additional auxiliary services such as Actions are big for developers that want high-quality development tools in the open source world, said Rockford Lhotka, CTO of Magenic, an IT services firm in St. Louis Park, Minn.
"As awareness and demand for DevOps continues to grow across the industry, having this sort of capability built in to GitHub, and still enabling the use of external services, is a big win for developers," he said.
Get up to speed with Git and GitHub
- See how you would do on these Git and GitHub interview questions
- The five basic Git commands beginners need to master
- Undo a commit and manipulate commit history with this git reset --hard example
- Learn to git revert a commit with the bash shell
- Use the git cherry-pick command across Git branches
- Change the Git editor to Notepad++
- Where the Windows Git configuration files are stored
- Make continuous integration part of your DevOps journey with this Jenkins CI tutorial
Developers typically think in terms of delivery pipelines, but an event model is more open and flexible, able to execute functions based on notifications, user input or sensor outputs, added Rod Johnson, creator of the Spring Framework and CEO of Atomist.
"GitHub Actions puts event handling at the center of software delivery," Johnson said.
GitHub Actions lets users run compute in GitHub's cloud, triggered by any GitHub event, such as commits or pull requests. Pulumi is one example of a company with GitHub partnership and a platform that supports GitHub Actions. Pulumi's platform responds to these events and provides the benefits of infrastructure as code integrated into a workflow. GitHub Actions also integrates with HashiCorp Terraform to automatically check for configuration errors and simplify pull request reviews.
The ability for developers to set up triggers for events that involve their code workflow also means they can, in effect, do CI/CD within GitHub, said Joe Duffy, CEO at Pulumi. GitHub Actions uses Docker containers for extensibility, to combine with tools such as Pulumi and integrate into a cloud platform with a developer's preferred code and Git workflows.
Moreover, with GitHub Actions, developers can easily build, package, release, update and deploy a project in any language -- on GitHub or any external system -- without having to run code themselves, wrote Jason Warner, head of technology at GitHub, in a blog post.
Potentially the biggest benefit of GitHub Actions is the ability to tap into the GitHub community to share workflows, said Edwin Yuen, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group based in Milford, Mass. It also opens the doors for nondevelopers to look at GitHub as a way to automate workflows associated with the development process, including operations and security.
"It's the broader potential uses for Actions that drive some potentially amazing things and could make GitHub the community hub for more than just development for most companies," Yuen said.
Take your DevOps skills to the next level
If you want to become a DevOps engineer, you'll need to master a variety of DevOps tools. Here are some popular tutorials to get you closer to achieving DevOps mastery:
- A step-by-step Jenkins CI tutorial with examples
- Learn how to install and configure JFrog Artifactory and integrate Artifactory with Jenkins
- Learn how to use the SonarQube Maven plugin to inspect for code quality
- Test your job readiness with these Jenkins and DevOps interview questions
- Some tough, sample GitHub and Git interview questions
- Learn the benefits of continuous integration by working with these popular CI/CD tools