GitHub introduces ‘Actions’ to automate execution of code in containers
GitHub, which hosts open-source projects and is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, announced a new feature called ‘GitHub Actions’ at GitHub Universe in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Announcing the improvements for developers, Sam Lambert, Head of Platform, said GitHub is: “relentlessly focused on helping teams of software developers build the most impactful software of the future which means always improving the developer experience and making GitHub as open and collaborative as possible.”
GitHub Actions gives developers the ability to automate certain parts of their workflow to build, package, release, update, and deploy a project on either GitHub or an external system without having to run code themselves. In simpler words, GitHub Actions reduces the steps developers need to take to execute their code, no matter what language they use.
The company explains: “As a developer, you spend too much time configuring workflows—or get locked into inflexible tools as the industry evolves around you.
“We’re bringing the same tools you use while writing software to the rest of your development workflow, allowing you to focus on what matters most: code.”
GitHub Actions will basically allow developers to build sophisticated workflows by connecting basic steps that are packaged in a Docker container running on GitHub’s servers. This will also connect nicely with the CI/CD approach that companies are taking to app development.
“By applying open source principles to workflow automation, GitHub Actions empowers you to pair the tools and integrations you use with your own custom actions or those shared by the GitHub community, no matter what languages or platforms you use. Develop and share actions to automate any task your projects require, building on an ecosystem of options. Whether you need to package an NPM module, send an SMS alert, or deploy production-ready code to the cloud in parallel, you can create or find a GitHub Action for the job,” GitHub said in a blog post.
Actions can be shared with the GitHub community, thus allowing the creation of an Action library that developers will hopefully be able to reuse easily.
“We can take a single application and deploy it to five different clouds,” Sam Lambert, Head of Platform at GitHub told Business Insider. “You can press a button and deploy your application. You can page and text your team, generate documentation and build and test your code. It’s an Apple Shortcuts, but for the code.”
Currently, GitHub Actions is in limited public beta; however, one can expect a public launch soon. For more information on Actions, developers can go to GitHub’s website and sign up for the beta. GitHub Actions for open-source use will be free but will require payment for commercial use.