GitHub actions allow you to automate processes when code get send to GitHub. For example: when a pull request is approved or when a single commit is pushed. There are a lot of events and the rabbit hole goes deep. If you can think of something to automate, it’s probably possible.
In the past I’ve worked a bit with Bitbucket pipelines which basically can do the same thing.
But lately I’ve been working solely with GitHub and it’s actions.
Here I will summarize my beginner experience with GitHub actions.
This June I released plugin Disable Full Site Editing. It’s codebase is hosted on GitHub. And actions deploy releases to wordpress.org.
These are actions imported from 10up. I only configure these actions.
If you take a look at the deploy.yml file you will see the line
uses: 10up/[email protected]
Here I import the action form 10up. The rest is just configuration. See the 10up repo for a good instruction.
Now when I create a new release It will automatically push the release to the wordpress.org svn.
It’s great. 10up maintains the bash script. And for me -as a user- I don’t have to know the workings of the script. I can rely on the action to do the work.
I also use a separate action for updating the plugin page on wordpress.org. Also imported form 10up.
Also 10up has a couple of more actions for WordPress plugins. Check them out.
Limits of imported actions
Pre-made actions are great and I would prefer it over building something myself. But what if you need some else?
I developed a plugin which was only available via direct download on the company webpage and not via wordpress.org.
So I needed a custom action. To keep it short it needed to create a plugin zip file and upload it to the correct server.
Official GitHub actions tutorial
I recommend starting with the official GitHub tutorial for actions. This tutorial impressed me. When starting it will create a repository and will guide you step by step inside this newly created repository. I highly recommend starting there.
Here is my instance of that repository. This functions as a cheat-sheet and playground for me regarding github actions.
Inside the main.yml I’ve listed all variables I find useful. Also I’ve listed a couple of tricks like importing an external action and running bash commands.
There are a couple of things I still haven’t done like functions. And I know there are more features I haven’t explored.
For now this is a good start for me and I’ll update the repo when I learn new tricks.