Getting Started with GitHub Actions

Getting Started with GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions is a powerful tool that automates your software development workflows right from your GitHub repository. Whether you want to run tests, deploy applications, or automate any other tasks, GitHub Actions provides a flexible and customizable framework. In this guide, we’ll walk through the basics of setting up and using GitHub Actions to streamline your development process.

What is GitHub Actions?

GitHub Actions is a continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) platform integrated into GitHub. It allows you to define custom workflows using YAML files, triggering automated processes based on events in your repository, such as pushes, pull requests, or issue comments.

Setting up a Workflow

To get started with GitHub Actions, create a .github/workflows directory in the root of your repository. In this directory, you can create YAML files that define your workflows. Let’s create a simple workflow to run tests whenever there’s a push or pull request to the main branch.

# .github/workflows/test.yml

name: Run Tests

      - main
      - main

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    - name: Checkout repository
      uses: actions/checkout@v2

    - name: Set up Node.js
      uses: actions/setup-node@v3
        node-version: 14

    - name: Install dependencies
      run: npm install

    - name: Run tests
      run: npm test

This workflow defines a job named test that runs on the latest version of Ubuntu. It checks out the repository, sets up Node.js, installs dependencies, and runs tests. You can customize these steps based on your project’s requirements.

Workflow Triggers

The on section in the workflow file specifies the events that trigger the workflow. In the example, the workflow runs on every push to the main branch and on every pull request targeting the main branch. You can customize this section to fit your workflow trigger needs.

Actions Marketplace

GitHub Actions provides a marketplace with a vast collection of pre-built actions that you can use in your workflows. These actions cover a wide range of tasks, from deploying to popular cloud providers to sending notifications. To use an action, include it in your workflow file.

For example, to deploy to GitHub Pages after running tests, add the following steps to the workflow file:

- name: Deploy to GitHub Pages
  uses: JamesIves/github-pages-deploy-action@4.1.6
    branch: gh-pages
    folder: build

This step uses the github-pages-deploy-action to deploy the contents of the build folder to the gh-pages branch.

Monitoring Workflow Runs

After pushing changes or creating pull requests, you can view the status of your workflows on the “Actions” tab of your GitHub repository. It provides detailed information about each workflow run, including the logs for each step.


GitHub Actions is a powerful tool that can significantly improve your development workflow. By automating repetitive tasks, you can save time and reduce the chance of human error. As you become more familiar with GitHub Actions, you can explore more advanced features and customize your workflows to meet the specific needs of your projects. The flexibility and integration capabilities of GitHub Actions make it a valuable asset for any development team. Get started today, and streamline your development process with automation!

Photo by

This post was generated with the help of AI.

Filed Under:

  • github
  • development