DEV Community

Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

Posted on

How do GitHub Actions work?

Most straightforward explanation wins 🤪

Top comments (26)

jwesorick profile image
Jake Wesorick

Triggered by an event related to activity on GitHub, open up a virtual machine and have it do something. Possibilities are endless but include building, testing, deploying, and posting GIFs.

mscccc profile image
Mike Coutermarsh

I'm on the Actions team at GitHub, and this is a great description. Especially the part about GIFs.

jsn1nj4 profile image
Elliot Derhay

That's a good idea. Deploy a new version, generate a post on Twitter with a GIF. 🙃

Thread Thread
bnb profile image
Tierney Cyren

If you use the Twitter Together GitHub Action, you could simply PR a .tweet file and then use the automerge Action to merge it if the build passes (which it should!) :)

waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

It can even interact with non-code portions of your repo like comments and issues.

nombrekeff profile image

And you can download artifacts generated by the action, I haven't found any use cases for myself but it's kinda cool to have!

nelsonmestevao profile image
Nelson Estevão

Maybe compile a PDF from LaTeX and download it.

hoangleitvn profile image
Hoang Le

It is a great and shorted description. But i think using containers will speed up provision time

daviducolo profile image
Davide Santangelo

Are just enhanced webhooks :D. Anyway, they are a huge help to increase automation and aid continuous delivery efforts.

jlozovei profile image
Julio Lozovei

Event-based webhooks designed to automate your project's workflows - from issues tracking to deployments. Aaaaand, it's free for open source software.

Basically, a world-class CI/CD inside your repo.

chathula profile image
Chathula Sampath

commit -> event fired-> go through github action workflow file -> check the rules -> do the job

Github runs the job on runner you have mentioned like linux, mac or windows.

drewmullen profile image

Not an explanation but here's a bunch of working examples different action workflows!

taufik_nurrohman profile image
Taufik Nurrohman • Edited

It’s just some do_action('push') stuff within the GitHub’s WordPress site environment.

We then do some add_action('push', function() {}) stuff to listen to the push event through our WordPress plugin for GitHub.


mrmadhat profile image
Daniel Gregory

An action is triggered by an event. An event is and interaction with your repo on github. It’s like saying “Hey GitHub, when this thing happens can you do some stuff for me?” The ‘stuff’ is the set of instructions that you would like completing. An example would be to deploy when a commit is added on the master branch.

arschles profile image
Aaron Schlesinger

GitHub has webhooks for tons of things that happen to your repo. GitHub actions lets you run whatever code you want (like unit tests!), to respond to any of those webhooks.

Your code runs on GitHub's servers and you can get status updates on whether your code passed or failed

angt profile image
Adrien Gallouët • Edited

There's nothing straightforward than an example, the last one I wrote:

corentinbettiol profile image
Corentin Bettiol

Start a computer in the cloud each time [an action] is executed.

glennmen profile image
Glenn Carremans

Travis CI on steroids? 🤔

sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

I was thinking to create a series for this on Dev and you gave me another reason for it. 😅

victoria profile image
Victoria Drake

When a GitHub event you've defined happens, someone else's computer does whatever you've told it to do.

wassimchegham profile image
Wassim Chegham

With GitHub Actions you can react to events (anything that happens on GitHub) and run command (Actions). See it as the Event Driven pattern applied to modern DevOps.

sharadcodes profile image
Sharad Raj (He/Him)

They work well 😂