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Automatically publish a Flutter Web App on GitHub Pages

Jan Mewes
・4 min read

This blog post describes how to automatically publish a Flutter Web app to GitHub pages after every change in the repository.

It is assumed that you already know how to create and build a Flutter Web app. Further, it is assumed that your source Flutter source code is located in a Git repository hosted by GitHub. The GitHub Pages feature is available for free on public repositories but requires a paid plan for private repositories.

Publish to gh-pages branch

GitHub offers to run a script when there is a change on your branches or a tag was created. This feature is called GitHub Actions. In the spirit of the "Don't repeat yourself" principle, GitHub Actions can be grouped into modules. So, in this way, a group of steps can be grouped into one module.

There is already a GitHub Action available with which the goal of the blog post can be reached:

https://github.com/marketplace/actions/deploy-flutter-web-app-to-github-pages

You may refer to the action.yml of this GitHub Action to understand what it is doing.

What you need to do to apply this action is the following:

  1. Create a directory ".github/workflows" in your repository
  2. In the "workflows" directory, create a YAML file, e.g . "publish.yaml"
name: Publish to GitHub Pages

on:
  push:
    branches: [ main ]

jobs:
  build:
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    steps:
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - uses: subosito/flutter-action@v1
      - uses: erickzanardo/flutter-gh-pages@v3
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This tells GitHub to trigger this action whenever it sees a new change on the "main" branch. Then it creates a new Ubuntu VM on which the action will run. The first actual step will be the checkout of your repository. Then it installs Flutter on the VM. Finally, it builds the web app, creates a "gh-pages" branch in your repository, and commits the web app there.

Enable GitHub Pages

GitHub Pages is another feature of GitHub. It provides you a web server for static HTML files and a subdomain. The way to publish a website there is to enable the feature for a repository and then to tell it where to look for the files. Any branch can be the source of the website, and in this branch, you can choose whether you want to place the website in the repository root ("/") or in the "/docs" directory.

Go to the "Pages" settings, select the "gh-pages" branch as the source, keep the directory root, and then click on "Save".

Enable GitHub Pages

The URL at which your website will be published is displayed in the banner above the source configuration. Mind that the initial rendering of the website may take a while. Afterwards, published updates will be available within 1-10 minutes.

Change base URL

If you are not using a custom domain for your GitHub Pages, then, by default, your URL will look like this:

https://ksch-workflows.github.io/registration-desk

The first part of the URL is the owner of the repository which can be an organization or a personal account. In this example, the owner is the organization "ksch-workflows". The domain of the URL is "github.io". Then after the domain is the resource path with the repository name. In this example, it is "registration-desk".

So, the "index.html" file of the website will be available under the following URL:

https://ksch-workflows.github.io/registration-desk/index.html

The problem with this is that the Flutter app, by default, assumes that it is located directly under the domain, not under a resource path. So, it assumes that the "index.html" file of the website will be available under a URL like this:

https://ksch-workflows.github.io/index.html

The result of this is that links to the root of the website will lead to "https://ksch-workflows.github.io/", not to "https://ksch-workflows.github.io/registration-desk". So, when the page tries to load the "main.dart.js" file which will render the page, then it tries to get it from "https://ksch-workflows.github.io/main.dart.js" which will yield a 404 Not Found error. The result of this is that you would see an empty page on the attempt to open "https://ksch-workflows.github.io/registration-desk" in a browser.

404 Not Found

The solution for this is to change the base URL on the start page of the Flutter app:

diff --git a/web/index.html b/web/index.html
index fd7cfeb..7c588d9 100644
-------- a/web/index.html
+++ b/web/index.html
@@ -11,7 +11,7 @@
     Fore more details:
     * https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/base
   -->
-  <base href="/">
+  <base href="/registration-desk/">

   <meta charset="UTF-8">
   <meta content="IE=Edge" http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible">
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Credits

"Trans Canada Keystone Oil Pipeline" by shannonpatrick17 is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Discussion (2)

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dacotas11 profile image
Dacotas11

Thank you man, I've been looking for a solution for this for a day now.

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ftharyanto profile image
Fajar Tri Haryanto

Thanks for sharing, I suggest you should move Change base URL part to right before enable Enable GitHub Pages so people push their code twice.