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Quickstart for GitHub Actions

Try out the features of GitHub Actions in 5 minutes or less.

Note: GitHub-hosted runners are not currently supported on GitHub Enterprise Server. You can see more information about planned future support on the GitHub public roadmap.

Introduction

You only need a GitHub repository to create and run a GitHub Actions workflow. In this guide, you'll add a workflow that demonstrates some of the essential features of GitHub Actions.

The following example shows you how GitHub Actions jobs can be automatically triggered, where they run, and how they can interact with the code in your repository.

Creating your first workflow

  1. Create a .github/workflows directory in your repository on GitHub if this directory does not already exist.

  2. In the .github/workflows directory, create a file named github-actions-demo.yml. For more information, see "Creating new files."

  3. Copy the following YAML contents into the github-actions-demo.yml file:

    YAML
    name: GitHub Actions Demo
    on: [push]
    jobs:
      Explore-GitHub-Actions:
        runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        steps:
          - run: echo "🎉 The job was automatically triggered by a ${{ github.event_name }} event."
          - run: echo "🐧 This job is now running on a ${{ runner.os }} server hosted by GitHub!"
          - run: echo "🔎 The name of your branch is ${{ github.ref }} and your repository is ${{ github.repository }}."
          - name: Check out repository code
            uses: actions/checkout@v2
          - run: echo "💡 The ${{ github.repository }} repository has been cloned to the runner."
          - run: echo "🖥️ The workflow is now ready to test your code on the runner."
          - name: List files in the repository
            run: |
              ls ${{ github.workspace }}
          - run: echo "🍏 This job's status is ${{ job.status }}."
    
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Create a new branch for this commit and start a pull request. Then, to create a pull request, click Propose new file. Commit workflow file

Committing the workflow file to a branch in your repository triggers the push event and runs your workflow.

Viewing your workflow results

  1. On your GitHub Enterprise Server instance, navigate to the main page of the repository.

  2. Under your repository name, click Actions. Actions tab in the main repository navigation

  3. In the left sidebar, click the workflow you want to see.

    Workflow list in left sidebar

  4. From the list of workflow runs, click the name of the run you want to see.

    Name of workflow run

  5. Under Jobs , click the Explore-GitHub-Actions job.

    Locate job

  6. The log shows you how each of the steps was processed. Expand any of the steps to view its details.

    Example workflow results

    For example, you can see the list of files in your repository: Example action detail

More starter workflows

GitHub provides preconfigured starter workflow that you can customize to create your own continuous integration workflow. GitHub Enterprise Server analyzes your code and shows you CI starter workflow that might be useful for your repository. For example, if your repository contains Node.js code, you'll see suggestions for Node.js projects. You can use starter workflow as a starting place to build your custom workflow or use them as-is.

You can browse the full list of starter workflow in the actions/starter-workflows repository on your GitHub Enterprise Server instance.

More complex examples

For examples that demonstrate more complex features of GitHub Actions, see "Examples." You can see detailed examples that explain how to test your code on a runner, access the GitHub CLI, and use advanced features such as concurrency and test matrices.

Next steps

The example workflow you just added runs each time code is pushed to the branch, and shows you how GitHub Actions can work with the contents of your repository. But this is only the beginning of what you can do with GitHub Actions:

  • Your repository can contain multiple workflows that trigger different jobs based on different events.
  • You can use a workflow to install software testing apps and have them automatically test your code on GitHub's runners.

GitHub Actions can help you automate nearly every aspect of your application development processes. Ready to get started? Here are some helpful resources for taking your next steps with GitHub Actions: