What is GitHub Actions? How automation & CI CD work on GitHub

gitlab ci cd vs github actions

We’re also using React and npm for package management, installation, and testing—but more on that later. Reusable components help reduce duplication, improve maintainability, https://traderoom.info/ and promote consistency across projects. Create a component project and publish it to the CI/CD Catalog to share your component across multiple projects.

  1. GitHub Actions, being a native feature of GitHub, offers seamless integration with other GitHub features.
  2. These platforms all work with technology partners to add additional capabilities that make their solutions more robust than they could have achieved on their own.
  3. GitLab uses an open core model, so its base functionality is open source.
  4. This step uses the actions/setup-node@v4 action to install the specified version of the Node.js.
  5. They advertise themselves as a complete DevOps platform for a reason.

GitLab runners

GitHub Actions is the CI/CD functionality within the GitHub platform. GitHub’s platform is the most widely used Git platform on the planet, and it has extensive functionality beyond just Actions – including defect and project tracking, image repositories, and analytics. Choosing a solution to create or improve your CI/CD pipeline may seem like a daunting task.

A beginner’s guide to CI/CD and automation on GitHub

Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form. Since there are more than 13,000 GitHub Actions in the GitHub Marketplace, there’s a good chance you won’t need to create a workflow from scratch, since one probably already exists. Yet there probably will be a few times where you find a workflow that’s almost perfect, but needs a slight tweak to fit your needs perfectly.

GitHub Actions syntax for jobs

In a similar fashion to code repository websites (like GitHub) there are some container repository websites (like DockerHub)where many software services have prebuilt images that one can easily deploy. Usually, you write a file that defines how to construct your container. You start with some minimal base image (like Alpine Linux), and then a list of commands to run to set up the environment you want (install packages, copy files, build stuff, write config files, etc.). Normally, there’s also a way to specify any external ports that should be available, and an entrypoint that dictates what command should be run when the container is started (like a grading script). In CircleCI, you can add continuous testing into a pipeline as a series of steps within a job. Alternatively, as with Sauce Labs, you can use an orb from the CircleCI library that will handle most of the heavy lifting, and the test suite can be run in a single step.

GitHub Actions is a CI/CD tool that allows developers to automate their software development workflows. It enables users to build, test, and deploy their code directly from GitHub. GitHub Actions uses YAML files to define workflows, which can be triggered by various events, such as a push to a branch or a pull request. GitHub Actions is a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform that allows you to automate your build, test, and deployment pipeline.

gitlab ci cd vs github actions

Create a Migration Plan

Having a test environment where the only difference was adding the Buildkite agent was a trivial addition. Moving from Jenkins/EC2 to Spinnaker/EKS and looking for a tool to cover our CI/CD needs. For problems https://traderoom.info/gitlab-ci-vs-github-actions/ setting up or using this feature (depending on your GitLabsubscription). GitLab is integrated tightly with Git,so SCM polling options for triggers are not needed, but can be configured per job if required.

In addition to Bash and PowerShell, it is also possible to directly use Python, JavaScript and other interpreted languages. In addition to workflow control and job control, each step has an optional parameter to determine if the step should be executed. A runner is a server that runs your workflows when they’re triggered. GitHub provides Ubuntu Linux, Microsoft Windows, and macOS runners to run your workflows; each workflow run executes in a fresh, newly-provisioned virtual machine. GitHub also offers larger runners, which are available in larger configurations. For more information, see “About larger runners.” If you need a different operating system or require a specific hardware configuration, you can host your own runners.

For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to use the Open Sauced repository in my Open Sauced project. Feel free to take a closer look by forking this repository and contributing with a fork. A quick guide on the advantages of using GitHub Actions as your preferred CI/CD tool—and how to build a CI/CD pipeline with it. Variables can be marked as “protected” or “masked” for added security.

The table below shows a brief, none complete overview of their offerings. When it comes to integration with the codebase, both tools excel in their own ecosystems. GitHub Actions, being a native feature of GitHub, offers seamless integration with other GitHub features. On the other hand, GitLab CI/CD, as part of the GitLab platform, provides a unified experience, making it an attractive option for teams already using GitLab for version control.

gitlab ci cd vs github actions

GitLab’s runners automatically check out the code and manage artefacts distribution for the user. It must be mentioned that self-hosted runners can run more than one job per host concurrently, depending on the configuration. Workflows are defined in the .github/workflows directory in a repository, and a repository can have multiple workflows, each of which can perform a different set of tasks. You can configure a GitHub Actions workflow to be triggered when an event occurs in your repository, such as a pull request being opened or an issue being created. Your workflow contains one or more jobs which can run in sequential order or in parallel.

It is part of the CI/CD system to check out code, manage caches and releases. GitLab itself also seems to allow for easier integration with third-party systems. CI triggers from external services like issue trackers and chat tools are much more versatile, just like the CI environment setup. But GitLab requires the user to write all the CI task implementations themselves. Sharing and reusing CI definitions becomes difficult and quickly confusing with the monolithic approach of one big .gitlab-ci.yml file approach. There are multiple levels of including, inherence and extending which can make it hard to get a quick oversight of what a job actually does.

Continuous Integration (CI) is a development practice that involves regularly integrating code changes into a central repository. Automated builds and tests are run post-integration to ensure that new changes don’t break the existing codebase. Continuous Deployment (CD), on the other hand, automates the release of validated changes to a staging or production environment.

If you are using GitLab.com, you can use theinstance runner fleet to run jobs without provisioning your own self-managed runners. Variables can also be set up through the GitLab UI, under CI/CD settings, where you canprotect or maskthe variables. Masked variables are hidden in job logs, while protected variablescan only be accessed in pipelines for protected branches or tags.

So, there’s a reason why so many VCS services have “Git” in their names. One of my personal favorites is CodeQL, which brings GitHub’s static code analysis engine into your workflow to identify any known security vulnerabilities in your code. Also, there are plenty of other pre-built workflows for any number of things you may be working on. As I’ve spoken with open source maintainers and people at companies, I’ve heard time and again how time consuming maintaining an active project, team, and/or community can be.

Eventually, this might get better with GitLab’s new CI/CD catalog, but this is not guaranteed since components compare much more to GitHub’s reusable workflows instead of individual actions. GitLab is definitely in the middle of a migration process regarding their CI, not just to allow it to be more reusable, but also to get rid of their docker+machine runners. In contrast to GitHub’s modular approach, GitLab seems to have to deal with significantly more historical challenges due to its more managed approach. The requirements for the actual development Platform, GitHub and GitLab, should be much more important than its CI features. Costs and data privacy, as well as the ability to self-host, are often more relevant factors than the differences between the CI/CD systems. While the GitLab solution seems more complex at first glance, knowledge of its runner architecture is not required by developers.

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