GitHub Actions is the automation service used in the Quick start. Historically, GitHub has not provided an automation service, and required third-party services like CircleCI or Travis. But the newly-released GitHub Actions changes that.
GitHub Actions is a "continuous integration" (CI) cloud service, specifically for repositories in GitHub. It is useful for Open SDG in a way that is typical of open-source projects: it "listens" for certain events in your GitHub repository, and then provides temporary virtual machines to perform various server-side tasks. Open SDG needs a CI tool to accomplish these things:
- Run each new proposed change through certain tests, to prevent regression bugs
- Build and deploy the platform to a "staging" environment whenever changes are made
- Build and deploy the platform to a "production" environment whenever a new release is made
- GitHub Actions is free for public repositories
- Does not require any SSH keys to integration with GitHub repositories
Assuming you are using GitHub for your repository, there are not many downsides to GitHub Actions, making it a good choice for Open SDG.
The Quick start page includes all the set-up for GitHub Actions.
Using GitHub Actions involves putting "workflow" files (eg,
.github/workflows/my-workflow.yml) in your repository. The site starter and data starter repositories include workflows for automating tests of pull requests, and deployment of the staging site.