Use GitHub Actions with Northflank | Infrastructure as Code | Northflank Application docs

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Use GitHub Actions with Northflank

You can automate your workflows using GitHub Actions . You can adapt your existing GitHub Actions to work with Northflank, or create new ones.

You can define custom workflows that are triggered by events, such as a push to a repository or the creation of a pull request.

Workflows are defined in YAML files, which specify the sequence of steps to be executed in response to an event. Each step in a workflow can run commands, set environment variables, and interact with the GitHub API or other APIs.

GitHub marketplace also provides a library of pre-built actions that you can use in your workflows. These actions are reusable units of code that perform a specific task, such as building and testing your code, deploying to a server, or publishing a package.

You can also create and publish your own custom actions to the GitHub Marketplace, where other developers can use them in their own workflows.

Create a GitHub Actions workflow

GitHub Actions workflows specify the sequence of steps to be executed in response to an event. Each step in a workflow can run commands, set environment variables, and interact with the GitHub API or other APIs. Workflows are defined by YAML files in your Git repository, saved in the .github/workflows/ directory.

You can learn more about writing workflows in the GitHub documentation .

You can reuse other workflows from your own repository, public repositories, or workflows in your organisation account. Learn more about workflow syntax .

Workflow example

This example workflow builds and publishes and image, and then triggers a Northflank release flow run to deploy it.

The workflow logs in to the GitHub container registry , builds the pull request branch in the repository and pushes the image to, and then triggers a Northflank release flow using a webhook.

The events that trigger the workflow to run are defined in on, the environment variables to use in the workflow are defined in env, and the jobs to run as part of the workflow are defined in jobs.

The environment variables include the container registry to use (REGISTRY), and the IMAGE_NAME, which uses the github context to get the repository name as the value.

The build-and-push-image job specifies the base image to run the steps on (ubuntu-latest), and the GitHub permissions it requires.

The steps include checkout repository, which uses the published checkout action, log in to the container registry which uses the Docker login action, and build and push Docker image which uses the build and push Docker image action.

The final step runs a command (curl) to send a GET request to a Northflank release flow webhook, stored in the NF_WEBHOOK secret, and provides image_tag as a URL query parameter, which can then be accessed in the release flow via the args object to provide an image tag to deploy.

The workflow also uses two secrets , GITHUB_TOKEN which is automatically generated and passed to the workflow, and NF_WEBHOOK, which is generated in your release flow's settings.

name: Publish image and run release flow

    types: ['opened', 'reopened', 'synchronize']

  IMAGE_NAME: ${{ github.repository }}

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      contents: read
      packages: write

      - name: Checkout repository
        uses: actions/checkout@v3

      - name: Log in to the Container registry
        uses: docker/login-action@f054a8b539a109f9f41c372932f1ae047eff08c9
          username: ${{ }}
          password: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}

      - name: Build and push Docker image
        uses: docker/build-push-action@ad44023a93711e3deb337508980b4b5e9bcdc5dc
          context: .
          push: true
          tags:${{ github.SHA }}

      - name: Trigger release flow
        run: curl -X GET ${{ secrets.NF_WEBHOOK }}?image_tag=${{ github.SHA }}

Use secrets with a GitHub Action workflow

You can use environment variables and secrets with GitHub Actions. Environment variables are useful for passing data between steps, while secrets are used to store sensitive information such as passwords or API keys.

You can define secrets for a repository in the security section of the repository settings. Secrets for an organisation can similarly be defined in the security section of the organisation settings. You can define which organisation repositories a secret is available in by selecting a policy from the repository access dropdown list.

You can also give job steps an id, which can then be used to refer to the output from the Action used in that step, via the steps context (for example, ${{ steps.<id>.outputs.<key> }}).

Learn more about the contexts available in workflows , and see the deploy to Northflank workflow for more examples of contexts.

Deploy to Northflank using a GitHub Action

This workflow step demonstrates the Deploy to Northflank action, available on the GitHub marketplace, as it would be used in a workflow.

By providing the required variables this action can be used in your workflow to deploy an image from a container registry. Read the full guide here .

         - name: Deploy to Northflank
           uses: northflank/deploy-to-northflank@v1
              northflank-api-key: ${{ secrets.NORTHFLANK_API_KEY }}
              project-id: ${{ env.PROJECT_ID }}
              service-id: ${{ env.SERVICE_ID }}
              image-path: ${{ steps.<id>.outputs.<tags> }}
              credentials-id: ${{ env.CREDENTIALS_ID }}

Publish a GitHub Action

You can write and publish your own GitHub Actions to interact with Northflank, as well as the GitHub API and other third-party APIs.

GitHub Actions consist of your application code and an action.yml. The action.yml file contains the metadata for your action , including name, author, and description.

The runs attribute defines how GitHub will run your action, and the contents depend on whether you have written a JavaScript, Docker, or composite action .

It also contains the definitions for the inputs accepted by, and the outputs returned by your action, if required.

Example action.yml file

The example below is a truncated version of the published Deploy to Northflank JavaScript action. You can see the repository here , which contains the whole action.yml, as well as the action code (index.ts), package.json, and license.

name: Deploy to Northflank
author: Northflank
description: Deploy Docker images to Northflank by updating the deployment configuration of existing services or jobs via a GitHub action.
    description: Host of the Northflank API.
    required: false

  using: node16
  main: dist/index.js

  icon: upload-cloud
  color: gray-dark

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