Earlier this year, GitHub announced that Actions were publicly available. Actions in GitHub are individual tasks that interact with your repository. This interaction can be anything, including integrating with a public API to sending SMS alerts when urgent issues are created. Actions can be combined to create jobs and customize workflow. Furthermore, you can create your own actions, or you can customize actions created and shared by others in the community, like these for Azure.

Types of Actions

There are two types of actions: Docker container actions and JavaScript actions. A Docker container allows you to specify OS versions, dependencies, and tools. Therefore, for actions that require a specific environment configuration, Docker is ideal. JavaScript actions, on the other hand, can run directly on a machine. Using a JavaScript action simplifies the action code and thus executes faster than a Docker container action.

Understanding Differences

Understanding the differences between various tools is key to being efficient and effective in your efforts. GitHub Actions and GitHub Apps, for instance, both provide ways to build automation, but each has qualities that make them efficient in differing scenarios. GitHub Actions provide automation to enable CI and CD and can run directly on a runner machine or in a Docker container. They also don’t require you to deploy code. Conversely, GitHub Apps perform well when persistent data is needed and are best suited to API requests that aren’t time-consuming. Additionally, they run on a server or infrastructure provided by the user.

To get started with GitHub Actions or to speak with an expert, contact us here at PRAKTIK.