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Hossain Khan
Hossain Khan

Posted on • Originally published at Medium on

Setup Android Gradle based Firebase App Distribution with GitHub Actions CI

Setup Android Gradle based Firebase App Distribution with Github Actions CI

This is a quick guide on how you can easily set up Github Actions CI workflow to automatically post APK to Firebase App Distribution on merge to release or master (or soon to be known as main) branch.

Firebase already has an excellent guide 🏆 on how to set up the Gradle task on your Android project to post APK to App Distribution. However, I will quickly touch those areas using the easiest path ✌️.

PREREQUISITE : You already have Firebase project setup for the app with google-services.json file in your Android app project.

Setup Gradle for the App

On your root build.gradle file add the Gradle plugin

dependencies {
    // .. other existing deps here
    classpath ''

Next, apply the plugin in your Android app’s build.gradle and distribution properties. See the official guide for the full list of supported parameters.

apply plugin: ''

android {
    buildTypes {
        release { // NOTE: `debug` can have different cofigs
            firebaseAppDistribution {
                releaseNotes="Release notes at"
                groups="qa" // see docs for more options 

Generate Firebase Token

Firebase has 3 different documented ways you can authenticate to be able to upload the APK. Generating the token is one of the easiest that I will focus on with snapshot images so that you can easily relate to it.

From the root of your android app project, run following Gradle command which will give you a URL to authenticate for the Firebase project that app uses.

./gradlew appDistributionLogin

Copy the URL and paste it in browser and login with the Google account which has write access to the Firebase project.

Once authorized, you should get FIREBASE_TOKEN in the console. Save it for later use.

Setup Secrets for GitHub CI Workflow

Go to your GitHub project and the FIREBASE_TOKEN as secret property.

Setup GitHub Actions CI Workflow

Based on git-flow, we want to setup the CI job such that whenever we merge commit to master branch it triggers the release build. You can obviously customize the behavior based on your need.

name: Firebase App Distribution

      - master

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: set up JDK 1.8
        uses: actions/setup-java@v1
          java-version: 1.8

      - name: Firebase App Distribute
          FIREBASE_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.FIREBASE_TOKEN }}
        run: ./gradlew assembleRelease appDistributionUploadRelease

That’s it, you should have a working GitHub workflow that automatically sends APK to Firebase App Distribution as soon as there is a commit on master branch.

See pull-request I made to add support for this in one of my side projects.

If you find any issues please let me know I will try to help. Good luck 👍

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